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10-26-2016 Supporting Arrogance

When the Law of God was read, King Josiah “tore his clothes” in repentance (2 Chronicles 34:19 NKJV).  When Scripture was read to his son, King Jehoiakim, “cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words” (Jeremiah 36:23-24 NKJV).  Who would better run the country: one who hears and heeds God’s Word, or one who detests and destroys God’s Word?  “The man of sin…opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God” acting like a “god” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NKJV).  Vote for one listening to Bible-believers.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#bible-believers, #gods-word, #heeds

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2-1-2016 Gang Violence

Gang violence is an on-going problem. “Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men, Who plan evil things in their hearts; They continually gather together for war” (Psalm 140:1-2 NKJV). The most effective way to change human behavior is by teaching God’s Word, for, when it is received, hearts are changed. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9 NKJV). “From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works” (Psalm 33:14-15 NKJV). “Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 NKJV). “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#gang-violence, #gods-word

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1-6-2016 Stop The Violence

When violent murders have occurred, well-meaning people take to the streets, appealing to the murderers to “Stop The Violence.” Signs and slogans will not make much difference, nor will more government programs, for these are “band-aids” that cannot cure. Instead, why not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ who said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV)? Not any other religious text can claim what the Bible claims: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV). Only God’s Word changes hearts from within. “Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house” (Proverbs 17:13 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

 

#gods-word, #peacemakers, #stop-the-violence

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3-5-2015             Is the Bible a Human Book?

David said in Psalm 18:30 NKJV:As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Skeptics [Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 1-2-15] may say: “The Bible is a very human book. It was written, assembled, copied and translated by people. That explains the flaws, the contradictions, and the theological disagreements in its pages.” Obviously, they have never read: “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). It is one thing to speak blasphemously about God’s Word, it is quite another to prove it. “The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#bible, #blasphemously, #contradictions, #gods-word, #human-book, #skeptic

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(#196) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:18-Be Happy

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.”

“Revelation” (“vision” in the King James Version) refers to God’s inspired Word. As God miraculously led His people, he spoke to them through a “prophet:” “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land’” (Exodus 7:1-2). Moses then became “the prophet” (Numbers 12:6-8) through whom God’s Law was given (Deuteronomy 34:9-12), and by following that written Law, the nation of Israel would remain separate from other peoples (Joshua 23:6-8). After Moses, unless God inspired a prophet to call the people back to that written Law, they forgot God: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). “Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation” (1 Samuel 3:1).

King Zedekiah is an example of what this proverb is saying: “He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 36:12). Even though Christ’s Law has been given, people sin when they made to think there is no Law of God that applies to them: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15).

The New Testament is the written Law of Christ and God has not had a prophet since it was written: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). Whatever people say to demean, diminish, or destroy their confidence in God’s Word does not change God’s Word: “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 17-19). Christians are admonished: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14), because God’s written Word is our Judge, for Jesus said: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

Where sin abounds is a fertile field for preaching and teaching the Word of God, for Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17).

“The revelation” from God is in our Bible – Be “happy!”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible, #bible-study, #gods-word, #happy, #obedience, #preaching, #prophet, #proverbs, #revelation, #vision

Without the Word of God

A friend recently pointed out a verse that explains some of our problems today:

Where there is no Word from God, the people cast off restraint.  (Proverbs 29:18)

When did America begin her downward spiral?  When we threw God out of our schools…then children heard less about Him.  They were no longer exposed to God’s Word in a public setting; sadly, their parents quit going to church and they did not hear God’s Word there, either.  With nothing to guide them in the strait and narrow way, they grew up not knowing what God would have them do.  Soon, abortion was an acceptable form of birth control; euthanasia was an acceptable way to avoid caring for aging parents; homosexuality was just s good as heterosexuality; marriage was of no consequence; children outside of marriage became so common that now there are as many babies born to unwed mothers as there are to married ones.

What is the answer?  Every Christian has GOT to be willing to stand up and be counted for God.  Political correctness is a sin, because it denies what God has taught us.  We may be laughed at, we may be both persecuted and prosecuted, but if we are to claim to be children of God, we MUST stand up and be counted on the side of righteousness.  When some subject comes up, are you willing to stand up and stand firm for the Word of God?

#defend-the-truth, #gods-word, #stand-firm

Sermon Snippet from John 5:31-47

Here’s a point that I’m going to use in tomorrow’s sermon from John 5:31-47 that could be used in a lot of other places:

God’s word doesn’t pick sides – it makes them (Leviticus 19:15Deuteronomy 1:17, John 5:39)

A thought like that can cause us to think about, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) in the right way.

#bible-study, #choices, #gods-word, #judging, #sermon-snippet-from-john-5

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(#68) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:13-Pick one: Despise or Fear God’s Word.

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 13:13: “He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”

“Despises” is a verb meaning “having no regard or respect for.” Another proverb applies this principle to prayer: “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). Without exception, either eternal or physical destruction or both, comes to those who reject God’s Word. Jesus also said: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47). Though Jesus did not come to be the Judge the first time, He will, at His Second Coming (Hebrews 9:27-28), for He said: “”And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:47-48). “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Peter 2:1-3).

There will be no scoffers, agnostics, atheists, immoral, wicked, or perverse people who “will be rewarded,” for they, all, refuse to “fear the commandment” of God. Solomon said this, and then the Apostle Peter also: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14); “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35). God’s reward is for those who accept His Word and treat it accordingly: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#believe, #bible, #bible-study, #commandment, #despise, #fear, #gods-word, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #salvation, #truth, #wisdom

It Never Needs to be Sharpened

The spiritual hearts and minds of people may grow dull, but the word of God never needs to be sharpened! If it only stayed on the pages of the Bible the conscience of man would never be cut, but by being cut the Bible reveals that the conscience of man can be brought down into its pages by the Spirit of God! It takes a fight to win a soul for God and God provides the tools for the battle!

because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.” (Hebrews 4:12 – CEB)

Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.” (Ephesians 6:13-17 – CEB)

#bible, #god, #gods-word, #hebrews-412, #sword-of-the-spirit, #the-word-of-god

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Psalm 119:137-144 Tsadde Keeping Right

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Psalm 119:137-144  Tsadde                          Keeping Right

Verses 137-138 say, “God is always right;”

Verses 139-141 teach that God’s Word shows what’s right;

Verses 142-144 show one pleased to be forever right;

Verses 137-138: (Verse 137) God, Himself, is “righteous” (upright, unwavering). “Right” can variously be used of: direction (or “left”); morals (or “wrong”); truth (or “lie”), but God is always correct. God’s character is the absolute definition of “righteous,” just as He is “true” (John 3:33), “faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9), “light” (1 John 1:5), “love” (1 John 4:16). His “judgments” (decisions) are “upright” (not slanted or varied). (Verse 138) God’s “testimonies” (words about His character) are “righteous” and “very faithful” (which isn’t describing an amount, but extent). “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Verses 139-141: (Verse 139) “Zeal” is passion, but needs to be for the right if “consuming.” This thought is completely given in Psalm 69:9 and there predicted Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-17). Believers should be “zealous” to correct the ignorance of those without God’s Word. (Verse 140) Just as metals are highly valued when refined or purified, God’s servants highly value God’s Word because of its purity. (Verse 141) A person who is “small” (in stature) and “despised” (in popularity) gains self-esteem by remembering God’s “precepts” (words highlighting or supervising the right way).

Verses 142-144: (Verse 142) God’s “right-ness” is “everlasting” (always right), and His “law” (defining the proper direction) is “truth” (accurate, factual). (Verse 143) Though “trouble and anguish” find us, we may always turn to God’s “commandments” (words urging, ordering what is right) which give pleasure and restore confidence in ourselves that we at least please God. (Verse 144) The absolute confidence in life is that God’s “testimonies” are always “right,” thus we live better now and forever when we “understand” them.

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #faith, #god, #gods-word, #obedience, #righteousness, #truth, #understanding, #zeal

Our Cherished Memory

Our proudest moment as a congregation, and the memory I’ll cherish is the week-long meeting conducted in August by the Grand Blanc Church of Christ.

While most congregations in the area are conducting three or four-day meetings, the elders of our congregation decided to have one for a week because they believed the apostle Paul who wrote, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully,” (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV).

The verse applies not only to those who give to the church, but also to the church that wishes to grow. If the seed of the gospel isn’t sown in abundance, a great harvest cannot be anticipated.

Our elders believed Romans 1:16, the gospel is God’s power unto salvation. It is the heavenly decreed way people become members of the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 1:18).

For all these reasons, and for the people brought to our congregation, the meeting is one of our most cherished memories and will be for years.

#gods-word, #gospel-meeting, #memory

Thy Word

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:11).

How can a person put God’s word inside the mind without memorizing it?

There is a story from the 19th Century about a courtroom in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that, one day, had no Bible. The court clerk was in a quandary to find one so witnesses could give sworn testimony. The judge said, “Just have the witnesses place their hands on Jones’ head. He’s a member of the church of Christ and those people know enough scripture to be a Bible themselves.”

True story or not, there’s a truth in it. Years ago, children in Bible classes were required to memorize scripture. People knew many verses by heart, if not whole books of the Bible (yes, it is possible to memorize an entire book of the Bible if you want). Now, however, it’s difficult to find a class requiring memorization. Why?

How can a person put God’s word inside the mind without memorizing it?

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

#gods-word, #mind, #sin

True self-destructive behavior

Kenny McKinley, a former football player for the University of South Carolina and a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, was found in his Englewood, Colorado home Sept. 20 dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McKinley’s former college coach, Steve Spurrier, said it was difficult to understand why the pro player took his own life. Each suicide appears to be a senseless case of self-destructive behavior. Little do we know of the pressures and problems that afflict peoples’ minds.

There are several organizations designed to help those whose despondency leads them to think or attempt suicide. But, there is something even more self-destructive than suicide. There is an eternal self destruction.

Jesus said, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak,” (John 12:48-49 ESV).

If one, after hearing Jesus’ words, decides to reject him, there are grave consequences. When Jesus sent his 70 disciples to preach the kingdom of heaven was near, he pronounced woes on Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum because the people of those cities decided to reject Jesus and his words. “It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you,” Jesus said to the people of these cities (Luke 10:14).

Rejecting the words and invitation of the Lord Christ is spiritual suicide, which is far worse than killing oneself. Ending ones’ life is tragic, certainly. But if one rejects the bread of life, one spiritually dies, which has far greater consequences.

#gods-word, #self-destructive-behavior, #suicide

Is Ignorance Bliss?

We use the saying “ignorance is bliss”. But is that really true?

Recently I made a statement that I was disappointed in the ungodly stand that a particular organization has taken. One young college-aged lady responded by saying, “Why exactly is it disappointing? We as Christians are supposed to be a non-judgmental people. We welcome anyone with open arms and an open heart.” She went on to incorrectly quote Jesus’ saying regarding the woman caught in adultery: ‘He who cast the first stone, let he be stoned.’ That is not not what Jesus said. Clearly, this young woman has a gross lack of knowledge of God’s word.

Sadly, this woman is not alone. The attitude she portrayed here has permeated our society because it is ignorant of what God’s word teaches, not only regarding right and wrong, but also in how Christians are to react to and behave toward sin.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4:6

Lack of knowledge (or ignorance) comes from *rejection* of knowledge. Is rejection of knowledge bliss? Rejection is a willful act. I pray we all be mindful that we not be guilty of being ignorant.

#gods-word, #ignorance, #knowledge, #study, #studying