Fools mock at reparation: Proverbs 14.9

“Fools mock at reparation, but among the upright there is favor.”

Proverbs 14.9

“An intelligent man knows that sin cannot be justified and hence knows better than to try. Fools may know enough to recognize sin but are so lacking in good sense they resort to mocking as an ‘alibi’ for their evil deeds. A man who is righteous will gain the favor of God; if he makes a mistake he will make amends to God” (E.M. Zerr).

#votd #Proverbs #sin

May 23. Jesus Denounces the Scribes and Pharisees in His Last Public Teaching

Mt. 23:1-39; Mk. 12:38-40; Lk. 20:45-47

Jesus turned His attention from the Jewish leaders and began to speak more directly to the apostles and the other people assembled in the temple at that time. He instructed them to follow the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees, but to avoid their examples.

As He spoke, Jesus directed some of His most harsh criticism toward the scribes and Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. They were guilty of making a big show of their religion by the garments they wore, the desire to be in the places of honor and praying long prayers only to be seen of men. Humility is an attribute that was lacking among these people.

By opposing Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees were blocking the kingdom of heaven—not going in themselves nor allowing others to enter either.

Jesus pronounced a series of woes upon the scribes and Pharisees. He denounced them for their hypocritical actions, mistreating of widows, spiritual blindness, attention to small things but overlooking major issues and for having unclean hearts. He compared them to decorated tombs that looked good on the outside, but inside contained dead bodies.

As Jesus continued to warn the people to avoid the sins of the scribes and Pharisees, He began to warn them of the destruction of Jerusalem. He expressed His desire to shelter them as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but they were not willing.

#chronological-bible-study

Hugh’s News & Views (The “Before” And The “After” . . .)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

THE “BEFORE” AND THE “AFTER” OF GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE

As a sequel to our two previous essays on God’s eternal purpose, it will be highly informative to observe the contrast of the before and the after of the making known of His eternally purposed scheme of redemption. This involves not only the status of the purpose itself, but also of humanity.

The observant reader of scripture will be struck by the use of such expressions as “once,” “then,” “at that time,” “in other ages,” etc., followed by “but now.” For instance, in Ephesians Paul speaks of “the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5-6). He speaks of the fellowship of the mystery “which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church . . .” (Ephesians 3:9-10). In Colossians he writes of “the mystery which has been hidden . . . but now has been revealed to His saints” (1:26). In Romans he speaks of “the mystery which was kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest. . .” (Romans 16:25-26). There was the age of mystery when God’s plan was hidden, followed by the age of manifestation when it was made known.

The “before” and the “after” of the unfolding of God’s eternal purpose carries over to the “before” and the “after” of those who enter into that purpose by faith in Christ and obedience to the gospel. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh . . . that at that time you were without Christ, beings aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-13). He goes on to say, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. . .” (verse 19). Earlier he had reminded them that they had been dead in trespasses and sins when they “once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind . . . But God, who is rich in mercy . . . even when we were dead in trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) . . . (Ephesians 2:1-5). Later, he said, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8).

To Titus, Paul wrote: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived . . . but when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared . . .” (Titus 3:3-7). Peter reminded his readers that they “once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:10).

The reality is that all—whether Jews or Gentiles—who have never become participants in God’s eternal purpose find themselves in the “before” situation. Only those who have obeyed the gospel and become Christians are in the “after” situation. Jesus told Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, that he must be born again—of water and the Spirit—in order to enter the kingdom (John 3:3-5). His Jewishness did not automatically make him a part of God’s eternal purpose “which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). In Acts 2, about three thousand Jews heard and believed the gospel, repented, and were baptized for the remission of their sins (verses 22-41), and thereby became participants in God’s eternal purpose. In Acts 10, the first Gentiles were told of God’s eternal purpose, and wishing to be a part of it, they were commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord (verse 48).

In Antioch of Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas, in no uncertain words, informed the Jews who opposed their preaching, “It was necessary that the word of God (His eternal purpose to redeem man through Christ, hf) should be spoken to you first; but seeing you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:45-46). Paul declared that “in times past” God “allowed all nations (the Gentiles, hf) to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). However, with the revealing of God’s eternal purpose, idolatrous Gentiles are told that in the past “these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

When we come to comprehend the “before” and the “after” of God’s eternal purpose, key scriptures in the Old Testament will take on greater significance and deeper meaning, e.g.,: Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 18:15-17; II Samuel 7:1-17; Psalm 110; Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Daniel 2:44 (to mention only a small handful). Likewise, landmark texts of the New Testament will be more greatly appreciated, e.g.,: Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Titus 2:11-14; John 3:16-17; John 1:1-3, 14, 18; I John 1:1-3; Hebrews 2:14-15; Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; I Timothy 1:15; I Timothy 3:16; John 14:6; II Corinthians 5:17; Matthew 16:18-19, 24-27; Luke 24:44-47; Romans 1:16; Jude 3; Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17 (again, only a handful). No longer will the Bible be a disjointed, unintelligible book, but it will be seen as the systematic unfolding of one grand eternal purpose—God’s purpose to redeem man through Jesus Christ—the Old Testament being preparatory for the New Testament, the former giving way seamlessly to the latter.

By understanding God’s eternal purpose, the songs and hymns we offer in praise to God will move us and be more meaningful to us, e.g.,: Tell Me the Story of Jesus, O Listen to Our Wondrous Story, Amazing Grace, We Saw Thee Not, I Know Whom I Have Believed, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, Father of Mercies, Love Lifted Me, Years I Spent in Vanity (all four stanzas to get the full “story”), None of Self and All of Thee (again, all four stanzas to see the complete transition), The Church’s One Foundation, ‘Tis Set the Feast Divine, Just as I Am, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, In Heavenly Love Abiding, Blessed Assurance, Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand, O to Be Like Thee, This World is Not My Home, Victory in Jesus, and many, many others—not the jazzy, “campy,” syncopated songs, but those of significant theological content (though simplicity of language does not mean an absence of serious content)! Those who do not like to sing and those who do not sing in the assembly of the saints miss so much by way of comprehending and appreciating God’s great eternal purpose.

Most of all, when we come to grips with the “before” and the “after” of God’s eternal purpose, our lives will be tremendously impacted and transformed. We will be able to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Hugh Fulford

May 22, 2018

Weep with those who weep

You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.

I found the above quote in an old little booklet called “Good Stuff.” It reminds us of the importance of being there for others when we’re needed.

Often times we may find it difficult to “be there” for others. The difficulty does not come from a lack of interest or care. The difficulty comes from the awkwardness of not knowing exactly what to do or say to help the hurting.

The simple fact is that there is hardly a time when we could do or say anything that would completely remedy the situation. Pain that produces tears needs more than minutes … it needs weeks, months or maybe even years. But the minutes that we offer and give still matter!

You may have never heard the quote at the beginning, but if you can remember the quote at the end, you will understand the importance of the little things that help us to be better equipped to help with the big things of life. The quote is grouped with a list of things that may not always be easy to do, but they are always worth it.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” (Romans 12:14-16 NKJV)

#grief, #help-others, #mutual-support

May 22. Jesus Asks a Hard Question

Mt. 22:41-46; Mk. 12:35-37; Lk. 20:41-44

After the Jews had failed to trap Jesus, He asked them the question, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”

They replied, “The Son of David.”

This was true in the physical sense, but David had referred to Christ in the Psalms as “Lord.” He asked the Jews why David would call Him “Lord,” if He were His son. They could not or would not acknowledge that He was also the Son of God.

The Jewish leaders did not ask for an explanation, but the common people continued to hear Him gladly.

#chronological-bible-study

This new day

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25 ESV)

Но кто вникнет в закон совершенный, закон свободы, и пребудет в нем, тот, будучи не слушателем забывчивым, но исполнителем дела, блажен будет в своем действии. (Иакова 1:25 Russian)

O LORD God, my dear Father in heaven, hallowed be your name ~ thank you for the incredible gift of life on this new day. Help believers everywhere to magnify the Spirit inspired Scriptures in the way we faithfully follow Christ’s teaching. Silence the mouths of those people who attempt to change the message ordained by our Lord and King. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley

What you teach

“Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”

1 Timothy 4.16

It appears that Timothy was easily distracted from his main task. Paul calls him to concentrate on the gospel. Only the gospel saves.

We must practice what we preach. We must also preach what we practice, for people are saved by the words of the message of Christ, Acts 11.14.

#votd #1Timothy #teaching

#1-timothy

May 21. The Jews Try to Trap Jesus

Mt. 22:15-40; Mk. 12:13-34; Lk. 20:20-40

The Herodians were Jews, who were loyal to the Herods. They were enemies of the Pharisees, but on this occasion, the two groups united to try to trap Jesus. Since the Jews hated to pay taxes to the Romans, they asked Him, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”

They thought that if Jesus answered, “Yes,” the Jews would be offended. If He answered “No,” the Romans could arrest Him for encouraging tax evasion. A perfect trap, they thought.

After the Jews had identified Caesar’s image and inscription on a denarius (coin), Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Jesus had stopped the people in their tracks and they were all amazed at His answer.

The Sadducees were a sect of the Jews who did not believe in angels, spirits or the resurrection of the dead. They believed that a person’s reward or punishment came while he was on earth instead of after a resurrection.

After Jesus had silenced the Pharisees and Herodians, the Sadducees tried to trick Him with a question about the “so-called resurrection.” They gave an example of a woman who had been married seven times to brothers. With all seven brothers claiming exclusive rights to the same wife, heaven would seem like a perfect mix-up in family relations.

Jesus pointed out their ignorance. He taught them that marriage is an earthly relationship that ends at death. There is no marriage in heaven.

It was also taught that there is indeed life after death. God is the God of the living, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not of the dead. Therefore, the spirits of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive after death and are waiting for the resurrection of the dead.

After Jesus had silenced the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees, they had a meeting of the minds to determine another way to trap Him.

A lawyer had an idea of another way to trick Jesus into taking sides in a controversial issue. According to Jewish writers, some felt that of the more than six hundred commandments in the Law of Moses, animal sacrifices were the most important; others thought that wearing of phylacteries, or the great feasts or purification were the most important. The lawyer asked Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The lawyer could only admire and agree with Jesus because His answer was so well worded.

Jesus also complimented the lawyer for being “not far from the kingdom of God.” Being not far from the kingdom of God is not the same as being in it. One who is nearly saved is still lost.

These people did not ask Jesus any more questions because they had been embarrassed three times and they did not want to show any more of His wisdom or their own ignorance.

#chronological-bible-study

Be careful how you use this point when talking about the church

I’ve heard it countless times over – “If your church doesn’t have the name of Christ on it then it has the wrong name.”

This is a point oft used when discussing the nature of the church with members of denominationalism, or putting-down denominationalism while talking with members of the church. Either way, one should be careful how this point is used. As a matter of fact, if you take the point as it stands, I’m not so sure the point should be used at all!

In the context of a conversation revolving around church names such as Baptist, Methodist, Adventist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian, (amongst numerous other churches who bear the names and teachings of their man-made and woman-made founders) talking about a scriptural name of the called-out body to which God desires all to belong to is obviously a conversation worth having (Acts 2:47). But we must be careful in drawing lines God has not drawn because we like the way an argument makes us sound.

Let me explain what I am saying as plainly as I can.

I am not ashamed to say I am a member of the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). Not in the least! But neither am I ashamed to say I am a member of the church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2), a member of the church of the first-born (Hebrews 12:23), or even a member of the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15). Perhaps it would even be valid, in the spiritual sense of the church being God’s temple today (2 Corinthians 6:16), to say I am a member of God’s house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). I am not ashamed of these church names because they are found in the same source of spiritual authority to which we call all of the denominational world to submit to – God’s word!

You see, for obvious reasons, placing an emphasis on the identity and ownership of the church through the name of the church is a valid challenge to the majority of the denominational world (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13), but insisting that the church of the Bible wear one specific name while several scriptural names remain available makes our “plea of unity” as denominational in nature as the rest of the divided religious world.

Remember the goal of the restoration movement … the goal of breaking down denominational lines without creating new ones.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”” (Hebrews 2:10-13 NKJV)

#church-of-the-bible, #restoration-movement, #restoration-principle

May 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Sin and Salvation: Part 1)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • What is Sin? (Daniel F. Cates)
  • The Christian’s View of Sin (Cody Westbrook)
  • The Types of Sin (Steven Akin)
  • The Effects of Sin (Todd Clippard)
  • Helping a Brother, Lost in Sin (Rob Whitacre)
  • Helping a Child, Lost in Sin (Carl McCann)
  • Hell: The Eternal Consequence of Sin (Ronnie Scherffius)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#avoiding-sin, #christian-worker, #consequences-of-sin, #dealing-with-a-sinning-brother-or-sister-in-christ, #hell, #parenting-difficulties, #refrain-from-sin, #sin

May 20. Jesus Teaches a Series of Parables

Mt. 21:28-22:14; Mk. 12:1-12; Lk. 20:9-19

As a means to regain their attention, Jesus asked the authorities another question. “What do you think?”

He then began to relate a parable about two sons. Their father asked each of them to go into the vineyard and work.

The first said, “I will not.” He realized his mistake later, repented and went.

After the second son had said, “I go, sir,” he did not go.

Jesus asked the members of the Sanhedrin which son had done the will of the father. They replied, “The first.”

Tax collectors and harlots, who were the scum of the earth in the eyes of these leaders had believed and obeyed the teaching of John the Baptist. Jesus told these rulers, who were pleasing to God in their own eyes that they had refused to believe John.

In another parable, Jesus presented God as the owner of a vineyard. The vineyard was His chosen people, the Jewish nation.

As time went by, the owner leased the vineyard out to vinedressers and went into a far country for a long time. The price of the lease was a portion of the fruit of the vineyard. When the time for fruit drew near, servants were sent to collect the lease payment. Instead of giving fruit to the servants, the vinedressers killed some and beat others.

The owner, thinking that they would respect his son, sent him to collect the payment. In a society of crooked judges, the vinedressers reasoned that if they killed the heir, they could inherit the vineyard. When he arrived, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Some of these leaders did not understand that this story applied to them and said that these men should be destroyed and the vineyard leased to others. Others did grasp what Jesus was talking about and said, “Certainly not!”

In this parable, the vinedressers represented the Jewish leaders and the servants were the prophets that God had sent before the coming of Christ.

Jesus, representing Himself as the son prophesied that He would be killed outside the walls of Jerusalem. This came true later in that same week.

The Jews were eager to build the Messianic kingdom, but they were too blind to see that this kingdom could not be set up without resting upon Jesus as the chief cornerstone. They were unskilled laborers, who rejected the cornerstone of the building they were trying to erect.

Jesus prophesied that many would fall over this stone and be broken. All who face Him in the judgment and are lost will be ground up by this stone.

When the chief priests and scribes understood that Jesus was talking about them, they wanted to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the people because they were highly outnumbered.

Jesus presented a third parable, regarding the marriage of a king’s son, which also showed the Jews refusing to accept Him.

A more detailed application of this parable shows God inviting the Jews into the eternal home in heaven. Prophets, apostles and teachers were sent to deliver the message of salvation. Many of them were mistreated and some of them were even killed. They refused to accept the invitation and God destroyed their city, Jerusalem. Gentiles were then invited.

When Christ comes at the judgment, many will be present, but some will not be prepared because they have not put on Christ, their “wedding garment” as their savior. Since they had opportunities to prepare, they will have no excuse for their neglect.

These people will be bound to prevent the possibility of escape and thrown into eternal punishment where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

#chronological-bible-study

His kingdom our highest calling and purpose

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14 KJV)

Видел я в ночных видениях, вот, с облаками небесными шел как бы Сын человеческий, дошел до Ветхого днями и подведен был к Нему. И Ему дана власть, слава и царство, чтобы все народы, племена и языки служили Ему; владычество Его–владычество вечное, которое не прейдет, и царство Его не разрушится. (Даниил 7:13-14 Russian)

O LORD God of hosts ~ thank you dear heavenly Father for the truth in your Scriptures that gives us hope for the future. Revive the certain faith of Christians in every nation and language as we think about Christ Jesus – our blessed Savior. Encourage leaders in all the local churches to magnify the power and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ even in this age of so-called “high technology”. Tear down the false religions of men who attempt to usurp the authority of Christ our blessed and only Lord. Help every follower of Christ to make His kingdom our highest calling and purpose in this life. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley

Invited to stay: Acts 28.14

“There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.”

Acts 28.14

In Roman custody, on his way to appear before the emperor in his defense, Paul and his companions were shown hospitality by brethren in Puteoli.

Hospitality was above all a missionary activity in the first century. Homes of saints were a major factor in church growth. Let them become so again!

#votd #hospitality #Acts #church-growth

Words

In my college life, I was an English major. Sometimes, the small things you are forced to learn come back to have meaning later. This recently happened to me.
One of my friends has a bad habit of using slang. Now, in one of my Renaissance English classes, we were introduced to the origin of some of the slang. It seems that, in that time period (indeed, in all time periods), men realized that it was a sin to take the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11) and, knowing that man is to be judged by every word he speaks (Matthew 12:36), they thought they could fool God by changing what they said slightly.
Now, I grew up knowing that “darn” was a word to avoid, as it was a corruption of “damn.” But, did you know that other phrases we use were similar in origin? Such things as: “Jiminy Cricket”, “gosh”, “dang”, “cheese it”, “drat”, and “doggone”? There are many more, but you get the idea, don’t you? If we are to be judged by our speech—indeed, by every word—should we not strive to be more careful what words we use?
What say ye?

May 19. Jesus’ Authority Questioned

Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:20-33; Lk. 20:1-8

Tuesday morning as Jesus and the apostles returned to the temple, they passed by the fig tree that He had cursed the day before. The apostles were amazed that the tree was dried up even from the roots. He explained that He performed this miracle to show the importance of faith when one prays. Still, God expects effort on our part. Pray like it all depends upon God and work like it all depends upon us.

After Jesus had arrived at the temple to teach another day, the chief priests, scribes and elders (Sanhedrin) confronted Him. Since they were in charge of the temple, they wanted to know who had given Him authority or permission to teach and heal there. He was probably teaching in the large outer court known as the court of the Gentiles.

The Jews wanted to accuse Jesus of blasphemy in order to have grounds to put Him to death. They thought that He would declare Himself to be the Messiah, which would give them this charge.

In His wisdom, Jesus replied with His own question. “The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”

The Sanhedrin ignored an excellent opportunity to reassess itself and get to the bottom of their quarrel with Jesus. They could have confessed that John was a teacher from God, who taught that Jesus was the Messiah and that He had the proper authority to teach in the temple.

It did not happen. They lied and said, “We do not know.”

Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

#chronological-bible-study