At the last day

“Now this is the will of the one who sent me—that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father—for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6.39-40

The Father’s will looks past the present, to the last day, to giving eternal life. He is interested in saving every single person. He does so through faith in the Son.

Believing in Christ means trust, faithfulness, and obedience. It means full commitment to the Lord. Does he have that from me?

#votd #John #will-of-God

Oct. 17. Personal Letter to Philemon

Philemon 1:1-3

Research indicates that Philemon was a very influential Christian in the area of Colosse and Laodicea with his house being a meeting place for the church. He was a close friend of Paul and was probably converted during his ministry at Ephesus.

Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves had run away and eventually arrived in Rome where he met Paul and was converted to Christ. Slaves were chattel property and had no civil rights, but had an obligation to faithfully serve their masters. Christianity did not abolish slavery, but it recognized Christian slaves and masters as brothers.

After his conversion, Onesimus had become a friend and helper of Paul. Even though he was of great assistance, Paul persuaded him to return to his master, Philemon.

Paul wrote the letter to Philemon to inform him of the conversion of Onesimus and to ask that he receive him back as a brother in Christ. This letter was probably written during his imprisonment in Rome about A.D. 62 at the same time Ephesians and Colossians were written and was carried by Onesimus as he returned to his master.

In his letters to the various churches, Paul felt that it was needful to begin by reminding them of his authority as an apostle. It was not necessary to repeat that to Philemon because of their close friendship. He did, however state that he was a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Timothy who probably did the writing for him was present.

It is thought that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and that Archippus was his son. He also addressed the church in Philemon’s house as they also were interested in the welfare of Onesimus.

#chronological-bible-study

Men will be humiliated

The message of God for Judah and Jerusalem in Isaiah chapter 2 included something the nation needed very badly and would receive from God.

“Proud men will be brought low, arrogant men will be humiliated; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,” God told his prophet.

Sometimes it is possible for my ego to convince me something that isn’t true. Ego says it can sustain or enhance life all by itself. Ego takes responsibility for all the good things that happen and denies any negative consequences.

The prophets tried to tell Judah not to rely on itself but to rely on God. Jeremiah told Judah it was not possible for humanity to direct its steps (Jeremiah 10:23). Did Judah listen? Unfortunately, it did not. It became necessary for Judah to enter Babylonian captivity.

But God was not trying to hurt Judah when he humbled it. He was trying to help it. Yes, that doesn’t seem to make much sense, but it can.

Often it isn’t possible to realize how beautiful it is in the mountains until one has been in the valley. When one is humbled, it is possible for one to learn how much wisdom there is down there. While spending time in the valley is often not pleasant, we can learn how profitable hardship can be if we learn the lessons God wants to teach us.

The truth is that we need to become humble. We need to learn that we can’t and shouldn’t depend on ourselves for everything. We need to learn not to try and outrun God. It is when we do try to race him that we can fall.

By humbling us, God is trying to help us realize the importance of following and obeying him.

Sin’s consequences

What we believe about God sometimes depends on what we will accept.

Most people believe in God’s grace and love and they should. God’s grace and love are taught everywhere in the scriptures. The apostle John wrote, “God is love,” (1 John 4:8, 16).

Many people don’t believe God will punish sinners. They don’t want to believe God will execute his wrath on those who disobey him regardless of what the scriptures teach.

It is impossible to believe in God’s grace and love and somehow disbelieve God’s wrath on the disobedient. Paul, in his lovely book to the Romans, wrote, “Behold the kindness and the severity of God,” (Romans 11:22 NASB).

In Isaiah 1:28-31 the prophet explained the terrible consequences that were coming upon Israel and Judah because of its idolatry and unfaithfulness. God said that instead of choosing to obey him, his people had selected “oaks” and “gardens,” (Isaiah 1:29). They had wanted to worship idols instead of remaining faithful to him.

Didn’t God have a right to expect Israel and Judah to remain faithful? God told them he expected their obedience and God told them what would happen if they disobeyed him (Deuteronomy 28:15).

Sin’s consequences are lost on the majority of those who have lived on the Earth. Even today there are those whose unfaithfulness has caused or will cause them to suffer for sin. Then, they accuse God of being careless in punishing them when they are the cause of their sorrow.

Avoiding most of this sorrow is as simple as obeying God and remaining faithful to him. But, have you obeyed God and have you stayed faithful?

Hugh’s News & Views (On Dead Men Climbing Ladders)

ON DEAD MEN CLIMBING LADDERS

In an effort to downplay the necessity of taking the steps necessary for being saved from sin and becoming a Christian, it has been asserted that “dead men don’t climb ladders.” But what proves too much proves too little! Using that same “logic,” dead men do not go to the mourner’s bench. Dead men do not “pray through.” Dead men do not kneel down by their radio or television set and “receive Jesus into their heart.” Dead men do not walk to the front at a “Crusade for Christ.” Dead men do not “just believe.” Dead men do not say “the sinner’s prayer.” Yet, all of these are taught as things that a person can do to be saved.

It is rather obvious that a person who is literally and physically dead can do nothing. Physically dead men don’t breathe, eat, think, talk, walk, or work! Neither do they read the Bible! And, it is true that the alien sinner (the sinner who has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ and who has not become a child of God) is said to be “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). But, the fact that a person may be spiritually dead does not mean that he is physically dead and therefore incapable of doing anything to save himself. A person who is spiritually dead but physically alive is capable of hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel which is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16). Continue reading

#calvinism, #hughfulford, #salvation

As the crowds were increasing: Luke 11.29

“As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”

Luke 11.29

Jesus was concerned for numbers, as long as those numbers reflected true understanding of God’s will. Otherwise, he worked to pare the numbers down.

Does a concern to please others and fill seats dampen my enthusiasm for the truth and for helping people face their sins?

#votd #Luke #church-growth

Oct. 16. Prayer and Christian Living Emphasized as Paul Closed Colossian Letter

Col. 4:2-18

Next to salvation, the ability to pray is probably the greatest blessing that Christians receive from God. It may also be one of the most misused privileges.

Paul instructed the Colossians to continue in prayer—not just as an emergency tool during times of trouble, but as a constant open door of communication with God. He especially urged them to be thankful and to pray that doors of opportunity to preach the gospel would be opened for him. (Major points needed in today’s prayers.)

Christian influence is a key to opening many doors of opportunity into the hearts of sinful man. Paul reminded the Colossians that they were being observed by those who were outside the church and that they should conduct themselves accordingly.

As Paul concluded his epistle to the Colossian church, he sent greetings from those who were working with him. One of those was Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Note that whatever problems Paul had with Mark that caused the dissension between himself and Barnabas in Antioch at the beginning of his second missionary journey several years earlier have been resolved and that Mark and Paul are working together in Rome.

Paul instructed the Colossians to allow the church at Laodicea to read this letter after they had read it; then read the letter from Laodicea. It is thought that the “epistle from Laodicea” was a copy of the letter to the Ephesians that Paul wanted to be shared among the churches of that region. In closing, Paul again requested the prayers of the Colossians.

#chronological-bible-study

God’s wrath: Ephesians 5.6-7

“Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them, …”

Ephesians 5.6-7

Empty words are enticement to sin. Disobedience brings down punishment. Obedience avoids God’s wrath. Saints must avoid participation in sin.

Am I swayed by the world’s persuasive words? Do I diminish the reality of God’s wrath? Do I attempt to reconcile sin with holiness?

#votd #Ephesians #wrath

Oct. 15. Put Away old Sinful Life; Put on new

Col. 3:1-4:1

Paul reasoned that if one had died with Christ and had been raised with Him, his affections must be on the things that are above with Him and not with the earthly things of his past life as a sinner. Sins such as fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, lying, malice filthy language and others that he mentioned are to be buried with the old man.

In Christ there is no distinction between nationalities, races, genders or social classes. They all are the elect of God. All become one in Him and the elect of God upon their obedience to His commands.

The new man, the newly resurrected Christian is to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. As Paul had stressed earlier, Christians cannot expect to be forgiven by God unless they are willing to forgive one another. With love in his heart, one will possess these characteristics and enjoy the peace of God in the body of Christ in this life and later receive his reward in heaven.

Paul made the same admonition to the Colossians about singing that he had made to the Ephesians. Singing is a direct act of worship to God and a major teaching tool to edify one another. Christians must allow the word of God or the Spirit to fill the heart as they teach and admonish others in song.

There is no mention of a mechanical instrument of music connected with singing. Everyone is admonished to sing. If an instrument were intended, that same admonition would also require each person to play an instrument. Additionally, if the Lord had wanted one’s singing to be accompanied with mechanical music, he would have surely made that known in His word.

The sound of mechanical instruments overpowers the vocal expressions of singing making it difficult to fully understand the words being expressed in the songs. There is a danger that one will focus his attention upon the musical performance instead of the words being sung intended for his admonition. All that Christians do in worship must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus or by His authority. Therefore, man must not usurp the wisdom of God by adding sounds that He did not authorize!

Paul also repeated his instructions for wives to submit to their own husbands. This submission is to be in love and respect for the responsibilities husbands have, not as masters, but as the heads or leaders of the family. She, however is not to allow her husband to lead her to disobey God.

Husbands were also commanded to love their wives. They are to protect their wives to the extent of dying for them. Husbands must not mistake their leadership role as an excuse to be a ruler or tyrant.

Children were instructed to obey their parents in all things. That includes unpleasant chores as well as those things that are enjoyable. A child is relieved from that responsibility if his parents try to influence him to disobey God.

Fathers are to relate to their children in a way that will encourage them to be obedient to their parents and to God. Harsh and constant criticism hinders the mental and spiritual development of tender minds. The father who constantly finds fault may eventually cause his child to give up in despair.

As he stated to the Ephesians, Paul also urged the Colossian slaves to obey and respect their masters. Servants, whether they are slaves or hired are required to give an honest service before God.

Just as slaves were required to serve their masters, the masters were to treat their slaves with fairness and dignity. Paul reminded them that they have a Father in heaven who would treat them with the same severity or love that they administered to their slaves.

#chronological-bible-study

Are you better off?

In 1980, Ronald Reagan debated Jimmy Carter in that year’s presidential contest. Reagan asked a question that resonated with voters. “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Reagan asked.

Many people believe the measure of a government is how much economically “better off” citizens are. The true measure of a nation is much different.

God’s people in the prophet Isaiah’s time were wealthy and successful. God was dissatisfied with Israel because they were guilty of sin. Israel had forgotten its primary allegiance and its most profound need was its obedience to God.

Homer Hailey, in his classic commentary of Isaiah wrote, “All of this accumulation of material wealth and power had led the Jews to forget their dependence on God.”[1] Israel had begun to think its success was assured because it was successful. Little did it realize that material wealth is a terrible indicator of national well-being.

What is a good sign of national success? In Isaiah 2, God said the acid test of any nation is how it cares for the poor. God asked, “What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the face of the poor?” (Isaiah 3:15 NASB). Israel was crushing people and grinding their faces. Israel was instructed to care for the poor and the orphan, but in its sinfulness, it was hurting those who were least able to defend themselves.

Economic indicators are a popular method of measuring success by many people, but that is not the way God views it. The prophet Amos also took the northern kingdom of Israel to task for failing to care for its poor (Amos 4:1; 5:11, 12).

Why is it that caring for the poor is the true measure of a people? If a nation cares for its poor, it is doing so in obedience to the commands of God. It is selfishness and ungodliness that drives governments (and people who run them) to neglect those who need help.

[1] “A Commentary on Isaiah,” by Homer Hailey, Baker Publishing, Page 50.

Oct. 14. Be Alert for False Doctrine

Col. 2:1-23

Even though Paul had never preached directly to the Colossians, he was deeply concerned about them and the church at Laodicea only a short distance away. He warned them to be alert for those who would attempt to deceive them with false doctrine.

Paul knew through the reports from Epaphras that the Colossians had received and obeyed the proper doctrine from the beginning. He urged them to continue to allow their roots to penetrate that firm foundation of faith.

Judaizing teachers were trying to persuade the Colossians to follow their traditions instead of obeying Christ. They were being pressured to submit to circumcision, to avoid certain foods and drink and to observe special days.

Paul assured the Colossians that they had indeed been circumcised, but that their circumcision was of the heart and not the ceremonial removal of a piece of skin. They had received this circumcision as God had cut off their whole body of sin at the time they were buried with Christ in baptism. Just as He was raised from the dead, they had been raised with Him in baptism. Baptism means nothing however, unless it is accompanied by a genuine faith in a risen Christ. Christians are complete in Christ.

The old law was contrary to man in that it condemned, but could not save. It was necessary for the blood of Christ to wash away all sins. These handwritten ordinances had been nailed to the cross with Christ at His death.

There are those today who still contend that we must keep the Ten Commandments. They were superseded when the old law was nailed to the cross. Some of the old laws were re-enacted in the New Testament and are to be observed—not because of the old law, but because they are now a part of the new law.

Paul warned the Colossians about those who would take upon themselves a false humility of practicing things that were not authorized by Christ, even starvation and self-mutilation. There were those who advocated the worship of angels or going through angels to reach God—totally unauthorized.

The apostle Paul had previously explained the superiority of Christ and the importance of worshipping Him only. He is the Head of the body, the church. As the members of the physical body are dependent upon the head for physical life, the spiritual body is dependent upon Christ for spiritual life.

If the Colossians had died with Christ to the ordinances of the Law of Moses and the traditions of men, Paul asked them why they would still subject themselves to regulations prohibiting touching, tasting and handling certain foods, drinks or even people. These were manmade requirements and not authorized by God.

#chronological-bible-study

Turn right and go straight

Occasionally, my wife and I disagree. Don’t all marriages have these problems? Usually, these difficulties center around something trivial. Only rarely are they serious matters.

An examination of the Old Testament scriptures shows how much patience God displayed toward Israel. Even after the nation divided, God showed enormous restraint. But by the time of Isaiah’s book, his patience was growing very, very thin.

In Isaiah 1:10-20, the Lord God began identifying his people as Sodom and Gomorrah. The two unholy cities had been destroyed ages ago and chronicled in the book of Genesis, but his people reminded God of them and their rank disobedience.

What probably made things worse was the practice of worshipping idols and God almost at the same time. Idolatry was rank in the northern ten tribes, but it was also a problem in Judah, the southern kingdom. Judah was attempting to have both God and idols.

God’s anger is plain in that first chapter of Isaiah. He accused his people of trampling his courts, offering meaningless sacrifices, attending worthless assemblies and burning detestable incense. He told them in no uncertain terms he was hiding his eyes, closing his ears to their prayers because their hands were bloody (Isaiah 1:15).

The solution was simple: turn right and go straight! They needed to wash the filth of sin away. “Wash and make yourselves clean!” God exclaimed. The righteous God cannot abide sin, and its presence is utterly foreign to him. How can mankind live within the scope of its influence and yet ask him for help?

God told his people, “Let’s settle the matter!” God wanted to forgive his people, but they had to start doing what was right. They needed to seek justice, or right doing.

Maybe it’s time for you to think about putting away your sinful practices. God only wants you to do the same thing he wanted for Israel. Turn right and go straight! Learn to do what is right and just. Obey God and put sin away forever.

Peace into every troubled heart

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

Зоставляю вам мир, мир Свій вам даю! Я даю вам не так, як дає світ. Серце ваше нехай не тривожиться, ані не лякається! (Від Івана 14:27 Ukrainian)

O LORD my God, thank you dear Father in heaven for this new day that arrives with what may seem to be insurmountable challenges. Yet, I know Lord that with Christ everything is possible and so I ask on behalf of all faithful Christians ~ bring peace into every troubled heart. We all need true peace that springs from our blessed Jesus to true believers in your Holy Scriptures. Not the peace of the babbling pseudo psychologists of this world. Such mock peace fails to prepare the church to interact with non-believers who refuse to acknowledge right and wrong as coming from your eternal wisdom. Help us Lord to behave humbly with the confidence of our faith that comes from the peace you give us. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley

I have not turned from my God, 2 Samuel 22.22

“For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to follow evil.”

2 Samuel 22.22 NLT

David’s victory song celebrates God’s deliverance from Saul and all his enemies. The Lord repaid him for his godly conduct.

One version translates the last phrase, “I’ve done nothing that would separate me from God” (VFL). Have I done anything that would remove me from his presence?

#votd #2Samuel #conduct

Oct. 13. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians

Col. 1:1-29

Colosse was a city of Phrygia located about one hundred miles east of Ephesus. It was near Laodicea and Hierapolis originally on a trade route between Ephesus and the Euphrates River Valley. As those nearby cities increased in importance, Colosse decreased.

It is thought that Epaphras was mainly responsible for establishing the Colossian church as well as churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis. Evidently Epaphras had reported to Paul that members of the Colossian church were teaching some of the old Jewish and pagan doctrines. They denied that Christ was supreme and taught the worship of angels.

This letter was probably written from Rome about A.D. 62 at the same time as Ephesians and Philemon were written and was delivered by Tychicus and Onesimus. Its purpose was to make the supremacy of Christ in the church clear to the Colossians.

Paul began the Colossian letter in his usual style. He established his identity and authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ and acknowledged the presence of Timothy with him in Rome. It was also his practice to greet the recipients of his writings with thanksgiving and praise for their faith and love. He was a prayerful man and informed the Colossians that they were constantly in his prayers to God.

As he continued his salutation, Paul reminded the Colossians of the heavenly reward that is waiting for them and all faithful Christians. Through their obedience to the things taught to them by Epaphras, they were growing and bearing the same fruits of the Spirit that had been showered upon them. They were described as saints of the light, having been delivered from the power of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.

Those who are expecting Christ’s kingdom to be established in the future should note that the Colossians were already being added to that kingdom. It is the church of Christ and was established on the first Pentecost after His death.

Christians are still humans subject to temptations and enticing words of false teachers. Paul turned his attention to the report of Epaphras regarding errors that were being taught to the Colossians at that time. He began by explaining the eternal presence of Christ with God and that man’s redemption, the forgiveness of sins is through His blood.

#chronological-bible-study