3-7-2016 Who Can Claim Salvation

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10 NKJV). If, all that sinners have to do is “claim” their salvation, why was Paul enduring “all things for the sake of the elect?” No Scripture says salvation is to be “claimed,” but Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9 NKJV). Salvation was bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, and is only given to those who obey Him. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16 NKJV). Obedience “obtains” salvation.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#claiming-salvation, #obey, #salvaiton

The apostle Paul wrote “with the mouth confession…

The apostle Paul wrote, “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. Was Paul right or are “faith only” folks right? They can’t be both right! How so? The “faith onlys” say that one is saved at the moment you believe; that is before one has confessed his faith. But the apostle says confession is still “unto” or “towards” salvation. Furthermore, a few verses later, Paul mentions, “they have not all obeyed the gospel.” In another place he said that God will punish those “who do not know God, and those who do not obey the gospel”. Where does this leave the “faith onlys”? It leaves them wanting! If God is going to punish those who obey not the gospel, then I choose to “confess unto salvation” and “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins”. It may not be the most popular, but it is the most sure. This is Just-A-Minute.

#confession, #faith-only, #just-a-minute, #obey

Thanks for tuning in readers and welcome to…

Thanks for tuning in readers, and welcome to another episode of “What Requires Immediate Attention?”

Here’s how we play: you will be given two scenarios and will choose the one that requires immediate, correct action. Right choices can lead to eternal bliss, while wrong ones may provide some earthly relief, but promise little eternal happiness.

Okay. Here we go…

Our first two scenarios are (choose only one): balance the bank account or obey the gospel? DING! Time’s up! What was your answer? If you chose balancing the old bank balance, you probably will avoid overdrafts, but your action probably won’t save your soul.

Of course, what requires immediate attention is to obey the gospel. Matthew 6:33 is instructive here. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” All the things Jesus mentions are those things we need to live in this world. There’s always plenty of time to balance the bank account, but there may not be all the time in the world to obey the gospel, right? None of us are guaranteed existence in this world tomorrow. Best obey the gospel NOW!

All right. Hope your answer was the right one! Your soul depended on it!

#obey, #salvation, #soul

Unintended Humor

Me: So, which of the 10 Commandments are we not under today as Christians?
Teenage girl: The 5th one.
Me: Are you certain?
Teenage girl: Yes, we are no longer under the Sabbath law today.
Me: I think the 5th one says something a bit different. 🙂
Exo. 20:12

#obey, #parents, #sabbath

A Good Idea

One of the great things about Jeremiah is how the Lord God instructed him to deliver lessons using everyday things.

An example of this is Jeremiah 13. God asks Jeremiah to buy and bury a linen loincloth, remove it from its pit and show how useless it had become. By its continued sin, Judah has become useless to God. Judah had been God’s possession to show his glory, but now it had become spoiled.

God then asks Jeremiah to tell them, “Every jug is to be filed with wine,” (Jeremiah 13:12 NASB). Judah smirked back saying, “Tell us something we don’t know.” The figure was designed to show how Judah was like stumbling, bumbling drunks who didn’t realize how foolish they were.

God tells Judah, “’Thus says the LORD, “Behold I am about fill all the inhabitants of this land ― the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem ― with drunkenness! I will dash them against each other both the fathers and the sons together,’ declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 13:13-14a NASB).

The same can be true of us if we become useless, and are not glorifying God, sharing his gospel and have turned a blind eye to sin.

God gives all a chance to repent. Here’s a good idea: let’s take that opportunity and obey God today.

#god, #idea, #obey

Waiting on the Lord

The book of Proverbs is full of wise sayings. The Holy Spirit, especially in this book, has packed a lot of wisdom into few words. Proverbs 20:24 is a succinct verse I’ve been contemplating recently – “A man’s steps are of the LORD; how then can a man understand his own way?”

Although God has granted free will to every human being, man is not in a position to adequately guide himself alone. Man (whether righteous or wicked) cannot understand all the long-term consequences of his daily choices (in both word and deed), but God certainly does understand and is very much involved in the lives of those made in His image. He is Master over everything–including that which we do not understand and cannot presently perceive. I believe that this verse addresses the providential guiding of Almighty God. God knows the end from the beginning; He knows how to work out things for good in the ultimate sense for those who love Him (cf. Rom. 8:28).

So, what should we do in light of these truths? We should wait upon the Lord! We should confess our own ignorance and insufficiency before God and trust Him–even when it feels like He has forgotten us or is working against us. We should serve God to the best of our ability, even when we do not understand why certain things are or are not happening in our lives presently. I have compiled a list of verses from the Old Testament on this theme that I’d like to read at this time:

Psalm 25:1-5 – “To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”

Psalm 37:1-7 – “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him.”

Psalm 52:8,9 – “I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name for it is good.”

Proverbs 20:22 – “Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.”

Isaiah 30:18 – “For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.”

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Jeremiah 14:22 – “Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait for You, since You have made all these.”

Zephaniah 3:8 – “‘Therefore wait for Me,’ says the LORD…”

Although the contexts vary from which these verses are taken, the general theme is very clear. Wait on the Lord–in other words, trust Him enough to serve Him and rely upon Him in crisis and in the good times. He will take care of you and see you through! Is there something you strongly desire to be added to your life but God has not blessed you with yet (like a godly mate, for example; cf. Prov. 18:22)? Wait on the Lord; He knows what is best for you and His timing is perfect. Is there something you strongly desire to have removed from your life but God has not done so yet (like a thorn in the flesh, for example; cf. II Cor. 12:7ff)? Wait on the Lord; He knows what is best for you and His timing is perfect. Indeed, “a man’s steps are of the Lord” (Prov. 20:24). There is nothing better for a Christian to do than to trust and obey God, no matter what. Such a course will lead to joy and peace that passes understanding.

#obey, #trust, #wait

The Toughest Question

The toughest question I was ever asked, was by an elder in the church before I became a Christian. He asked me, “Have you thought about your soul?”:

I was 15 years old at the time, and I had never been asked that question. For some time, my grandmother had been urging me to obey the gospel. After pondering this question in light of Scripture, I came to the conclusion that my soul was indeed in great jeopardy of being eternally lost.

I quickly decided that my soul was far more important than anything else I could imagine. There was no rational reason whatsoever to delay my obeying the Lord in baptism any longer, and thus I was baptized on January 1, 1960.

I’ve never regretted the decision.

#ask, #christian, #church, #elder, #eternal, #gospel, #jeopardy, #obey, #ponder, #question, #soul, #thought, #toughest, #urge

Need encouragement?

Very often, when someone preaches a sermon warning of judgment to come, their purpose is to encourage, not frighten.

In 1 Kings Chapter 16, the prophet Elijah prayed for no rain. He prayed for famine, calamity and hardship because he wanted to encourage Israel to repent of its sins and return to God.

Encouragement often comes when people are so burdened and grieved by sin they decide to do something about it.

If you are grieved by sin, it’s time to do something about it. You need to repent and obey the gospel. The apostle Peter said, “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).

Elijah preached to get people off the fence. In 1 Kings 18:21, he asked, ““How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision?” Generally, we get discouraged because we want to sit on an uncomfortable fence instead of making a commitment to the Lord. Maybe, it’s time for you to make a decision.

Elijah called for fire, and fire came. But, the fire proved God’s desire for people to repent and change.

Need to repent and seek encouragement? Repent and obey God today!

#encouragement, #obey, #sin

Trust and Obey

In college, our class was given 1 Peter 3:15 to memorize, among many other verses. The Apostle Peter wrote, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Actually, that verse is only part of the whole sentence, which is pretty long. It begins in verse 14 and ends in verse 16. The idea behind the complete thought is that even if Christians are to suffer for their faith, as long as they consecrate Christ as Lord, they need not be afraid of anything man can do to them, but continue to trust God.

Interestingly, the same idea is expressed in Isaiah 8:13, where God is telling his people that if Judah consecrated him ― live dedicated lives to him ― they shouldn’t fear anything. Judah had been threatened by Syria and Israel and forced into a bloody war. The reason why the nation suffered so much was because King Ahaz had not trusted in God, but instead made an alliance with Assyria. The nation suffered needless loss because they failed to trust God.

God instructs us just as he tried to instruct Judah to trust and obey, “for there’s no other way, to live happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

#obey, #trust

Just one? :) One of the first thoughts t…

Just one? 🙂 One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was concerning Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son, Isaac. Though the specific word “obey” is not found, the concept permeates the account, found in Genesis 22. When Isaac questioned Abraham about the offering, Abraham replied “God will provide…”(Gen. 22:8). Hebrews 11:17-19 further reveals the thoughts of Abraham: he had faith that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham obeyed, knowing that he could place complete trust in God to work out what seemed to be a most difficult situation. Are we willing to obey Him in all things, with complete trust in Him to provide, in spite of our limited view?

#abraham, #faith, #obey, #provide

If Jesus is Lord

… then I better act like it.

Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21, KJV) Yet there are so many who have bought into Satan’s lie, just as Eve bought into the lie in the garden. Satan inserts that one 3-letter word, “not”. Sadly, that’s all it takes.

#jesus-is-lord, #obedience, #obey, #satan

What commandment do I Struggle Most to Obey

Of all the commandments I struggle with obeying is “love”. It is hard to love some people. People that are very capable of taking care of themselves, but don’t. It is hard to love my brothers and sisters that refuse to abide and follow the Word of God. For example, I was told at the end of a business meeting that I had preached, read scripture, and argued my points, but the proposal would leave a brother and his family in the streets. Response, let’s go home. This is where my self control wains.

Another area is as with Randal, finishing what I start. I get behind on somethings because I didn’t have time to finish what I started, especially to start something new when I hadn’t finished to old.

#commandment, #love, #obey

What commandment do I struggle most to o…

What commandment do I struggle most to obey? Wow, what a loaded question. First, I must admit I have shortcomings and then I have to address which shortcomings are the most blatant and I must do this in a venue that J. Randal Matheny can see and edit. That’s the really humiliating part.

My weakness is in the scripture calling me to “love the Lord thy God” with all my heart, mind, soul and might. This includes the obedience to all the commands of God (John 14:15). If I love God the way I should, then I will obey his commands.

Lately, I’ve been instructed by the twin Psalms, Psalm 56 and 57 to make God the center of my life instead of my problems and trials. Eddie Cloer, the writer of the Truth for Today commentary on Psalms penned, “Walking with God with a living faith keeps our souls centered on our Deliverer and His deliverances instead of on our foes and our failures.” Boy, there’s a wake-up call. If I can learn that, then I’ll be closer to loving God the way I should.

#commandments, #love, #obey

What commandment do you struggle most to…

What commandment do you struggle most to obey? Loving my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39; James 2:8). Loving the unlovable becomes very difficult at times, especially when folks try to take advantage of you. To help my weakness in this area, I think of what Paul stated in Romans 5:8, that while we were yet sinners before God, Christ died for us. Then, it becomes easier to treat others as I would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

#commandment, #neighbor, #obey, #struggle, #weakness