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(#61) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:23-A Fool is a Blabbermouth!

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 12:23: “A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.”

“Knowledge” is based upon facts, certainty, and insight. When “knowledge” involves Bible truths, we must all be as David, who said, “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O LORD, You Yourself know” (Psalm 40:9). Though Peter confessed Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), Jesus was not ready for this to be widely known at that time, so “He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). However, when this truth was fully revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul had “not shunned to declare…the whole counsel of God” in Ephesus (Acts 20:17, 27). In dealing with the judgments of our daily lives, the “prudent” (sensible, wise, judicious) don’t need to tell everything at once! Since “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12), this principle is applicable to Christians (1 Peter 4:8). Solomon later would say, “There is a time to keep silence, And a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Those with good judgment will make timely conversation, hence, Christians must “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).

When blabbing anything and everything one knows about others with the excuse that, “I’m just being honest,” one becomes a fool who is without good judgment! Other proverbs that add to this truth are: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19); “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly” (Proverbs 13:16); “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2); “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28). There is a common saying based upon this truth: “Better to be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” One who is “slow to speak” (James 1:19) is either “wise” or a fool who is mistaken as wise! Meanwhile, “a fool” will use a “multitude of words” to lay “open his folly” and pour forth “foolishness.” Running off at the mouth is never good, while shutting up the mouth in good judgment can be “perceptive!” When our heart is in our mouth, truth may be lost in the moment! God gives us a mind with which to filter what we say: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips” (Proverbs 16:23). Since God’s people are now the Christians, Solomon’s wisdom is timeless: “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

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

#bible-study, #fool, #foolishness, #grace, #knowledge, #mouth, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #prudent, #seasoned, #words

A Thought on Mercy

Here’s a thought that I’m going to work in during my sermon based within the context of Luke 7:36-50 (Simon the Pharisee and the woman sinner).

“If you owe someone 1,000$ and your neighbor owes 10,000$, and the note is due the next day, but you’re both out of work, who’s in trouble? – That’s why we’re all dependent upon the mercy of God through the Son of God who can pay off our notes through his blood.”

Read Luke’s account of what happened that day in a Pharisee’s house and the point becomes clear.

I thought you might be able to use it for a devotional thought or a sermon seed.

#devotional, #grace, #immoral-woman, #jesus, #mercy, #sermon-seed, #simon-the-pharisee, #sin, #spiritual-debt

Long May Our Land Be Bright With Freedom’s Holy Light

An American patriotic hymn’s final verse is a prayer:
“Our father’s God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.”

When we sing this prayer, written in 1832 by Samuel Smith, we remember passages that talk about Christ’s concern for freedom. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19). He chastised religious leaders who attempted to go beyond the word of God in binding additional requirements on God’s people. He modeled how freedom works best when exercised with discipline and respect for others. Jesus could converse with people whom others disdained because of their lifestyle because he could see their potential for being God’s people. He could forgive people who tried to hurt him and even people who had committed adultery, but express anguish over others who tried to deny help to suffering individuals because of religious laws. Jesus understood, as they did not, that submission means giving up my desires and wants to serve another, not making another into a clone of myself. Freedom does not mean doing whatever one wants. The same biblical chapter that begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” also warns that those who engage in the acts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, and concludes, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Galatians 5:1, 19-21, 26). Freedom is messy. Sometimes I am bothered by something I observe in a congregation, but when I search the Scriptures, pray, and perhaps check out the history there, I realize they are merely exercising their freedom in Christ. That sometimes is hard for me to admit, because I thought initially that they were wrong and needed to be corrected. On the other hand, some times what people do or tolerate is wrong and should be corrected (Note Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, whom the apostle corrected on several issues. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3) also emphasize that there are limits to individual and congregational freedom in Christ. What helps me is to imitate what Barnabas did at Antioch and look for the grace of God at work (Acts 11). Freedom, whether in our nation or in the church, may make us uncomfortable, but so long as it is in harmony with the word of God, we rejoice because we too are free in Christ.
We celebrate the beginnings of our nation’s independence and its continuing quest for freedom for its citizens. We moan because someone else’s freedom conflicts with our own. We worry when our freedoms (both as citizens and Christians) seem to be threatened. Let’s keep singing and praying that God will protect us and our nations (for those who live elsewhere), that he will use us to bring liberating light into the lives of our neighbors and our enemies, that we will grow in love and in disciplined use of the freedoms God has given us.

#barnabas, #freedom, #grace, #hymns, #jesus, #obedience, #paul, #prayer

Great Quote about Progressives and Grace

“Progressives Christians love to talk about grace except when they have to extend it to someone who has offended their political reality.” [Maria Dixon].

Sadly, that is true. People on both ends of the political spectrum have their politics tied too closely to their Christianity. BTW, this quote comes from a thoughtful essay by a Southern Black woman on the Paula Deen situation.

#grace, #politics, #progressives

Heaven isn’t Made for Quitters

Did Peter quit believing after denying Jesus?

Did Moses go back to Egypt after striking the rock?

Did Noah do away with his faith after he drank too much?

Did John Mark give up on spreading the gospel after bailing out the first time?

Did Paul allow his past to keep him from serving God after he realized what he had done?

Did Thomas quit walking in the way after doubting it?

Did Abraham forget about God’s promise after his own plan failed?

Did David quit standing for what was right after doing so much wrong?

Did John the baptizer write off Jesus after a moment of insecurity?

What about us?

There are plenty of people in the Bible who threw it all away never to return to God, but there are plenty of people who fell, and fell hard, but they got back up by God’s grace. They got back up and got back in the game. We need, I need, to know about these people. God’s grace isn’t for perfect people. It’s for perfected people! And reading about these perfected people can give us hope and faith. Hope and faith that the love of God manifested through His Son is genuine. Humanity is made up of humans, and humans err, but may we never err so much that we refuse to confess it. Quit? Heaven isn’t made for the quitters – it’s made for you and me!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

#bible-examples-of-faithfulness, #god, #grace, #heaven, #hope-and-faith, #overcoming

It’s “Funny” Which “Works” Earn Salvation and Which “Works” Do Not In The Eyes of Some People

“Baptism isn’t needed for salvation because baptism is a work and if salvation is by works then it’s not by grace!”

Ah, the old broken record that continuously repeats itself upon the same grove. It’s amazing what some people consider to be “works that earn salvation” while considering other “works that aren’t works” essential when it comes to being saved.

For example:

Grace. We all need it. It’s been shown to all, but all don’t want to see it. And all aren’t going to see it in the judgment. It’s the whole “blind before seeing” thing we sing about. Now, if a person wants to receive the gift of God’s grace they’re going to have to do something because if not, then everyone would be going to Heaven and there would be no need for a place called Hell. Simple enough to follow right? But no one wants to call this process “works” because they’re afraid it’ll stain the whole “saved by grace alone” theory. So which is it? Does a person have to respond to God’s grace to be saved or not? Of course they do! An individual person must willingly make a decision to follow God and accept the gift He offers through their own volition through Jesus, not be forced to accept it through something called irresistible grace. Responding to God’s grace is something we must do – responding is a work, an action needed on our behalf per say – but it no way earns the offer of God’s gift.

Faith. We all need it…to be saved anyways. But everyone doesn’t have it because everyone doesn’t want it. Now some teach that we’re saved by grace alone through faith alone (amazing how you can two “alones” isn’t it???) and that anything else done is a work that makes a person earn his or her salvation. No works people proclaim – only grace and only faith, for works have no place in salvation. But here’s the secret that many people who proclaim this don’t want to hear – having, showing and responding to God’s gift of grace through Jesus is a work! It’s a work we’re responsible for, and it’s a work Jesus discussed with people in the past: “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29). Jesus didn’t say anything about, “Oh, there’s nothing you must do, just simply believe and leave it up to grace because anything else would cause you to earn what I’m going to do.” No, Jesus said we have a responsibility to do something. We have a responsibility to follow God’s will and God’s commands and doing these things in no way places God in our debt and it no way earns the salvation that God offers.

Repentance. Repent is a command. Repentance is action. Salvation will not be enjoyed without repentance. A change of mind seen through a change of actions. Both of which is something we’re responsible for doing. Repentance is not a work done on us or to us. Not one verse in the Bible teaches this, but many verses teach that repentance is something we must do – a work, an action – or we’ll perish in Hell. “…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Jesus didn’t say, “Well, I would tell you to repent but that would mean you’re earning your salvation, so….” That’s not what Jesus said. Jesus said we, as individuals, are responsible for following God’s command and repenting of our sins if we want to find the forgiveness of our sins. This in no way places God in our debt because it’s something that God requires us to do. He’s not offering wages if we repent – He’s offering His gift of salvation. But we must want to be saved – we must repent.

Confessing Jesus. We should have a willingness to do so, but everyone doesn’t. Confessing Jesus is a must. It’s something we must do. It’s vital to salvation! It’s an action. It’s a work that we’re required to do. No, you say? I say…rather, I ask, have you not read the Bible? The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). I know many, many people who claim that a person is saved by grace alone through faith alone but for some reason they still teach that a person must confess Jesus to be saved…what happened to that just believing thing? Belief and confession are two separate things! Read Romans 10 again. The very verses used to teach grace alone by faith alone contradicts them both by saying confession on our behalf is essential! Confession is an action required by God on our behalf. It is something – a work – we must do. Confessing Jesus does not earn a person’s salvation because it submits to the offer of salvation made by God through Jesus.

Baptism. “Now preacher, it’s true that we must have faith, that we must repent and that we must confess Jesus, but even though those are something we must do they’re not “works” that earn our salvation, but that baptism stuff…that’s where the line is drawn!” I hear it all the time. Who drew that line??? I’ll tell you where the line is – there’s a line between listening to God’s will and rejecting God’s will. There’s a line between being saved and being lost. There’s a line between the works of men and women and the work of God. It’s a line drawn in the waters of baptism where the blood of Jesus washes our sins away (Acts 22:16, Revelation 1:5). It’s a line where the old person is buried in the water and the new, born again person is raised out of the water (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:1-4). And until a person submits to God’s work that takes place during baptism then a person is defiantly relying upon their own works, their own system of salvation through faith, repentance and confession that balks at baptism of God instead of walking down in the water submissively and allowing God to remove sin from their heart and replace it with the Spirit of God. A person doesn’t have the Son without being baptized, and if they don’t have the Son they don’t have the Father or His promise of salvation (Galatians 3:26-29). Submitting to God’s will in baptism doesn’t earn a man or woman his or her salvation. Baptism for the remission of sins came from God. He designed it. He ordered it. He requires it. And to say that a person is saved before baptism on this side of the cross of Jesus because baptism is a “work of man” is to say that one does not have to do the works of God to be saved.

There are works that earn, works that spurn and works that yearn, and no one can show how responding to God’s will and God’s commands to be saved causes God to be indebted to us; that’s because it doesn’t. Following the will of God never has, and never will place God in a person’s debt when it comes to being saved, but if we want to get rid of the debt of sin we need to respond to the offer of His gift. A gift that’s found through God’s will/grace, our faith, our willingness to repent, our willingness to confess Jesus, our willingness to be baptized and our willingness to live faithfully allowing the blood of Jesus to do what it was meant to do when it comes to the will of God – and that’s get us to Heaven.

It’s “funny” how faith, repentance and confession (all things – works – we must do) doesn’t earn a person his or her salvation but baptism does??? Yeah, if you believe that you might want to stop working on that and start submitting to God’s will.

#baptism, #christianity, #faith, #faith-only, #god, #grace, #grace-only, #jesus, #obeying-the-gospel, #salvation

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Psalm 117

Vs. 1-2 give “praise to the LORD.”

This is the last of the “Hallel” Psalms (113-118) which begins and ends with a “Hallelujah.” This 30-word Psalm is the shortest chapter in the Bible. This Psalm is addressed to “Gentiles,” which proves the Jews were never intended by God to be His people forever. God’s plan for salvation always included “Gentiles” as this Psalm shows. God promised a people to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), and a land (Genesis 13:14-16). The land promise was fulfilled (Joshua 21:43-45) and preserved (2 Chronicles 36:15-23; Jeremiah 25:1-14), the Israelites kept to preserve the lineage for Jesus to be born as the “only begotten Son of God” (Matthew 1:1-25; Galatians 3:1-29; Ephesians 3:1-12). Jesus Christ is now the King of His kingdom of Christians (John 18:36; Acts 17:7; 2:29-38).

Verse 1: “Praise the LORD” (Hallelujah), a thought common to Israelites, is directly pointed to “Gentiles” (an Israelite term referring to all non-covenant people). The call is for all people to have one worship for the One God, and for the same reasons. The Law of Moses stood between Jews and Gentiles, requiring Gentiles to observe Moses (Exodus 12:49; Numbers 15:1-31), but now that Law has been removed and Jews are expected to obey the Law of Christ as well as Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22). The only unity is found in Christ (Romans 3:19-31).

Verse 2: God’s “merciful kindness” has been demonstrated not only for the Jews, but also the rest of humanity, time and time again. Only in “Harlotwood’s” fantasies does Satan, evil, and wickedness prevail. Another expression for “merciful kindness” is “grace,” best expressed in Jesus Christ. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). God’s “truth” is the only absolute truth to be found: His promises stand until He fulfills them; His Creation operates by His complex laws; His people (Christians) know His moral code brings purity to the impure; His Bible stands every challenge to its integrity; faith in Him gives certainty to the fearful. There is no other “truth” except that which is based upon God’s truth contained in His Creation and Bible. Solomon’s Book of Proverbs recorded: “So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may answer words of truth To those who send to you?” (Proverbs 22:19-21)

Because God’s Way is best and planned for all men, indeed, “praise the LORD.”

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #gentiles, #god, #grace, #hallelujah, #jesus-christ, #kingdom-of-christ, #law-of-moses, #worship

Sin Can Come In More Than One Color

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.” (Proverbs 25:19)

I thought of this verse from Proverbs today when I saw a story on the news about a “United Church of Christ” congregation that decided to place a rainbow-colored banner in their “church” yard to welcome any and all “gay” Boy Scouts. One man from the “church” was interviewed and said he wanted to make sure that they [the homosexual children] knew that all of God’s children were welcome there. This man with his endorsement, on national TV, encouraged the practice of child homosexuality and wanted them to believe that God is accepting of it! That my friend, to say the least, is the epitome of a whole mouth full of spiritually broken teeth representing an unfaithful man not worthy of any spiritual confidence during this time of trouble!

The scriptures describe sin with the color of scarlet, but it’s obvious that sin can come in more one color. For a “church” to take a banner colored according to the very sign given to Noah after the world was judged due to sin and to endorse its meaning concerning homosexuality is more than unambiguous apostasy – it’s an abomination that attempts to pervert God’s grace to the core. Jude identified this mentality when he warned God’s church by saying, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4 – emphasis mine) This depraved “church” hasn’t challenged me – this depraved “church” has challenged and attempted to rebuke the authority of God. They have denied the Law of the Spirit of Life that leads to Jesus to endorse the lust of the flesh that leads to death. This “church” proves that having the name of Christ on their building proves nothing! They joyfully removed the “banner of the blood of the Lamb” and happily replaced it with a literal banner of sin. They have rejected God’s will and have belligerently forgotten that “…the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”” (2 Timothy 2:19).

If you are currently practicing a homosexual lifestyle or you have repented from such a sin, please do not place any faith in this “church’s” endorsement of homosexuality. Don’t trust your spiritual well-being with this thinking. Like all sins, with the exception of one, there is a basis found in the scriptures that shows forgiveness can be found for committing homosexual sins (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but there is no basis whatsoever in the scriptures that God has ever or will ever spiritually accept homosexuality. Those who say anything contrary to that truth are guilty of the one sin to which there is no forgiveness, and that’s sinning against the Spirit of God by perverting His plain word, rejecting His obvious truth and leading others down a path they have labeled safe and celebratory when God has labeled it sinful and shameful in the Bible. The color and purpose behind God’s rainbow teaches us that sin will again be judged on a large-scale one day, and homosexuality is a weight that will keep a person out of Heaven no matter who places a banner in their yard. The colors of the rainbow don’t excuse sin, they teach that there’s such a thing as sin. The blood of Jesus can cover the sin represented by the rainbow-banner, but the blood of Jesus won’t mix with it.

When sin of any kind is the issue, then confidence must be had that the truth is being revealed concerning God’s will and that the solution through repentance and the blood of Jesus is given; but when an individual endorses sin instead of the solution to sin, then that person is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint – they can’t be trusted and will remain useless spiritually…at least useless as far as any good thing is concerned. The invitation of the gospel of Christ remains open to any and all sinners, homosexual or not, who wish to find forgiveness; but forgiveness only comes through the grace of God that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). Those words are in black and white, no matter what their banner says or how bad they may want to “color” them.

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)

#abomination, #culture, #depravity, #false-teacher, #forgiveness, #grace, #homosexuality, #lust-of-the-flesh, #sin, #united-church-of-christ

Learning from John about Jesus

John was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He spent about three and one-half years with the Lord. What was his view of Jesus? Did he perceive of Jesus as a mere man or did he see him as God among us? John pictured Jesus in eternity past by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) John gave us many important lessons about Jesus concerning living life on earth and determining our eternal destiny after we die. He revealed to us that Jesus is the Messiah that was prophesied of in the Old Testament of the Bible. He showed us that the purpose of Jesus Christ coming to earth and the reason He was sent to earth by God had everything to do with our salvation. By focusing on Jesus, John helps us learn the truth about eternity and the truth about making eternal choices. He pictured Jesus’ earthly life by saying, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Observe what we can learn about Jesus from John.

Learn from John that Jesus is “the only begotten of the Father.” He is “The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The Bible accurately teaches that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (Acts 8:37) At His baptism God acknowledged Him as His Son. (Matthew 3:17) Peter was correct when he confessed, “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69) Let us be convinced from scripture that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. He came to earth to make our salvation possible. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38) Jesus is the only person born of a woman, whose human nature never came by the ordinary way of generation. He was conceived in the womb of the virgin, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Learn from John that Jesus is full of grace. He is “The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Grace explains God’s actions toward us. God’s plan for our salvation was accomplished by His grace. Jesus is the very source of God’s grace and truth. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) God’s grace is available to all for salvation. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12) On the cross the one that knew no sin died for sinners. There is no greater demonstration of grace than that. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Without the Bible we would not know the wonderful story of salvation, which is the story of God’s grace.

Learn from John that Jesus is full of truth. He is “The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Religious truth came by Jesus Christ; therefore everything that we do religiously must be authorized by the Lord. John wrote, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) The Bible is the standard of faith for the Christian. Our access to God is available through obedient faith. (Ephesians 3:12) Because God Himself is entirely faithful, He honors those who love Him enough to trust His word completely. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9) Everything done in Christian service must be authorized by the unalterable truth of God.

Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ’s saving blood by being baptized into His death. John said, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12) We join with Paul in saying, “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21) Are you a faithful member of the church of Christ?

By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037

#grace, #jesus-christ, #only-begotten, #truth #Charles-Box

Nov 28 1994 ABC newscaster Peter Jennings announced…

Nov. 28, 1994 ABC newscaster Peter Jennings, announced the death of Jeffrey Dahmer. He was 34 years old and had been in prison 3 years. He was convicted of killing, dismembering and even cannibalizing 17 young men over a 13 year period. Relatives of the victims were interviewed and I remember the words of a sister of one of the victims, “I am glad he is dead. He wasn’t sick, he wasn’t insane; he was evil, altogether evil!” Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Son of Sam & Jeffrey Dahmer!!! What few know is that Jeffrey Dahmer was converted to Christ while in prison. Mary Mott, who works with World Bible School, thought “he needs Jesus more than anyone else” and decided to send Dahmer a course. He read it , studied it and began to correspond. Eventually, he wrote, “Is there a preacher from the Church of Christ who can come and baptize me?” Roy Ratcliff from nearby Madison, Wisconsin baptized Dahmer in May of 94 in a prison whirlpool. Upon hearing of his death my first reaction was “good riddance, he finally got what he deserved!” But later I discovered he was a Christian. I immediately became ashamed of my first reaction. No matter what he had been guilty of, Jeffrey Dahmer had a soul worth saving. As far as we know, Jeffrey Dahmer died a faithful Christian. But he was a ruthless killer! He was the blackest and vilest of sinners! He even ate people he killed! Abominable, detestable, perverted, debased, wicked!!! NO!, NO, NO!!! He was a child of God, washed in the blood, saved by grace, beloved of God. But he didn’t deserve to be saved! Neither do you or I! If any of us are saved, we will be saved by grace. So then without prejudice or judgment, let us affirm the incomprehensible love of God and praise Him for His infinite mercy.

#dahmer, #grace, #just-a-minute

The Place I Want to Live

On our way home to Tennessee we passed a road that led to “Graceville.” As we passed it I thought to myself that “Graceville” sounds like it would be a great place to live…then I remembered that through the blood of Jesus that’s where I’m already at!

If you’re a Christian, have a great day thinking about that because Jesus is the only road that leads in that direction (John 14:6, Acts 4:11-12).

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we havepeace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:1-2, 8-9 – NKJV)

#blood-of-christ, #christian, #grace, #jesus

More Random Thoughts

Here is an actual “news” headline from 8-17-12 – “Texas School District Eases Up On Dress Code, Allows Male Earrings, Visible Tattoos”

The headline reveals how this nation’s school system is letting us down! It reveals how the average school has a social hub mindset for children on the forefront while education concerns are actually on the back-burner. Although the story didn’t say it, I have no doubt that complaining parents was one of the reasons that the “dress code” was eased up on. Tattoos? These are children!!! Reading, Ritting and Rithmatic have obviously been exchanged for Revealing, Regressing and Rotting leadership both from parents and school districts.

As I’m sure most of you have heard, Neil Armstrong is dead at the age of 82.

The man who made it all the way to the moon wasn’t able to get away from death. No matter where we go, death finds us all. One thing that I can say that I appreciated about Mr. Armstrong is that he was willing to mention mankind’s Creator. While I can’t say I know much about his personal beliefs, I can say that just about the only thing I hear coming from NASA’s mouth today is all about searching for the origins of life – i.e. evolution garbage. Again, I don’t know what Mr. Armstrong’s true position was, but I think it would be great if a man in his position would acknowledge the awe of outer space in a way that points to its Creator.

Here’s a portion of my sermon yesterday about having a passion for our salvation. I thought some of you might be able to use it for a sermon idea:

There’s no such thing as a person who’s saved that wasn’t lost beforehand! Problem is from time to time some people forget who they need to be in Christ, while some of us forget who we used to be before Christ. Every one of us has a B.C. time in our life that we need to remember.

We sing the 1st stanza of Amazing Grace, but do we really believe it? Did God’s grace save an angel, or did it save a wretch? If we expect to be passionate about who we are we’ll have to remember who we were! We were sinners, lost, enemies of God, deserving punishment and bound for Hell.

Some may want to deny this, but we do so at our own peril! Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost – not the found (Luke 19:10). Fact that some of us may want to deny this explains why we might have no passion about our salvation!!!

How can we expect to be passionate about something if we don’t realize how bad we needed it? If we can’t realize how bad we needed it, then one day we will, but it might too late. Remember what Paul said about himself – 1 Timothy 1:15. Too many Christians look at their past like they were the least of sinners instead of the chief.

Forgetting who we were causes us to be someone who doesn’t care about others. It leads to spiritual snobbery! It leads to hypocrisy, hard heartedness and even hatred of others! It leads to self-righteousness, self-justification and self-condemnation! It leads us and others almost anywhere expect to Jesus.

So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32 – NKJV)

#death, #education, #god, #grace, #news, #salvation, #schools, #sermon

It’s Not Just PETA Who Doesn’t Understand

Have you ever wondered why God would ask his people for an animal sacrifice even though he knew it wouldn’t remove sin? You’re probably not the only one. I would suspect that there are plenty of people who do not understand why, or maybe the thought had never occurred before now. Either way, it’s a question worth asking because the answer is worth knowing!

If you would like to read an article that revolves around answering that question, then click here: “Why Did God Require Animals to be Sacrificed?

The article revolves around blood, the human heart, sin, sacrifice and the grace of God. For you fellas who preach, it’s basically a written sermon; take what you find useful. For any one else who would just enjoy the question leading to a deeper study on a personal level or the gathering of notes on the topic, there are plenty of places to do both.

#blood, #god, #grace, #heart, #old-testament, #sacrifice, #sermon, #sin

For the faint of heart

A poem fell into my inbox this morning, and, while the thought was nice, the structure was flat. So I took the general idea, turned it on its side a bit, and did a completely new piece. I’ll probably send it to my UPLift list. May it bless someone today.

UNDERFOOT
by J. Randal Matheny

Heavy troubles long oppress,
They dampen cheeks in darkened day,
The anguished soul in mourning dress,
Throws ashes on the hardened clay.

He clamors for the Lord to hear,
But silence in the heavens holds;
He’d part the darkness, upward peer,
While underfoot a flower unfolds.

#afflictions, #grace, #poetry

Blind Doctrines

My April 3rd article at Forthright was entitled, Grace and Conversion as a follow-up to my March 27th article, Holy by Grace. In the Conversion article, I clearly established that we are saved by grace.

I wrote:

The death of Jesus was full of grace, being something that we have no right to be offered. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). His love, grace and mercy is solely responsible for the availability of salvation.

Later in the article I wrote:

Finally, we will be saved by works, indicating our allegiance and commitment (Revelation 20:11-15). Yet, when our lives are over, no matter how obedient we have been, we will still need grace to be saved (Luke 17:5-10).

A reader commented and focused on the first sentence and overlooked the second. I established without any doubt that we cannot save ourselves. While obedience is a necessary part of salvation, we will still enter heaven solely by grace. However, the reader demanded to know how I could say we were saved by works.

It is always troubling when someone’s doctrinal mindset is beset by blindness. If we have to ignore entire passages of Scripture in order to reconcile our own beliefs, we have serious problems.

Simply put, either the same Holy Spirit wrote both Ephesians 2:8-9 and Revelation 20:11-15 or they didn’t. Either they are both inspired or neither are (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We can either accept both as true and keep studying until we figure out how they work together or we simply dismiss one or both of them. However, ignoring Scripture puts us at great peril (John 12:48).

Revelation 20:11-15 is Scripture and inspired. Therefore, it is true. God said:

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

We study and obey or we dismiss it and call God a liar.

In Romans 5, the text says we are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1) and we are “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9). Just like before, we can either accept both or pick and choose whichever one best suits us.

I prefer to keep studying and reconcile them since I believe Scripture is inspired by God.

We are justified by the blood of Christ so that we can approach God for salvation (Romans 5:6-11). When we stand before God, we are justified because we have the blood of Christ on our souls. However, we are also justified by faith.

Our faith and our works show our allegiance and commitment to God (James 2:20-26). We remain with Christ because we are serving Him. However, these works do not ultimately save us because that can only happen by grace and the blood of Christ (Luke 17:5-10).

It is simple and complicated at the same time. The reader needs to see the larger picture rather than blindly focusing in one thing and ignoring everything else.

#doctrines, #grace, #holiness, #salvation