In company with others: 2 Timothy 2.22

“But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

2 Timothy 2.22

In order to refrain from untoward desires, Timothy must “give positive attention” (Phillips) to the virtues of Christ. This is done together with the saints.

Sin may be avoided and righteousness obtained as a part of God’s worshiping family. Seek every opportunity to be with Christ’s disciples.

#votd #2-Timothy #church

Nov. 18. Patience Encouraged; Swearing Condemned

Jas. 5:7-12

The writer returned to the main theme of his letter and encouraged the Jewish Christians to be patient. As a farmer patiently waits for the harvest, they were urged to patiently wait for the Lord’s return. They were to exercise their patience like Job without grumbling about their hardships. No one wants to listen to a complainer, especially God. He destroyed thousands of Jews in the wilderness because of their murmuring.

James emphasized the importance of not using God’s name in a profane and vain (frivolous, irreverent) manner. The first three commandments of the Law of Moses dealt with the proper honor and respect for God and His name.

Many who would not dare to use the words God or Jesus in an expletive as in ”cussing” casually use common derivations of His name in their every day conversations. Some examples of these words include “Gee, Gosh, Gad, Egad, Lord Have Mercy, Golly, Good Gracious, Good Grief, My Goodness, Goodness Knows, Thank Goodness” and many others. One of the worst on TV and in every day conversation is, “Oh, my God.” “Heavens, Good Heavens, For Heaven’s Sake” are words used to call the heavens to witness a statement as truth. Another term that is often used in a frivolous way is, “If the good Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise, I will…”


Your power messenger

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16-17 ESV)

и многих из сынов Израилевых обратит к Господу Богу их; и предъидет пред Ним в духе и силе Илии, чтобы возвратить сердца отцов детям, и непокоривым образ мыслей праведников, дабы представить Господу народ приготовленный. (От Луки 1:16-17 Russian)

O LORD God of hosts shine your face upon us dear heavenly Father, so that we will be pleasing in your eyes. Wash us and cleanse us as we trust and obey your beloved Son. Thank you for sending your powerful messenger to this earth to shock John’s parents with news that his life will be devoted to speaking words of truth that will make people ready to listen to Christ Jesus. Open the cold and indifferent hearts of people living in this present century to the message of love and grace that brings eternal life to everyone who will listen, believe and obey. Restore total faith and confidence in the power of the gospel to save penitent sinners. Give believing parents a new heart of love for the Lord that is transferable to their children. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ


Nov. 17. Warnings Against Fraudulent Riches

Jas. 5:1-6

In turning his attention to the rich, James denounced them for their love of riches and for the methods by which they had amassed their fortunes. These were unbelievers and probably some unfaithful Christians who had oppressed Christians. Instead of using their wealth to aid the poor, they had actually robbed them in various ways.

James informed the rich of the miseries that would come upon them when they faced God in the judgment. Their expensive garments would be consumed by moths and their precious metals would be corroded because of a lack of use. Their possessions and evil lives would witness against them in the judgment. They were guilty of covetousness, oppression, extravagance and persecution.


Nov. 16. Admonitions for Righteousness and Humility

Jas. 4:1-17

While stating the qualities of peace found in God’s wisdom, James asked his readers to examine why they were at war among themselves and even within their own souls. He answered his own question by stating that their lusts for pleasures had kept them from a right relationship with God. Some had neglected to pray while others had prayed for the wrong reasons.

Christians are taught to rely upon God for their needs. Their prayers must be for their needs—not pleasures and to be according to His will. God will not grant improper requests.

James called these Christians adulteresses because of their unfaithfulness in their marriage to Christ. He condemned these spiritual adulteresses for their relationship with the world as a wife who has a relationship with a man who is not her husband. Christians who become friends of the world become enemies of God for He is a jealous God.

Humility is a great characteristic in the eyes of God. James pointed out to his readers that, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Those who would be humble must submit themselves to God by drawing near to Him, cleansing their hands (lives) and purifying their hearts. They must turn from and resist the devil and all that is evil. In their humility, God will lift them up.

Continuing the topic of the improper use of the tongue, James pointed out the need for Christians to refrain from speaking evil or slandering one another. If an evil report is false, it injures an innocent person and causes outsiders to unfairly criticize the church. If it is true, discussing the matter in the community will also bring reproach against the church. Matters of sin within the church must be conducted privately and not through the “court of public opinion.”

James warned his readers about being judgmental. Judging our brother shows a failure to love our brother (neighbor) as ourselves. One can recognize the fruits of good and evil, but judgment belongs to God, the only one true and righteous Lawgiver.

Failure to include God in one’s plans for the future is a serious error in spiritual judgment. James condemned those who would presume to carefully plan their lives with an “I WILL” attitude as if they would live forever. King Solomon warned, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

James stated that no one knows what will happen tomorrow. He described life as a vapor or fog that appears briefly and then dissipates into the atmosphere. Instead of feeling self-sufficient, leaving God out of our lives and arrogantly boasting of what we WILL DO, we should say, “If the LORD WILLS, we shall live and do this or that.” If one does not expressly say, “If the Lord wills,” it should be understood that he has that attitude within his heart.

As Christians, those to whom James was writing knew the Scriptures and the importance of relying upon God in their lives. He informed them that to fail to act properly upon their knowledge was as sinful as it is to disobey a direct command.


Nov. 15. Wise and Foolish Use of the Tongue

Jas. 3:1-18

James returned from encouraging works of faith to additional warnings about the use of the tongue. He had stated earlier the importance of bridling it. Even though teaching/preaching are important works of faith, not everyone has the proper preparation or control of his tongue to please God in this capacity. One should not speak what he does not know because he may lead others into destruction with himself.

All Christians sometimes stumble and must take care not to fall. An obvious mark of Christian maturity is how one uses his tongue.

The tongue is a small member, but like small horses’ bits and ships’ rudders, it controls one’s body. It is also described as a fire, a world of iniquity and an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. There are many occasions when a tiny spark has caused widespread destruction as its fire raged through forests and homes. Likewise, false teaching will send untold millions of souls into eternal destruction.

Wild animals can be tamed, but not the tongue. It can only be controlled.

Another widespread misuse of the tongue occurs when Christians praise and worship God, but with that same tongue curse their fellow man. James pointed out that it is not natural for both fresh and bitter water to come from the same well or for trees and vines to bear foreign fruits. Man should employ the tongue for its natural use of praising God.

James continued his thoughts toward teachers by contrasting the wisdom of God and man. Even if man has knowledge, he cannot teach without the proper wisdom. This wisdom comes from God and excludes envy, selfish ambition, boasting and lying. These evil attributes come from the wisdom of man.

One’s life of words and works denotes the source of his wisdom. Christians must demonstrate this wisdom from above to be effective teachers. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”


Nov. 14. Faith Without Works Equals Dead Faith

Jas. 2:14-26

Logic was used to explain that faith without works (words without action) is useless. Empty words do not show faith—faith is made known by the kinds of acts that a person performs. The writer pointed out that even the demons believe in the one God and tremble, but that is not sufficient to please Him. He cited two Old Testament characters, Abraham and Rahab as examples of some who showed their faith by their works of obedience.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

There are those who insist that there is a contradiction between the teachings of Paul and James regarding faith. Paul, in his letter to the Romans stated that “man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law”, but in that context, he was referring to deeds of the Law of Moses. James, however was writing about works of obedience to the gospel of Christ—different laws and different dispensations.


Nov. 13. Warnings Against Discrimination

Jas. 2:1-13

Christians in the early church were sometimes guilty of showing partiality between the rich and the poor. Jesus died for all people and He taught against discrimination during His earthly ministry. James gave plain directions regarding the attitude of Christians toward those who were poor. He reasoned that the poor were more likely to be obedient to the teachings of Christ, whereas, the rich were often oppressors of Christians.

When one treats the poor as inferior to himself and to the rich, he is sinning by not showing a love of his neighbor as himself. Other than man’s love of God, Jesus had proclaimed this as the greatest commandment. James pointed out that committing only one sin causes one to be a sinner. Without an attitude of repentance; walking in God’s light and the forgiving blood of Christ, one sin can separate a person from God as much as total rebellion and disregard for all of His commandments.

James taught that only persons who had shown mercy would receive mercy at the judgment. However, in order for that mercy shown to be profitable, it must be accompanied by merciful deeds.


Hugh’s News & Views (Sins Of Preachers)



“Therefore, seeing we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares (besets, KJV; ASV) us, and let us run with patience the race that that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The story is told of three preachers traveling together to a Christian university Bible lectureship. One of them brought up the passage above and said, “You know, we all have a besetting sin—even we who preach. I think it would be good if each of us would confess our besetting sin so we can help each other overcome that sin. I’ll start. My besetting sin is that I like to drink a little. O, nothing heavy, just a little social drink every now and then when I am away from the brethren.” The second one said, “Well, I like to gamble a little. Nothing big, just a little petty gambling for the thrill of it, and the chance to perhaps pick up a little extra money.” They traveled on for a while, with the third preacher saying nothing. Finally, the others said, “Come on brother Bill, ‘fess up. We know you have a besetting sin just like the rest of us. Tell us what it is.” Bill said, “Well, yes, I do have a besetting sin. I love to gossip from time to time, and I can hardly wait to get back home!!”

Yes, preachers are human. They face the same temptations as everyone else. But because of their unique place of influence and often being the “face” of the church in the community, their sins can be especially harmful to the cause of Christ. Here are some sins of preachers that I have witnessed over the years.

Envy and Jealousy – These two attitudes are closely related. “The distinction lies in this, that envy desires to deprive another of what he has, jealousy desires to have the same or the same sort of thing for itself” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. II, p. 37). Unfortunately, preachers can sometimes be quite envious and jealous of each other. The size of the congregation, the salary, the number of meetings and lectureships in which one is invited to speak, the number of responses to one’s preaching, the articles one writes and the publications in which they appear can become objects of jealousy. Both envy and jealousy are sinful attitudes roundly condemned in scripture. Do we think that when we preachers “judge those who do such things, and do the same, that [we] will escape the judgment of God” (Romans 2:3)? The late Ira North used to say (and it perhaps was not original with him), “There is no competition between lighthouses.” Let all of us who preach the life-changing gospel lay aside all envy and jealousy and genuinely rejoice when others are more successful in the work of the kingdom than are we!

Grudge-Holding – Some preachers (and Bible professors!) are quick to take offense at anything that might be viewed as a criticism of them (whether it actually was or not), some action they have taken, or some theological position they hold. They are ultra-sensitive and seem to feel that they are somehow above criticism. When such criticism comes, the critic is no longer in the good graces of the one who received the criticism. A grudge is held and the critic is “black-listed.” None of us enjoys being criticized, but criticism can be productive if given and received in the right spirit. But under no circumstances is it ever right to hold a grudge against another. “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (James 5:9, KJV). Liberty Mutual doesn’t hold grudges, and neither should Christians, especially preachers!

Egotism – Some preachers are plagued with a huge ego and this one character flaw perhaps lies at the heart of many of the other sins of which preachers are especially guilty. I am not a trained psychologist, but I have been around preachers nearly all of my life and am one myself, and I know egotism when I see it—in myself as well as in others. Get a few preachers together and see who can “outdo” the others in telling how many degrees “I” have and where “I” got them, what “I” have done, where “I” have preached, how many meetings “I” have held, what “big name” lectureships “I” have spoken on, how many sermons “I” have preached, how many people “I” have baptized, etc., etc. I think preachers have more “I” problems than any other group of people I know, but I am sure it plagues all professions. It is hard for some folks to play “second fiddle.” I know preachers (and they are otherwise fine men) who simply cannot sit for very long and listen to someone else tell of his accomplishments without feeling compelled to tell what they have done! And be assured… it’s never less than what the other fellow has done, it is always more and better! How good it would be if all preachers could train themselves to sit quietly and listen to and rejoice in the successes and good fortune of other preachers without feeling the necessity of saying something about themselves! Whatever became of the injunction: “…but in lowliness of mind let each esteem another better than himself” (Philippians 2:3)? Or, does that not apply to the bearers of the “Good News”?

Love Of The Praise Of Men – Closely akin to the preceding is the unwholesome love of some preachers for the praise of men. While thoughtful recognition and honor are appropriate, to desire and seek “the praise of men” (John 12:43) is debasing for the true man of God. Some of Jesus’ strongest words were reserved for the Jewish leaders of His day. “But all their works they do to be seen of men…They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the market places, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ ” (Matthew 23:5-7). Jesus warned, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). The wide praise of men may say more about a preacher and his faithfulness to God’s word than it does about the actual honor of the preacher! Yet, some preachers are flagrantly guilty of this sin. In this they fall far short of the Old Testament prophets of God and the New Testament apostles and preachers of Christ.

Sexual Immorality – Many an effective preacher has been forced to leave the ministry because of sexual improprieties: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, pornography addiction, and the like. They have destroyed their own family, the families of others, brought shame and reproach on the church in their community, shame and reproach on themselves, shame and reproach on the name of Christ, and destroyed what could have been an otherwise long and faithful ministry in the kingdom of God. Preachers are just as human as anyone else in this regard, but we must guard against those situations that tempt one to engage in sexual misconduct (cf. Matthew 5:27-28; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:15; Colossians 3:5; I Timothy 4:12). One of the evidences of the fruit of the Spirit and one of the Christian graces is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23; II Peter 1:5-7). Preachers need to practice that! “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself” (Romans 2:21)?

Compromise To Hold One’s Job – In a culture where the mores and morals are constantly changing the temptation can be strong to “trim” the message of the gospel to fit the fluctuating standards of society. In an age when doctrine is belittled and propositional truth is scorned, the temptation can be irresistible to not proclaim “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). His word does not change (Matthew 24:35). The truth of the gospel does not change (Romans 1:16-17; I Corinthians 15:1-4). Man’s response to the gospel, the acceptable way to worship the Lord, the nature of the church, and the way we are to live as Christians do not change (II Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 3). Woe to that preacher who caves in to the culture around him and fails to speak the truth of God—ALL the truth of God—in love (Ephesians 4:15)! But it has happened and it continues to happen. Names can be named! And remember: one does not have to preach false doctrine in order to be disloyal to Christ and the gospel. One can simply fail to preach all the truth in its fullness. What our hearers do not know can condemn them as quickly as false doctrine and false practice.

The lesson in all of this? Preachers are human. They are no better or holier than any other Christian. They, too, have feet of clay and must, like all other children of God, “be even more diligent to make [their] calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10).

Hugh Fulford

November 13, 2018

Nov. 12. Enduring Temptations; Righteous Living

Jas. 1:9-27

Persecuted Christians undergo many changes in their lives. If they lose their possessions, they should be thankful that they still have the promise of salvation. Should sudden riches come upon them, they must remain humble and focused upon God. Riches as well as life itself are only temporary and can go away as charred grass under the blazing sun.

James pointed out that those who endure temptations will receive a crown of life. Lest anyone should forget that temptations come from Satan, the readers were reminded that God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt anyone. Everything good comes from God.

It is not a sin to be tempted. One sees, desires and is enticed. Sin occurs only when he yields to that temptation. Each person is responsible for his own actions and should avoid circumstances that would draw him into temptations.

When a person is subjected to persecutions and temptations, it is very easy to allow anger to interfere with rational judgment. Since God made Christians new creatures through His truth, James commanded his readers to remember to let His word direct their lives. It is important to realize that merely having the word is insufficient. One must put God’s word, the perfect (complete) law of liberty into action through obedience to it.

Circumstances in life sometimes cause a person to lose control of his tongue and speak harshly. James pointed out that a Christian who does not control his words deceives himself and has a useless religion. He described pure religion as one that lives a spotless life and sees to the needs of others, especially those who are unable to care for themselves.


Nov. 11. James Writes Letter to Jewish Christians

Jas. 1:1-8

James was a common name for men during the life of Christ and in the early years of the church’s existence. Two of the twelve apostles of Jesus were James, son of Zebedee and James, son of Alphaeus. He had a fleshly half-brother also named James.

Since the writer of the Epistle of James does not specifically identify himself, there is much speculation as to which James is the author of this letter. Most evidence indicates that James, the brother of Jesus wrote this general epistle from Jerusalem to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad” (Jewish Christians) in about A.D. 63 or possibly even earlier.

The purpose of James’ epistle was to encourage and admonish those Jewish Christians to remain patient and faithful to Christ under difficult conditions. This epistle has been referred to as the Christian book of proverbs.

James began his letter to the persecuted Christians with an admonition that is contrary to human nature. Just as metallic ores must undergo intense heat during the smelting process, Christians should be thankful when they are tried by the heat of persecutions. By enduring these stresses, they become stronger and more patient to live godly lives.

As one undergoes the trials of temptation, he needs wisdom and strength from God. James urged his readers to pray to God to supply the things needed to sustain their spiritual life. Effective prayer must be offered up in faith and not through wavering doubts like unstable waves of the sea.

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Repent, be immersed: Acts 2.38

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ in order to have your sins forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

Acts 2.38 TGOG

The terms of salvation given in the first gospel sermon, in order to establish the church as Jesus had promised, are clear. Jesus was preached, salvation was offered, and the conditions to receive it were a part of the message.

Forgiveness comes upon being immersed, not before. This is an essential understanding of the act. Have you obeyed the gospel this way?

#votd #Acts #immersion

Nov. 10. Parting Thoughts from the Hebrews Writer

Heb. 13:1-25

The Hebrews writer ended his letter with some short exhortations leading toward bearing fruits of faith. “Let brotherly love continue.” Paul had admonished the Romans a command even of the old law to love their neighbors as themselves.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers…” Hospitality is an important fruit of a child of God. Kindness of Christians to one another builds faith, soothes sadness and hurt feelings, encourages the weak and gives hope to the downtrodden. Many people have become Christians because of the kindness and hospitality of a loving Christian relative, friend or neighbor.

“Remember the prisoners…” Christians are to reach out to all classes of prisoners, especially those who are in prison because of their faith. As the church is one body, all members feel the pain of a brother being mistreated.

“Marriage is honorable…” God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden and Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast. Man must not defile the dignity of marriage through improper and unlawful affections. Those who are guilty of disobeying His rules of purity will be punished.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness…” God has promised His children that they will receive the necessities of life. They should not complain or question Him when they do not get everything that they want when they want it, but they should be content with such things that they have. As Paul wrote later to Timothy, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…”

“Remember those who rule over you…” Some of the early church leaders had been dead for only a brief period of time when the Hebrews letter was written. The writer urged his readers to follow their examples of teaching, praying, obedience and faith. By remembering those leaders and those who were still living, they could avoid being led astray by false teachers who were teaching strange doctrines.

Christians have the responsibility of following and obeying the leaders of their congregations. Those leaders also have the responsibility of leading the church according to the truth of the gospel. Neither can be fully successful without the full cooperation of the other.

Prayer is an important part of the Christian’s life. The author urged the Hebrews to pray for him and those with him as they endeavored to keep the faith and labored in the ministry. He then offered a prayer that they would be complete and that their labor would be pleasing in God’s sight.

With a brief salutation and benediction, the Hebrews letter was complete.


True peace from justice

What is peace? For many people, peace means the absence of conflict. That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Adjusted for inflation to today’s dollars, World War II cost more than $4 trillion. Why would America spend all that money to end conflict? Wouldn’t the nation save untold dollars and American lives just by staying out of the fight?

The United States joined the war after Japan attacked it, that’s true. But it also declared war against Nazi Germany and Italy. There were three nations in what was called the “Axis.” We called it an “Axis of evil,” and fought against all three countries for a reason: they were doing things America considered to be fundamentally and morally wrong.

Peace, therefore, is not just the absence of conflict. It is the presence of justice. After World War II, there were trials for war crimes committed. When the defendants challenged the authority for bringing charges and prosecuting those crimes, the military attorneys justified the actions of the U.S. saying there was a higher law involved. Achieving peace is never by victory alone. There has to be justice for violations of a higher law.

Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, wrote about this higher law and its lawgiver in Isaiah chapter 11. He wrote in two verses about a person who would come and bring righteousness with him. The meaning of that word is simple: it is right doing according to God’s law, the higher law.

The result of right doing in Isaiah’s eleventh chapter is peace (Isaiah 11:4-11). The Christ would come and establish peace by creating justice. He would show people how to do what is right in God’s sight and how to achieve it through a system of obedient faith in him (Galatians 3:26-27).

If we want peace in our lives, then we must obey the one who brought justice and peace to the world through his teaching of obedient faith. Christ is the only one who can provide real peace. To have peace, however, we must carefully obey his word. If we love him, we will (John 14:15).

Lead me in your truth and teach me: Psalm 25.5

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Psalm 25.5 ESV

In this acrostic psalm, David prays to be delivered from foes and confesses his sins. To arrive at truth, he needs God’s leading and teaching. The first verb “consistently refers to God as he leads the righteous in straight paths” (TWOT).

Truth is not an inner discovery, but an external objective to be reached by seeking God. That process is sought today through the Scriptures. Have you read your Bible today?

#votd #Psalms #truth