“Whatever exists is far off and most profound— who can discover it?”
Ecclesiastes 7.24 NIV
The nature of reality and its reason for existence is a mystery to man without a revelation of God. Solomon recognizes the murkiness of being. Man cannot answer the question that inevitably forms on his lips, “Why am I here?”
God provides the answer in Christ: “these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!” Colossians 2.17.
“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted” Romans 6:17.
“Thank, God!” we exclaim when even trivial things go our way, but few think about how we are acknowledging God’s intimate attention to the details of our lives and how we’re going to the Creator in prayer with thanksgiving.
Even atheists call the holiday we celebrate at this time of year by its name but don’t really think about to Whom we are giving thanks. Giving thanks has become so flippant that our eyes graze over the hundreds of times in Scripture God is thanked.
Like the nine lepers who did not return to give thanks, we are great at asking God to do stuff for us or give us stuff but don’t take the time to let thanksgiving be part of our prayers.
Do we have reason to thank Him? Over and over again. Just the verse above alone is reason to run back to Jesus, fall down before Him, and give Him thanks. We used to be slaves to sin, but He entrusted us with a form of teaching that we could wholeheartedly obey. We spiritual lepers, healed of our affliction, have a lot to be thankful to God for.
Do you truly give thanks to God?
“I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’ And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.’”
Acts 22.10 NLT
Saul the persecutor saw the Lord Jesus on his way to find Christians in Damascus. When he realized who the Lord was, he asked an all-important question. Since God’s plan called for Christians to proclaim the gospel’s terms, even Christ respected it. A man would later tell Saul what to do to be saved.
The Lord did not criticize Saul’s question as some do today. There is something to be done to be saved. Who told Saul what to do to be saved, and what did he tell him?
DENIAL AND BETRAYAL OF THE RESTORATION PLEA
In 1973, a man who was viewed as a prominent preacher in the Lord’s church made the startling statement, “The church of Christ is a big, sick denomination, and I mean all three of those words – big . . . sick . . . denomination!” He had been taught better, had known better, and had preached better. If I am not mistaken, his family had been converted from denominationalism. But in this instance, he caved in to the religious pluralism of our age and turned his back on the restoration principle, the restoration plea, and the commitment to be Christians only and simply the undenominational church of the New Testament. He has been a friend for over sixty years (ever since our student days at Freed-Hardeman College [now University]). He is still loved, and it is sincerely hoped that he has seen the error of his way and returned to “the old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) of New Testament Christianity, but I know of nothing to indicate that he has done so. Continue reading
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
Luke 12.57 NIV
Man was created to think and reach proper conclusions based on the evidence he gathers. The Lord Jesus rebuked the people of his day for not judging properly. They should have used that God-given function rightly rather than use faulty reasoning, especially in relation to himself, cf. Jn 7.24.
If we’re supposed to judge, then what kind of judgment does the Bible condemn?
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.”
Isaiah 50.4 NRSV
God chose the prophet Isaiah and gave him inspired words that not only judged Israel but gave hope and comfort to those seeking relief from suffering and sin.
How can we permit God to waken us today in order that we might listen to his words as Christ’s disciples?