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“But by the grace of God I am…

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11 NKJV). God’s “gospel of grace” saved Paul when he washed away his sins in baptism, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). But he knew it was not “once-saved-always-saved,” because he “had labored more abundantly than” the rest of the Apostles.
Paul taught: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8 NKJV).  A Christian must continually be obedient, or else God’s grace was given “in vain.”  “Good works” are the proper response to God’s grace.

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

#baptism, #good-works, #grace

Pleasing versus proving

It is one thing to please God, quite another to attempt to buy him with works of merit. We can hold no hope of heaven without pleasing him, Rom 8.8-9; 2 Cor 5.9-10; Heb 11.6. On the other hand, we can never expect divine approval by our selected list of works that we determine as good. Such arrogance smacks of one’s own deification. But pleasing God means that we believe his truth and his promise and act upon them, in order to receive the eternal reward that he bestows based upon his will and conditions.

#good-works, #obedience, #pleasing-god, #works-of-merit

You didn't have to, but thanks!

In the context of stating that he had learned to be content in whatever physical state he had found himself, Paul relates this thought:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

We’re more than familiar with that thought. It’s been the theme of sermons, it’s been stitched on purses and it’s been painted on walls.

But how about the thought that comes immediately after. The one that says it’s more than just the thought that counts. The one that says:

Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.” (Philippians 4:14)

When it came to the help that was sent by the church at Philippi to the encumbered apostle who thought so much of them (Philippians 1:3-5), Paul, in a roundabout way, was saying that they didn’t have to do what they did, but what they did made him very happy.

Perhaps this thought should be the theme of as many sermons, should be stitched on as many purses and painted on as many walls as well.

The church at Philippi, along with Paul, had the right mindset – they were doing things out of love, and not necessarily out of necessity. And such a way of doing good works is still the model that will cause many more to say with a smile of their face, “You didn’t have to, but thanks!”

#gift-giving, #good-works, #love, #philippians

Hugh's News & Views (Great Things . . . – Pt. 2)

GREAT THINGS GOING ON IN LOYAL CHURCHES OF CHRIST

(Part 2)

The Gospel Advocate is a monthly publication dedicated to the advocacy of the gospel of Christ as set forth in the New Testament. It was begun in 1855 in Nashville, Tennessee, by Tolbert Fanning and William Lipscomb, and except for a few years during the Civil War, has been in continuous publication. I have in my possession a treasured copy of the 100th Anniversary issue dated July 14, 1955, as well as a prized copy of the 150th Anniversary edition of July 2005. In fact, both of them are here on my desk as I write these words. I am looking forward to the special 160th anniversary issue that is being planned for July 2015. Continue reading

#good-works, #hughfulford

Hugh's News & Views (Great Things Going On . . .)

GREAT THINGS GOING ON IN LOYAL CHURCHES OF CHRIST

(Part 1)

Pursuant to last week’s column in which I enumerated some things “I’m Glad I Know . . .,” over the next two weeks I plan to call attention to some of the many good things that are being done by individual Christians and by loyal, faithful congregations of Christ, people committed to the New Testament order of things. Continue reading

#good-works, #hughfulford

Doing Good Because It Works

Good works, that’s why we’re called to do them. Good works isn’t just a category – it’s a description out of the outcome. Doing good works works because doing good grabs the attention of other people’s hearts.

Will good works always work out for the betterment of those who see them? Nope. Think about Acts 10:38 and then combine that with Matthew 5:11, 10:22 and we’ll see that despite how good a work is the bad will still be riled up in the eyes who see it. But we must continue in the working of good because the end goal is to let our light shine so that the God of Heaven may be glorified in our actions. And how are we called to do that again? Good works. (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15) And why good works? Because they work!

Spiritual fruit is born when works are borne by our hands, feet, back and heart (Colossians 1:10). Where money alone utterly fails, good works bring a value to the soul’s sure foundation that will one day be “cashed in” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). At the end of the day, when it comes to our relationship with God, we don’t make the work good, the good work makes us, and it reveals a relationship with God that is tangible and undeniable (Titus 1:16).

Think about it – the reason that God’s word prepares us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17) is because it’s the desire of God for us to be ever working what it is good (Titus 2:14). The works work for his purpose and for his purpose we’re called to go to work (Ephesians 2:10). And in doing so we can rest assured that our work will work out for the good because the good work isn’t only good – it’s working (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 4:16).

So now that the point has been made when it comes to works that are good and the good works working, the only question that remains is what will our “time sheet” say at the end of the day when it comes to doing the good that works? (Matthew 25:31-46)

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (Titus 3:8)

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#christian-living, #god, #good-works, #living-faith, #results

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(#89) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:34-God’s Burden Against America

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 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”

“Righteousness” is the state or condition of being “right,” as defined by God: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7); by His commandments: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172); by His example: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Governments exist to protect the “righteous” within their citizenry: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:3-5). Every law; court-ruling; verbally-abusive, bullying, headlined propaganda piece; Harlotwood perversely slanted movie or TV program will be considered in God’s Judgment of this, or any other, nation! Speaking to Christians about the Jewish persecution of them, Paul wrote: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

God would not destroy the homosexually-corrupted cities of Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20; 19:1-11) if there were as few as 10 righteous among them (Genesis 18:23-33), but there weren’t. God had a “burden” of judgment against nations, countries, and cities where sin had prevailed: Babylon (Isaiah 13:1) and Nineveh (Nahum 1:1); Moab (Isaiah 15:1); Damascus in Syria (Isaiah 17:1); Egypt (Isaiah 19:1); and Arabia (Isaiah 21:13). Assyria (not covenant-keepers of Moses’ Law!) was told by the prophet: “The LORD has given a command concerning you: ‘Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile’” (Nahum 1:14). Since then, none of these have ever arisen again to their former prominence and power! Since Jesus Christ, no country is God’s chosen People except the spiritual kingdom known as the churches of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:16).

All God requires of every nation is to uphold and encourage right-thinking and right-doing: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin’” (Ezekiel 18:29-30). God is “fair,” for He accepts anyone who obeys Him: “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).

Jesus Christ pronounced the principle that saves: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16). This Gospel obeyed, exalts any nation.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.’” — George Orwell

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

#bible-study, #burden, #church-of-christ, #commandments, #evil, #fair, #god, #good-works, #government, #judgment, #leaders, #obedience, #preaching, #proverbs, #righteous, #righteousness, #terror, #truth, #wisdom