Goodness AND Severity

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11:22)

Right at the heart of a discourse on the subject of God’s “right” to use both Jew and Gentile to accomplish his will, Paul again reminds the people of God about their calling to actually be the people of God.

Being the beneficiary of God’s goodness has its benefit, no doubt or discounting that – it grafts us into the body of God’s elect! But this election by grace also carries with it a responsibility to live by grace…which is a little different from the way many people in the religious world tend to view grace when it comes to our initial start in the race of faith and our finishing the course (Titus 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

With that consideration in mind, it is important to see that being the elect of God has nothing to do with being once saved always saved, for in the middle of his discussion of the Jewish people’s election (or as one might say, “God’s original elect” – barring individual examples like Abel, Enoch and Noah, of course), Paul warns the gentile members of the church at Rome that if they were to forsake their calling, and ultimately the goodness/grace of God, then the same pruning knife that removed the original branches would also remove the branches that had been grafted in. And one does not have to be a professional arborist to get that picture.

We should never forget about the power of God’s grace to begin and finish our salvation. I know Paul, a Jew and the chief of sinners, refused to let that point slip by him as he considered his own people in the flesh. But neither should we forget about the destructive power of sin and the consequences of certain behaviors as we consider our self and our own people in the spirit. I know this a much-needed daily lesson for me.

#election, #holy-living, #once-saved-always-saved

Quotable saying on worldliness in the church

Jim Dearman (of Good News Today) was our guest speaker for our gospel meeting this past week, and last night he delivered an excellent sermon on “Putting the Cart Before the Horse”.

One of the things that he talked about was the negative influence of worldliness in the church and I jotted down a couple of things that he said, and I wanted to pass along one of them this morning.

In relation to Colossians 3:1-3 he said:

A lot of members of the Lord’s church are sick of the world, but they’re not dead to it.

I suppose this a truth that effects of all us from teenagers to retirees in our own way. Nevertheless it’s something that we must all be aware of, and it’s something that we must overcome, or at least stay away from, lest it finds a home within our hearts and overcome us.

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness…Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5, 12-13)

#holy-living, #salvation, #worldliness

SIGNIFICANCE OF A FEW!

Power and significance in outcomes is not always associated with large numbers. God brought some great victories for Israel with just a few. Remember the victory He brought through Gideon with only 300 men. (Judges 7:7-8) Also, prior to entering the promised land, Israel was reminded of what had been done because God had been with them, in that one had been able to chase a thousand and two to have put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) This was to be a reminder that with God it mattered not what the count looked like; whether it be few or many.

Let us also remember all it would have taken was the presence of ten righteous souls to have spared the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. (Genesis 18:32) What if Abraham had asked if God would have spared for the sake of four: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters?

Now, consider a focus during the days of the prophet Jeremiah where we read. . .

“(1) Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to SEE IF YOU CAN FIND A MAN, ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE AND SEEKS TRUTH, THAT I MAY PARDON HER.” (Jeremiah 5:1 ESV)

The New Living Translation reads, “”Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! IF YOU CAN FIND EVEN ONE JUST AND HONEST PERSON, I WILL NOT DESTROY THE CITY.”” (NLT) Find JUST ONE? Only ONE would have made the difference? How sad that at this time Jerusalem refused to repent and a period of captivity followed.

Consider the significance of OUR OWN LIFE in connection with our trust in God. Regardless of what the world around us might be doing, let us never underestimate the significance of our continued living by God’s standard. Though God has made clear there is a day coming for His judgment (1 Peter 3:10), perhaps — in His patience (2 Peter 3:9) — He is presently sparing the world because He wants our godliness to have more OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE a few more souls around us.

Let us not give up living according to what God has revealed to be right. Those around us need to come to grips with that! With our life lived for Him, His work of sparing souls can still take place. To Him be the glory!

Have a great day BEING ONE FOUND TO BE HONEST AND JUST! – Carl Hanson

“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

#christian-living, #christianity, #holy-living, #judgment-of-god, #making-a-difference, #righteousness, #spiritual-influence, #the-power-of-influence

Praise God We Have Changed Kingdoms

Jesus is Coming back for us! This is a reality! Praise the Lord that He has called us out of a “dark world into the light of the Gospel.”

“For He has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in who we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)

Most of us, I’m sure, prefer light to darkness. Without Jesus all of us were in darkness, members, though we might not have known it, in the kingdom of Satan. Our Heavenly Father desires that we all come to a saving knowledge ans has provided the means through His Son, the Lord Jesus. We are glad that we can share in the inheritance He has for us (Col. 1:12)

The Word of God describes this transformation as changing kingdoms. We have been brought out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel. The terminology used here by Paul is a military illustration. It pictures Rome going into a free country and as a result of waging a war and winning they subdue that nation and take them into captivity.

But in the spiritual realm, we are the ones in “bondage” and when we accept the Lord Jesus and obey the Gospel, we are “transferred’ (NASB) or “translated” (KJV) or are “conveyed” (NKJV) out of that bondage into the light of the Gospel. But it does not end there. Since we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Col. 1:14) we must put our new found faith to the test.

We have been called out of that dark kingdom, changed by the light of the Gospel and now have the privilege to go back into that kingdom, now empowered by the Holy Spirit and utilizing the Whole Armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) to help others find their way out.

We can never work our way into Heaven, but upon salvation, we are to be the best workers the Lord has. So, my fellow believer, while we are waiting and watching for the Lord’s return, let’s be letting our light shine for Him! (I Peter 2:10)

 

 

#christian-living, #church, #holy-living, #kingdom, #redemption, #second-coming

How Do We Know Jesus Is Coming Again? (Part 2)

The Testimony of the writers of the Epistles.

All throughout the Epistles we have the teaching that Jesus is coming again. In I Thessalonians 1:10 the Christians at Thessalonica and we today are told to “wait for His Son from Heaven.” In I Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul assures us that “the Lord Himself” will come back for us. We have the same admonition in Titus 2:13. We must be looking for the return of the Blessed Hope.

But while we are admonished to be a people who are always on the alert an d looking for His coming, we must also be a people who are active in His service. We must be waiting and watching every day, but also we must be a people, who because we are saved, are working for the Lord in His Kingdom. We must be thankful to have been called out of a kingdom of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel. (Col. 1:13-14)

Since we are now in the light of the Gospel, we must be seeking to help the lost find their way into the light of the Gospel. We must also be found seeking to strengthen the saved.

Keep looking up! Jesus may come today! This attitude must translate into greater service. It must motivate us to love the lost more and concentrate our labors in that behalf.

These passage have established the authority that Jesus is coming back! Do we know when? No, we do not. But we know that according to Romans 13:11 “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than we first believed.”

#christian-living, #holy-living, #second-coming

The Benefits of Christian Living

Benefits are something that that the Lord has for us now! Spiritual benefits are the most precious. Being a Christian brings benefits, not only for eternity, but in the here and now. Christianity is a here and now religion. We don’t have to wait till eternity to enjoy what the Lord has in store for us for us.

The Apostle Paul, in Col. 1:20-23, contrasted their lives before they came to the Lord with the life in the Lord Jesus. He reminds them and us that we were reconciled because of our faith and obedience to Christ. He tells us that Jesus will one day “present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach..” Is that automatic or must we do something on our part? In Col. 1:23 we have the word “if;” many times in the Word we might be able to substitute the word “since.” Continue reading

#holy-living, #rewards, #spiritual-growth

Enjoying The Heavenly Places in Christ

In Ephesians 1:3 Paul wrote these words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” The Christian is a heavenly person. He is not “of this world.” Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are “citizens of heaven.”

What does this mean to the Christian? It means that we do not let the things of this world, which is anti-God, dictate how we live. We have been called out of a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:2-14.). The Word of God is our constitution,especially the New Testament. We find in its pages how to live and act as “citizens of heaven,” and enjoy all the blessings in Christ!

Jesus said that He came to give us the abundant life. We should desire all that the Godhead has for us. Paul told the Colossians that we should “seek the things that are above.” We must, therefore, strive to conduct our lives with a heavenly emphasis. We need to renew our minds spiritually.

We have received these spiritual blessings so that we can praise God! The Lord has promised to equip us for service so that we can reach the lost and strengthen the saved. These blessings that we have as “citizens of heaven” are to help us grow daily in “the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We cannot live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the help of the Lord at all times. Satan is out there ” as a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour.” Because of that, we need the assurance that “greater is He who in you than he who is in the world.”

Christians should seek everything God has for us so that we can be equipped to live Him, always learning from the Word of God, and being active in His service while we look forward to the time when the Lord returns for His Church to take us home to the full reality of the Heavenly kingdom.

While we have been promised all the blessings today, one day we will enjoy them on a higher scale when we see Him face to face. If we avail ourselves of all that He has for us and use the blessings to bring glory to Him, we will “let our light shine for Him.”

#christian-living, #ephesians, #holy-living

Mind Renewal In a Mindless World

We live  in a society that is  not  tuned into  the  things of God.  The world we live in is in the control of Satan.  It is really a  “mindless society.”  Romans 12:1-2 tells Christians that we are  to be a  people of “mind renewal.”

Paul speaks to Christians when he tells us that because of our faith we  need to march to a  different  drum than the  world. As I said earlier, the world  marches to the  beat of the  deceiver.  He  is  called the  “god” of this  world, (2 Cor. 4:4) and “the  prince of the  power of the  air” (Eph. 2:2). It is  reasonable that we, because of our faith, present our  whole self to God. We  need to be a holy people (I Pet. 1:15-16).

We must not  let this  mindless society dictate how Christians  live.  We must always  be found  “renewing our minds.”  Most of the time when the  Bible  uses the  word “heart”  it means  “mind.”  It is in the  mind where we make decisions, both  for  good or  bad.  It is in the minds where we decide that we are  going to  serve Jesus. So, let’s be  transformed, believing and  knowing that if we follow God and seek to be  conformed to  the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29),  we will let  our  light  shine for Jesus!

#christians, #faith, #holy-living, #renewal