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  1. 9 points
    Alan

    Peace in the Midst of the Storm

    Matthew 14:22-33 “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.” By Alan “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 The account of the Lord Jesus walking on the water is a wonderful story that shows us His lordship over His creation and loving care for His saints. Before we begin this devotion, let me bring a reminder that the disciples in the ship were Jews and were familiar with the account of how the LORD God takes care of the saints; even on the dangers in the sea. “They that do down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23 and 24 God, in either Testament, God is Lord over all of the creation. The Bible is a wonderful book. The Bible is God’s Word and it gives us an understanding of God and His will for our lives. It also gives us peace in our hearts as we go through the storms of life and the hope of eternal life in heaven. “... tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” In this world, all of us go through storms of life. We have physical, mental, and spiritual problems. We have fears in our hearts, doubts, wants, needs, and stress, in our family and work. Everybody has storms in their lives. The Lord Jesus wants us to have peace in the midst of our storms: whether those storms are physical, mental, spiritual, societal, governmental, family, or work related. What a wonderful story! This story tells of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is truly Lord. “... walking on the water.” During the time of their deepest anxiety of life, the disciples saw the Lord Jesus walking on the water. Also, there was a very big storm on the water at the same time. How was it possible for Jesus to walk on the water? Can you walk on the water? Do you know of anybody else that can walk on the water in front of other people? Did Confucius walk on the water? Did Buddha walk on the water? Job knew, as the Jews knew, and as those who know their Bible know, only God in heaven, the LORD, can walk on the water. Job 9:8 says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.” Jesus could walk on the water because He is Lord. Colossians 1: 15-17 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Because Jesus created all things, He is Lord and has the power to walk on the water! God, who lives in heaven, is invisible to all of us. The Lord Jesus is His only son. Jesus is the image of God. The Lord Jesus created this world and all that is in it. He created all of the things that you see and all of the spiritual things that you cannot see. The Lord Jesus created: the oceans, land, mountains, islands, our body, the thrones, or the governments, of this world, the angels, the Devil, or Satan, heaven and hell. All of the creation of the Lord is used for His purposes. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus can give us peace in our heart in the midst of the storms of life. The disciples were on the boat and the storm was raging. They thought that maybe they would die. Some of the disciples were fishermen. The disciples knew the dangers of the sea. Also, they never had seen a person walking on the water. The disciples had never seen a person walk on the water, so they thought that a ghost was coming to them. At the beginning, they did not understand what was happening. They were very scared. Then they cried out with fear. Like the disciples, so often in our lives we are fearful of the dangers in our paths and do not have a full understanding of the spiritual happenings around us. The Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus does not want the Christian to have fear in their hearts. The Lord Jesus also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The Lord Jesus gives the Christian peace in our hearts. The Christian has peace in their hearts that only Jesus can give. Jesus gives the Christian peace in the midst of the storms of live. When a Christian dies, he knows that he will ascend into heaven and live with Jesus. “Come.” When Jesus spoke these words the apostle Peter realized that it was the Lord walking on the water. Peter had faith in the Lord. So, Peter asked the Lord if he could come on the water and walk to Him. Jesus said one word, “Come.” We need to come to Jesus in the storms of life! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Peter is a good example. In verse 29 we see how Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. How did Peter walk on the water? Because of his faith the Apostle Peter was able to walk on the water. Faith is an amazing thing. We all need to have faith. “Lord, save me.” But, now we see that Peter took his eyes, his thoughts, off of the Lord Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves. Then he became afraid. Then he started to sink .That caused Peter to cry out, “Lord, save me.” “Lord, save me.” All of us need to pay careful heed to these words of Peter. If you are not a Christian then you need to cry out to Jesus and say, “Lord, save me I do not want to go to hell. I do not want to go to hell forever. Lord save me! I am a sinner and deserve to die and go to hell. But, Lord, in your mercy save my soul.” If you are a Christian, and you have taken your eyes and thoughts off of the Lord Jesus and onto the world and all of its problems then you need to turn your eyes on Jesus and say, “Lord save me.” In the hymn book there is a song called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” The stanza says, “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus is Lord and He is truly wonderful. We need to take our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, off of the things of this life and trust in the Lord Jesus for all of our needs and give Him our fears. “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” In verse 31 we read these wonderful words, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Faith pleases God but doubting does not. When we doubt, and criticize the Bible, and the things of God, then we displease God. The Bible, and all of the doctrines, stories, miracles, prophesies written therein, are to be believed and not doubted. With very little argument, the greatest defender of the faith in the Chinese world was Wang Ming-Dao, July 25, 1900-July 28, 1991. Wang Ming-Dao is one of the best examples of the work of the scriptures in the heart of a Chinese convert. After salvation, as he was teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, because of his biblical stand to be immersed, he was dismissed in 1920. Later on, in the beginning days of the Charismatic Movement in China, he openly taught against the Charismatic movement and denominational hierarchies. Wang Ming-Dao became known for his indigenous church work. From 1955-1980 he was imprisoned, twice, by the Communist government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Ming-Dao Through all of his intense verbal, spiritual, cultural, family relations, religious, denominational jealousy, and governmental persecution, Wang Ming-Dao maintained a rock-solid faith in Christ, doctrinal integrity, and inward peace through his personal storms in life. Wang Ming-Dao said, 王明道「魔鬼敗壞信徒的計策很多,但最毒的莫過於使他們對神的話發生疑惑,因為這是根本的方法。」“Satan has many scheme’s to destroy the believer, but the greatest poisonous, and the original, method is nothing more than to cause them to doubt the word of God.”[1] The English translation is a free translation from the author. The Lord Jesus saw that, without divine intervention, Peter would quickly drown and lose his life. But, until Peter called out for the Lord to save him Jesus did nothing. But, when Peter called out to Him then Jesus saved him. When we call upon the Lord to save us He will do so. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3 Many a person, in time of extreme distress, potential loss of life, war, accidents, and other physical dangers or spiritual dangers, have called upon the Lord for not only the eternal salvation of their soul, but for physical deliverance. “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” The Lord Jesus took Peter’s hand then both Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat walking on the water. Peter embraced Jesus! When they got back to the boat the wind ceased. When Jesus and Peter arrived back to the boat the other disciples realized the wonderful thing that Jesus did. Then the disciples worshipped Jesus. They said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” As Job realized that only the Lord in heaven could walk on the waves of sea, so must we. The confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a confession that Jesus was the Lord from heaven and equal in attributes, character, power, and authority. Both the Father and the Son are eternal and worthy of worship. Psalm 2:7 and 12, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. ... Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” In conclusion, we need to be like Peter and the rest of the men in the boat. We need to worship the Lord Jesus. Why not be saved today? Call upon Him in prayer and say, “Lord save me.” [1] Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 256.
  2. 9 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Contrary Doctrine

    Text: Rom.16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 1Tim.4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 2Tim.1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 2Tim.2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. We claim to be Christians, followers of a specific way and teaching Jn.14: 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. We claim to be guided by the unerring Word of God, the Bible. Yet it seems we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history and repeatedly disregard the warnings of those in the faith that have gone before us. We have a parallel in the history of the nation of Israel. We can see this parallel in the remarkable scriptures of Duet.1:2-15. An eleven day trip took them forty years! We can see a direct parallel between Israel’s relationship to God and our relationship to God…. how slowly we cover the ground! What winding and turning! How often we must go back and cover the same ground again and again. We are slow travelers because we are slow learners. We might marvel at their unbelief and slowness to OBey, but we, like them, are kept back by our own unbelief and slowness of heart. The doctrine that we are to hold and pass on is the Word that we have received: The pure, unadulterated truth of God. The Galatian Church is a negative case in point. Gal.3:1-4. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not OBey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. Saved by grace, but then allowing themselves to be seduced by a perversion of Scripture. Deut.1:3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; Here is instruction for all who labor in the Word and doctrine: Moses gave what he received from God, nothing more or less; this is the grand principal of the ministry, to bring people in direct contact with the Living Word of God. The Apostle Paul makes this argument better than I can. 1Cor.2: 1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1Cor.15: 1-3. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; The ‘so called’ church has wholly departed from the authority of the Word of God. In these churches, things are taught that have no foundation in the Scripture. They not only tolerate, but sanction and defend that which is in direct opposition to the mind of Christ. He spoke of them in Mat.15:8-9. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. If you ask for the Divine Authority for their institution or practice, you are told that God has left us free to act according to our conscience. It is considered that professing Christians are left free to form churches, choose their own form of government and appoint their own officers. Can this be true? Are we to assume that the church is worse off than Israel in instruction and authority? We can see in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the marvelous pains God took to instruct His people in even the minutest particulars concerning their worship and private life. Nothing was left to human arrangement. Man’s wisdom, judgment, reason and conscience had no part in it. There was no place for, “I can’t see this, or, I can’t go with that, or, I can’t agree that this is so.” Such language could only be regarded as self-will, for in that day all the instruction came with, “Thus saith the Lord.” They might as well say they could not agree with God. Are we left to think and arrange for ourselves in worship and service to God? I think not! 1Tim.3: 14-15. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. He then goes on to show how things ought to be done by believers. Why are there different doctrines among professing churches? We have possession of God’s Word. We also have division, sects, creeds and denominations, Why? Because they refuse to submit their whole moral being to the authority of the Scripture. Free exercise of thought is the boast of Protestant Christianity. Such thinking will not stand at the Judgment. Mat.7: 21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. The duty of the servant is to OBey, not to exercise his will. The confusion between so-called churches is due to an unwillingness to bow to Divine Authority. Mat.7:28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. It is impossible for the Holy Scripture to teach opposing doctrines. It cannot possibly teach the doctrines of Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and Baptist….they oppose one another! Let’s look at a direct command in the name of Jesus for unity. 1Cor. 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. The so-called “church”, has departed from the authority of Christ long ago. They gave themselves over to man’s reasoning, feelings and religious perversion. They did not heed the teaching of Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. It is every Christian’s sacred duty to test every ecclesiastical system by the Word of God. If we have no Divine authority, no perfect standard, how can we be certain that we are on the true path? All that claim to be His church cannot justify the confusion of doctrines that they hold true. 1Cor.14:33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. If God is not the author of this confusion, then who is? Jas 3:16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. If we cannot say that “this is the thing that the Lord has commanded”, then we are in error. If a church or religious organization is not in subjection to God as revealed in His Word, what and to whom are they in subjection to? There are only two powers in this world, the power of God and the power of Satan. Satan is the master of deception and mimicry and his masterpiece of all time deception is a false religious system. Rom.16:17-18. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. What kind of doctrine has God won your heart with? Can you go on to perfection with an opposing doctrine having once known the truth? Rom.6: 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. The religious liberals will say that there is some good in all churches. My answer is that there is good grain in rat poison too, but it only takes a small amount of poison mixed in with the grain to kill the rat. Any Christian that thinks that he can take what good there is and leave the bad, is ignorant of the nature of evil. Make no mistake; that which is contrary to God’s Word is not of God! 1Cor.10:21,
  3. 6 points
    Alan

    The Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus

    1 John 4:10, “The Propitiation for Our sins.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 The word propitiation means, “an atoning sacrifice.” An atoning sacrifice is a sacrifice that atones for sins. To atone for ones sins is to reconcile a person to God. The sacrifices of the Old Testament animals, or any animal of any culture, cannot take away sins; they were temporary until the Lord Jesus shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins. The Lord Jesus became the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. John 1: 29 says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins. Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for our sins. Leviticus Chapter 1 The book of Leviticus was given in order for mankind to know that we needed an atoning sacrifice, as a propitiation for sins, for the payment of sins. In these ordinances, God told the nation of Israel how to conduct these sacrifices. In Leviticus 1:1-9, God gives us some very important aspects of the sacrifices. God was very specific about the offering. The sacrifice must be according to what God said. Leviticus 1:3 “If the offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” Leviticus 1:3 The sacrifices of the Old Testament Law, specifically the book of Leviticus, were to be brought on the voluntary will of the individual. Every man has a will and God wants our sacrifice to come from the voluntary will of the individual. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Lord Jesus Voluntarily Gave His Life to Became Our Sacrifice “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 The Lord Jesus willingly gave His life for our life. God Sent the Lord Jesus to Become the Atoning Sacrifice God sent Jesus to become the propitiation for our sins. The plan of God, before the foundation of the world, was for the Lord Jesus to leave heaven and become the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for the sins of all mankind. Why? Because God Loves Us Verse 10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We also need to notice that before we loved Jesus: Jesus first loved us. In verse 10, the scripture says, that, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. In the sight of God, man is not righteous and not seeking Him. Romans 3:10 and 11, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” But, God is seeking man. God does not want anybody to spend eternity in hell. Hell is the place for the punishment of our sins. Luke 19:10, “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The love of God, and the love of the Lord Jesus, was manifested on the Cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” On the cross, the Lord Jesus, of His own free will, became the propitiation for our sins. Jesus loves us! Concluding thoughts We have seen some tremendous truths in this passage of scripture that can help us understand the love of God. And we found out that, God is seeking us and that Jesus Christ willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on the Cross of Calvary that we might be saved. The Lord Jesus became the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for our sins in order for to have eternal life in heaven. We need to accept this sacrifice in our hearts for our salvation and have a heart of thanks.
  4. 5 points
    Alan

    The Kindness of God

    “The Kindness of God” 2 Samuel 9:1-13 David & Mephibosheth The theme of this story is the kindness of God. In David’s life, we can see the kindness of God. Because David and God had an intimate relationship, David developed a kind heart. Background Before David became the King of Israel King Saul tried to kill David and prevent David from becoming King over Israel. King Saul was David’s enemy. For seven years, David fled from King Saul. Except during times of religious expediency, King Saul did not obey God. He rebelled against God, listened to the people, and had a stubborn heart. God rejected King Saul and anointed David to be king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:10 & 11 and 23 says, “Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried all night.” and, Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." King Saul is like many people. Most people, yea, even a lot of religious people, reject the will of God because they are rebellion against the Bible, stubborn, and will only listen to the world. David, before he became King, had a close relationship with King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Jonathan was an individual who had a love for God, for the will of God, and for the man of God. Verse 1-3, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.” King David loved God and God gave David peace and love in his heart. King David did not have hate nor have bitterness in his heart towards the house of Saul. King David put into practice the love and kindness of God. “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” Psalm 25:6 King David is a good example for us how we should love our enemies and exhibit the love and kindness of God. In this passage twice, King David said that he wanted to show the kindness of God towards the house of Saul. Jonathan was King Saul’s son and a friend of David. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson. Mephibosheth was lame. He could not walk nor could he earn money. He was very poor. Mephibosheth was the grandson of Saul. Mephibosheth represents the Christian. Before we are saved, we are a child of the Devil and unworthy to enter into the presence of God and into heaven. And, only the love and mercy of God makes us worthy enough to enter heaven. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:4 and 5 Love Produces Kindness Verse 5 & 6, “Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!” Please note that even though David was the King he sought Mephibosheth. King David is a type of God. God loves us and He is seeking us. 1 John 4:9 & 10 says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God loves us! The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 God is seeking the salvation of man in order for man to escape the torment of hell and enter the joy of heaven. Jesus loves us! Verse 7 & 8, “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is they servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” The first words out of the mouth of King David was “Fear not.” King David relieved the heart of Mephibosheth. Is that not like the kindness of God? “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 Mephibosheth realized that he was not worthy to receive this honor and was humble. In this passage, Mephibosheth twice said that he is David’s servant and did not deserve his mercy. Before we are saved, we are unworthy to enter into the presence of the King of Heaven. We deserve to go to hell. Like Mephibosheth, we need to have a grateful heart to the king of heaven and be God’s servant and follow Jesus. Verse 13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.” King David gave commandments that his servants were to provide the physical necessities for Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth could not take care of himself so David took care of his needs. The Lord Jesus is our king and one day we will sit at His table in heaven and eat. The Lord Jesus, as an added blessing to the salvation of our soul, will give us a new, glorified body, and will take care of the needs of our new body for eternity. Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Conclusion The story of King David and Mephibosheth is a wonderful story of the loving kindness and mercy of God. It shows us how God gave David love for his enemies’ grandchild. It shows us the humility of Mephibosheth and love and kindness of God in a practical manner. It shows us how God will take care of our spiritual, physical, and eternal needs. Like King David, when we have a close relationship with God we can have the love and kindness of God in our hearts. God loves us! He is Merciful and Gracious! Before we loved God He loved us! Because God loves us He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross and become the propitiation for our sins. This story shows us how God is seeking man for the eternal salvation of our soul so we can escape the torment of hell and enter into the joy of heaven. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
  5. 5 points
    irishman

    Hell

    Hell “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” Isa. 5:14 In our text verse, we see one of the saddest verses in the Bible. Hell always makes room for more; she is never full. In his book, “End Times” J. Dwight Pentecost says that scientist speculate that hell may be a planet. They say that the hottest fire there is, is a black fire that burns so hot that it makes its own fuel! Sounds impossible but they say that it will never burn out, it is a liquid-like fire, as a lake! Similarly the Bible speaks of a lake of fire where the devil is ultimately cast into, and shall remain there forever. In fact, the Bible has much to say about hell, and none of it is good. First, it says that hell is a place of unquenchable fire: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:” (Mark 9:43) It is better to go through life maimed than to end up in hell. To be honest, some argue that this refers merely to the grave, but if so, it is representative of hell since there is no fire in the grave. Another reference to hell, is seen in Luke 16: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23,24) There definitely is a hell, and it is HOT! It is a place of torment; a place of darkness, and a place of suffering; it is a nice place to stay away from! The torment of hell is all through the one that goes there: “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” (Mk. 9:49). Years ago men used to salt their meet to preserve it. They rubbed the salt all over the meat in order to allow it to penetrate the hide, and it became salted through and through. They would hang the animal up, and skin it, and rub the meet for hours to be sure it would not spoil quickly, the reference here is that in hell men are rubbed with fire until it permeates their entire being! They do not merely burn on the outside, but on the inside too! There are “flames” in hell; the only way we can Have flames is if there is fire! Imagine with me a place where (close your eyes and “see it”) flames are dancing up in total darkness; now picture the distorted face of a loved one--only the face can be seen--hovering in the darkness, writhing in pain, and crying out in agony. The flames never cease; the pain never quits, and the soul is left in despair. See with me, many faces, all twisting in agony, all calling out …weeping and wailing, and gnashing their teeth because of the intense pain. This is hell, my friends; this is the hope of many lost men. There is little pain more excruciating than burning pain. Secondly, hell is a place of darkness: Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude 13) This darkness is a total darkness where no light is--ever. Then there is Jude 1:6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” It is a darkness that may be felt: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” This too speaks of the judgment of hell. Imagine a darkness that is so dark that it can be felt! Our family took a trip one time to West Virginia. Went through an old coal mine which was a tourist attraction. About midway through, the guide turned off all the lights, and it was so dark that you could not see the hand in front of your face, even from a fraction of an inch away! It was an eerie feeling. That, my friends, is the darkness that the Bible speaks of that one can “feel”. Finally, Hell is a bottomless pit. “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.” Have you ever had a sensation of falling? That is what its like in hell--a constant falling--falling in total darkness! Can you imagine? Some have had dreams of falling, and said that it was a scary feeling, a sensation of helplessness and instability. And smoke? Who likes smoke? Hell is definitely a place of torment and anguish. It’s a place “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48) Hell is filled with smoke, and a constant feeling of falling, but never finding a foothold. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15) Where they “shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 8:12) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mt. 13:42) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Rev. 14:11) “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) Hell is reserved for the devil and his angels, but those that reject Christ and his sacrifice on Calvary will be cast there with him, and I promise you it will not be sweet. The Bible says that now is the time, today is the day of salvation; won’t you take Christ as your savior? You do not have to go there, my friend, you have a choice. Give the Gospel, and invitation.
  6. 5 points
    irishman

    Clothing

    Genesis 3 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (2:25) “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (3:10) In this chapter, and in the last verse of the previous chapter, we see the main reason for clothing. Did you ever wonder why you wear what you wear? Clothing is basically to cover our shame (nakedness). In verse 7 of chapter 3, we see that they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, because they were naked. They did not know what it meant to be naked before this, and had no shame because of their innocence. Even after the Lord confronted them, they needed to cover their shame, and He provided the skin of the animal, the innocent one, to cover their shame. We see in this a picture of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. He too died to cover our shame, and in Him we are made whole again, and OBtain eternal life. The point I would like to make is that our clothing need not be ostentatious, but simple, as long as it covers us. Anything more than covering our nakedness is pride. Do we need to be adorned with the nicest apparel? Do we need diamond-studded outfits to cover our shame? Of course not. Something much more simple will do. Of course women need to dress modestly, as in Titus 2:9, but even this seems to be speaking of avoiding the showy, attention drawing, and pride building clothing that we often like to wear. It is linked to “gold or pearls, or costly array”, and speaks of dressing “humbly” as much as decently. To “feel good about ourselves” is the worlds’ desire, and ought not to be our desire when it comes to dressing. This thinking is based on pride, which is the bane of all good men and women in every generation. Back to our verses: the shame did not come until the knowledge came. They were not ashamed until after “their eyes were opened” and they became “as gods, knowing good and evil” (3:5). It is the knowledge then that brought the fear. The knowledge of what? Of good and evil: of the ability to discern between the two. This remains the crux of the matter. When we seek out the flashy, sexy, or showy type apparel, we are merely feeding our ego. This may be hard to swallow, but it is true, nonetheless. We like to offer excuses at to why we dress the way we do, we even try to make it “spiritual”, but the bottom line is pride. For our own satisfaction we want to “look nice”, when we ought to be concerned with covering ourselves. I must be fair, and say that we dress for warmth too, but that is not all the time, and even that should fit the guidelines of “modesty” and humility. Did not our Savior dress “humbly” He deserved spectacular a rOBe of purple, but wore a simple rOBe of white. Folks, be sure your pride shows in the way you dress, and in your appearance in this world; yes, others can see it, even if you will not. It’s for men and women alike. (Note: The word “modest” in Titus 2:9 means both in a moral aspect, and in a humble aspect. Here is the Dictionary definition of “modest: “ 1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man. 2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity. 3. Not loose; not lewd.
  7. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Righteousness and Justification

    WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT: Righteousness and Justification Mat.5:1-6-10-12. Introduction: Jesus had some very specific things to say about righteousness and justification. His teaching has, for the most part, been perverted and twisted until it means something quite different from what the early church understood it to mean. The nature of this perversion is so degenerate that it has changed the meaning of these words so that they mean exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. The result is that most of the religious world believes a lie and perpetuates this lie simply because it has been repeated as truth for so many years. These same people castigate those who would hold to the purity of God’s word; relegating them to the ranks of some obscure sect or calling them religious fanatics. We can be thankful that God’s word does not change, the religious world has had to invent new versions of the Bible to prove their blasphemous lies, because the Bible does not support their teaching, in fact, it condemns it. In order to have a proper study on this subject, it must be determined what the word “righteousness” means with regard to the righteousness that Jesus spoke of for the remission of sin. Three references will serve to define the word: Rom.5:21. Phil.3:9. Tit.3:5. Jesus pointed to John the Baptist as he that came in the way of righteousness, some accepted that way and others did not, thus representing the two different sides of this argument. Mat.21:28-32. Now if John came in the way of righteousness, then we must ask, what was John’s message? Mat.3:1-2. Salvation presupposes the idea that I am unable to help myself, this is called depravity. Jer.17:9. If I think that because my sin is gone, then I am righteous, what about tomorrow? If I sin tomorrow do I lose my righteousness? This is where the idea comes from that you can lose your salvation. Rom.10:3. Where then does this righteousness come from? Does it come about because of the good things that I do? This is the adult version of--- “If you be a good little boy you will go to heaven.” It is also the mistake of the Pharisees who looked within themselves for their righteousness and despised those who did not act righteous as they did. Rom.5:21 Puts righteousness in the proper perspective. Rom.4:21-25. Shows that the righteousness that the Christian has is not his own, it is the righteousness of Christ, and I, by repentance and faith become adopted into the family of God with all of the benefits of being a son. 1Cor.1:30. There will come a day when the Christian will not have sin to deal with, but until that day I have the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is this that makes me acceptable to God the Father, the scripture calls being acceptable, “justification”. Let’s look at what Jesus said about those who trust in their own righteousness, as compared with those who realize that they have no righteousness. Lk.18:9-14. Why is it so important to have the proper righteousness and justification? The answer is simplicity itself: If, in the judgment day, I have only the righteousness that I have got by my good deeds it will not be accepted by God! Why? Because I have not accepted the righteousness that he provided, this is the same as saying that Christ’s death is not the only way to get to heaven. I have no need of Christ’s blood, I can do it myself. Gal.2:16. Heb.10:29. In that day there will come a separation, the angels will sever the just from the wicked and man will have no say in the matter. Mat.13:47-49. This is why it is so important to get it right the first time, now you have a choice, there are no second chances in the grave, and we are not reincarnated until we get it right as some teach. Ecc.9:10 Psa.31:17 Psa.6:5. In short Jesus said that only the just or righteous will enter the kingdom of heaven. See how Jesus puts it in Mat.25:31-34. Mat.5:6. shows that becoming righteous by the grace of God is no accident. The words, “hungering and thirsting”, as it pertains to righteousness, comes only as one desires it. There must be an active choice on your part, salvation is no accident, and those who receive God’s salvation have made the choice to do so. It is also not just a determination on your part to become religious, the Pharisees were religious and Jesus condemned their religion. Salvation comes about as you determine that you are a sinner and it is not physically possible for you change this situation. It is seeing the need of having your sin forgiven and blotted out. The scripture says that the wages of sin is death, Jesus came and died to pay the price of my sin, and his blood is the cleansing agent that will make me look as white as snow when I stand before God in the judgment day. In that day I will stand, having his righteousness to wear as a robe, and his justification which makes my sin as if it never was in the eyes of God.
  8. 4 points
    Bibleman30

    Be Ye Followers Of Christ

    What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? We are saved by the Blood of Christ, forgiven of our sin, and eternally secured with Him. But what does it mean to be a Follower of Christ? 1Co_4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 1Co_11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Eph_5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Php_3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 1Th_1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 1Th_2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Heb_6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 1Pe_3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? To follow Christ is to keep all, and to practice all those things which Christ taught. The first time the phrase “Follow Me” is used in the New Testament, is when Jesus saw Peter and Andrew caster their nets, and Christ said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. The first time Christ called, it was to ask that those that would follow, that they would learn to spread the Gospel of Christ. The first mention was witnessing, Christ’s 1st point in being a follower is learning how to preach the Word of God. The second point is in Matthew 8:19-23 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. The Lord is instructing his followers to leave those things that would distract you from walking with Christ. The Lord was not being insensitive to this man, but was trying to help him understand that the things and cares of this world are not as important as keeping yourself on the path of the service of the Lord. As He said “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”. The Lord wants us to learn to not care for ourselves, He promised that He would take care of us, that He would provide our every need. So why would we need to take it upon ourselves? Taking the load from the Lords shoulders and placing it on our own. The third point is in Mat 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. What does it mean to deny ourselves? It is again, to not care for any of the pleasures and luxuries of this life. Like He said to Peter and Andrew, to follow Him and leave behind their cares. They were fishermen, and Christ asked them to leave their livelihood and take up a new vocation as a fisher of men, a preacher of the word. Here the Lord is asking now to deny even the finer things of this life. To fully trust in God is to completely let go of everything that would take your mind off of what Christ would be trying to teach you. “or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” what in this world could possibly be more important than the salvation of someones soul? What could you possibly have in your life that would take the place of the Gospel of Christ? To leave the cares of this world the Lord doesn’t want us to be as Monks in Monasteries, for we would have to leave this world all together to escape the sin and temptations. The Lord only asks that we would be mindful, and keep ourselves in subjection to His Word. 1 Corin 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Always abounding, that’s being always mindful, praying without ceasing. Inviting the Lord into every aspect of your life, asking Him to bless and guide you in your daily work. Being a follower is more than just accepting a belief, but living it. Zealousness, fervency, and devotion in living out its principles is a must. Knowing to do what is necessary and neglecting it, not only harms your own spiritual life, but will rOB you of a chance for Christ to work with and help you in the physical life. God won’t force you to serve Him, He isn’t going to grab your hand and pull you along the path. But He will wait, He will stand by offering assistance and wait until we have had enough in trying to figure things out on our own, and finally acknowledge Him and ask for His hand. Denying yourself can be, and may just be the hardest of the instructions that Christ has given us. But God did say in 1 Corin 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. The Lord promised that anything that you would be tested by would not be anything more than you could handle. It may seem an impossible task to leave behind your life, but Christ promised that all you must do is ask of Him and He will give you the ability to overcome. Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. There are many other instructions and teachings that Christ gave. But if these main points are followed, the others will naturally come. You have to want to follow, to want to overcome this life for the Lord to give you the victory. He is no going to make you change, but He is going to prick your conscience and try to get your attention. Serving the Lord must be with the whole self. Just going through the motions and “tipping your hat to God”, or in any way treating Christianity as just a religion and not a faith, is not being a follower of Christ. Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; God does not want religious rOBots, He wants true disciples, those who WANT to follow and OBey His instructions. Those who would be willing to give up everything to serve Him, if He so called. Being a follower of Christ is more than appearance, it is a sincere full bodied and full life decision. You would be willing to accept any calling, any challenge that the Lord presented you with. Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. The first mention in Psalms is the Lord asking that we leave off the way of the world and follow Him. To not think of the way you want to do things, but to constantly think of, to meditate on the teachings of God. But not only to think on, but that it would be something that we would be delighted in OBeying. It is a heart issue, the Lord wants excited followers, He wants, and would like his children to be joyful in the instructions He lays out for us. The Word of God would be something that would fill you with joy. That it would be something that you just could not get enough of. The Way of the Lord is not a hard or laborious path as it says in Mat 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. To follow the path of Christ is to denounce your own self and desires, and to have absolute trust in Him. To follow the fruits of Christ Gal 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. The Lord is not ordering us here, but is asking that we would follow these things, that we would be willing to put aside ourselves. These are the things that the Lord asks us to meditate on and strive to become. The Lord laid out some instructions for us in Eph 5:1-20 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disOBedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Meditate on these things, strive to follow His teachings. Ask for His help and He will give it.
  9. 4 points
    There is a balance to life. Everything we do is, or should be, by balance. However, balance does not necessarily mean in even proportion. For instance, if I want a good balance of flour and yeast in my bread, I will surely not use the same amount of yeast as I do of flour! Life is the same. Different situations call for different proportions, and sometimes the balance is somewhat hard to find. This morning, I was looking in the back of my Bible and I saw a thought that I had written down a few years ago. "The difficulty I find in my Christian life is that, when I should be a man, I am a child, and yet when I should be a child, I am a man." Let us consider what the Scriptures say. I Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man , I put away childish things." And yet, when you look at Mark 10:15, we see Jesus say, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." So where is the balance? When do we be "as a little child" and when do we "put away childish things"? The difference, I believe, is the difference between childish and childlike. The word childish is defined as, "Belonging to a child; trifling; puerile (boyish, immature). However, the word childlike is defined as, "Resembling a child or that which belongs to children; becoming a child; meek; submissive; dutiful; as childlike obedience."* Notice the difference in the following: one is to belong to a child and one is to resemble a child. Let me give you an example. I am, and always have been, a bit of a cut-up. Now I have often been accused of being immature because of this; however, if I was childish, I would have no sense of when to cut up and when not to. Hence, we see that the difference between being childlike and childish is that being childish applies to all the aspects of children, whereas being childlike applies to the excellency of children. Spurgeon put this way, "It would be a good thing for us all if we had never stopped being boys and girls, but had added to all the excellencies of a child the virtues of a man. Surely, it is not necessary to kill the child to make the saint?"** So, in my Christian life, there comes a time when I should be more like a child. Children tend to be more forgiving. How often have we seen two children squabble one minute, and be best of friends the next, as if the incident had never happened. How blessed it would be if we could find this in our own life. Unfortunately, adults tend to be much too full of pride to do this. Children tend to be trusting. We as Christians do not trust God. Whatever our reason is, we lack trust. Children are quick to love. However, adults tend to look for a reason not to love people. Why? Simply because we like to feel sorry for ourselves. And yet, in my Christian life, there comes a time for me to be a man. A child, by nature, is fearful. A man (or adult) should not be. Isn't it funny that a child's fear is far less damaging than an adult's, simply because a child knows how to trust. Adults when they fear, also refuse to trust. A child tends to be dramatic. Unfortunately most people do not grow out of this. A child is mostly selfish; they have to be taught to think otherwise. The problem is, many of the adults instructing them to not be selfish are often selfish themselves. I finish with a very sobering thought from Spurgeon. "Do not others expect from children more perfect conduct than they themselves exhibit? If a gracious child should lose his temper, or act wrongly in some trifling thing through forgetfulness, straight way he is condemned as little hypocrite by those who are a long way from being perfect themselves."*** Let's stop being so childish, and start being childlike. *All definitions are taken from the Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary. **Spiritual Parenting pg. 17 ***Spiritual Parenting pg. 18
  10. 4 points
    Alan

    Glory in Heaven

    “Glory in Heaven.” Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” According to the scriptures, what is wisdom? And who is a wise person? “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 A person who fears the Lord, and is trusting in the Lord for the salvation of their soul, has wisdom. God looks at the heart. Our motives, our character, our personal righteousness (or sanctification), and our walk with the Lord will determine the glory, or rewards, we will have in eternity. In the scriptures, we see a contrast between various people who were wise in salvation and wise in sanctification. Contrast in Salvation The fool trusts in his own heart, merits, works, religious ceremonies, wealth, influence, and other foolish things for the eternal salvation of his soul. The rich man in hell was a fool and Lazarus was the wise person in Contrast after Salvation After salvation, a wise person is one who decides to forsake the pleasures, comforts, ideology, philosophy, and the striving for wealth, fame or other worldly pursuits, in order to please the Lord in heaven. Lot was wise in salvation but not in his personal walk with with the Lord. Abraham was wise in salvation and in his walk with the Lord. Lot was righteous in the heart but not in his character. Abraham was righteous in his heart, character, and beliefs. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” Winning souls is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” When an individual tells another person, whether by word of mouth, testimony, preaching, a tract, or the manner of his life, and the person witnessed to turns to the Lord in salvation, then that person who witnessed is wise and in eternity will 'shine as the brightness of the firmament.' As the glory of one star is different from the glory of another star, so are our rewards in eternity. Sanctification – Holiness – Right Living Righteousness in our life, or Sanctification, or Holiness, is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 7, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” In a direct reference to the shameful living of the Corinthian believers (who were righteous in soul but not in daily living), Paul the apostle wrote, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” 1 Corinthians 6:5. Please take careful note. The lives of the Corinthian saints were 'shameful' even though they were wise in salvation, Paul clearly said they were not wise in judging; i. e., they could not discern spiritual things. Lot is an example of this type of saint. They are unrighteous, unholy, and not sanctified, in their life. 1 Corinthians 6: 8 & 9. They allow the world, the pleasures of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, to destroy their testimony. Therefore, they do not win souls by either word of mouth nor testimony and their glory in eternity will not be so bright. In eternity, those saints who lived in the flesh and taught false doctrine will be ashamed. A wise Christian is one who is righteous in his daily walk with Christ. Abraham was a man righteous in his heart for salvation and righteous in his heart in his walk with the Lord. Abraham was holy and sanctified in his life. Since the scriptures have been written down the personal testimony of Abraham has caused the salvation of many throughout the ages and in many lands. Therefore, in eternity, the glory of the rewards given to Abraham will cause him to shine as the stars for eternity. Righteous in Belief A heart belief, before salvation, in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine cannot save the soul. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The saint who walks with the Lord will take heed about every doctrine he believes. A heart belief in Buddhism, Taoism, baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, and other erroneous methods of salvation will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. As Timothy preached salvation by grace, through a sincere, and repentant, heart belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; Timothy could win those people to Christ. Timothy could lead many to righteousness through correct doctrinal salvation preaching. In eternity, Timothy, and many other sound gospel preachers, will shine as the stars in heaven. A heart belief in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine, after salvation, will cause the believer to be deceived. The false teachers (some are saved, but teach erroneous beliefs), that are teaching in the churches (or an Internet theologian), is causing confusion among the saints by using deceptive doctrines and bibles. After salvation, a belief in incorrect, or unsound, or corrupted doctrines, will cause many saints to lose their rewards in eternity. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be ashamed of their erroneous doctrinal beliefs. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5 If a man that is in the ministry, or a teacher of the scriptures in any capacity, teaches unsound doctrine, then he is not striving lawfully (according to the scriptures), and is not leading people to sound doctrine, or, a belief in right doctrine. Unsound doctrine would include, but not limited to, corrupted bibles (any modern version starting from the RV of 1881 is a corrupted bible), heresies like the Charismatic Tongue Movement, The Gap Theory, any form of a non-belief in the creation of the world in six days, Calvinism, CCM music, Ecumenicalism, and any perversion of the Second Coming of Christ (Preterist, A-millennialism or Post-millennialism). “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ” 2 Timothy 3:8 & 9 Saints, who resist the truth of the scriptures, are in error. Paul the Apostle will be rewarded, and shine as the firmament in heaven, for eternity. But, the saved teachers of false doctrines in the churches will be openly shamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Concluding thoughts If a person is not a Christian, the wisest decision they will ever make it to trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. If a Christian is to be wise in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, our lives, and the lips of our mouths, should be a testimony of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. If a Christian is wise, sanctified, and is striving lawfully, according to the correct doctrines in the scriptures, he will be able to lead other saints to a sanctified life. In eternity, the wise saint will shine as the stars in the heavens. “The Galactic Bulge – A field of White Dwarf Stars” Note: A White Dwarf is actually bluish white. Courtesy of NASA – the Hubble Space Telescope “Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS) “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3 “… for one star differ from another star in glory.” 1 Corinthians 15:41
  11. 4 points
    Alan

    Trust in the Lord

    Psalms 37:1-5, “Trust in the Lord.” Verse 1 – 5, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” David was King over the nation of Israel. He was not a pastor, a religious leader, or a priest. He was a man who trusted in God and God anointed him become King. David trusted in God and in the promises in the Bible. So, God lifted him up in his life. A lot of people commit evil. We see, or hear; people do evil, commit crimes, war, deceit or other bad things. Sometimes we see evil people become famous or rich. Sometimes this causes us to worry or to envy them. God says not to worry or fret. Why? They will perish like the grass one day and spend eternity in hell. Instead of worrying, or being jealous, we need to trust in God and do good. Verse 9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 All of us have desires in our lives. We have plans and hopes for our lives, our jobs and our families. God can help us overcome obstacles so we can have these desires. God wants to bless us. We need to know and enjoy the things of God as written in the Bible. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” In order for God to bless us, we need to decide to commit our lives to Him. God knows our situation and when we trust in Him, He can give us our needs and desires. Jesus is Lord. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, He promised to give us eternal life in heaven. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” God knows the situation of this world. He knows that it is full of evil. So often, because we see the wicked prosper, we forget God. God knows that the wicked will be punished in God’s proper time. By studying the Bible, we can know God. We can know how He will punish the evildoer in the future. And, because we have Christ in our hearts we can overcome the Devil and the world. So, we need to trust in God and not worry. He will bless us when we trust in Him. May God bless all of you. Alan
  12. 4 points
    Alan

    Right in the Sight of the Lord

    1 Kings 15:11-15, “Right in the Sight of the Lord” 11 "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. 12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels." The heart of King Asa was perfect in the sight of the LORD. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 All of the issues of life; eternal salvation from hell, service to the Lord, and our relationship with others, are determined with the attitude of our hearts. Like Asa, we need to have a perfect heart in the sight of the Lord. God established King Asa For 41 years, King Asa reigned in Jerusalem. King Asa did the will of God as recorded in the scripture. God blessed him and established him. God is also willing to establish us in our homes, our jobs, in our spiritual life is we do His will. Colossians 2:6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus as ones personal Saviour. As we obtained salvation by faith, after we get saved, we need to walk with Jesus by faith. The Lord Jesus is the root of the tree. A person cannot see the root of the tree. The root establishes the tree. The Apostle Paul is teaching that as we take deep root in the Lord Jesus, the Lord builds us up and establishes us in the faith. As we discover these wonderful truths, as Paul said, we need to have a thankful heart. God uses the scriptures to establish us and to teach us His will. This includes correct doctrine, holiness and righteousness in our lives. We need to listen to and study the scriptures in order to be established. King Asa Followed God Asa trusted in and loved God. As King, Asa determined to fear God and do what is right in the sight of God and not man, or society. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” When we put our trust in God, and do those things that are right in His sight, than we are safe. We have a safe home in eternity and God will protect us on the earth. The fear of man brings a snare. When a person fears man, or society, he caught in the snare of the devil. False religion is the snare of the devil. When we fear God and trust in Jesus as our Savior then God will bless us. Deuteronomy 12:28, “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou dost that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.” 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” When we obey the Lord Jesus then the Lord Jesus will answer our prayers. One of the reasons why the Lord Jesus does not answer our prayers is because we miss-use His name, we say, ‘Lord Jesus,’ but, we do not do what is pleasing in His sight. We need to do what is pleasing in His sight, not ours. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4 King Asa knew the history of King David and did as King David did. King David is a good example for all of us. King Asa removed the Sodomites and the idols King Asa was a very moral person and righteous in his authority. The physical act of sodomy is vile, unnatural, destroys society and the family. King Asa obeyed the commandment of God in removing the Sodomites and the idols from the land of Israel. “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” Deuteronomy 23:17 Exodus 20:3 & 4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” In the New Testament, we read that an idolater will not enter into heaven. Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” King Asa removed the evil things in the kingdom of Israel. We need to get remove evil things, thoughts, beliefs, personal agendas, and desires, from our lives. Dedication God blessed King Asa with wealth. King Asa brought the dedicated things into the House of the Lord. Three items are mentioned: Silver, gold, and vessels. King Asa knew his wealth came from the blessings of God. In our age, the visible house of the Lord is the local church. We need to dedicate our lives to the Lord Jesus and to the furtherance of the gospel. 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Every Christian needs to learn how to behave themselves in the church. The church is not an entertainment center, or a social club. When a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will love the church. If a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will learn how to behave in the church. In a local New Testament, Bible believing, independent, fundamental, Baptist church you will find the doctrinal truth of the scriptures and practical behaviour that pleases the Lord. The Removal of the Queen The Queen of Jerusalem, Maachah, was King Asa’s mother. King Asa’s own mother was involved with idolatry. Because King Asa wanted to do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, instead of doing that which is right in the sight of man, King Asa removed his own mother from being Queen. So often, in churches, in politics, in the affairs of this world, people who know to do right do not do right because they fear man and want to please a person, or an organization, or a denomination, or the lay people of the church. This was the attitude of King Saul. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” 1 Samuel 15:24 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 The Chief Shepherd of the local, New Testament Church, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The pastor of every church has only one person he must be accountable too; the Lord Jesus. The pastor obeys the Lord Jesus through the scriptures. Like King Asa, good pastors will remove any false teacher, false bibles, or individuals following the gods of this world (music, methods, a denominational hierarchy, or anything contrary to scripture), from any church office. The Apostle Paul gave us an example in 1 Timothy 1:19 & 20, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they learn not to blaspheme.” The blasphemy of Hymenaeus and Alexander was a departure of the faith; they were heretics. Concluding Thoughts King Asa was a good king. He loved the Lord in heaven as David loved God. King Asa removed evil from the Israel as David removed evil. King Asa had a perfect heart with God. We need to have a perfect heart with God.
  13. 4 points
    Recently, I've been considering why it was that certain people simply refuse to submit to God on some of the simplest things. Why is it that the Bible can be so plain on something, and yet we just ignore it like it was never there, declaring either that there is some other meaning, or even more brazenly, "I'm just not convicted about that!" Let me give you an example. The other day, I was discussing the issue of music with someone when they said that God did not set a clear musical standard in the Bible. Now, when I saw that, I thought, "How could anyone be so ignorant?" But the answer came to me very quickly. It isn't that he is ignorant, it's that he doesn't want to know. The sad truth is, that the majority of "Christians" will do what they want to do, caring very little, if at all, about what God thinks. They will not submit themselves to God as commanded in James 4:7. They will not humble themselves under God's hand as directed in verse 10 of the same chapter. Instead they stubbornly hold onto their own wants and desires, and in doing so they fall captive of the Devil, and get caught up in his snare. So let's look at James 4:7-10 and see how to make our will pliable to the able hands of the Master Potter. Submit Submission is more of a decision than it is an action. If you will, it is an attitude of the heart. You have to come to a point where you decide, "Whatever God says, whatever God wants, that's what I want for my life. It's not about me, It's about God." The number one reason most Christians don't submit is that they can't see past their own wants and desires. We have spent so much time pleasing ourselves, that we don't know how to please anyone else.Resist Resisting the Devil in our life is the most active and most prominent part of a Christian's walk with God. The more you walk with God, the more you have to resist the Devil. It doesn't get easier, you simply learn priorities. You learn that pleasing God is more important than the "fun" you will have in submitting to the Devil. This is how you resist him, priorities.Draw nigh Getting close to God is the most important thing that a Christian can do. The Bible says in Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If you want to walk in the Spirit, you have to fill your life with things of the Spirit. How you begin your day will set the precedent for how your day will continue to go, so start it with things of the Spirit. How you continue your day will determine your successfulness for the day, so continue to fill your day with things of the Spirit. How you end your day will decide how well your next day will begin, so end it partaking of things of the Spirit. Read your Bible, pray, listen to Godly music, fellowship with other Christians, meditate on the things of God, for the Bible says, "...to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)Humble yourself Day after day after day, humble yourself. It is a daily struggle to remember just how weak we are and just how much we need God. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall." Remember from whence comes your strength. You don't stand in your own power, else you wouldn't be standing at all. I find that the greatest sin in any Christian's life is pride. Truly, it is pride that keeps us from submitting, it is pride that keeps us from resisting, it is pride that keeps us from drawing nigh. Somehow, we have gotten the idea that we are strong enough to handle our situation on our own. We need to look back and remember how weak we were when we got saved and then we need to realize that we are indeed, still that weak. If we would simply let go of our stubborn will and submit to God's will, we would have no need to worry about the future, for it is in His hands. If we would just submit ourselves to God, we wouldn't have to worry about the present because He promised that He would take care of us. If we would just yield to Him, we wouldn't have to fret over the past, it's under the blood. With this being the case, I ask you, why would we want it any other way?
  14. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Spiritual Growth

    SPIRITUAL GROWTH, AS TAUGHT BY SCRIPTURE AND THE SCIENCE OF BOTANY By Jim Foley Text: “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow” Matthew 6:28. INTRO: In this scripture Jesus gives us an object lesson as to what constitutes spiritual growth, and how it happens. Jesus made the lilies and He made me, and now he describes to me how both biological and spiritual growth takes place. People often create for themselves a great deal of anxiety because they assume there must be some formula they must rigorously conform to in order to make themselves grow spiritually. Spiritual growth is not a secret formula process we must discover for ourselves. Jesus points to the lilies of the field as an illustration of how natural and spontaneous both natural and spiritual growth is. When Jesus points us to the lilies of the field it is not simply an appeal for us to see and enjoy nature and admire its beauty. Everything in nature, as well as in scripture, is given to teach us a spiritual truth. Natural life and spiritual life are governed, as is everything God has made, by natural law. Now let’s take a close look at the lilies of the field, and let them teach us about growth, both natural and spiritual. The point we must consider is not just that they are there for us to admire, but rather to consider “how they grow,” as Jesus puts it in our text. Many Christians live with anxiety because they are trying to make themselves grow spiritually. The lilies grow without anxiety. Without taking conscious care or effort the lilies grow naturally into full beauty. There is no conscious toiling to weave the tissues of their leaves. Their complex tissues have spun themselves naturally and automatically. Jesus follows up by implying that we care-worn and anxious people need not fret about causing ourselves to grow. He implores us to “take no thought” about what we will eat or drink, or how we should be clothed. We mortals create ghosts in our minds and then worry about them. We allow ourselves to be controlled by circumstances rather than allowing God to perfectly order our life. All men and women who have just a little faith have learned the secret of a composed life in many respects, but when it comes to spiritual growth we do not seem to make the connection. Early on in our Christian lives we settle down at times in calm trust in God, trusting Him to provide the necessities of our bodies. Then by and by we begin to become anxious about spiritual growth, especially when someone tells us we must follow this or that formula if we are to grow spiritually. But how do the lilies grow? They grow by grace, and take no thought, because the growth comes naturally. How does a child of God grow spiritually? He also grows by grace. Yet as we are told by others how to do this, we start fretting about it, and the anxiety comes back. We then have transferred our anxiety from our bodies to our souls. Then our efforts at Christian growth seem only a succession of failures. Why does this happen? It happens because we forget the lesson of the lilies of the field. Strenuous efforts to grow spiritually are right in earnestness, but are wholly wrong in principle. In both the natural and spiritual realm there is but one principle for growth. That principle is the same for plant and animal, and for body and soul. If we would know that principle, look again and “consider the lilies, how they grow.” There are two characteristics of all growth. They are: 1. Spontaneousness 2. Mysteriousness First let us consider the spontaneous nature of spiritual growth. There are three categories by which we may seek for evidence of the spontaneous nature of both bodily and spiritual growth. The first category is Science. We need not be a rocket scientist to understand that the lilies grow of themselves. It is one of the most natural things in the world. They grow automatically and spontaneously, and that without trying, without fretting about it, or without having to think about it. Take for example a new born baby boy. He begins growing shortly after birth without being aware of it, and is so uncontaminated by the advice of others that it is all automatic. As he grows he eats because he is hungry, and the growth goes on without giving it a thought. He does not fret about the condition of growth, but has a habit of eating and so the result is that growth goes on automatically and naturally. The boy’s parents have no need to tell the boy to grow, for it is a law of nature that he will grow without having to give thought to any process. Well-meaning people may tell us that the formula for spiritual growth is more prayer, more self-denial, more good works, etc. These are all well and good, but are not the cause of spiritual growth, but the results of it, just as many of our activities in life increase as we grow into a greater and grater capacity for various and greater ventures. The scientific fact is that the soul grows as the lily grows, without trying and fretting and thinking about it. Another thing that teaches us that growth, both bodily and spiritually, is spontaneous and automatic is experience. Getting back to the example of the boy in the above illustration that grows without taking thought, experience teaches us that he cannot make himself grow no matter how hard he tries. Doesn’t scripture also tell us this fact? No person can add to his stature by taking thought. “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” Mat 6:27 The Christian’s life unfolds itself like the lily of the field, from a divine germ planted centrally in his nature, and it grows as naturally as a flower from its seed. Though this flower can be imitated, one can always tell the artificial flower from the real one. This is the distinction between the natural growth of the Christian principles in the life of the Christian, and the moral copy of it. The first is natural and the second is mechanical. There are many artificial Christians marching about in society like little tin soldiers, but little tin soldiers only mimic the real thing. In the natural world in which we live there are crystals that GROW and organisms that GROW, but there is a real and fundamental distinction between them. The distinction is that the crystal is DEAD, while the organism is ALIVE. The crystal increases, but the organism grows. The organism is from within, while the crystal simply adds new particles from the outside. This is the difference between the true Christian and the mere moralist. The moralist’s works are all an external put-on. The moralist’s so-called meritorious works are all external while the true Christian’s meritorious works are from an internal divine growth. It is the distinction between the true Christian and the hypocrite. Now the crystal may be ever so beautiful, but it lacks the vital principle of a living germ of divine life within. Another fact that we need consider is that salvation in the first instant is never connected directly with morality. This principle is totally foreign to the thinking of the merely religious pretender since he thinks of his put-on show of morality as earning him salvation. It is true that salvation does demand morality, but the problem is that it demands so much morality that the moralist can never reach up to that level. True salvation results in the perfection of the inner man, i.e., a Christ-like mind. Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: There must first be a spiritual awakening that can only be accomplished by God, then comes the natural, internal morality. The moralist, with his external morality, may go a long distance towards perfection, at least in the eyes of his neighbors, but he can never reach true moral perfection, and so he is lost, for God demands perfection in the inner man. Only true spiritual life in the inner man can be perfect, and that life in the inner man of all true Christians is "Christ in you, the hope of glory. And that divine life, i.e., “Christ in you,” is the germ that sparks spiritual growth in the inner man that produces true good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Divine life always produces good works and so spiritual growth results because God has ordained it, and those ordained good works will flow out of, and give true evidence of, that natural automatic and spontaneous spiritual growth. Life develops according to its type and so out of the Christian’s inner man will flow “rivers of living water,” and “springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It will be the most natural thing in the world. Growth is synonymous with a living, automatic process. The Christian is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he adds cubits to his stature just as the old man (flesh) does, naturally. To use another scriptural metaphor he abides in the vine (Jesus), and because he abides in the vine, and not because he is toiling, but rather because he is growing, he brings forth fruit. Fruit is always because of growth and not growth because of the fruit. The fruits of the Christian’s character are not manufactured things, but living things that have grown from the secret germ. In short they are the fruits of the living Spirit. Now let’s consider the second great characteristic of growth: mysteriousness. The lily Jesus spoke of grew mysteriously. It pushed up its weight of stem and leaf in the teeth of gravity. How the flower does that, we know not, but observation tells us it does. Along the edges of asphalt paving one often sees plants break the pavement to reach up their leafy heads towards heaven. What mysterious force causes that? It is God who causes it to grow. God has put within the lily the nature to grow. Likewise when the soul rises slowly above the world and pushes up its virtues into the very teeth of sin and depravity, and displays the very image of Christ, it is then as natural for the lily to grow mysteriously from the seed to the flower. New Christians are often misled into believing the secret of spiritual growth is a strong will, a high ideal, a strong resolve to live virtuously, and the influence of Christian fellowship. We allow that the growth of a lily is a miracle, but then assert that a Christian must resort to self-imposed formulas to grow spiritually. We say the lily may grow naturally and spontaneously, but the Christian must fret and toil to grow spiritually. A man or woman may, by hard work and self-denial attain to a very high character, but this is not spiritual growth. If such efforts at self-improvement cause spiritual growth then spiritual growth is not mysterious. Jesus Himself spoke of the mysteriousness of spiritual birth and growth when He said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8. The fact that it is mysterious implies you cannot account for it on philosophical grounds such as a favorable Christian environment, charitable works, or efforts at self-improvement. The result of such thinking produces only artificial flowers. You can easily discern where that kind of religion comes from and where it goes. A lot of what passes for Christianity is formed by external influences, social opinions, and the voices of the world, which may be observed and explained. But the genuine thing comes only by the unseen power imparted by the mysterious thing we call the new birth. True Christians stand out from among the crowd, just as a real lily stands out from all the artificial ones, because of that unseen power that produces spiritual life in them, a life totally different from that lifeless counterfeit of the self-made that call themselves Christians. As long as anyone tries to manufacture his or her own spirituality, they can never be free from the pressure cooker of trying to measure up. They do not understand that the energies that produce spiritual growth, which results in spiritual improvement, are already there. That energy is the energy of the Omnipotent God Who fills their souls. If they are saved, growth moves them upward just as the lily grows upwards naturally by reason of the energy to grow that is inherent in their cells. When I was born of the Spirit of God I was hungry for the bread from heaven. That is also the natural result of being born again. It was a pleasure to “taste and see that the Lord was good.” I had “tasted the good word of God” and it made me want more. When one is born of the Spirit of God, growth is automatic. One need not even be thinking of that or even be aware of it. The only thing that can prevent growth in a Christian is not feeding on the word of God. But when one is born of the Spirit of God one has a craving for the bread from heaven, and so eating and growing will go on. When one is born again growing begins and continues. At first he is satisfied with the “sincere milk of the word.” I Peter 2:2. And as he grows spiritually he automatically develops a taste for the strong meat of the word. “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age.” And so his spiritual growth continues until he becomes a mature Christian. The lily of the field grows spontaneously and mysteriously because that is naturally inherent in its nature. I believe the Lord was pointing out to us that those born of the Spirit of God will just as spontaneously and mysteriously do the same. Are you growing, or still working at it?
  15. 3 points
    Alan

    Joseph and his Jewish Dreams

    Genesis 37:5-11, “Joseph and his Jewish Dreams” Joseph had faith and loved the Lord God. In the Old Testament, before the Bible was written, God spoke to men in dreams. God had given Joseph dreams. As we read the story of Joseph, we can see that Joseph was like the Lord Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ. Joseph walked with God and had the characteristics of the Lord Jesus. Also, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. God gave the examples of the Old Testament men and women for us. 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The wise Christian will look at the examples of the saints of the Old Testament and use these examples to learn how to walk in the Spirit (not in the Flesh), and please the Lord Jesus. Romans 15;4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The stories of the Old Testament saints can give the Christian hope and comfort our hearts. Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit and had the fruits of the Spirit.Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Joseph and his brothers Genesis 37:1-4, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers for two reasons: Joseph told his father, Jacob, or Israel, the evil things that his brothers did. Amos 5;10, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” Most people do not like it when you rebuke them. When the pastor rebukes a sin, and people do not want to repent, then some people get mad, criticize the pastor, the church. A wise person will repent when you rebuke him. Like Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, it is the responsibility of the man of God to rebuke people’s sins. 2 Timothy 4:1 and 2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” A faithful pastor will rebuke the sins of the people. A false pastor will not rebuke the sins of the people. Proverbs 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A faithful pastor will find good results but a false pastor will flatter people. Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” A wise Christian will hear the rebuke of the faithful pastor. A scorner will not listen to the rebuke of the pastor. Jacob, or Israel, his father loved him more than the other 11 brothers because Joseph was the son of his old age. The eleven brothers of Joseph were all walking in the flesh and had the fruits of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The Dream of the Sheaves that did Obeisance Genesis 37:5-8, “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” Both dreams came from God and God will fulfill both dreams in the life of Joseph and in the life of Christ. In the first dream, the brothers were binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers stood up and did obeisance. The brothers hated this dream and the interpretation. The brothers of Joseph rejected the words of Joseph. The brothers did not like the dreams that God gave Joseph. They did not want Joseph to reign over them. The brothers did not want to make obeisance to Joseph. Therefore, the brothers hated the words of Joseph and questioned the dreams of Joseph. When a person does not agree with the pastor who faithfully preaches the scriptures, they will question the scriptures and the pastor. Joseph’s brothers are like the nation of Israel. When the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among the nation of Israel, His brethren, the Jews rejected Him. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”And, in the church Age, most of the Jews hate Jesus and his words. When the Lord Jesus came the first time, the Jews also did not want Jesus to be their king. John 19:14 & 15, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” This dream was fulfilled in the life of Joseph. Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” And, this dream will be also fulfilled in the life of Christ when the 12 tribes of Israel recognize the Lord Jesus as Saviour and serve the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. tells us that 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel become the servants of the Lord Jesus in the 7 Year Tribulation Period. Joseph is like the Christian who walks in the Spirit. The Christian who walks in the spirit will be persecuted, talked against, scorned, maligned, and despised by those who walk in the flesh. & Galatians 4:28 & 29, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” The Dream of the Sun and the Moon Genesis 37: 9 & 10, “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren,and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” This dream is almost the same; but slightly different. In the first dream, only the other brothers did obeisance and in the second dream the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars made obeisance. The sun represents Jacob, the Moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars represent the eleven brothers. Rachel is already dead (Genesis 35:16-20). As with Job, and the other saints in the Old Testament, Jacob believed that one day that God would raise the saints from the dead. So, this represents all of the children of Israel, Jacob, and Rachel. This dream was fulfilled in Joseph's lifetime, among his own family (minus Rachel). The second time the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt they bowed before him the second time and said that their father (Jacob), was his servant. Genesis 43:28, “And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.” The second dream, along with the first dream, represents the whole nation of Israel bowing down to the Lord Jesus. Genesis 37:9 & 10 is the interpretation of . Revelation 12:1-17. Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The fulfillment of the second dream is when the nation of Israel gets saved and bows down to the Lord Jesus. Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Jacob observed Joseph’s sayings Genesis 37:11, “And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Jacob did not question the dreams of Joseph. Jacob did not fully understand them; but, he did not question them. Jacob observed them. Joseph’s brothers did not care for the words of Joseph. The brothers walked in the flesh. Envy is a one of the fruits of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21The father, Jacob, loved the Lord. So, he observed these sayings. We need to observe the saying’s in the scriptures. Psalm 107:43, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” A wise Christian will walk in the Spirit and will observe the life of Joseph.
  16. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The Light of the World

    The Light of the World James Foley John 1:1-13 A. Our text begins at the very beginning of time as mankind knows it. Since God has no beginning and no end, this reference supports the fact that God is from eternity past. Because we are creatures of time, we cannot possibly comprehend the infinite nature of God. I would like to speak to you today regarding the contrast between a Holy, Just and Righteous God and mankind in his natural state, meaning without God. There are very few churches today that preach about the total depravity of man. This doctrine is very offensive to most, simply because it teaches that mankind, outside of Christ, does not have any good. He is incapable of generating any righteousness at all. Isa 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Definition of depravity: A state of corruption due to original sin that infects every part of man’s nature. Depravity makes the natural man unable to know or obey God. This then is what the bible has to say about the natural man, or those who have not been born again: 1Co 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1. Our scripture speaks of Jesus as the personification of light and life. Thinking in these terms, anything outside of Jesus is then darkness and death. John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We have the light of the world in yet another form, a form other than the person of Jesus. The bible we hold in our hands is the written Word of God. The Scripture speaks of His Word as light also. Ps. 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. To the saved His word guides us through this life. It lights our way so that we know good from evil. It convicts us of our sin, but it also points out His will for our life. This light reveals the otherwise unfathomable love that he has for you and me. B. In the scriptures we see a sharp contrast between God and man. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” By contrast, man is in darkness and this darkness is so black that man does not even know he is in darkness. Scripture speaks of this condition in: John 1:5 “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Illustration: The man huddled on the cabin floor was slowly freezing to death. It was high in the Rockies in southwestern Alberta, and outside a blizzard raged. John Elliott had logged miles that day through the deep snows of the mountain passes. As he checked for avalanches and as dusk and exhaustion overcame him he had decided to "hole-up." He made it wearily to his cabin, but somewhat dazed with cold and fatigue, he did not light a fire or remove his wet clothing. As the blizzard blasted through the cracks in the old cabin walls, the sleeping forest ranger sank into oblivion, paralyzed by the pleasure of the storm's icy caress. Suddenly, however, his dog sprang into action, and with unrelenting whines, finally managed to rouse his near-comatose friend. The dog was John's constant companion, a St. Bernard, one of a long line of dogs famous for their heroics in times of crisis. "If that dog hadn't been with me, I'd be dead today," John Elliott says. "When you're freezing to death you actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because it feels too good." This moving story illustrates the spiritual condition of many people today. They are cold spiritually, and sadly are oblivious of their true condition. Thank God for all the ways in which He arouses such sleepers. He sends His messengers to nudge them awake. Sometimes the methods used to awaken them are drastic, but always for their good. Let’s not imagine that because He shakes us, He therefore hates us. He awakens us from lethargy because He loves us, and wants to save us from an eternal death. How about you friend, are you asleep today in the icy grip of sin’s darkness? How long has God been trying to wake you? When you come to church do you not feel the gentle nudging of God’s love? We can thank God that He does not leave us in a perpetual condition of darkness. His great love for lost and dying mankind compels Him to try to wake us from our sleep. John 12:46. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” 1. In speaking of this particular darkness and light, we are not referring to something that can be seen with the eye. Instead we point to a very real spiritual darkness and light. Although the title of this message is “The Light of the World” it is needful to also speak of the darkness that envelopes the people around us. This darkness is spiritual, as we have already pointed out. But what needs to be shown is that this darkness can take many forms, even the form of light…."WHAT? How can this be? It sounds like you’re talking in circles. How can darkness be light, this must be a contradiction." No friends, it is no contradiction for the Bible speaks of this subject in this manner: 2Cor. 11:14 and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. So then, in speaking of spiritual darkness it is needful that we point out that one of the most important things that keep people in darkness is not only Satan, but also his ministers. For lack of better words we will call them and it, false religion. Today people by the thousands will sit in so called churches and be fed the poison that assures that they will remain in darkness. They can’t see the poison, nor can they taste it. It is very much like the cold that encompassed that ranger, after a sufficient time of exposure to it, it becomes pleasurable, it actually feels good. And so, Satan has his churches and his ministers, but his followers think all is well; after all, they go to church every Sunday. They listen to a sermon, never once thinking that it contains the very poison that will ensure that their minds are blinded to the real light. The Apostle Paul said this: 2Cor. 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. In this world of political correctness we are told that we should not talk in a negative way about other churches. Paul addressed this in this manner: 2Cor.11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Do we bow to the god of political correctness, or do we call false religion what it is? If your neighbor’s house was on fire with his family inside would you wake him to warn him or would you sit back and watch, safe and secure in your house? Spiritually speaking there are hundreds in your town today whose spiritual house is on fire, unless someone wakes them to warn of imminent danger they will surely die. Ok this last part was important simply because it shows that spiritual darkness can appear as light in some cases. But what about other examples of things that can hold people prisoner in the darkness that envelopes this world we live in? Many of these things come in the form of diversions. It doesn’t take much looking to see how the things of this world work against God and against spiritual light breaking through the darkness that seems to hold people in an iron grip. I’ll list just a few for your consideration. Sex is probably at the top of the list. It sells everything from food to housing. Never in the history of this nation has sex held such a captive audience. Books, TV, movies, computers, store advertising, or any advertising, how we look, how we dress; sex is “in our face” every waking moment. What better tool for Satan to use than one that can become all encompassing, diverting millions from every thought of God and narrowly focusing the mind on a life of fleshly pleasure? And speaking of pleasure or in some cases fun, we can see without too much effort, a world obsessed with pleasure. There was a time in this country that people worked for a paycheck to be able to feed their family, put a roof over their head, save for a rainy day and generally assure that their family would be taken care of. When we compare this long gone time to the day we live in we can see something quite different. We have become a nation of pleasure seekers. Sure we work, but there is no work ethic. Today’s worker is only interested in two things; how much can I make and how much time off will I have to play? In and of themselves these two things are not bad, but when these become the whole direction of our work experience they set the scene for “pleasure first” and everything else second. We have a whole generation of people where both husband and wife work, sometimes two jobs, and still they will spend above their means and even indebt themselves for years to come for pleasure and toys. Even more insidious is that they teach their children the same lifestyle. Look around you; it is hard to find a kid that doesn’t have a cell phone that will do everything for him except tuck him into bed. And think about all the other electronic devises to keep his young mind occupied. I can’t even list them all. Video games, smart phones, tablets and computers take the place of family interaction and family relationships. This is not meant to be a rant against having possessions; it is meant to simply show that there are things in our world that work toward keeping people in darkness regarding spiritual things and especially the things of God. There are thousands, if not millions today for whom the thought of God or their own spiritual condition never even enters their mind. This is where the work of Satan comes in. He has many tools at his disposal; I have just listed a few. He keeps people in darkness in regard to the things of God. The light of Jesus has gone throughout the world through His Gospel, but for many millions it has no effect; why is this? 2Cor 4:3 but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Now that we have looked at how darkness and the forces of evil try to block out the light, we need to look at the light itself. For it is only in the light of Jesus Christ that this world has any hope. John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” This scripture and especially the word “condemnation” speak directly to the subject at hand. It addresses both the fact that God sent Jesus to be the spiritual light that dispels this world’s spiritual darkness and the fact that this world is in darkness due to the depravity of the human race. This word, “condemnation”, is a judicial word that shows that something has already happened that has resulted in my being condemned. Because Adam was the first man, when he sinned he passed his sinful nature on to all who followed. Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: God must judge sin. As the righteous judge He must pronounce a righteous sentence on those who have sinned. The scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death, and so, all are condemned to death simply because all have sinned. But thank God, there is a remedy, for God is not willing that any should perish. 2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. If you have not taken advantage of God’s Grace and the free pardon of sin that He has offered you, would you consider accepting the forgiveness He holds out to you this hour? This very day the light of God’s love has shined in the darkness that encompasses your soul. Knowing all of this, can you go on in the way you have all of your life? Can you continue to ignore the light that has been revealed and continue in the darkness of unrepented of sin? God sent His own Son that you might have the light of life. Listen to that still, small voice inside you; for that voice is the none other than God’s Holy Spirit showing you the truth of His love.
  17. 3 points
    Every year my wife and I are in a Campmeeting in West Memphis, AR. She teaches the ladies and girls 2-3 mornings of that meeting. This is ONE of the lessons she has for this year. I know it's long but think it can be a blessing. We’re Going to Do the Best We Can with What We’ve Got I sat across the table from my mother, many ….MANY… years ago, as a young bride, and poured out my complaints about how difficult it was to fix up and decorate the tiny apartment where I had recently moved. She sat there, with her blue eyes sparkling in amusement, and took in every word. Finally, she started smiling….and the smile turned into laughter. I was insulted. I don’t like being laughed at when I whine, I want sympathy. (My mother was never very good in the sympathy department.) When I got past the peak of my indignation, she began to explain to me the reason for her amusement. “I was remembering a funny experience from my own life,” she said. “I was a young military bride; it was right after the end of WWII. We reached our new duty station, and I was so excited to be starting my new life with my new husband! But we had a huge problem. Housing was very hard to find. All the men coming back from the war and families relocating made housing around the military bases scarce. Finally, we took the only thing that was available. A man had renovated a poultry house and made it into apartments. The ceiling was so low, that your dad had to stoop over to walk around the room. The floors were concrete and the walls were so thin you could just about sneeze through them. But you know what? It is amazing how cute you can make a chicken coop with a little love and ingenuity.” Her lesson rang loud and clear. You take what you have, and you do the best you can with it. Whining doesn’t change what we have. The only thing it does is add a sour note of impossibility to our circumstances that doesn’t necessarily have to be there. That was the beginning lesson…a lesson I have had to learn over and over again throughout my Christian life. It is amazing how many ways God has taught me this same lesson. It has stood me through every trial and hardship in my life and I feel like the Lord would have me share what I have learned with you. This devotional is probably going to be more personal than any I’ve ever given. I don’t usually like to talk about myself, and I really struggled with this lesson because it is so personal. I never want anyone to get the idea that I am talking about myself to lift myself up in any way. But I learned a valuable lesson from Sister Tanya Blankenship. If you don’t know who she is, she is the wife of Steven Blankenship, who is a minister to juvenile delinquents. He preaches in juvenile prisons across the country and operates the Marvelous Grace Girls Academy for troubled teenage girls in Pace, Florida. Sis Tanya was referring to Alisha, and not myself with what she said, but the Lord really spoke to my heart through it. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was something to this effect: “God allows us to go through some things in our life, and gives us the strength for the battle, and the grace to forgive, to grow and to be stronger. But those lessons are only of real benefit when we use them to help others who are needing growth, help and healing.” God allows us to go through some things, sometimes, so that others may learn. 2Co 1:3-4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. I’m going to be sharing a lot of small stories from my life, not so that you might look at me – but at the God that I serve. Everything that the Lord has seen me through, He can also see you through, and much more. There is no way that I could cover it all. I probably could double the stories I will tell here, but I think these are the ones God would have me use. The little lesson that my mother taught me finally became a theme in my life, and my children, and a lot of my students over the years, have heard it so many times that they could quote it to you in their sleep. I summed it up this way: “We are going to do the best we can, with what we’ve got.” The dear lady from our church meant well. She really did. She insisted that she go with me to see the remains of my home. She told me that even though I told her I was fine, it would all hit me when I saw it, and I would need her emotional support. I thought maybe she might be right. I was a new bride. All my wedding gifts and the sweet, newly purchased things for our home were gone. We’d only been married 5 months when the explosion of a gas tanker next to our house took it all. I walked toward the burned-out rubble, and I honestly, for a moment, felt guilty that I was disappointing the dear, helpful lady, but I wasn’t devastated. I wasn’t particularly happy to see the blackened mess with the 3 huge holes burned all the way through the exterior wall – but God’s peace had flooded my heart, and I walked up to it without a tear, and began to search through the ashes for anything that might still be usable…. How do you react when God takes something away? Now some people might tell you, oh, honey, God never takes things away. Ohhhh…yes’m He does! Sometimes He takes things away because they are a hindrance in your life. Sometimes He takes them away because He intends to give you something better. Sometimes He takes them away because you need to grow in faith and grace. But He does, sometimes, take things away that we have pretty much set our hearts upon. What do you do? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You take the situation in hand, for what it is with all the good and bad that it contains, and you deal with it. Do you get mad at God, because you had your little basket all fixed up the way you wanted it, and He messed it up? 1Co 6:19-20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. Rom 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. When the Lord Jesus Christ saved our unworthy souls, He purchased us unto Himself. Lock, stock and barrel. We belong to Him. He has the right to do with us as He pleases. Now, our modern, independent American mindset doesn’t like that idea very much. We might repeat it like a parrot in rhetoric, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, we don’t like the idea of turning our whole lives over to God. We seem to get the idea that He’s going to mistreat us. He won’t. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He only plans for your good. You can trust Him. You can trust Him with your possessions, with your future, with your marriage, with your children, with your church, with your finances. You can trust Him. Never, ever will you be more fulfilled and content than when you turn yourself over, completely, to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Notice in the Scripture that this is something that we must do..it is not something that God will make us do. The sacrifice here is like all sacrifices - willingly offered. He said, “I beseech you” (I’m asking you, earnestly, almost begging you, because this is for your good – for the best that God has to offer you.) “present yourselves” (you give the sacrifice, willingly, without being compelled. It is a conscious choice that you make to give yourself over to God with all that you have and all that you are.) 2Sa_22:31 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. Psa_9:10 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. When you give yourself to God, the peace that floods your soul in times of troubles and heartaches is not describable to anyone. It is a special touch that comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I have tried, many times, to describe it this way: “There is a place in the lowest of valleys, where the hand of God is more real, and the touch of God more sweet than at any other time and place…but you must walk through the valley to feel that touch – it doesn’t come on the mountain top.” We can choose to walk through the valley, kicking and struggling the whole way – fighting against the path that God has chosen for our lives. Or we can bow our heads, reach for His hand and allow the comfort that He gives to flood our souls. The choice is ours, and it is a choice between struggle and surrender. You will still go through the heartaches and troubles. But it is your choice as to whether you go through them with the peace of God or without it. As I headed down the road, in my old clunker car, it decided, once again, that it was tired and needed a rest. I managed to get it to the side of the road. I sighed as I looked at my children. All 5 of them. My oldest daughter – then about 9 years old – looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Mama, what are we going to do?” My response was immediately, “We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.” She looked confused for a moment and said, “Mama, what have we got?” I said, “Feet. Let’s walk.” How do you treat life’s irritating moments? Do you blow up in anger at things that can’t be avoided? Or worse yet, do you take those things, those little irritations, out on your husband and children, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have such a tendency to be creatures of the moment, don’t we? We make snap judgments. We let our tempers flare and our bad attitudes show. Even the smallest of life’s irritations have the possibility of teaching our children, and those around us the grace of God. Or the opposite, if we allow our flesh to control us. Php 2:14-15 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; If I had fumed and fussed and cried and belly-ached at that car, it still wouldn’t have gone down the road. I would have still been in the same situation, except that now I would have displayed a lack of trust in the Lord and a poor testimony in front of my children. They, more than likely, would have started crying as well, and then I would have reaped the due reward of inflicting my bad attitude on them, as they returned in kind. If we would learn to take life’s small irritations as an opportunity to shine as lights in the world, how different would our attitude be toward those unexpected moments? Let’s strive to learn to laugh, and say, “Well, praise the Lord! What’s the best way to handle this one?” Gal 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to let the flesh control our response to the situations that arise in our lives? If instead we will do the best we can with what we’ve got, it will mean using every situation as an opportunity to be a good testimony for the Lord. Sometimes that means controlling our anger when it wants to flare. Sometimes that means consciously putting down our fears. Sometimes it means shutting our mouths when we want so badly to put in our two cents worth. (Hang on to your two cents, sometimes we can’t afford what it purchases.) How do we walk in the Spirit? #1 It is IMPOSSIBLE to walk in the Spirit if you do not have a regular time of personal devotion. Pray. Read and study your Bible. Meditate on and memorize the Word of God. There is no getting around the truth that if you do not walk close to God in your personal life, your public life will be a mess. #2 Pay attention in church. So many people sit in church and have no idea what the preaching was about, because their minds are a million miles away. Go to church with a bucket instead of a pitchfork. My pastor of many years used to say that some people come to church with a bucket and some come with a pitchfork. Those with a bucket are hungry for the word of God and want what God has for them in the service. Those with a pitchfork are grabbing the preaching and pitching it over their shoulder because they figure that it’s not for them, it’s for the guy sitting behind them. #3 Use every opportunity that you have in your life to be a witness for the Lord. Lost people are all around us. Our testimony – at all times – is vitally important. Saved people need to grow in grace and knowledge. When you have that knowledge, it is given to you to share, not to sit on. When we walk in the flesh, even in the minor situations of our life, we are not walking in the Spirit. And when we walk in the flesh, we have no idea how much damage we might do. We walked into the little country church, happy for the opportunity to minister, and heard, to our delight, that they planned a dinner on the grounds for the anniversary Sunday where my husband had been invited to preach. We had been struggling financially for quite a while, and the prospect of a church dinner sounded wonderful after months of beans and cornbread. As the guest preacher’s family, we were ushered to the head of the line. My little daughter looked up at me with a happy smile as she surveyed the table in front of her, and said, “Look, Mama! Meat!!” What do you do in life’s embarrassing moments? Do you lash out at the one who embarrassed you? Do you get angry and let your temper, and your tongue take over? Or do you do the best you can with what you’ve got? Nothing riles up our tempers faster than being embarrassed, does it? That’s pride. Pride makes fools out of us very quickly. Not only that, God hates pride. It is never the best way to handle a situation to bow up in pride. Pro_13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. Let your pride flare, and you will almost always find yourself in an argument of some sort. And you will almost always be in the wrong. Pro_29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Let your pride flare and you will almost always find yourself landing flat of your back, wondering how you got there. Pro_16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. An abomination! A promise of punishment! We should be frightened of pride! If you ever want to look like a complete fool, let your heart swell up with pride. What are we really? Nothing but what the Lord has done. If we have any abilities, if we have any worth – it is because of what the Lord has given and what He has blessed us to be able to do. Give all the glory and praise to God for who He is, and what He has done in your life. Then when those embarrassing moments catch us off guard, we won’t be so quick to respond in pride. When someone ridicules you, or accuses you falsely – that hurts, doesn’t it? When someone seriously tries to do you harm for their own gain, it’s sometimes devastating. When you try to minister to people and they turn on you, not at all understanding that you are striving for their good to the best of your ability – how do we respond? Pride has no place in those situations, but a lot of times, that is our reaction. I could give you story after story of those situations in my life….but, why be depressing?! What do we do when it happens? It will! People will be people, and as people we don’t always act right, do we? Yet, we expect other people to always treat US with love and kindness, because after all – we are…us! That’s pride. During a particularly trying situation in my life, where I felt like I was always coming out at the bottom, looking like a stray dog, God gave me this quote by C.H. Spurgeon. When I first saw it, it was like a pressure valve suddenly released, I laughed and laughed. Then I wrote it in the front of my Bible. I refer to it often. “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” That kind of kicks pride in the head, doesn’t it? Doing the best you can with what you have means leaving pride behind and approaching each embarrassing or demeaning situation with the idea that God always treats us better than we deserve. Psa 118:6 - The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? I stood at the side of the little steel crib, looking at my beautiful blonde-haired baby boy, only 5 months old, gasping for every breath under the oxygen tent, the heart monitor going crazy every time they tried to give him medication for his breathing. The love, and peace of God flooded every part of my being. I felt so blessed. I had so much more than the poor little mom on the other side of the room. My Lord to comfort and guide, and the constant love and support of my husband. That poor lady didn’t understand. She approached me and asked, “How long have you been married?” 10 years, I replied. “That’s crazy, she said, you and your husband seem like newlyweds.” “We really need each other right now,” I said. “Yeah, I could use some support, too.” Was her reply. Her husband was very seldom in the room. When he was, they fought constantly. They blamed each other for everything they could think of, and it usually ended with him storming out of the room to “get a cigarette,” from which he didn’t come back. How do you react when life doesn’t go your way? Do you lash out at those that are closest to you, and look for someone or something to blame? Or do you turn to the One who can give peace and comfort? Doing the best you can with what you’ve got sometimes means approaching the hardest times of life with the best attitude that you can muster. Sometimes life really hurts. Sometimes the hurt is nearly unbearable. Resorting to blaming others when you are hurting is not doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The blame game won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Turn instead to the Lord and allow Him to pour the balm of Gilead into your soul. You will find that you really can do the BEST you can with what you’ve got. Col_3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Again, ladies, the peace of God is your choice. You make the decision as to whether you will let God minister to your soul, or whether you will arm yourself with the flesh – and your mouth – and try to go it alone. Someone always gets hurt when we do that. I have seen families split up and spend the rest of their lives hating each other because of something that was said or done during a crisis in their lives. Why? No one accepted God’s peace, and instead they lashed out at one another in their hurt or sorrow, not considering the hurt and sorrow of the ones around them. I have stood beside those little steel cribs in hospital rooms more times than I can count. I have nearly lost all 5 of my children at various times of their lives. My Daniel more than a few times. The love and peace of God has been my sustaining power. I don’t know how other people go through such things without God to grant them peace. I wouldn’t even want to try. Luk_6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. We recognize this as what the world calls, “the golden rule.” Much quoted, almost never practiced. But if we would! If we would consider before we speak or act, “Is this the way I would want them to treat me, if I were them, and they were me?” Then we would begin to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And everyone’s life, our own especially, would be better for it. Because, ladies, although you cannot control how other people act, if you will control how you REact to their behavior, you will find that you will have a lot more peace in every situation. There just wasn’t enough money. We weren’t going to make it. It was fine when we had purchased our little dream. We had a beautiful place out in the country with our very own mobile home….well, at least we were paying for it. Lots of space for the kids to run, not too many neighbors, a place for a garden. We had plans to build a deck….Then the kids started to get sick. Really sick. The list of specialists kept growing. Hospitalization after hospitalization after E.R. visit after E.R. visit. It was okay, we were holding our heads above water, until my husband was layed off from his job. Oh, he found work right away, but the insurance was gone. The new insurance company refused to cover the kids. Pre-existing conditions. (We had no idea, back then, that such a thing as Medicaid even existed.) The medical bills mounted up..and up…and up. We finally conceded defeat. We turned our little dream back over to the mortgage company and packed up what we could in our car. We lived in a garage apartment attached to my mother’s home for 6 months…until our 5th little one was born. What happens when your dream crumbles? What do you do when finances are hard…not a little bit hard, but really hard? There are more divorces because of financial difficulty than any other reason. Families split up. Attitudes flare up. The blame game begins. “If he would work harder.” “If she would slow down on all the spending.” “If he wouldn’t buy unnecessary junk.” “If she would get out and get a job.” Marriage is a team effort, ladies. It takes a lot of work on both parts to make the everyday, in and out, of a marriage work. You can’t work against one another and expect your marriage to last. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Now, I’m not saying that when a marriage is bad, that it is automatically the woman’s fault. No, not at all. But I am saying that no amount of nagging on your part is going to change your husband. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. I don’t envy you that task if your husband is lost, but there is a biblical method for you to follow. Not an easy road, by any means, but it is the road that God says you are to follow in the hopes that your husband will be saved. (Remember that he has a free will – you can’t force him to turn to the Lord any more than anyone could have forced you to be saved.) That plan is mapped out in 1 Peter 3:1-5 There’s a lot in that verse. If we were to stop and cover it, it would take a whole lesson to give it the time it deserves. But if you have questions about it, I’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it together. For those of us whose husband is saved, we have the open opportunity for the most blessed relationship in the world. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church! What are we doing with the opportunity? Are we doing the best we can with what we’ve got? Do we seek to make our marriage a testimony to the world of the grace and power of God? Or do we deal with our marriage selfishly, as though the sole purpose that our husband has on earth is to meet our needs and satisfy our whims? Do we whine, coax, threaten or manipulate when things don’t go our way? Do we consider our marriage a team unit? Or an opportunity to be queen supreme? 1Pe_3:8 - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: This passage of Scripture is referring to the marriage relationship…look it up and check the context. There’s a lot to work on in our lives just following this one simple verse in our marriage relationships. Have compassion on your husband. Love your husband, not just as a marriage partner, but as a brother in Christ. Be pitiful to your husband (understand his shortcomings, don’t blame, seek to be there when he needs you – when he’s weak, lift him up, don’t tear him down.) Be courteous (He’s not an old shoe. He’s to be reverenced and honored by you more than any man on earth.) No amount of dreaming and wishing on your part is going to fix your finances when they’re hard. No amount of pride and temper is going to fix rebellion in your children or pressure from extended family. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your marriage is understanding that you are a family unit, a team - not adversaries. Work together at making it work. Put God first. Always first. If God is first in your marriage then no matter how hard the rest of life becomes, you will make it. Pro_14:1 - Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. First, she had COPD. We sat and talked it over. It was incurable, but possible to live with. Then they found the cancer. What had been a shadow on the first scan showed up the size of a walnut on the second, the size of an orange on the third – within a year. When they could get her stabilized, they would consider surgery. They never got her stabilized. 6 months after they found the cancer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She gave up. 3 days after that diagnosis she died. My mother was as dear to me, her only daughter, as a mother can be to a child. She’s been gone now for 13 years, and I still miss her every day. You will ask me, was she saved? My answer will be – I don’t know. All I can do is hope so. I witnessed to her, left her tracts to read, I prayed and prayed. I know that she had, some “experience” in the hospital just before her death, that she tried to explain to me, but didn’t know the terminology to describe. What happens when grief knocks at your door? I grieved for my mom. I remember going to the doctor, just a couple of days after the funeral. I walked down the hospital halls, where I had almost lived in the months prior to her death. All the memories were already flooding over my very unstable emotions. And then my doctor – who was also her doctor – greeted me with, “I’m so sorry about your mom.” I broke down and cried, right in the doctor’s office. And then I was angry with myself for crying and cried because I was crying. He sat there sympathetically and wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant. On the way home, I kept staring at the prescription and praying. “Lord, am I depressed?” “Do I need that?” “Is this even right for me to take?” I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription and then I stared at the bottle. “Isn’t grief a part of life?” “Didn’t you promise that if I turn my grief over to you, you would be my comfort?” The determination struck my heart to give it to God, and the peace of God began to creep into my soul. The pills went down the drain, and I began to heal…little by little, the way real healing happens. That lesson was well learned. It has taken me through many, many periods of grief that have followed. Joh_14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Php_4:7 - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The peace of God will keep your heart. It will keep your mind. But there is a condition to that peace. It is in the verses before Php 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. To do the best you can when life hands you grief, first you must rejoice in the Lord – alway. Not when you feel like it or when things are going good, but alway. To do that we have to stop and consider the Lord in every situation of our lives. He’s good all the time, even when our circumstances are bad. Then we must let our moderation be outwardly seen by everyone around us. What is moderation? It is not running to excess in anything. It is having control over our tempers, our emotions, our desires and our passions – in other words, not being controlled by the flesh. Then, lastly, we need to pray about everything. Not just the big things, but the little things as well. When we do these things we have the promise that follows – that God will keep our hearts and minds. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in the matter of grief, means that instead of being ruled by the grief, we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts. One month after my mother died, my husband headed out from where we had taken shelter at the church, with 2 of the boys, to see what kind of damage there might have been. When he returned I turned a questioning look his way, really expecting an “all is well.” It had always been well in the previous hurricanes. He shook his head. “We’ve been here before. I think this left more useable stuff than the fire, though.” Weeks later, still without power, tired from the work of tossing out destroyed furniture and carpeting and scraping sodden sheet-rock out of the shell of our home, our family sat on the steps in the evening, ate another MRE and sang together, rejoicing in the goodness of God. Why? We were safe. We were together. We had our love, our family, our God. I remember laying in the bed that the red cross had purchased for us, (We had forsaken the crowded, damp little fema camper and moved back into our roof-less house, it was more comfortable.) I watched the blue tarp over my head pop up and down in the wind and felt such an incredible sense of peace and well-being. Then I laughed at myself for feeling so comfortable.. A member of the church came by during the next tropical storm. We greeted him at the door with a smile, chided him a little for running around in storms, and invited him in. He sat in the livingroom with us and watched the tarp blow up and down and looked around at the bare plywood floor and the wall studs and rafters that made up what was left of our home, and said, “This is nice, do you always decorate in 3rd world?” My husband owned an electrical business. He worked from before sun-up to after sun-down five days a week, after the storm, trying to rebuild electrical services for people. While he worked, he listened. “I’m so devastated!” “I just can’t understand why this has happened to me!” “I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it through this!” “This is horrible!” He would always ask them, “Is your family ok?” “Oh, yes, they’re fine, but we lost….” And they would go into a list of cars, boats, house, furniture, etc.” One lady became infuriated with him because he wasn’t sympathetic enough to suit her and snarled, “Well, easy enough for you to have no worries, when you haven’t lost everything!” … and he smiled, and spent his Saturdays trying to rebuild our own home … What made the difference? We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got. What do you do when you lose your material possessions? Understand that we had worked for and loved and purchased that little home with all the intention in the world of staying in it for the rest of our lives. (We had actually built the deck on this one!) We were content. We had our home, our church, our ministry, our business venture. Everything was fine. We didn’t necessarily need for God to come in and upset our apple-cart! Within a year’s time, the only thing we had left of that list was the shell of our destroyed home and the business. We could have gotten angry with him. And what good would that have done? I have never understood why people get angry with God when things happen in their lives. “Why me?” “Why is God doing this to me?” And then they walk away from the Lord, like they expected life to be a bed of roses because they honored God with the privilege of saving their souls. Like God owes them something. My question is, “Why not you?” What makes you so special that you should be exempt from hard times? Joh_16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. He didn’t say, in the world you will have it easy-peasy and life will be just great. He said you will have tribulation. That’s when you look to Him for comfort and guidance, it’s not when you decide to blame him and throw a temper tantrum like an undisciplined child. How are we supposed to respond to the troubles in our lives? How do we do the best we can, when what we’ve got is tribulation? Rom 5:3-5 - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Realize 3 things about tribulation. #1 – it’s working in your life to make you a stronger Christian. #2 – It’s building patience and experience so that you might be a help, encouragement and an example to others, #3 – it’s an opportunity to see God work, bless and give you the peace that only He can give. Tribulation is not a curse. It’s a blessed working of God in your life that will make you stronger, give you assurance of the love of God, and make you able to be a blessing to others around you. Daddy was alone. Mama had been his caretaker, ever since he had the stroke, 17 years before. She was gone now, and I spent my time divided between caring for him and my own home. Oh, he had my brother – but my brother was an addict, and very unreliable. Now I had a huge difficulty. God had called my husband away…1,500 miles away to be exact. I was ready, willing, and eager to go…but what about Daddy? I sat beside him, and begged him to come with me. “NO! Kansas is cold.” He would not be convinced. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m willing to go, and I will go, as you have called. Please, Lord, take care of my Daddy.” And God answered my prayer in the person of a family friend who willingly took him in. That answer to prayer opened the door to my daddy’s salvation at 82 years of age. What do you do when duties conflict? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. I had a responsibility to my daddy. The command to honor our parents doesn’t end when we are grown. But my greater responsibility lay in obeying the call of God that had been placed on my husband’s heart. As I obeyed the Lord, He took care of the rest. Sometimes doing the best you can with what you’ve got means making hard, really hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions will tear your heart out. But choosing to follow and honor God with your life is always the right decision. The Word of God has to be our constant guide. DO NOT follow your heart. That’s the worst advice you can ever give a person. Your heart will deceive you. It will convince you that wrong is right and right is wrong. Jer_17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Pro_28:26 - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. We can’t trust that heart. What do we trust instead? When life gives you difficult, heart wrenching decisions, what do you do with it? Trust the Word of God. If you trust your emotions, you will almost always fall prey to the devil. He loves it when we become hyper-emotional. We’ve played right into his hands when we do. Let the word of God be your guide, always, and you will find that it’s much easier to do the best you can with what you’ve got, when life’s decisions are hard to make. As I said, there’s more…..but this is enough. Ladies, do the best you can….by the power of God, by the grace of God with the help of God, the peace of God and the word of God, do the best you can with what you’ve got.
  18. 3 points
    Analyzing the Chinese word Righteousness 「義的分析」 by Alan Introduction The Chinese written language is very unique. The Chinese words are called, “Characters,” and use a visual, or pictograph, series of lines, called, “strokes,” that represent a word, or a thought, or an action. In written Chinese, we have an example of the righteousness of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, in the word, “righteousness.” In Chinese, the word righteousness is written as, 「義」 The Chinese word righteousness is composed of two major words; the word Lamb「羊」 on the top and the word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」on the bottom. The word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」is composed of two words: the hand 「手」 and a spear「戈」 Righteousness is very important. God is holy and will not allow sin into heaven. A person needs to be reconciled to God, or to become righteous, in the sight of God, in order to escape the punishment of hell and enter into everlasting life in heaven. Before a person is a Christian in the sight of God he is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Therefore, in order for a person to have eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God, he must be righteous. He must have his sins forgiven. We will analyze the Chinese word for righteousness and look at an example of how we can become righteous by God’s principles. In order to understand righteousness in the sight of God, we must turn to the word of God; the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and we can trust it. First 「羊」 A Lamb A sinless sacrifice must be made to forgive sins. And, it must be according to what God says. The Bible says that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of mankind. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” The animal sacrifices of the world cannot take away a persons sins. This includes the Muslims in the Middle East, and the sacrifices of the Buddhist, Confucianists and Taoists of the East. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial lambs that God required by the Jews under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament did not take away sins; they were an object lesson of the sacrificial sacrifice for sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. They were a guide, or a teacher, for the sacrifice of Christ. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The Lord Jesus was sinless and perfect. In contrasting the sacrifices of the Jews under the Levitical law, the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our priest and sacrifice for sins, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens. Who needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for his he did once, when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:22, 26 & 27 The Lord Jesus was sinless and totally righteous. A Chinese proverb says,「義刑於色」Translated, that means, “Righteousness manifested in one's appearance.” Wang Ming-Tao says, “Yes, our Lord is completely holy. You can not find anything that He did without any blemish or unrighteousness. When He was on the earth no matter if it was a disciple, or if it was an enemy, including anybody else that had anything to do with Him, they all gave a clear testimony that He did not have even a little bit of sin or unrighteousness. 王明道:「是、我們的主就是那樣完全聖潔。你不能在他的身上找出一點污穢不義來。他在世上行走的時候、無論是他的門徒、他的仇敵、以及與他毫無關係的人、都證明他沒有少許的罪惡不義。」i A free translation by the author. The Lord Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed for us. John the Baptist said, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus died on the cross, like a harmless lamb, and shed His blood as a sacrifice. As with the Jews in the Old Testament the eternal salvation of the soul is by the imputation of righteousness the moment a person, by faith, trusts in God. When a person realizes that he has sinned against God, and deserves to spend eternity in hell, and believes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his payment for sins, than God imputes, or gives, His righteousness to that individual. “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3 Second 「我」 Me, 「我們」or Us Why did Jesus become a sacrifice? In order to redeem us. So we can obtain eternal salvation. To reconcile us to God. Before a person is saved he is a sinner and His relationship with God is severed . The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled with God. The Lord Jesus was sinless. He became sin for us while on the cross in order for us to become righteous.2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Third 「手」The Hand God made us. He made our hands. We can use our hands for good or for evil. God gave us the ability, the will, to either serve Him or the Devil. The decision is ours. Matthew 27:1&2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontus Pilate the governor.” Because of our sins, the hand of man apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ. The hand of man hit Jesus. The hand of man took a whip and whipped Jesus. The hand of man took a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and nailed Jesus on the cross. The hand of man caused the blood of Jesus to be shed. The Lord Jesus allowed men to crucify Him so His blood could be shed for our sins. The apostle Peter testified, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23 We can either use our hands for good or for wickedness. Fourth「戈」 A Spear The hand of man took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus and more blood flowed from the body of Jesus. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Jesus died for us! The Lord Jesus became a sacrificial lamb to die for the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We need to have a repentant heart and believe on the Lord Jesus as our Saviour! Conclusion The Lord Jesus was righteous in every aspect. When a person repents and trust in Jesus as their Saviour then God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to that person. The Lord Jesus becomes our righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of our sins, escape the punishment of hell, and obtain eternal life in heaven. The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven, became a man, to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb, to shed His blood, so we could be saved and the righteousness of God imputed to us. So we can be reconciled with God. i Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 93. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣斗六:浸宣出版社,1996),93頁。
  19. 3 points
    Alan

    Psalm 19:1 Integrity

    “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” Proverbs 19:1 The meaning of integrity is moral soundness or purity; incorruptness, uprightness; honesty. Job is an excellent man of integrity. Job 2:3, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [ hate ] evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job eschewed, or hated, evil. Job was upright, morally pure, incorrupt in business, and honest in his dealings. A person who hates sin, and stays away from sin, is a person of integrity. Psalms 97:10, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Job, a man of God, was a man of integrity. “... than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” The meaning of perverse is: to be obstinate; in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; or stubborn. Balaam, a false prophet, because his way of life was contrary to God, was perverse. Numbers 22:31 & 32, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.” Balaam, and other false teachers, are obstinate, contrary, and stubborn against the ways and doctrines of God as written in the scriptures. They are fools and perverse in the sight of God. Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” See also 2 Peter 2:1-22 Conclusion Job is a fine example of a man of integrity. Job maintained his integrity in spite of intense physical, mental, social (his three friends), and spiritual testing. In these last days of spiritual unrest, false teachers, political uncertainty, wars and rumors of war, legal persecution, verbal animosity, and other trials of these perilous last days, we need to maintain our integrity. May God bless you all.
  20. 3 points
    Twoedged Sword

    Biblical Repentance

    Biblical Repentance Before I dive into the doctrine of repentance let me just say that I am very aware of the importance of judging myself before judging anyone else and I try to walk in the light. In case you are wondering “who are you to reprove others?” I am only a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace. In fact, I am less than nothing apart from the Lord. BUT, Like Jeremiah, God’s Word burns in me and I cannot keep quiet. If there is a doctrine that is seriously lacking in today’s churches it is repentance. It typically won’t build a big church so it is no wonder the majority of pastors today don’t preach it in an illustrated plain manner. I believe another reason why some earnest Gospel preachers are almost afraid of, and generally ignore, the terms “repent” and “repentance” in their evangelizing is that they fear that their hearers might misunderstand these terms and think of them as implying something meritorious on the part of the sinner. But nothing could be further from the mark. There is no saving merit in owning my true condition. There is no healing in acknowledging the nature of my illness. And repentance, as I will clearly show, is just this very thing. And it is not enough to just tell your people to repent (though that is a lot more than a lot of people today). Lost people (which fill many churches today and I am not talking about the visitors) need some detailed illustrations about what real repentance is along with some hellfire preaching. I am afraid that most people could not give a Biblical definition of repentance. Dear reader, my goal here is to bring some clarity on what real repentance is and that you will start to preach and teach repentance boldly and in a way so that your hearer truly understands that “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3. The problem today is the easy believism… 123 repeat after me sinners prayer type of evangelism, then giving them assurance they are saved without ever seeing their changed life. Giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of salvation is of the Devil as far as I am concerned. Preaching repentance and telling those who are lost to turn from their sin in a plain manner will drop your “saved” numbers dramatically. But who cares about an inflated report anyways! I want someone that I can disciple and you cannot truly disciple a professor who does not have a change in attitude toward God and their sin. I understand that there will always be some false converts, it is inevitable, but my based on my experience and diligent research on the topic, not preaching repentance is the reason for the majority of false converts. Like myself in the past, the majority want God to give them salvation but they keep doing their own thing. That is not Biblical salvation. If what you believe doesn’t change the way you live, I wouldn’t give ten cents for your faith. In plainer words, the Lord Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so that you can live any ole way you want. Dear reader, you don’t believe that (or you’re fooling yourself) and I don’t believe that because scripture says the opposite. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. So then why is the preaching of repentance so neglected? I think it is because there are a bunch of cowardly compromisers behind the pulpit who fear the people more than they fear Almighty God and who care more about their individual bottom line than about the truth. For example, Dr. Robert Morris at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX has a three part series called “The Blessed Life.” I was forced to watch it on two occasions while at the Faith Based Dorm at Hutchins State Jail. Not ONE time does Morris ever mention the word repentance. Not once did he ever tell his people in order to live a blessed life they would need to continue to confess and forsake sin! See 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13. He did say that if you tithe you will get material gain and if you don’t that God would curse you and you would have demons unleashed on you. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are commanded to tithe and I myself do. BUT, we tithe not because we think it is a way to gain wealth in this world. It is simply because we are commanded to do so and it puts God first in your life. But this is a whole other topic for another time. Some preachers rarely rebuke sin and preach repentance because they just don’t want to “beat anybody up.” I find that to be quite a revealing thing that literally flies in the face of hundreds of verses in the Bible… Was the Lord Jesus Christ “beating people up” when he told the Pharisees “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish?” Was the Apostle Paul being too rough on the crowd when he said “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”? Acts 17:30 Fact is rebuking sin and urging people to turn from their sin is not beating them up but is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. This self esteem mad generation we live in today confuses Biblical correction with persecution. Scripture commands us to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Tim 4:2 Then there is this business of giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of true repentance. We cannot give people assurance period. You can’t see that person’s heart only God can. We can have a pretty good idea later on based on their fruit and testimony (changed life) and we will do well to pray that God will give us discernment so that we can have a good idea whether someone is still lost or not and how God wants us to deal with that person etc. They can have assurance through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit alone. Before I was saved out of a drug addiction and wretched lifestyle in 2013, I thought I was saved (or hoped I was) simply because I “believed.” I used to hang onto John 3:16 because after all, it said whosoever believeth shall not perish. How convenient, I could just believe and keep on living any ole way I want. There is a verse that plainly describes that person and its Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Repentance and Faith Author and Missionary David Cloud says: “Some men point to John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, claiming that it is not necessary to preach repentance since we don’t see it in these passages. ‘It seems to me, though, that this is a strange way to use the Bible, since it is so obvious from other passages that repentance is necessary. Jesus said it is necessary (Luke 13:1-5); Paul said it is necessary (Acts 17:30, etc.); Peter said it is necessary (2 Pet. 3:9). If preaching repentance is not necessary and we only need to preach faith, why did Christ Himself preach repentance? ‘I would say to the issue of why verses such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 don’t mention repentance is that proper saving faith includes repentance and proper repentance includes faith. I say this because repentance and faith are sometimes spoken of in Scripture as both being necessary for salvation (i.e., Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1), while at other times only one or the other is said to be necessary. ‘Salvation is referred to as coming to repentance with no mention of faith in Matthew 9:13; 11:20-21; 21:32; Mark 1:4; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 26:20; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:25; and 2 Peter 3:9. ‘Then in other passages, such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, salvation is referred to as believing and repentance is not mentioned. ‘By comparing Scripture with Scripture (rather than isolating Scripture, which is the method used by false teachers), I conclude that saving faith includes repentance.” Examples of Repentance in the Bible “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (Lk. 19:8,9). Zacchaeus repented and it resulted in a hatred of evil and a love of righteousness. Also we see here that he who truly repents will surely seek to make right any wrong he has done to his fellows, though he knows that he never can make up for the wrong done to God. “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Lk. 15:17-20) Here we see the Prodigal Son confessing his sin towards God and making a 180 u-turn forsaking his sin. “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). Notice they turned to God from idols not from idols to God. There is a difference. In plainer words, you cannot straddle the fence. Turning to God is a 180 and the old life of sin is now behind you, the cross before you. “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” The word repentance isn’t in the Jonah passage, but they did turn, and that is what repentance is. In Matthew 12:31 Jesus confirmed that they indeed repented. It was obvious that the people of Nineveh had repented based on their actions. “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6) No thinking person would come to the conclusion that God would be pleased with the people just changing their minds without changing their actions! What Repentance is Not Repentance is not a work, works are the fruit of repentance. Repentance is not reformation either. There have been several people by their own free will that quit drinking, stop using drugs, stop stealing etc. but never got saved. They never confessed their sin to Almighty God and trusted in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Reformation is merely an outward change. Repentance is a work of God in the soul. The Apostle Paul explains exactly what true repentance is in 2 Corinthians 7:10. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Dear reader listen to me carefully, it is very important that you get this. The difference between sorrow of the world and Godly sorrow is this… WORLDLY SORROW ENDS AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS REMOVED. AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS OVER, AS SOON AS YOUR MARRIAGE IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR BODY IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR PROBLEMS ARE GONE, AS SOON AS YOU GET OUT OF PRISON/JAIL AND YOU DRIFT RIGHT BACK INTO THE WORLD THAT YOU CAME OUT OF. THAT’S WORLDLY SORROW THAT LEADS TO DEATH. Godly sorrow of repentance to salvation grows and develops into conviction and perseverance and a relationship with the Lord and joy and fruitfulness in your life to where a change takes place, a real change that lasts past an altar prayer or a day or two in church or some revival meeting that you went to and felt good for a little while. If you have real godly sorrow it will work the effect where God becomes God in your life. Your attitude towards sin has changed. Once you get right with God you begin to see yourself as you really are. The Holy Spirit begins to open you up like a tin of beans. Once you right with God you’ll be shocked at the stuff you will be confessing and repenting of. Once you ever really get serious with God, stuff is going start coming out of your heart that you didn’t even know was in there because we have a way of covering stuff over, everybody’s got tunnel vision when it comes to their own sinfulness. You can see anothers sin real good but you have a difficult time seeing your own. What Great Preachers of the Past and Present Have to Say About Repentance “Biblical repentance as preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles, is A CHANGE OF MIND TOWARD GOD AND SIN THAT RESULTS IN A CHANGE OF LIFE. IT IS A SPIRIT-WROUGHT CHANGE OF MIND THAT LEADS TO A CHANGE OF LIFE. It is not a change of life. That would be a works salvation. It is a radical, Spirit-wrought change of mind toward sin and God, such a dramatic change of mind that it changes one’s actions.” (David Cloud “Biblical Repentance” wayoflife.org) “But God’s holy eye discerns the sinfulness of every heart and calls upon all to take sides with Him against themselves. Until this is done, saving faith is an impossibility. This is not to limit grace. It is to make way for it. And be it remembered, repentance is not a state automatically produced. It is the inwrought work of the Holy Spirit effected by faithful preaching of the Word. But how seldom today do we hear the cry, “Except ye repent.”” (Harry Ironside page 17 “Repent Ye”) “…repentance … is a turning from sin, a loathing of it; and if thou hast that, thou hast sure repentance; but not else. Repentance is also a sense of shame for having lived in it, and a longing to avoid it. It is a change of the mind with regard to sin–a turning of the man right round. That is what it is; and it is wrought in us by the grace of God. Let none therefore mistake what true repentance is” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Mistaken Notions about Repentance,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, April 20, 1879). “What then is repentance? So far as possible I desire to avoid the use of all abstruse or pedantic terms, for I am writing not simply for scholars, but for those Lincoln had in mind when he said, “God must have thought a lot of the common people, for He made so many of them.” Therefore I wish, so far as possible, to avoid citing Greek or Hebrew words. But here it seems almost necessary to say that it is the Greek word metanoia, which is translated “repentance” in our English Bibles, and literally means a change of mind. This is not simply the acceptance of new ideas in place of old notions. But it actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude. How luminously clear this makes the whole question before us! To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. And this is what God commands. John came preaching to publicans and sinners, hopelessly vile and depraved, “Change your attitude, for the kingdom is at hand.” To haughty scribes and legalistic Pharisees came the same command, “Change your attitude,” and thus they would be ready to receive Him who came in grace to save. To sinners everywhere the Saviour cried, “Except ye change your attitude, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Harry Ironside “Repent Ye”) “Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s). “Saving faith includes repentance. Repentance is not doing anything. It is not a deed, act, work, or rite. Rather, it is a change of the direction of one’s heart. It basically means an attitude of the heart in turning from sin and self and turning to God. That’s what Paul was referring to in Acts 20:21 when he referred to ‘repentance toward God and faith in [toward] our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Saving faith is the human heart turning to God and then trusting in Jesus Christ. … Even as there is the part of trusting Christ, there is also the part of turning to Him. That may seem inconsequential, but I believe that here is a spiritual reason that some go through the motions of believing in Christ but are not really born again. They seemingly want the fire escape but there is no interest in turning to God. There is no interest in repentance. They have the attitude, ‘God, gimme salvation, but I’m gonna keep on doing my own thing.’ … However, if there is no real turning to God from the heart, they have missed the prerequisite for actually trusting Christ” (Sorenson, Training Your Children to Turn out Right, 1995). “The hand that clutches the assassin’s knife must open ‘ere it can grasp the gift its intended victim proffers; and opening that hand, though a single act, has a double aspect and purpose. Accepting the gift implies a turning from the crime the heart was bent on, and it was the gift itself that worked the change. Faith is the open hand, relatively to the gift; repentance is the same hand, relatively, not only to the gift but more especially to the dagger that is flung from it” (James Stewart, Evangelism, pp. 48,49). Not once do we find in scripture someone repeating a sinners prayer. I am not saying there isn’t a time for that if one is under deep conviction of sin. Salvation is a personal thing and I treat everyone individually. For example when my brother got saved I spent the first two days talking about repentance, the overcomer, and hell. He came under deep conviction and I told him that he needed to call out to God in prayer confessing himself a sinner and to ask God through Jesus Christ to change him and to trust the finished work of the cross for forgiveness of sins. He did and was radically changed. Salvation is a supernatural miracle and there will be a testimony and you will change and other people will notice. If you don’t then you have never repented. This is NOT lordship salvation either. God will do the changing but the sinner must surrender and be willing to allow that to happen. In short, it’s turn or burn. To preach repentance in a bold and illustrated way won’t likely build a big church but “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
  21. 3 points
    Grace: It’s Meaning and Source By Jim Foley Country Baptist Church Text: Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: If you are a Christian there are words that you have been familiar with all of your Christian life. Many of them are more or less taken for granted; we just don’t dwell on their meaning. As Baptists this word, “grace” is a fundamental of the faith and often used in sermons and lessons. You seldom go to church without hearing this word mentioned, but how many of us really know what it means? There is probably no other word in Scripture that is so poorly understood. There are a great many people who have received the grace of God into their hearts, but who, if they were asked what the word means, might be troubled and confused and unable to define it. The plain meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited mercy. Though this is the plain meaning there is so much more that goes into not only the meaning in its positive nature, but also in its negative nature. Let’s examine this term unmerited mercy. The word, mercy, speaks volumes about its nature. For mercy to even exist there must be an entity higher than the recipient of this mercy. In our case this entity is the Almighty God that spoke all things into existence. He is all powerful and able to accomplish any thing he desires. Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. The source of Grace: John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The highest manifestation of this grace was when God gave his son to save this lost world. The very fact that God chose to save an undeserving world speaks volumes. He certainly didn’t have to do it and there is no force that could make him do it. He did it out of love. He did it because he is a benevolent, righteous and loving God. In this respect his benevolence, righteousness and love can only result in grace. An illustration could be made in this way; H2O is water, it consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O always produces water; it is chemically impossible for it to produce anything else. Grace is this way, it is impossible for the actions of God to result in anything but grace; it is an integral part of His nature. The positive nature of grace is that it is a gift. The last clause in Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: as such Scripture declares plainly that grace is a gift. A gift is freely given, it cannot be earned, nor can it be given as a reward for good deeds. Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. God deals with man in grace, he has from the very beginning. Adam is a case in point; there was no sign that Adam recognized his lost condition, no cry for mercy and pardon, and certainly no confession of sin. Yet God sought him out specifically that he might bestow his grace upon him. He met Adam, as he does all mankind, in his lost and ruined condition. He bestowed upon Adam the promise of a coming redeemer, Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Notice that he did this without Adam asking for it, or even recognizing that he needed it. This is grace. Grace then is unconditional; God bestowed his grace on Adam in his ruined condition. For six thousand years God has been trying to show mankind this great and glorious truth; that he wants to deal with man in love and grace. He expects no payment in kind, he requires no attempt to clean up our life, as a matter of fact to even make an attempt to clean up our life in an attempt to merit God’s favor is an insult. God said his grace is a free gift. To even think that there is anything we can do, or can take the place of what God accomplished in Christ is the same as saying to God that His sacrifice was not sufficient. By grace God devised a scheme of redemption for fallen man, justice never would and reason never could. No sinner would ever have sought out God; just like Adam, he sees no need simply because he doesn’t even recognize his lost condition. It is always God that seeks out fallen man, never the other way around. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Nowhere do we read that he came to save those that were looking for truth and pardon. This is what the Scripture means when it says that we are blind. There is a special aspect of grace that is both sobering and enlightening. First, God has provided his grace to all mankind, even to those who do not know of it and even those who will never accept it. This special aspect of grace is faith. It is only by faith that we can apprehend grace for ourselves. This faith is unique in itself, for it is not our faith. The scripture affirms that the faith to believe is the faith that Christ bestows on every believer. It is his faith, not our own, for in the first place we have no faith other than that which a holy, just and righteous God has provided. Notice the grammar in the last clause of our text in Eph. 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Grace is the object, but faith is the vehicle that allows us to arrive at the object. The scripture affirms that this vehicle, faith, is the gift of God. We think of the Apostle Paul in respect to unmerited mercy. Paul had never done anything that could rise to the place where he could merit God’s mercy. He had kept the law as best he could as a Pharisee. He had done everything he possibly could against Christ and the church. But when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he met him in pure grace. This concept is brought home all the more clearly in Jesus’ question to Paul where he asked, “why persecutest thou me”? Paul was in active opposition to God and his grace when he set out to kill or imprison all who professed faith in Jesus. God’s grace shines through even more clearly when we understand that God dealt with Paul in the condition he found him in. He was, at this point in his life, a God hater, even though he thought that what he did, he did in the name of God. God was using the witness and lives of the Christians that Paul persecuted as a preparation against Paul’s day of mercy and pardon. This is what God meant when he said to Paul: “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” This is a reference to the practice of ox drovers who would use a long pole with a sharp end to “goad” the ox in the direction the drover wanted it to go. God had been “goading” Paul in the direction he wanted him to go. The witness of those that Paul persecuted was what God used as a goad. Though Paul had done nothing to merit God’s grace, still God provided it and brought Paul to the realization of the truth of his word. What can we say about works before justification, or works for justification? Simply this; what we would call good works before justification are not pleasant to God. This is because they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men able to receive grace. Think with me, good works conducted to merit the favor of God have not been done according to the way God has designed his grace to be given; therefore they have the nature of sin, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. The thought of the God of all heaven and earth freely providing grace to those who do not deserve it is almost beyond our comprehension, it runs counter to everything we are conditioned by our fallen nature to believe. How sad it is to come to the understanding that there are multitudes that will never avail themselves of the grace that God has willingly and loving provided for every person who has ever lived on this earth. This is what is meant by God when he says in his word that “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The free gift has already been provided; the only requirement to laying hold of eternal life is simply to take the grace that God has already provided.
  22. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The New Birth

    THE NEW BIRTH Text: John 3 :1-21. Introduction: The text at hand shows that there is something that is extremely important to every individual that comes into this world. It also shows that there are some that are aware of it but for the most part, mankind is ignorant of its necessity. This subject is so important that it is the reason that the Bible was written, it is also the reason that the Son of God came to this earth, leaving the glory of heaven, to suffer at the hands of men. It is the reason that you are here in this world now, and as such it is the answer to the age-old question; Why am I here? It is also the reason that the existence of people and nations are recorded as they are in both the Old and New Testament. Nations rise and fall and the history of this world is ordered in such a way that the purpose of it all might result in the redemption of each and every lost sinner, even though they do not know that they are lost. The subject at hand is the new birth. What is it? Jesus said it this way; ye must be born again. It is salvation, redemption. And as such it points to the fact that there is something deathly wrong with man in his natural state. . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; There are many things in this life that while you may need them, it is not a matter of life or death---THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. We are all given a certain amount of time here on this earth for the express purpose of finding Jesus and appropriating his righteousness to our account, the result of our failure to accomplish this is spiritual death and a separation from God and his heaven forever. Ver.3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Once the time that we have been allotted runs out there is no recourse, death forever locks us into the condition that we were in when he visited---and it is irreversible. Our text mentions two subjects; Jesus and Nicodemus. He had heard Jesus teach and now, in the darkness of night, he comes to Jesus. He recognized in Jesus something extraordinary, his spiritual eyes had begun to open and he realized that this man was from God. Ver.2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. The fact that he came at night also shows that he came secretly and alone. This points to a very important aspect of the new birth; it is personal and the sinner must come to Jesus on a one to one basis concerning salvation. Notice again the command in Ver.7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. It is directed at Nicodemus alone, though the entire world may be in need of this salvation, this is his time, and Jesus speaks to him in a very personal way. You may have seen people coming foreword and claiming to be saved, but Salvation is not in coming foreword, it is not in talking to the preacher, it is not in joining the church; it is not in repeating a prayer. Salvation is a personal experience with Jesus Christ, it is in trusting him with your eternal destiny, coming to him in simple faith with the assurance that he can and will save your eternal soul. This lesson then will convey to us the idea that this new birth is a must. The word, “must”, is an imperative, and Jesus meant it to be, for he said, “ye must be born again”. If the new birth is so important why doesn’t everyone know about it? It is simply because they are spiritually dead, . And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; This is why Jesus had to come; this is the only way that man can become aware of his condition. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Salvation then, becomes mandatory equipment for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not optional as some believe, and it is the only way to get to heaven. Jn.14: 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This new birth is to be understood as spiritual in nature, Ver.4-5. Show not only the mistake that Nicodemus made, but answer of the Lord showing the spiritual nature of the new birth. Here he speaks of two births, the first is the natural birth, born of water, and any doctor will tell you that when a baby is born it is a water birth. The second birth Jesus terms, “born of the Spirit”, this is the Spirit of God. This is why we call it a spiritual birth, Ver.6. Says, “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit”. Jesus then compares the spiritual birth to the wind, meaning that it is a mystery, we can see the effects of it, but it cannot be seen with the eye.Ver.8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Ver.9. Shows that Nicodemus still did not understand these things. He is still lost. What a paradox; he is standing in the presence of eternal life and yet he does not recognize it. It must be remembered that this man was a master, or teacher in Israel, a spiritual leader, yet he could not comprehend spiritual things. Ver.10. Ver.13-17. Shows the plan of salvation as well as the purpose and need of a savior. By speaking to Nicodemus concerning the new birth, he showed him that there was something that he was lacking spiritually, something that he desperately needed. Now he shows him God’s plan to remedy the situation. Notice that God’s remedy is rooted in love, Ver.16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And it is also predicated on the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God as payment for my sin. Jesus ends his discourse with Nicodemus by showing why the need of the new birth is so great. Ver.18-19. Man thinks that when he dies God weighs the good and bad that he has done, and if the good outweighs the bad, he goes to heaven. But these verses should show the foolishness of this line of reasoning. When these verses speak of the word “condemned”, it is in the sense of the trial already being over, sentence has been passed and now man only waits the carrying out of that sentence. There is only one thing that can change a judicial condemnation and that is a pardon; this is what Jesus offers. By accepting him as your Savior you can change your status from an enemy of God, doomed to an eternity in hell, to a child of the King. The scripture does not record what Nicodemus did with this information in regard to his spiritual welfare, and history has yet to record what you will do with this information. What will you do with Jesus? The answer to this question will determine what he will do with you in regard to your spiritual state.
  23. 3 points
    Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You think that there is no captivity in sin? Are you unequal/unjust/unrighteous with people? Engaged in premarital sexual relations or married and having relations with others or lusting after men or women other than your spouse? Do you corrupt God's law as explained in the King James Bible in your actions? Do you have a strong desire for things that you don't posess? Do you do things that hurt others physically or emotionally? Does the success of others bother you? Are you an angry person? Do you have a habit of arguing? Do you mislead other people? Are you spiteful or mean? Do you reveal the secrets of others? Do you speak bad about people when they are not present? Are you an enemy of God (if you are not for God's program as explained in the King James Bible then you are God's enemy, see James 4:4)? Are you mean or hateful without being provoked? You think alot of yourself (are you the big man/woman in your universe)? Like to tell people how wonderful you are? Spend your time thinking of bad things to do (things that may hurt others)? Ignore what your mom or dad says (disOBedient)? Can't comprehend this list or your King James Bible? Make commitments and break them? No desire to do the right things? You can't be satisfied or come to resolutions in a conflict? Are you cruel or unforgiving? Well, the Bible says about me, you, and anyone else who does this (Romans 1:32) "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death." and (Romans 2:5,6) "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:" If you want to know where that list above came from then look at Romans 1:29-31 at http://av1611.com/KJBp/KJV-bible-text/Ro-1.html and compare the words to their definitions in Websters 1828 dictionary at http://webstersdictionary1828.com/ if you have a prOBlem with the above then may I invite you to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has the power to set the captive free. John 8: 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. The book of Romans has a lot about this. When you accept the Lord Jesus Christ who was made (2 Corinthians 5:21) "to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." The spotless Lamb of God who shed his blood on the cross, the crucifixion, and John the Baptist said of Jesus (John 1:29) "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." is the same Jesus Christ that had victory over sin and death and rose from the dead and (Ephesians 4:8) "he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive". The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ , can make you free indeed. Once you trust Jesus Christ you must ask (Romans 6:1,2) "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?...How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" When you trust in Jesus Christ you are (Romans 6:4) "buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" So you should (Romans 6:11) "reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." being freed from sin you should CHOOSE to (Romans 6:12) "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should OBey it in the lusts thereof." Thus don't (Romans 6:13) "yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Paul clearly indicates that on whomever has put their faith in Jesus Christ is no longer captive to sin but (Romans 6:14) "sin shall not have dominion over you." and you are now (Romans 6:18) "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" Thus it is now a CHOICE where in the past (Romans 6:19) "ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." REJOICE! For (Romans 8:1-2) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8: 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Ephesians 4: 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Psalm 68: 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Now make your choice. through the Lord Jesus Christ you are set free and should Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. We are out of time and (Romans 13:12-14) "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Yep, MAKE THAT CHOICE!
  24. 2 points
    Alan

    "But the LORD was with Joseph"

    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.” Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph. Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me,I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob. Verse 21 Let us consider three things. 1. “But the LORD was with Joseph” God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God. 2. “... and shewed him mercy..” In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God. If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” 3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt. First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt. Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  25. 2 points
    Genesis 37:15-36, “The Work of the Flesh and the Spirit in the Life of Joseph and his Brethren.” Introduction In the life of the brothers of Joseph we can see the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 In the life of Joseph we can see the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 and 23 We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to walk in the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 As we notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of Joseph, we can notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the Lord Jesus. We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to consider, and follow, the examples, akin to the precepts given in the Old Testament, of the men like Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, David and the other men and women in the Old Testament as they walked in Spirit. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”1 Corinthians 10:11 The precepts, and examples, of the Old Testament saints were written for the admonition of the saints in the church in the New Testament. As we develop the story of Joseph, and see the fruits of the Spirit in his life, we will notice the attitude, the character, the will, the heart, of Joseph is of a good nature. Our walk with the Lord will develop our attitude, our character; our very being. The Willingness of Joseph Genesis 37:13, “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” we can see the good attitude of Joseph, “Here am I.” Joseph was willing to do all that his father Jacob told him to do. This was the attitude of the Lord Jesus. John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” This is also a good attitude, or characteristic, for every Christian. God, in either Testament, wants us to be saved, and serve Him, with a willing heart. Leviticus 1:3, “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” The Apostle Paul stated, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12The concept, the belief, the doctrine that man does not have a free will, or the concept, the belief, the doctrine, of irresistible grace,is foreign to the word of God and repugnant. Even though his father, and his brothers, did not understand the two dreams, Joseph was not discouraged nor did he have a bitter attitude. Joseph determined to love God, to do the will of God, and have a cheerful attitude. Joseph did not let the world, the pressure of the world, and the attitude of the world, hurt his relationship with God. Joseph did his Father’s will Genesis 37:15-17, “And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed the flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren and found them in Dothan.” Joseph did his fathers will and was going to help his brothers. Even though his brothers hated him, Joseph did not hate his brothers but wanted to help them in feeding the flock. As Joseph wandered about trying to find the brethren he did not get discouraged. Joseph continued to seek out his brethren after an initial failure. This willingness, spirit, this attitude, this characteristic, is seen in the life of Christ.“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51We need to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus despite the hard road in this life. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” mark 8:34 As the Lord Jesus had steadfastness in His life, so should we have steadfastness in our life. The brothers conspire against Joseph Genesis 37;18, “And when they say him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” Joseph did nothing wrong or evil. The brothers hated Joseph for no good reason. The brothers are conspiring to reward evil for good. Proverbs 17:13, “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” Is not rewarding evil for good one of the works of the flesh? “… and such like.” Galatians 5:21 The rewarding evil for good is what the Jews did to the Lord Jesus. The Jews did not like Jesus, did not believe in Jesus, and rejected His doctrines. But, in spite of the evil of other people, the Lord Jesus did good works; He did not do any evil. Matthew 27:22-24, “Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified, When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Joseph is sold to the Ishmeelites Genesis 37:28, “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” The greed in the hearts of the brothers of Joseph led them to sell Joseph for sold for twenty pieces of silver. 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The number of saints, and ministers, who have walked in the flesh, and loved mammon more than the Lord Jesus, will only be known until the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Lord Jesus was also sold out to the enemy by one of His brethren: Judas Iscariot betrayed, and sold Him, for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” The history of the church is filled with saints, and ministers, who walked in the flesh and sold out the Lord, His doctrines, His walk, His precepts, and His church, for the coins of this life. The brothers of Joseph deceive their father Genesis 37:28, “And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their Father; and said, This have we found: know not whether it be thy son's coat or no.” One sin leads to another. First, the brothers hated Joseph for bringing their evil report to their father, then they envied Joseph, and then hated Joseph even more for his two dreams, then they wanted to kill him, then they sold Joseph, and now they deceive their father. Sin is now the master of the brothers. Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; (whether of sin unto death,) or of obedience unto righteousness?) Joseph in Egypt Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar. It was Potiphar’s responsibility to protect the king of Egypt. In the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a man. Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Conclusion We need to have the attitude of Joseph. Joseph was very humble and willing to do the will of Israel, his father. Joseph said, “Here am I.” The Lord Jesus had a willing heart to do the will of God. Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
  26. 2 points
    irishman

    The Characteristics Of Love

    The Characteristics of Love 1. Love desires reciprocation. A one-sided love promotes frustration and discontent. Love desires company (companionship). 1 John 4:19. 2. Love is unbiased, without prejudice. It is unconditional; Conditioned love is mock love. 3. Love is eternal. There is no “falling out of love”; Nothing can replace true love, as it has no end. 4. Love cannot be described. No words adequate enough to describe love. (“so much” as in John 3:16) Love is seen in action, not in words. (Calvary). 5. Love is not self-seeking. There is no pride in love; no self seeking. Love is “others” minded, it gives and asks nothing in return. 6. Love is pure. Real love promotes chastity. 7. Love is powerful. Love brings the strongest and most nOBle of men to their knees. 8. Love is motivational. It promotes Truth; Love demands action.
  27. 2 points
    marcaevans

    Forgiveness

    Today I wish to talk about forgiveness. I think this is important as we approach Easter the time of which Jesus Christ died for our Sins. The subject of forgiveness is often not an easy one, there is often a cloud floating over us and it can be a very emotional time. There can be times of great sadness and anger towards others that have done wrong by you and this can often lead to a harsh judgement of them. With that in mind, I would like to start with a verse from Romans 2:1 which says “So you have no reason, whoever you are, for judging: for in judging another you are judging yourself, for you do the same things. This certainly speaks for itself, but I do not wish to talk about judgement today it is about the forgiveness of others. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as being the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. This can be seen as being intertwined with our own free will which again does not leave us when we are baptised. Through this we can still Sin and we can still stray from the Lord but our faith and love for him helps us stay on our path. In talking about our own sins and moving forward towards baptism, a quote comes to mind. It comes from Colossians 3:13 and it says bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. I think that this is quite powerful because it shows that the Lord has forgiven us for our past sins and welcomed us into his Kingdom and if he can do that then how can we not forgive others? Philippians 1:6 also portrays a powerful message through saying “and I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. It is also considered that forgiving is not an easy task for us but we must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart and this is important to the Lord. This can be seen in Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” In Luke 6:37 we are given another message about forgiveness “Do not judge, and you will not be judged, Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. forgive and you shall be forgiven. This tells us that we shall continue to be forgiven for our sins as long as we are able to forgive others The most well known prayer also shares this message of us forgiving others for ourselves to be forgiven. The Lord’s prayer says “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
  28. 2 points
    Joe Coley

    To much power!

    Our Lord led this blind man out of town, put spit on his eyes and asked him if he saw ought. the blind man said "I see men as trees walking". now I have read many sermons and commentaries on this subject and it seems they all have one thing in agreement , that for many different reasons given our Lord was unable to accomplish the task when he first attempted it. some say because of their unbelief,others because of the area he was in......etc.If you all would bear with me a little in my folly, I heard that somewhere,lol may I suggest the one thing to consider that I found in kmow writings, and that is the possibility that our Lord gave him to much power and allowed him to see like God sees ! for the Lord indeed sees men as trees all through the word of God.God said "all my trees are full of sap" he spoke of the trees of Lebanon...he said in Eccl. if a tree falls to the north or the south ,in the place where the tree falls , there it is...... consider when our Lord touched his eyes again it was not to add more spit, rather to remove some! and would our lives not be much better off in compassion and help to one another if we could all stop once in a while and see as God sees?
  29. 2 points
    Is Tithing a Sin? by Ronald W Robey Is tithing money a sin? Yes, it is,... if you are tithing money because, "the Bible commands us to tithe.". God's Word decides what is to be tithed, not us. If the preacher's tithe sermon contradicts what is written in God's Holy Word, God is right, the preacher is wrong. If man's belief concerning God's commanded tithe is contrary to what is written in the Bible about God's commanded tithe, God is right, man is wrong. The decision as to what is to be tithed, to whom the tithe is to be given, and where it is to be observed has already been written in God's Word. He said His holy tithe is agriculrural, not monetary. (Lev. 27:30-33) He said it is for the physical descendants of Levi, not for Gentiles on Gentile soil. (Lev. 27:34; Num. 18:24-26; Neh. 10:37-38) God's Word says that sin is the transgression of the Law. (1 John 3:4) To say that God requires monetary tithes is false, since God's Word says His holy tithe is to be agricultural. To say that God's holy tithe is to be taken to Gentile pastors on Gentile soil is also false, since God said His holy tithes are to go to Levites in farming communities in Canaan. When those who believe that God's Word commands them to tithe tithe money (instead of agricultural crops and livestock) and they tithe on Gentile soil, (instead of farming communities in Canaan) they transgress the very Law they claim to be keeping. Yes, to tithe money in response to Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10, Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42 or Hebrews 7:5-9; or in response to any other Biblical command to tithe is,... in fact,... sin.
  30. 2 points
    Alan

    The LORD was with Joseph

    “The LORD was with Joseph” Genesis 39:1-6 Genesis 39:1-6, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, brought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down hither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.” Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Joseph had faith and loved God. Joseph was a “good man” and righteous in his heart and in his relationship with God. God allowed the evil actions of his brothers in order to test Joseph and to prepare him for the responsibility to rule Egypt. Therefore, the steps of the good (in the sight of God) man, in any generation, in any country, in either the Old or New Testament dispensation, are ordered by the LORD. Psalm 17:3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” When Joseph was a slave, God tested Joseph to see if Joseph loved, and trusted in God, with his heart. Joseph, like Job, had integrity... Joseph was determined not to transgress God and His ways. Like Job, Joseph was upright, feared God, and hated evil. Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” One of the highest respected men in the Chinese church in China, Wang Ming-Tao says, “Those whom God uses, who can be used by God, must be of noble morality and conduct, and a good reputation among men. God is a holy and righteous God, He will only use those men who are also holy and righteous men.” 王明道說「神所要使用,能使用的,也是高尚的德行和好名聲的人。神是聖潔公義的神,他所要使用的人也是聖潔的人。」1 Free translation by the author. If we are to walk with God then we must be in agreement with God and His ways. The ways of the world are not in agreement with God and we must be separate with the ways of the world. 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” The false gods, idols, and beliefs of the false religions of this world, have no place in the life of the individual who wants to walk with God. 2 Corinthians 6:16 & 17, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The world is an harsh environment for every saint. Like Joseph, we need to keep ourselves separate from the evil things of this world and walk with God. Joseph is an example to the Christian who desires to serve the Lord in a harsh environment. Joseph felt that he was serving God whether in his father's house, among his deceitful brothers, in the hands of an Egyptian master and under the authority of the king of Egypt. The Lord Jesus said, Luke 19:17, “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Every Christian can examine the example of Joseph and Job and serve the Lord Jesus as a servant in any occupation and the Lord can be with you. The LORD was with Joseph Joseph had a good relationship with God. Every day, Joseph walked with God. Even in the times of his distress Joseph walked with God. Like Job, Joseph separated himself from the sinful habits and ways of this world and walked with God. Joseph is an good example to the Christian. If we want to have a good relationship with God, and have God with us, we need to hate evil and not transgress the ways of God. As the LORD was with Joseph, the apostle Peter states, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Joseph was an example of the Lord Jesus Christ. God prospered Joseph and his work Joseph walked with God. Because Joseph walked in the ways of the Lord, separated himself from the evil ways of this world, God blessed him, his work and his relationship with other people. God wants to prosper the Christian. 3 John 2 and 3, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” Please notice, we need to walk in truth. We need to walk in truth in our talk, our character, and in the doctrines of the scriptures. God is willing to help us spiritually, mentally, in our family life and in our work. God wants every Christian to be stable. Colossians 2: 6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Joseph was separated from the evil things in this world, walked with God, and was established in his conduct, and in the truth. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand Joseph was completely trustworthy with the physical possessions of his master. Joseph did not steal, did not pilfer, did not miss-use, and did not cause any harm to the physical goods in the house of his master, or under this direct control. Joseph was faithful in all that was under his authority. Joseph is an excellent example for the saint who works for other people in any occupation. Every Christian in any endeavor of work; whether in a factory, a business, a store, an office, a government bureau, the military, and in other occupation, should be the most trustworthy individual the boss has. Joseph was a goodly person and well favoured. Remember Psalm 37:23? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” We need to learn how to be good in our conduct. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of his Egyptian master, Joseph had a strong testimony. The character of Joseph was like the character of the Lord Jesus. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52 Lastly, Paul the apostle stated that the man who is the bishop, or elder, or pastor, of the church, should be of likewise character and conduct. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7 1Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 314. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣台中:浸宣出版社,1996),314頁。
  31. 2 points
    ScottM84

    All Things Work Together for Good

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28 is one of the the most familiar verses in the Bible and one of the verses people most like to "claim." It also seems to be one of the most misunderstood and misapplied. All too often, the misunderstanding arises when someone refuses to simply allow the scripture to say what it says. The most obvious misunderstanding is the fact that the verse does not apply to everyone -- it applies to "them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This is not a promise that a lost world is in any position to claim, as they do not fit that description. Rather, this promise is one given to true believers who know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Sadly, even among Christians, there often seems to be major misunderstandings in relation to this verse. Some mistakenly take it to mean that nothing bad can come their way, and they then find themselves completely bewildered when something comes along that rocks their world. In a case like that, it is the first half of the verse that has been misinterpreted and misapplied. There are most certainly bad things that come into the lives of believers. Death is not good. Sickness is not good. Pain is not good. When God created the universe and found His creation to be "very good," those things were not a part of it. They were brought about because of the sin of mankind. The wonderful truth of the matter is, however, that an almighty, sovereign God can take bad things that were not a part of His original creation and use them to work for our good. If you will allow me, I would like to give you a personal account in which I found that to be true. I will not go into the specific details of my experience because there were other people involved and I do not wish to say anything that would violate their privacy. Suffice it to say, I faced one of those situations that I spoke of earlier that rocked my world. I thank God that I was grounded in His word, because if I had not been, the situation that I lived through could have easily washed me out and severely damaged my faith. It was something that forced me to rely on God far more than I ever had before. It was also something that pushed me to action in something that I had said for years that I wanted to do "one day." I stated in my introductory post that I have recently published a book. While I did not explicitly state this, if you read between the lines, you might have also deduced that I have a soft spot for kids. Children's ministry is, in fact, one of my greatest passions. I have taught kids' classes at my church since I was 19. I've been one of the sponsors that took my church's elementary school aged kids to camp four times. Vacation Bible School week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I could continue, but you get the point: I love kids. That thing that I said for so long that I wanted to do but never completed was writing a children's novel. Ultimately, I truly believe that God held me back from doing in until the time was right. There were a few abortive attempts, but none of them ever went very far, and I never came anywhere near writing a full book. Then, my foundations were shaken. At that time, I decided to try once again to write a book, this time, in large part to keep my sanity. However, I did not want to write just any book. I wanted to write something that would be a help to young people who read it. I wanted it to be an entertaining story, but a story that would teach Biblical values. I wanted it to feature characters that were not ashamed of their Christianity. I wanted it to be something that might be edifying to its readers. Lo, and behold, this time it happened. I would be lying if I said that there are no longer times that I struggle with what happened in my life two years ago. It was something that completely reordered large parts of my life, and in some very negative ways. I very much wish that what happened would not have happened. If I told you what it was, you would no doubt say the same thing. Even so, I would not undo what it changed in me. As I said, it helped me to learn to trust in the Lord much more than I ever had. It is my natural tendency to worry, but my experiences in these last two years has greatly cut that down. It also strengthened the passion that I already had for young people, and gave me an even greater desire to minister to them. When I think about my own troubles and how difficult they were for me as an adult, if makes me think about how much tougher they are for a child, thus increasing my level of compassion. Since then, I've found that new opportunities to do that, such as the book, have presented themselves, and I see other possibilities on the horizon, no doubt because God has used the trials of my life to give me a fuller understanding of the needs that exist. It is truly amazing to see how He moves. All things are not good, but we serve a God that is more than capable of using even the bad for our good. He can use those things to strengthen us personally and to make us a better witness to others. Nothing catches Him by surprise, and nothing can thwart His will. I have learned not to say that something can never happen to me. I have been affected by things that I would never have believed could happen. But more than that, I have found that my God can use them all to shape me into someone whom He can more easily use. Yes, for the believer, all things work together for good.
  32. 2 points
    Have you ever noticed how insincere we are when we pray? Just today I was thinking about prayer and I thought of praying over a meal. Then the thought came to my mind, "I wonder just how often we truly are thankful for our food, and how many times we just say that we are." It's sad that this should even be an issue, yet it is. We have made prayer so mechanical. I see it in my own prayer life. Certain things I always say in my prayers have become empty words, I pray sometimes, only because I have to. Then when I do open up my heart to God and really pour out my thoughts to Him, I think "Wow, that was amazing!" But shouldn't it always be as such? Shouldn't we open up our heart to God every day? It's no wonder our churches are full of weak Christians, they have no connection with the Father. I believe very firmly that prayer is for your benefit, not God's! Why would God need us to talk to him? He already knows our thoughts. If pray, then, is for our own benefit, the only person we're hurting through insincere prayer is ourselves. Are we really so petty? Have we become so selfish as to hurt ourselves because we don't want to put forth the effort to talk sincerely with God? It is so sad to me that so many Christians have so little love for their Saviour as to spend so little time with Him! What is the purpose of prayer, if not to express your love and trust for God. We say that prayer, as it pertains to salvation, is simply an outward expression of the heart. Does not the same hold true for your Christian life? We need to check our heart and ask ourselves, "Why are my prayers so empty and insincere?"
  33. 2 points
    Confusion on who and what the Church is in this day and time abounds. We believe the Church is not an Israel of any type and that Church and Nations have always had separate functions in both Old and New Testaments. In the last sermon (on Acts 15:1-11) we showed how we are not Israel. In previous sermons we showed how the New Testament Church is an extension of the Old Testament Melchizedek Priesthood, now with Christ as it's High Priest, in Heaven, before God's throne. In this sermon we also show how James uses Amos 9 to show that today the Church is like David's Tabernacle. In the Old Testament, Israel and Church were in fellowship but when the New Testament came and Christ was anointed king, the Nation rejected Him but the Church received Him. This same picture is found with King David. After God, rejected King Saul and had David anointed King, King Saul and the Nation sought David's death. In seeking David's death, King Saul turns against the Tabernacle (Israel's church) by having the Priests of Nob and their families killed (1 Samuel 22). The surviving priest, Abiathar, fled to David for protection and remained separated from the nation until David was received by the nation. James makes it clear that today the Church is with Christ and the Nation is separated from Christ and His Church. We understand from scripture that Israel is separated from Christ, with the world, into the Spirit of Anti-Christ. We also show how the Church in Jerusalem, predominately Jewish in faith and nationally Israelite, reconciled their doctrine with these understandings of separation of Church and State and how in order to be a peace with other churches, particularly those churches of the Gentiles and other nations, wrote letters clearing up and resolving the errors and the unsettling doctrines their members had started to spread. Lastly we are shown the divisions of ministry between Paul and Barnabas because of personal differences. In all this we are given a template for resolving issues between Churches and Ministries, either how to resolve them or how to continue on with ministry without resolving our differences. We show how the resolutions are not based on "forcing" our will upon each other other but rather on mutual cooperation and in the template of Matthew 18, where Christ teaches us how to deal as equals with our brothers. Showing If a resolution cannot be made then we are to separate in peace until it one day it can be made. All the while the primary goal is not to harm and keep pure the gospel ministry, in spite of any unresolved personal differences. Preached: August 5, 2018 Sunday Night. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA. https://www.facebook.com/EdgecliffCBC/ (Please like, share, and subscribe to the channel for more Bible Sermons!)
  34. 2 points
    Often we hear many say that the church is the true Israel and Christians are the true Jew. While there is an interconnected relationship between them in God's service, Acts 15 makes it clear these are separate and distinct Institutions of God. Failure to keep Israel and Church separate will ultimately lead to compromising the Grace of God given towards the Gentiles and Church, which are in Christ, apart from the Covenant Nation of Israel. Acts 15 shows certain men, Judaizers, who believed Christian salvation was only for those in the Convent Nation of Israel, by the circumcision of Moses and fellowship with God by keeping the Law of Moses. Paul, Barnabas, Peter, and James, knew that the Covenant of Israel, that the Jews, kept was separate and distinct form salvation and the other nations were never under obligations to keep that Covenant and after much discussion the Jerusalem church agreed with this understanding. In this sermon we show why we stand for a clear separation of Church and State Covenants in both Old and New Testaments. Particularly that Israel is not the church and Gentile Christians are not Jews unless they enter into the Covenant of Israel by the Law. We also show how the errors of Keeping the law "for salvation" or "to keep salvation" or "to keep in fellowship" or to "prove our salvation" are derivative of this error of the believing Pharisees. Rather we show how living by true FAITH is better than any LAW. We also give the example of Paul the Apostle to show that he kept the covenant of his own Nation of Israel, as an obedient Jew, even while teaching the gentiles were under no obligation to do so. We also show also show how James, Pastor of the church in Jerusalem, supported this practice of Jewish obedience to the covenant, while supporting the freedom of the Gentiles not to be. Preached: July 29, 2018 Sunday Night. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA. https://www.facebook.com/EdgecliffCBC/ (Please like, share, and subscribe to the channel for more Bible Sermons!)
  35. 2 points
    Alan

    Pleasing God & Peace

    Proverbs 16:7, “Pleasing God & Peace.” Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” God can give peace to a person, or a nation, or He can take away peace from a person, or a nation. Isaiah 45:6 & 7, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Most people seek peace through worldly and physical pleasures. Most people love pleasure more than God and sometimes the saints love pleasure more than God. 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” When a person pleases God than God can give that person peace. God wants us to give us peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus said, John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the early church, the disciples were persecuted severely for their faith in Christ and in the ages since that time, more persecution arose from various false religions and leaders. In the midst of these persecutions, the Lord Jesus gave these people peace. Even though we sometimes have problems and difficulties, the Lord Jesus can give us peace in our hearts. We need to learn how to please God. Colossians 1: 9 & 10, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” God can give us peace in our hearts and peace among our enemies if we please him.
  36. 2 points
    Leviticus 20 gives the Penalties for committing the Abominations listed in Leviticus 18. The primary sin from which the rest flows is the abomination of "whoring with Molech". This basically was the giving of their new born babies to be killed by burning over a fire on the hands of a metal Idol called Molech. This evil practice was done by people who wanted to get rid of their unwanted children in exchange for the idol to give them good crops. This practice was popular with promiscuous men who did not want the responsibility for the child or mother. God commanded the most severe penalty for such whoremonger. Not only was Molech outlawed any man spreading his seed in the land and giving it to Molech was to be put to death and if he was not then wrath would also be against his family and nation. In this sermon we see how allowing such men in the land will result in and lead to the other societal abominations as well. This chapter deals with the penalties for molestation, fornication, adultery, hatred of parents, homosexual acts, bestiality, and witchcraft. In this sermon we explain how each nation has a duty to keep the whorish men of Molech from destroying their land or the land will spew us out and God's wrath will be on our nation. Preached: April 29, 2018 Sunday Morning. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA.
  37. 2 points
    irishman

    A Lack Of Knowledge Is Killing Us!

    Hosea 4 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (v. 6) I thank God that He gave the New Testament church a special promise; that he would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13: 5 c), which is an indirect quote from Joshua 1: 5. Our God is “there” for us all the time. The first part of this is still true today, (of course) we are destroyed for lack of knowledge. We do not hear enough “truth” and when we do, we do no believe it easily. We need to be convinced. God’s Word is truth, from the beginning to the end; it is true all the way through, word by word in the King James Bible, so that that Book is all we need of truth. Yet, God’s people die because of a lack of knowing it. Sure, we all die anyway, but there are several promises in the Bible for longevity and God cannot lie or trick us by deceit, if only we would believe His Word, the people of God would not, and could not be destroyed. To have the Lord reject us would lead to very dire consequences, and we would be “of all men, most miserable”. As the Lord withdrew Himself from Israel at times, He has promised never to do so with us. Heb. 13 :5, the latter part, tells us so, and we can believe it, and rest assured that it is so. What a joy to know that He will never leave us for a moment, nor forsake us altogether; we can walk in the assurance of His eternal presence. In Israel, God withdrew Himself from them for the purpose of judgment; He removed His blessings from them. They were disOBedient to His Word, and He had to turn from them, just as they had from Him, but, thank God today for Jesus, He is the King of grace unto us. Grace allows God to remain with us, for Jesus’ sake, and continue to abide in us, in spite of our foolishness. He does not condone our sin, nor accept it in any way, but He allows us to continue in Him, and He in us. He no longer needs to judge us, that has been taken care of at Calvary, but now He is there to comfort; to guide; to bless us in a multitude of ways, for Jesus’ sake, and only for Jesus’ sake. It is not because of us, but because of Jesus that He does so; we would do well to remember that. Take comfort in the fact the our Lord will never, ever leave us, no, not for a second, but mostly, thank God that he will never abandon us altogether and leave us to perish in the pits of hell forever. I shudder to think of what life might be like if He ever decided to leave us, and turn His back on our sin and grief. Thank God mightily for the King of grace, Jesus Christ, by whom is the promise given unto us.
  38. 2 points
    irishman

    Kisses

    Kisses “And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.” (Gen. 27:26) A kiss is usually an outward expression of love. There are many “kisses” in the Bible (in 19 verses) that speak of the character of man. I offer a few of them in this document. 1. The kiss of affection: In the verse I selected, the first “kiss” in the Bible, JacOB greets his beloved son with a kiss. He seems to know there is something amiss, but blesses JacOB anyway, instead of Esau. Though deceptive on JacOB’s part, the kiss was an expression of affection by Isaac. A kiss can speak of many diabolical deceptions, and it can be a gesture of endearment, and love, it can go both ways. 2. The kiss of deception: In 2 Samuel 20:9 we read; “And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.” This is a very diabolical and subtle kiss, with evil intent. To kiss in this manner, or to feign to do so, speaks of trust and companionship to the one, but evil is the motive of the other. This kiss betrays trust and catches the unwary victim by subtlety. 3. The kiss of allegiance and loyalty: Though used metaphorically, we have another type of kiss which speaks; “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18) This is where Elijah sought refuge in the Lord because of Jezebel. Though he seemed despondent, the Lord assured him that He had seven thousand faithful followers in Jerusalem, that had “kissed” the Lord, and not Baal. 4. The kiss of faith: This is also a kiss of loyalty and love. Again we see the word “kiss” used metaphorically, as an act of endearment, but aimed in the right direction. The verse I refer to is Psa. 2:12: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” To “kiss the Son (note the capital “S”) is to draw close to Jesus; it is to hold Him in our heart, and admire Him greatly in our thoughts, and it speaks of intimacy with our Lord, without which we have nothing. 5. The kiss of reward and appreciation: “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.” (Prov. 24:26) Again we see the metaphor for kiss. The word “kiss” seems to speak many different “languages“, and apply many different ways. Men respect an honest man whether they admit it or not. They may never let him know it, but they respect his honesty and openness, it is natural to do so. Most likely, the man that gives a right answer will be upright in his affairs, he will be honest in business. 6. The kiss of betrayal: “Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.” (Mt. 26:48) The kisses of a false friend hurt deeply when he is discovered; they pierce us to the heart, and cause much consternation in our life, yet they are more common, I think, than we realize. Jesus asked Judas a convicting question: “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” (Lk. 22:48). One wonders how low we can go when betrayal is our goal? Perhaps it was more than the money, the thirty pieces of silver, which amounted to quite a sum for them, perhaps it was a deep-seated evil a love for the world--Satan’s world, hidden deep within his heart. Betrayal on any level is evil; whether in marriage, in business, or in societal matters, their always seems to be an ulterior motive. 7. The kiss of salutation: Five verses, the last five in the Bible that contain the word “kiss” speak of greeting “one another with a holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16); or 1 Cor. 16:20~2 Cor. 13:12~1 Thess. 5:26, each of these say essentially the same thing but the last mention of “kiss” changes just a bit: “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Pet. 5:14) A “kiss of charity“, of brotherly love; of giving to the need of a brother. Charity means the same thing it means today, loving enough to see to the needs of others. This too is a wonderful and kindly and God-like kiss.
  39. 2 points
    Alan

    Be Still. Psalm 46:10

    “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: Every saint should realize that God is God. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. We need to sit back, be still, and just meditate on the attributes and character of God. We need to understand that the very essence of God is eternal and beyond our human comprehension. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14 So often, we ask unnecessary questions and seek un-attainable answers. It is not within us to understand all of the plan, actions, methods, and work of God due to our finite understanding. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 So, God told us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” “I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” God has a plan to exalt Himself on the face of this earth. His plan was prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets and revealed to us in the New Testament. This plan unfolds in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the exaltation of Christ as the Saviour of the world. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4 The plan of God to exalt Himself continues through the church Age, the 7 Year Tribulation Period, and 1000 Year Reign of Christ on the earth as, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The plan of God to exalt Himself on the face of this earth will culminate in eternity. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3 God knows exactly what He is doing and His plan will come to pass exactly as He has planned it. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
  40. 1 point
    Every day of the month, as the Lord leads, read that day's chapter of Proverbs and post whatever the Lord lays on your heart using any verse in the chapter as your text. It can range from a short devotional to a sermon to a commentary. The purpose is that this will stimulate Bible reading among some saints that just haven't gotten started yet, and allow folks to share hidden treasures from the dark sayings of Solomon. Enjoy, have fun, and above all, be edified from the living Word of the Living God.
  41. 1 point
    The two branches of God's rule on earth is the Church and the Courts. In Psalm 82 we deal with the authority that God has given to the Judges of the earth. We learn that they are treated as "gods" because they have been given authority from God to dispense His justice, over Mankind, on His behalf. While this Authority is invested primarily in the Judges it also extends over and applies to the executives as the executors of the judge's ruling of the Law. In this sermon we deal with the Judges roles in a civilized society and their responsibility before God to Judge in righteous Judgement. We also deal with the responsibility of Christians to do their best to make sure righteous and godly men are appointed to the rule of law in our Nations. We also deal with the fact that as Christians, it is better to settle our civil (not criminal) problems outside of court, and even suffer to be defrauded, rather than allow an unrighteous judge to rule over disputes among Believers. We also show how the same Spirit that gives the Judge his authority is in every New Testament Believer. This Spirit was called by Christ as "the Word of God" by which the Judges were to discern righteous judgement (John 10:34-36). Therefor we also, as the Sons of God, should also make righteous judgments and actions as they pertain to our own lives and relationships, as God will also hold us accountable in following His Word. Preached: December 12, 2018 Wednesday Night. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA. https://www.facebook.com/EdgecliffCBC/ (Please like, share, and subscribe to the Youtube channel for more Bible Sermons!) #CivilAuthority #YeAregods #JudgeRighteousJudgement #JudgesAreTheFoundationOfSociety #GodJudgesTheJudgers #SonsOfGod #ChildrenOfGod #Psalm82 #John1034
  42. 1 point
    Fellowship Baptist Church Senior Pastor R. Rubino 2929 West 20th Street (718)-372-5022 "Christian Homosexual LOBby!" Saved To Be Lawless? Part 3 1) True marriage in the Bible is always defined as a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Only a Satanic Theologian could distort this plain Biblical truth. (1Peter 3:1-7) 2) True Christians are always exhorted to flee "lawlessness" in their lives. Children of God will always sin, but never defend it. We are to repent when we commit evil acts, not redefine them into righteous acts. (1Peter 3:8-13) 3) Christians are to fight to extend the Kingdom of our God. Like faithful soldiers involved in any battle we will suffer injury. (1Peter 3:14-18) 4) Jesus Christ truly is King of the Universe and all of creation will bow before him. We as Christians pray for people to bow as servants of the King, and not as vanquished enemies. (1Peter 3: 19-22) Watch Full Sermon on Youtube at http://youtu.be/QmA_8Evfc3E
  43. 1 point
    Samer

    Enduring temptation

    Taught at church March 24, 2010. James 1:12-16 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren. We read of celebrities falling into destructive sin—adultery, wife-beating, murder, drug abuse... Some of them try to make it right themselves, through counseling, therapy, recovery programs... Others, the system tries to rehabilitate in jail. By and large, the sinner will return to his sin, and is only worse and harder-hearted in the end. But these are lost sinners! Christians could never do these things, right? Wrong... God warns us not to be prideful, for we have the same old flesh they do. 1 Cor. 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Consider the case of Samson and David—both mighty men of God. They thought they could have a taste of sinful pleasure and get along ok. But their temptations brought them crashing down, and ruined their testimony and lives. Temptation is there, and no one is exempt—these things are common to man. 1 Cor. 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Samson should have escaped. He tried to overcome Delilah in his own strength, but she badgered him to death and he gave in. He shouldn't have loved a woman who didn't love the Lord. David should have been at the battle. The moment he realized Bathsheba was bathing, he should have ran. The second look gave in to the lust and ensured sin and death, when he purposefully set his eyes upon her. Lam. 3:51: “Mine eye affecteth mine heart.” Jesus expounded this in Luke 11:34,35. If you look at the wrong things, it will defile your whole body and transform your heart. David thought it would be safe just to look, but the sinful sights coming in caused sinful thoughts in his heart, and soon sinful and deadly actions came out in his life. “Do not err, my beloved brethren.” Consider another biblical example—Joseph. When Potiphar's wife seduced him, he didn't stand up to her and say no—he literally ran away like a coward! Is that shameful? There is no harm in acknowledging our flesh is weak. Instead of running into temptation ready to fight, God suggests we flee. 1 Cor. 10:14: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” Of course, covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5), and this extends to the love of money and the lust of adultery (1 Tim. 6:11, 1 Cor. 6:18, 2 Tim. 2:22). Our calling isn't to go to the booze joints, gambling halls, and pervert clubs, and win them to Christ. Our calling isn't to date the lost to win them to Christ. Our calling is to live sOBerly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to flee from sin and bring God glory, and in that context, with that testimony, to preach the gospel to the lost. When temptation comes, the flesh will want to play with it. How can we be encouraged to flee? Col 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Rom 6:6-13 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should OBey it in the lusts thereof. (13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Really, all of Romans 6!) Next time you want to lie, steal, or disOBey your parents, remember that lies, thefts, and disOBedience nailed Jesus to the cross. They were nailed there with him as ordinances we broke, and they caused Him to be nailed there. When you're tempted to do the things you did before you were saved, remember, your old man is why the Son of God had to come as a man and suffer shame and agony on the cross. You’re not that person anymore, because that person died. I am crucified with Christ—Gal. 2:20. When Jesus was on the cross, He died as you. He was crucified for your sins instead of you paying the punishment yourself. By Jesus shedding His blood for you and dying the death you deserved, God forgives you. When you think of your sin as nailing Jesus to the cross, it should cause you to hate that sin, and flee the temptation of it. Remember: you're dead to sin now, and alive in Christ, and Christ is in you (Col. 1:27). When temptation arises, picture your sinful nature crucified with Christ. He died for you, to wash your sins away, so now He can live in you, and help you flee temptation and do right. 1 Cor. 10:31—Live no longer by ordinances and rules, but live for God's glory, out of a principle of love.
  44. 1 point
    Galations 2:20

    Walking In Holiness

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) This verse contains an imperative, imploring or commanding statement calling for holy living. It calls for us to live a sanctified and set apart life acceptable according to god’s holy standards. God is beseeching, or begging, His spiritual children to live sacrificially unto Him, not unto man and the standards of the world. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 God has set commandments and principles forth for us in His Word. These are quite the opposite of man’s shallow and selfishness based and established upon the shifting sands of the world. Holiness is living separated unto Christ and apart from the world. Holiness and worldliness are contrasting, or heading in opposite directions. These paths are separate or dividing pathways. A person cannot have one foot walking towards God’s holiness and the other foot walking along the path of the world towards the things of man. Holiness affects our physical body. Holiness affects are thinking. Holiness is living in a state of ever increasing spirituality. Living in holiness means our spiritual essence or our soul and our physical bodies are made alive unto Christ and becoming spiritually deadened to the ways, thoughts, lifestyle, and mannerisms of this world. Holiness is living in subjection to Christ. This holiness in one’s life does not mean sinless living, for that is impossible on this side of heaven. Holy living while we are amid the sinful inclination of man here on earth is only possible when one lives spiritually through Jesus Christ, but for the grace of God go YOU and I and anyone who has Jesus Christ spiritually alive or quickened in their heart. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 (KJV) Does a person just wake up one morning and providentially receive the capability to live in holiness and subjection to Christ? No, quickening from the Holy Spirit does come upon a person when they place faith; even as small as mustard seed, in Jesus Christ. However holy living unto Christ is a process of a lifetime on earth. There is positional sanctification and personal sanctification. Positional sanctification is that “swoosh moment” when the Holy Spirit quickens the dead spirit in the heart of a person to be spiritually alive. Personal sanctification is a daily walk with God as we live on earth. It is walking with God on a path towards eternity and forsaking the god of this earth. It is feeding our spiritual nature and forsaking our sinful nature. It is that spiritual boxing match that Paul faced in Romans chapter seven when he said: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:19-22 KJV) Living holy for Jesus Christ while on this earth is being spiritually positioned in God’s army. God’s army is the only army ever to have the victory in hand before the battles are over because we serve a Savior who’s risen and alive. This membership in God’s holy army “marks” each person as living in opposition to the god of this world. Holy living is marching forward in His army towards eternity. His army is always protected with His armor and uses His Word as a sharp, cutting spiritual sword to combat heartily in hand to hand battles; giving God all the glory and honor for the victory. The Bible contains all the holy training and weaponry necessary to march towards eternity in His army. Living holy and peaceful lives in this sin saturated world does cause those around to sit up and take notice. True holy living separates one from the way the world lives, and outwardly shines glory for Jesus Christ. Without God’s army persistently putting on their armor and marching forward through sin and trials and storms of life, living peaceable and contented lives full of joy so others can OBserve this steadfastness and hope as they wait for eternity. Without living holy and pursuing right relationships with others on earth man cannot please God and spend eternity in Heaven. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14KJV) Living holy will cause individuals to actively pursue purging sin out of their life, making a vessel unto honor for the glory of Jesus Christ. Holy living will purge anything that is ungodly or acting as leaven from their lives. 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 This is a cleaning and bleaching process that takes time. It is not as easy as a shake or two of a “magic whitening wand” that instantly causes one’s life to glitter and shine. Each individual who accepts Jesus Christ in faith will undertake this, sometimes grueling, but necessary scrubbing and bleaching process throughout life. Sanctification entails picking up the cross and laying down all those sinful things hindering their walk with Him. A person cannot be prepared to march forward in an army headed to eternity in Heaven with the trappings of sin clinging like barnacles to their feet. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1 KJV) Throughout the entire bible God has called for holiness. In the Old Testament He made way for holiness through keeping of laws and the offering of sacrifices. This was not sufficient because it did not allow for the forgiveness of sin. “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy”. (Leviticus 19:2) In the New Testament God continues His call for holiness through His Son, Jesus Christ dying on the cross as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. God himself has never changed. He has always been holy for He changes not. He gives us the grace needed to fulfill His will for our life. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8 (KJV) This grace He gives us enables us to live a life rich and full of His grace because Christ took away the penalty or wage for sins we have already committed, or will commit in the future. He has already preserved us blameless. He views us as without spot, or as white as snow, even as we sojourn here on earth and the sin nature ever before us as we march onward towards eternity in Heaven. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23) He has sealed all His own until the day of His eminent return to the earth. He guarantees eternal salvation for those who have professed by mouth and placed their faith in Him. We are sealed and no sin, whether it be by omission or commission, will serve to remove this eternal seal from our life. Nothing that any other person does can remove this seal from our lives. We are secure in His promises of eternal life and eternal blessings and joy to come. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." (Ephesians 1:13 KJV) In the Roman world a seal was of great importance and nOBody would seek to tamper with or destroy a seal. Doing so would be to meddle in the affairs of the Roman government and call upon themselves sure and quick remedial action and likely death. The seal of God carries the ultimate weight of destruction and the wages of death to those who choose not to seek holiness and will but choose to follow the god of this world suppressing the truth of God. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:3 KJV) Lastly, this verse says every man that has hope of eternity purifies himself just as God is pure and holy. What a tremendous promise for us today. Faith in Jesus Christ feeds and fulfills our hope in an eternal life with Jesus Christ which nothing or anyone can take away. For Further Contemplation: We are safe and secure this side of eternity by placing our faith in Him following His will for our lives purges sin out of our lives and makes us holy and Christ-like as we march onwards towards eternity. Entering into eternity with Him will complete our journey to holiness, Christlikeness and spiritual wholeness.
  45. 1 point
    I will pray says the son (intercession) I will send says the Father (bestowment) I will comfort says the Holy Spirit (that is supernatural peace) Trinity was designed by the Father, bought by the life-giving blood of His Son, and protected, or sealed, by the workings of Holy Spirit. It is a down-payment of Heaven for whosoever will grasp onto this triune relationship, a foundation firmly planted in love with God, while living in this world amongst much wickedness and darkness. The real spiritual baptism is done by the Holy Spirit inside a person’s heart. He takes a heart of stone softened by His Word and fills it with His Spirit, creating a pliable heart ready for His will and way. The Baptism of the local church is a portrait of the Holy Spirit’s work inside us and our newness of life in the Spirit. Let’s focus upon each separate and intrinsic member of the Trinity for a moment. As best we can comprehend, with our finite minds, while living here on earth: What did our redemption cost God the Father? God – He had to be willing to sacrifice His only begotten son. The death of His Son on Calvary cost god all that He had. This was an extreme cost for a father to undergo for the benefit of mankind. God the Father could see the hatred and disdain of man towards His son firsthand, God could feel the extreme suffering His Son felt as He hung upon that old rugged cross, and God was in extreme agony Himself as His son said: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30 KJV) This was the moment the three triune God was separated from His Son and His Son was separated from His Father. The immense and excruciating pain and despondency felt at that moment was indeed almost unbearable. Praise the Lord the account does not end here because we serve a risen Savior who arose from sting of death and His grave on the third day, just as was prophesied. What did the redemption cost Jesus His Son? Jesus- who before His incarnation had never known pain, never stepped upon a briar, never was familiar with the shivers of cold, or the pangs of hunger, fatigue or deprivation of any kind; was willing to be made into flesh by the Father and come to earth. He had never been subject to life, as we know it, existing on earth. He had never felt the limitations or pain of a human body. He had never been without the Spirit residing inside of Him. He had never known or heard mocking or ridicule, only Heaven’s joyful hymns, worship and exaltation. In the realms of glory His “parentage” or lineage was never brought into question or challenged in any way. He had never been lonely or felt despair. He never felt abandoned and was never without the fellowship of the Trinity or the adoration of angels. His motives had never been questioned. His words had never been doubted. In fact, He was the very Word of God in the flesh. What did the redemption cost the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit was quenched. The sting of sin, the entire sin debt of all men, was placed upon Jesus as He hung upon the cross. This sin debt was staggering, a debt nOBody but the Son of God could repay. This debt was so looming and massive it quenched the Holy Spirit as the moment Jesus said “It is finished.” The Holy Spirit was without breath, or life, at that very moment in time. The Spirit is the comforter, instructor holy guide; He quickens, and intercedes for us with the Father, even when we do not have our own words to articulate prayerful conversation with Him. The Holy Spirit was not in any communication with the Father, on Jesus’s behalf, at this very moment of death. Praise the Lord Jesus won the victory over death. Jesus did arise from His grave three days later securing victory over death and breathing new life into the Holy Spirit which then ascended upon Jesus Christ at Pentecost. This completed the eternal path for whosoever believeth on the three triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2 KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14 KJV) "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13 KJV) There is no spiritual good in the earth of which the three triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not the author, creator and sustainer. He was there in the beginning of time and will be present at the ending of time. Those who expediently OBey His will, leading, and power receive the things of God; whatever it may He has in store for our lives. When Christians choose to be disOBedient to the will of God and sow unspiritual fruits into our lives we can quench or limit ourselves from the Spirit of God working within us. Sin of any sort separates us from God, creating a ravine between us and Him, just as it came between God and His Sn Jesus hanging upon the cross. The three triune God is holy and sin never resides within Him. His power can keep us upon the path towards Christ-likeness as we journey towards eternity. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32 KJV) Oh that we may never grieve, or quench the fire of, the Holy Spirit but rather OBey, praise and adore Him. He wants to express Himself in and through our attitudes and actions; reaping a harvest of spiritual fruits bringing Him glory and honor. We hinder His spirit by living in a sinful lifestyle and not separating ourselves apart from the world unto the Father’s will for our lives. Sometimes we choose to lead our lives without including God in the blueprint going out on a dangerous and crooked path that “feels right” according to our feeling, emotions, and standards the world has set forth for us to stumble down upon the wider path leading to Hell. Not including Him in every fine detail of our lives declares forcefully we can handle things on our own and in our own way. Equivocally this is stating we know better than God and are looking for a vacancy in the trinity, allowing us to rule and govern our own life just as we please, and leaving God out of the picture. For Further Contemplation: The three triune holy God has everything under His control since the beginning of time. Allow Him to steer you on the narrow path which leads to eternity with Him.
  46. 1 point
    Repent Part 1: A SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON THE WORD June 26, 2014 at 9:50am Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. People generally don't read really long articles so we will explore and discuss what it means to repent together, in parts. In the days after creation the number of people grew. Mankind was wicked and God was "angry" that the internal thoughts of man were constantly about doing hurt to other people. So the Bible says that "it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." We see that the word repent in Genesis 6:6 has a primary feeling of REGRET and God has redecided, essentially changed his mind, about creating man. Now move the picture to Exodus. Moses and the Israelites are heading to the promised land. Moses is in the mountain in the presence of God. The people get impatient and make a golden calf and they begin to treat the golden calf as their deliverer from Egypt. God led them out of Egypt strongly and they are crediting a statue! They had a pagan style party and a celebration with the calf overlooking the festivities. In Exo 32:10 God says he is ready to "consume them." Moses intercedes and verse :14 "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." The "evil" was not a sin but God was ready to kill those people.Then God changed his mind. In this case there is no regret (he is ready to consume them) but he decided not to do it. We now see in one verse repent is regret with a change in another it is strongly a change of mind. In none of these cases is it turning away from sin. Repent has a range of meanings. The semantic range will grow as you read all 109 verses the word appears in. I will link all the verses using repent at the end. The Israelites are in the promised land. The people start doing what they think is right instead of what God says is right. The Israelites also failed to drive out all the inhabitants of the land. So God stirs up the inhabitants against the disOBedient Israelites. We will recall the Philistines were one of the peoples that gave the Israelites trouble in the book of Judges. The Israelites groaned and complained about all the inhabitants of the land giving them trouble. God's response is, in Judges 2:18, to give the people leaders called judges, to lead and help them and "delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them" In this case we see there is a temporary change of mind about allowing the oppression of the Israelites (the judges weren't permanent) and there was only some regret (the oppressors were not fully dealt with). We now see here that repent is some change of mind and some regret. In another repent was mostly to regret. In another repent was strongly a change of mind. Now, one day a man (Levite) and his "wife" are traveling. It is late and they arrive at a city in the tribe of Benjamin's territory. There is no place to stay but an old man is kind and helps the travelers out. Soon a loud banging is heard where the Levite is staying with his "concubine." The Benjamites forced the stranger to give his "wife" and they abused her all the night long. The nation of Israel is angered and gathers an army and asks for the wicked men that abused the woman. Benjamin refused to turn the men over and Israel goes to war with Benjamin. Nearly the entire tribe of Benjamin is wiped out in the war. When the israelites finally realize the degree of the slaughter they exclaim in Judges 21:6 "And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day." Primarily this is regret a "what did I do! I can't believe we wiped them out!." They certainly did not change their mind about the war but they regretted the degree to which they defeated the Benjamites. You can say they reconsidered wiping out the Benjamites. But again we see the degree of "change of mind" and "regret" implied by the word "repent" is different. One more illustration. The Judges situation isn't working and the Israelites want someone more permanent. People like Samson were just a temporary solution. God gives them a king instead of judges like Samson. God chooses Saul to be king. Saul messes up and the Bible says (1 Sam 15:35) "the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel" Now, the primary meaning here is regret but includes a change of mind. NOW, BASED ON WHAT WE READ FAST FORWARD TO A VOICE CRYING "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" Interpreting the above words in light of what the word repent means in our study so far: In this case "for" is a way of saying "because." Also, KINGdom indicates the system and rules and regulations coming under the just and good rule of Jesus Christ. So that verse currently interprets as "change your mind about the system and regulations of this world, possibly regret you even live under the world system, and point yourself to the kingdom under the Lord Jesus Christ". Based on what we studied so far the is no way to get repent of your sins out of that word. Stay tuned as I plan to develop the definition of the word repent with further installments of this meditation on the word repent. reference:https://www.facebook.com/notes/damon-lee-gang/every-verse-containing-repent-in-some-english-form/10152556451589357
  47. 1 point
    irishman

    Spreading The Seed

    Spreading the Seed Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you. (Hag. 2:9) Though the immediate text speaks of the blessing of God, and the lack of it, one cannot ignore the question he asks “Is the seed yet in the barn?” I wonder if the Gospel seed is lying dormant in your barn? Friends, we need to get the seed out of the barn; we need to spread the Word and allow the seed to grow into a great tree of faith in the lives of others; we need to be OBedient to that heavenly calling. As each of us read these words, our thoughts are “I am ok, I am doing enough”, but are we really doing enough? Is the seed yet in the barn? Seed left in the barn will rot; it is of no use at all until it is planted in the soil, and watered. The apostle Paul did not do enough; King David did not do enough; Moses did not do enough, nor does anyone else, except our Lord. Only He can truly say, “It is finished”. Men have traversed the oceans, and climbed to the highest heights that this earth affords, only to realize that they had not done enough; they were not satisfied and had not fulfilled their tasks. It is never enough. The message for us today is “Go, go, go!”. Let us look closely at the command: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mk. 16:15). “GO” is the command to all of us, with no exceptions. Those who are not physically able to “go” can go by proxy and in fact “send” others, thereby going through them, and with them. “GO YE” the little word “ye” is a plural word, and means “You all”, or “all of you”. Again the command is all-inclusive; it is personalized and generalized; for everyone individually, as well as collectively. 1. Where are we commanded to go? “Into all the world”. “All” is another small world that says a lot. We are to leave out not one, but to reach every corner of the world. Friends, this is a big world; we cannot, as individuals, reach every corner of the world; it is, for the most part, impossible if not merely impracticable. This command therefore, speaks of missions also, where we can, by proxy, all reach the entire world. Let us not be negligent in “going”. The command “Go ye” entails “all of you”; “Ye” is a plural term, and speaks of every Christian, and every church. We are all told to “go”, and collectively, we can reach every corner of the world. 2. What are we expected to do? Preach the Gospel. When we preach we see a threefold outline in one word: 1.“Preach” to 2. “Reach” 3. “Each” person with the Gospel of Christ. We have been fully equipped to do so; “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” ( 2 Tim. 3:17). The Word of God has equipped us for the task at hand. This means that we are without excuse--we all have the ability to reach others with the Gospel message, and are fully equipped to do so. If you don’t know how to lead someone to the Lord, that is your fault, not the Lord’s; if you are afraid to go, that too is your fault, and the entire blame rests on you. Some have said “I don’t know what to say” or, like Moses, “I am not eloquent” (in a sense), but that too is only fear, we are still commanded to go. We are to “preach the Gospel”. By this command, even ladies are able to “preach” when they give the Gospel to lost souls, lest any say they are excluded from the command. 3. Whom are we to reach? “Every creature”. Not only is none excluded from the command, but none from the hearing of the message; we are to exclude no one, and to be OBlivious to race, creed, or orientation; we are not to be “respecters of persons”. Now, OBviously this “creature” is man, and not beast, as they have no sense of spiritual things; but many times we become judges, and determine some men to be “beasts” and therefore exempt from the hearing of the Gospel. We begin to “choose” who we will “preach” to, and leave some to fall by the wayside. I ask you, my friends, “Is the seed yet in the barn”? Is it hidden deep inside of you so that it is of no practical use for anyone else? Is it too small a seed that you feel it will not bear fruit? Whatever the case, we are to “go”; one preacher put it this way: “If you take the “go” out of Gospel, all you have left is a spel (spell). Perhaps you have taken the “go” out of Gospel; if so, break that spell that fear and the devil has upon you. “Go“, for the sake of Calvary; “Go” for the sake of others; “Go” for your own sakes, that the Word of God may dwell richly in you, and be fruitful, and the kingdom of God will be multiplied, and you will be blessed beyond measure until your “cup runneth over” with blessings. 4. How long are we to “go”? Isaiah asked this same question when speaking to the Lord: “Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.” (Isa. 6:11,12) Just previous to this, the Lord commanded Isaiah to go and preach to the people: “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isa. 6:9,10) Today we are to go until there is no more going, and speak until we can no longer speak the name of Jesus unto men; we are to go even if they will not hear us. Though Isaiah’s message was a different message to a chosen people, we too are to until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and until the houses of men be utterly desolate, and men flee from our presence, and there be a great forsaking in the land. Our call is not much different than Isaiah’s call--go, and preach until there is no one else to preach to. Is the seed still in the barn? It is time for the planting for soon it will be harvest time. Oh that we would not say with the prophet “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)
  48. 1 point
    http://www.gracebaptistinbridgeport.com/sermons/i-need-him/?view=audio
  49. 1 point
    God is long suffering and forgiving towards sinners, giving them many opportunities to repent and do right. However, God lets us know that there are certain immoral actions that cannot be allowed to continue openly in a just society. In Leviticus 18 God explains the baseline moral requirements for the nation to be allowed to remain in His Holy Land. In this sermon we show the moral sins God particularly hates. Including Abortion, Infanticide, Incest, Molestation, homosexual acts, Bestiality, and etc. The passage explains that if they are not put away from the people then God will visit the iniquity of these sins on us all and the land itself will "vomit" them and us out of it. We also deal with the Sodomite Agenda to deceive society in these matters. Attempting to make these things acceptable in our land. Preached: April 15, 2018 Sunday Morning. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA.
  50. 1 point
    DeaconDixon

    Babies Go To Hell!

    "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me." - Psalms 51:5 There has of late been some discussion as to the destination of those who die in their infancy, before they are old enough to understand Jesus. Of course, the feel-good, tree-hugging, whale-loving liberals assert that God couldn't possibly send babies to hell as this would be "unfair" or "cruel", and that by some mysterious loophole in the rules for Salvation God allows those who are too young to be "accountable" into Heaven, no questions asked. As usual, the position of the lieberals in this debate finds no support whatsoever in the Scriptures. The Bible is clear - EVERYONE who has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour by the time they die goes straight to the fiery bowels of hell, no exceptions and NO EXCUSES. Relative to the argument that babies do not go to hell is the false belief that babies and infants are innocent, because they are not old enough to sin. This is utter nonsense. Central to the teachings of Christianity is the proposition that the guilt of Adam derived from the original sin is passed down through the blood through each generation (Genesis 5:3). Our ancestor was Adam - He rebelled against God. That's enough. Since the fall, we are guilty for even existing. You don't know much about Christian theology if you don't know that. It is not a matter of choosing to rebel against God when we are old enough to drink and drive. If it was a choice entirely dependent on free will, then chances are some people would choose not to rebel. It would prOBably work out about 50/50. But the Bible says that the whole human race, every individual who has ever lived and ever will live deserves to go to hell (and that even includes you, my esteemed fellow true Christians). As the theologian John Calvin demonstrated, there is nothing whatsoever that we can do by our own free will to get saved. Nothing! The only way to get saved is to get Grace, and you can only get Grace if God decides to give it to you. The sign of having Grace is a compulsion within your heart to accept Jesus and a miraculous ability to believe in every word of the Bible (have you ever tried to FORCE yourself to believe in something? Hold a gun to someone's head and demand they believe that the earth is flat, or that unicorns exist. It is impossible - no matter how hard the person tries. Belief is NOT subject to will power). We are ALL tainted with sin from the moment of conception (Psalms 24:4) and we need the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins in the eyes of the Lord. So until the born again experience happens, Salvation is not possible. Therefore, babies and unborn babies who die go straight to hell. You might think that this is "unfair", but it's not unfair at all. Those who do not have the opportunity to receive salvation, who never in their lifetimes hear the gospel preached (eg babies and savages living in jungles), OBviously were Predestined by God to go to hell. God makes sure that His elect are able to hear the gospel preached to them during their lifetimes, in order to give them an opportunity which He knows they will take advantage of. But with a lot of the reprOBate, He decided not to bother letting them hear the gospel because He had already decided to send them to Hell anyway. God knows everything, so if a baby dies, God OBviously allowed that baby to die because He knew that if it had lived it would have grown up to be a sinner. A liberal so called "Christian" I once conversed with, recounted the Old Testament story of a father who was promised that he would be reunited with his dead son, who died in infancy. But the important point to remember here is that this occured in the OLD Testamant. Before Jesus, the requirements for Salvation were very different. OBviously Moses did not go to hell eventhough He never accepted Jesus as his Saviour - he could not have done, as Jesus had not been born at that stage. In Old Testament times, to belong to the Jewish race (God's chosen people) was sufficient qualification to ensure a place in Heaven, so long as you did not break the laws of the Prophets. But since the New Testament, it is imperative to believe in Jesus to get to Heaven. Furthermore, one of my associates presented a very simple tongue-in-cheek argument that if death in infancy ensures salvation then it is a very good idea to kill babies. The vast majority of the human race at present is NOT made up of true Christians (Bible-believing fundamentalists), so for a new born, odds are that he or she will grow up to become part of the hellbound majority. Death in infancy, therefore, would guard against that risk, and would be a small price to pay to ensure eternal bliss as opposed to eternal misery and torture. To suggest that God makes exceptions to the rule that you must believe in Jesus to get into heaven, based on age or any other reason is to make a mockery of the whole notion of Salvation. It is either necessary to believe in Jesus, or it isn't. If God is going to make exceptions then it OBviously isn't necessary. If God is going to allow unsaved babies to go to heaven by default then He is just playing games with us and Jesus isn't necessary at all. It would be better, in that case, to go and live in some remote community in some OBsure, primitive country and have a great time sinning all you like. At death, you will end up in heaven anyway if God can see that you have never been told about Jesus and the Bible. Babies, and young children who die before they are old enough to understand the gospels and worship Jesus, unfortunately go straight to Hell. This is a Bible fact, and anybody who disagrees is guilty of heresy. I trust that I have sucessfully refuted the heresies of the lieberal element that have been smearing the internet with their new-age, pluralist (aka satanic) lies. On a final note, I would like to add that the thought of all those screaming infants in hell is enough to make you want to avoid the place at all costs, if you needed any more encouragement!
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