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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Is Capital Punishment wrong?

New Testament Teaching on Capital Punishment

    The nation of Israel was something like a theocracy. There was a much closer connection between civic laws and religious laws for Israel in the Law of Moses. Christianity is obviously not a “nation” like Israel was. Christianity is a spiritual nation that transcends civic laws as Christians are now found in nations all over the world. But, we live under civil laws.

    God largely does not regulate the types of laws that a nation would put into place to govern its citizens. God has left the power of capital punishment in the lands of the civil government, the law of a society (Rom 13:1-6). Paul says that the governing authorities do not “bear the sword for nothing” (Rom. 13:4). Clearly the reference here is to capital punishment. Civil governments have the God-given right to implement capital punishment. God does not tell them for what crimes they might do that but He allows them to do that.

    The question now arises whether a Christian can do so as well. Our government allows us to defend our homes, even if it means taking the life of the intruder. Our founding fathers wrote that right into the Bill of Rights, a set of rights that our founding fathers simply did not want to leave to the whims of future generations. I know there are many people, including the writers of my “beloved” TV show, MacGyver, who believe the 2nd amendment was intended for state governments, not for private citizens. But, that ignores the context when the amendment was written and it ignores what our Supreme Court has consistently and undeniably ruled in the 229 years of our constitutional republic.

    God gives humans the right (cf Exo. 22:2) to take the life of an intruder and not be guilty of sin. There’s every reason to believe that that moral principle is still valid today, especially in light of the fact that our own government also gives us the right to take the life of an intruder under certain circumstances.

    The church does not have the right to take people’s lives if they sin against God. God has given the church different rules that govern us disciplining ourselves. Our family does not have the right to discipline unruly members of our church. There are different rules in the family. But when it comes to the civil government and even Christians serving in and for the civil government, they have the right under the laws of our society to take the life of evil doers, based on those civil laws. 

    In other words, it is consistent with the nature of God and the law of Moses for Christians to serve in capacities, like the military and our local police force, that might put them in a position of taking the life of another, if they are working within the laws of our society.

    But there are two major objections which we will deal with next…

Answers to Two Objections to Christians Taking the Life of Another

    There are two notable objections to this idea that we need to consider before we close our study.

    1. “The sermon on the mount commands us to ‘turn the other cheek.’” 

    Let me point out (#1) that there is no command or principle in the NT that is only for Christians. In other words, all of Christ’s law, from Matt to Rev, is over all of mankind. Christians are obligated to live by the sermon on the mount and non-Christians are obligated to live by the sermon on the mount.

    (#2) The sermon on the mount is intended for individuals, not societies. The “beatitudes” are speaking about individual behavior. The verses where Jesus sets His teaching in contrast to the law of Moses, all deal with actions on the part of individuals (cf. Matt. 5:39). Jesus is talking about us as individuals. He is not limiting the response of nations to respond to an evil man like Adolf Hitler.

    Can anyone, who knows the Bible, honestly say that when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, that Christians should have told the Czechs: “We’re sorry. You need to turn the other cheek.” When Hitler invaded France, Christians should have told the French: “We’re sorry. You need to turn the other cheek.” When Hitler bombed Great Britain, killing innocent women and children, should Christians have told them: “We’re sorry. You need to turn the other cheek!” Absolutely not! Jesus did not intend for the Sermon the Mount to be a green light for good people to let evil people run the world!

    2. “Jesus was a pacifist. Therefore, Christians must be pacifist.” 

    (#1) Jesus was not a pacifist. He was God in the flesh and, as God, He was as much involved in killing those thousands of disobedient people in the OT as God the Father was. As the author of the law of Moses, Jesus was just as much involved in commanding Israel to kill others, under certain conditions, as God the Father was. No. Jesus was not a pacifist.

    (#2) The whole life of Jesus was centered around one purpose: dying for the sins of mankind. The question of “pacifism,” as we are discussing it, did not come up in the life of Jesus. When a centurion (Matt 8; Acts 10) enters the picture, he is never called to drop his sword (cf. Luke 3:14).

    (#3) Just because Jesus did not have to kill someone intruding into His house doesn’t mean we have no right to do so.

    (#4) Jesus was dealing with duly-constituted human governments. The Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, who condemned Jesus to death, were the governments at that time. Jesus submitted to His government as He requires us to do. Jesus was not an anarchist (Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1-7).

    Here’s the “long and short” of the discussion. God is love. But God killed people. Those two actions are not mutually exclusive. God commanded Israel to “love their neighbor” and to kill certain individuals under certain circumstances. It is entirely possible for us to do the same.

Paul Holland

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Three Kinds of Christians

There are three kinds of Christians in any local congregation. Which kind are you?

1) There are those Christians you can always count on. When there is work to be done, when a volunteer is needed, when a need must be met, you can depend on these folks to step forward. They carry their own weight, and they help others carry theirs, too (Gal. 6:2,5). There is never a doubt about their commitment or dedication. Their obvious zeal serves as a positive source of encouragement to others. You just never are left to wonder where they stand - because they demonstrate their faith in every way. These Christians serve as the "core" of any faithful congregation. Without them, important work would never get done - crucial matters would be left unattended - the church simply would not do well. Thank God for all such brethren. We should all strive to be one of these!

2) There are some other Christians in the church that are absolutely "out of it." They have little if any connection to the real work of the local congregation. They never are around if there is work to be done, and they simply DO NOT volunteer to help with the on-going efforts of the group. It is even impossible to count on these folks to attend the services regularly. Almost anything can serve as an excuse for them to miss the assemblies. And, if they don't even assemble faithfully, we wonder if they are really doing anything in service to the Lord.

3) There is yet another group that is in evidence in the local church. These are the ones who are "riding the fence." They want to give the impression that they are faithful and involved, but in reality their lives are full of compromise. They vocally claim allegiance to Christ, but they can't be counted on to consistently put the kingdom first.

Our Lord described these three kinds of Christians as "hot," "cold," and "lukewarm" (Rev. 3:15,16). Which term describes YOU?

- by Greg Gwin

 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Conflict

In his article, "Why Am I Angrier than I Use to Be?" [Leadership Journal (Summer 2000), pg. 79-80]
author and church minister Ed Rowell writes:

"When I was young, a neighboring family came down with a devastating illness. Several of the
children died, and the rest suffered permanent brain damage. What investigators discovered was that
the father had found a truckload of discarded seed corn and fed it to the family hogs. The corn
(not intended for animal feed) had been treated with something so bugs wouldn't eat it before it
germinated. The hogs ate it, seemingly with no ill effects.

But when the family hogs became the family breakfast, the family was poisoned. It seems that many
substances - pesticides and heavy metals like lead and mercury - do not pass through the digestive
system, but remain in the body, always. In tiny doses, the effects are minimal. But over time, the
effects are horrible.

That's what happens to many of us. Every day we ingest minute amounts of conflict and disrespect.
No big deal, we think. Just blow it off. But we don't. Instead it gets buried in our liver and 20
years later, we go ballistic over some kid skateboarding in the parking lot and wonder, 'Where did
that come from?'" *

Conflict. The very word makes us uncomfortable. It isn't pleasant. We'd rather not have to deal
with it.

But it's a reality. We cannot avoid it. We will encounter it. The question is: how are we going
to handle it?

The core of conflict is sin. Sin is the root cause of conflict in the most important relationship
of all: our relationship with God. Sin separates us from God and puts us on the path to destruction
(Isaiah 59:1-2; Matthew 7:13-14).

But God loves us so much that He took the initiative to reconnect with us. Although He was the
Offended One, He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our - the offenders' - sins. "He
Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for
righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24 NIV).

God will forgive and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Because of sin, each of us is in conflict with God. "For all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God" (Romans 3:23). But God paid the price for our redemption through the death of His Son
on the cross (Ephesians 1:7). Through Jesus, we can be reconciled to God, even though we don't
deserve it. Through Christ, the conflict is resolved.

We also learn from Christ how to resolve conflict with others. He teaches us that it will require
much love (John 3:16), taking the initiative (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15), and extending forgiveness
(Ephesians 4:32).

Won't YOU accept God's offer of salvation and eternal life so that you aren't separated from Him
anymore? Won't YOU share the conflict-ending ways of Christ with others?

-- David A. Sargent

* From PreachingToday.com, More Perfect Illustrations, [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers,
2003], pg. 20

Friday, November 2, 2018

We Reap what we Sow - Sooner or Later

 

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12

 

If you want to live forever, trust God and His word, and  obey. Doing your own thing is a one-way dead end.

 

“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

The New Testament has at least one Scripture that puts both options together:

 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you

live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will

live. Romans 8:12-13

 

Jesus put it this way:

 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

 

And the apostle Paul wrote this:

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8           

 

It’s not as though God hasn’t given us plenty of warning and plenty of reason to do what is right!

 

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. Romans 2:4-11

 

Sooner or later, for better or for worse, it will all come to pass.

 

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ … And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:30,46

 

David Carr

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Well, just give me the money then

In the End

 

Aunt Mary, who was in her 90s, would call her nephew, David, from time to time asking him to take her to the beauty parlor.  David, who had some health struggles of his own, would always oblige if he possibly could.  He would go and pick her up, take her to the beauty parlor, come back and get her when she was through, and take her home.  Then the playful “battle” would begin.  Aunt Mary wanted to give him some money for gas; David didn’t want it.  “You take it, or I won’t call you anymore,” threatened Aunt Mary.  David responded, “Well, just give me the money then!”  His relationship with her and his desire to help her were more important than the money.

 

When asked what her great-grandmother had meant to her, Madison (Cox) Holland wrote: “My Meme [pronounced meemee] was a big part of the village that raised me.  Because of this, it's hard for me to pinpoint specific memories of her.  She's not a snap shot here and there in my mind.  She's more of a thread, weaved all throughout my child and adulthood.  Her presence in my life was loving, steadfast and everlasting.

 

Our after school routine included Hormel Chili, oyster crackers, Dragon Tales, me playing with her hair dressing equipment and occasionally Chick-Fil-A Ice Dream.  I can't think of these things without thinking of Meme and I can't hear someone pop his/her gum without turning to look for her.

 

I wish that there was something I could say to honor Meme to the same degree that she impacted my life, but there isn't.  I just love her.”

 

These are a few of the wonderful memories that were shared by family and friends of two members of the Creekwood Church of Christ that passed away last week.  David Devitt (1946-2018) and Margaret “MeMe” Montalban (1929-2018) were not physically related, but they were both members of the family of God and they passed from this life within a 24-hour period.  They both left behind family and friends that have been profoundly impacted by their lives.

 

We’ve all been reminded that in the end, it’s relationships that we share with loved ones mean the most to us.

 

And, in the end, there’s one relationship that is the most important of all: our relationship with God.  When one has a relationship with God, there is salvation, hope, and eternal life to come (1 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 6:23).  If there is no relationship with God, then there is sorrow with no hope and destruction (1 Thessalonians 4:13; Matthew 7:13-14).

 

The good news is that God wants to save us and have a relationship with us!  In fact, He has made it possible for us – even though we have sinned – to be reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.  Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  We can be reconciled to God through Jesus when we accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms.

 

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  When one is baptized into Christ, he/she is born again into the family of God, the church.  God will continue to cleanse His children from sin as they continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

 

In the end, it’s relationships that matter most.  Treasure them.  Make the most of your time with family and friends.

 

In the end, there’s one relationship that will be the most important of all: our relationship with God.

 

Won’t YOU accept God’s offer of salvation, eternal life, and relationship?

 

-- David A. Sargent

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What is the truth about baptism?

Baptism Does Not …

The Bible has much to say on the subject of baptism. The Book of God tells us that baptism is for remission of sin (Acts 2:38); that it saves us (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21); it puts into Christ where all spiritual blessings are (Romans 6:3; Ephesians 1:3); through this act we can become the children of God (Galatians 3:26-28); it is to be preceded by faith, repentance and confession of our faith that Jesus is Lord (Acts 8:36,37; 2:38); and the mode of baptism is immersion (Acts 8:38; Romans 6:4). 

It seems that the vast majority of the religious world rejects the idea that baptism has anything to do with the forgiveness of sin. As noted above, their claim is totally false. Yet we have some brethren who take the Bible teaching on baptism to the other extreme, thinking that it is a kind of cure all problem with regard to sin, without ever repenting. This teaching is erroneous as well!

One cannot continue to practice sin after he has been baptized into Christ. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). They had been guilty of all of these things, but no longer did they practice them (“such were some of you”). Now they had been washed in the blood of Lamb (Acts 22:16), set apart by God to be used in His service, and declared just in His sight.

Baptism does not make unlawful marriage lawful. If it was an adulterous relationship before baptism, it is still and adulterous relationship after baptism. One who was involved in homosexuality before baptism cannot continue to practice such after baptism. Baptism washes away the sins that had been committed upon one’s repentance. When men and women were told to repent, before baptism, it meant they had to turn from sin to God and they were not to continue in them.

To say that one is not subject to the law of Christ before baptism is to teach something that the Lord’s will did not reveal. How did the Corinthians become guilty of fornication, adultery, etc. if they were not subject to that law? How would one become a sinner in need of salvation
if he has not violated the law of God? In writing to those at Thessalonica, Paul said, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Will He take vengeance on those who have not submitted to the gospel of Jesus Christ? He said so! Does his not indicate that those who fail to obey are subject to that gospel? Sure it does. Likewise, just because one has been baptized, such does not guarantee that heaven will be that person’s home. I don’t personally know of anyone who is a member of the Lord’s church that believes in the doctrine of once saved always saved. Yet I know several who live as if they believe such to be the truth. Baptism does not automatically punch your ticket to God’s eternal abode. It takes faithful living on the part of each individual. Jesus said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). Notice a similar statement made in Revelation 2:10, the later part of that verse, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Baptism does not solve all the problems associated with sin in one’s life. You may well need to repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins like those on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-38). They turned away from their iniquities, like the Corinthians, and served God. Or you may have been baptized for the remission of your transgressions and you have allowed sin with its allurements to overtake you. You need to repent and pray like Peter told Simon. “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22). May we all be willing to submit to God’s plan of forgiveness so that each might stand washed, sanctified, and justified in the sight of our Lord.

- by Jim Mickells

 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Luke 6:45

Luke 6:45--The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

 

Our heart is a treasure house where we store those things that control our intellect, emotions, actions, attitudes and will. What we think, believe, how we act and react is determined by that which we have stored in our hearts.   We need desperately to hear and heed the words of Solomon, "Watch over your hearts with all diligence, For from it flows the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

 

Keeping watch over our heart will require that we do as Paul instructs in Philippians 4:8, think on those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent and worthy of praise. It will require that we be willing to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God and not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17). I love Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me".

 

If we are going to successfully guard our heart then we must surrender ourselves completely to God and his will. Hear James as he tells us, Submit yourselves to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). What do you think submitting to God means? I don't know how you would answer that question but as for myself, I believe it means that I let him mold my thoughts through his word, I let his word fill my heart and let his word guide my life every step of the way. It is saying "God I surrender all to you, take me, take me now"!

 

I pray that each of us will have good treasures in our hearts so that we can in confidence say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way".

 

Charles Hicks

 

Friday, October 19, 2018

I came. I saw. I conquered

The Royal Priesthood Reigns with its Hero – King Jesus

“I came. I saw. I conquered.” Julius Caesar, 47 BC? No, Jesus Christ, 4 BC-30 AD!  Psalm 132:9-18. Jesus came calling sinners to repent and enter His kingdom. Mark 1:15. As Son of David he would sit on David’s throne. Genesis 49:8-10; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 22:41-45. At the end of Jesus’ ministry, one prominent Jewish councillor even asked for Jesus’ body on the cross, and Mark said he was waiting for the kingdom. Mark 15:43. When Jesus came He saw our need, conquered our sin, was raised from death to become King, and rules  His kingdom of priests till he returns at the end of time. Exodus 19:6; Psalm 45; 110:1-7; 132:9-18; Daniel 7:21-27; Colossians 1:12-14; 1 Peter 2:5-9; 3:13-22; Revelation 1:6; 2:17; 5:10; 7:9-17; 20:6. In fact, King Jesus rules over everyone and everything in the universe. He is Lord of all. Psalm 2; 110:1-3; Matthew 11:27-12:8; 28:18; Mark 4:35-41; Acts 10:36; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; 15:25; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 1:17-18; 5:9-14; 17:14; 19:16. God’s reign is one of the great themes of the Bible, as is God’s reign through Jesus.

As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honour, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.' Daniel 7:13-14

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but  they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. 9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. 10 For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. 11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back:

“One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne. 12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies

that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne. Psalm 132:8-12

Many are making huge sacrifices to get a glimpse of Prince Harry - the possible, future king of England, but why

aren’t they  interested in Jesus the Saviour of the world and the King of the universe who grants life everlasting?

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet.

Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions

    by anointing you with the oil of joy. Psalm 45:1-7

We Christians, of course, have no need to say, “Long live the King,” because Jesus our King lives forever. His reign will last until God the Father decides to bring our world to a close, and then Jesus will hand His rulership back to His Father, and again be subject to Him.

In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." Daniel 2:44-45

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. 21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.

24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) 28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

In our day-to-day lives, Jesus is King when we do His will.

Our Father in heaven.

May your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10

We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12.    Compare 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5.

And as we daily do God’s will, we ensure that the kingdom we entered at our conversion, John 3:3-5; Colossians 1:12-14, will welcome us into its eternal phase in heaven at the return and judgment of Jesus. John 5:24-30; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Ephesians 5:5; Hebrews 9:27-28

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvellous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are short-sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

The kingdom belongs to Christ and God. Ephesians 5:5. It is not of this world, John 18:36, but is “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17. It is the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - not because Jesus remains King eternally, but because the Kingdom (i) that began when Jesus became Lord after His resurrection, Acts 2:29-36, (ii) into which we entered as specially favoured at conversion, Colossians 1:12-14, (iii) in which we live each day as we reign with Christ, Matthew 6:10; Romans 5:17; Revelation 5:10, and (iv) will continue eternally under Father God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 15:25-28; Hebrews 12:25-28; Revelation 22:5.

The gospel of Christ is the gospel of the kingdom which we always preach, Acts 1:3,6-8; 8:12; 19:8 … because Jesus’ kingdom is now! John 3:3,5; Romans 1:14-17; 5:17,21; 14:17; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 12:48. The

kingdom of Christ is Christ’s reign in our lives so that we can reign in righteousness with Him.

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the

abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

David Hunter

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)

 

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, Paul likens the Christian life to a race in which the Christian runs in earnest with his eyes fixed on a definite goal. Winning that crown of righteousness must be an all consuming desire of the runner (Philippians 3:12-13; James 1:12).  We must run as if there were blinders on our eyes so as to not let any distractions cause us to swerve to the right or left. Our race will not be an easy one.

 

I suggest to you three things that must be a part of our daily routine if we are to successfully endure to the end of the race and win the prize of the high calling of God:

 

       1.  Spend time each day talking with the Lord. It is so uplifting and comforting

            to the soul to spend some quiet moments praying to God (1 Thess. 5:17;

             Phil. 4:6; Rom. 12:12).

 

       2.  Be thankful for the peace of God that rules in your heart and every

            day remember to seek the Lord's blessing (Col. 3:15). Jesus tells us to ask

            and it will be given, seek and we will find, knock and it will be opened

            to us (Matt.7:7). We have the awesome privilege of being able to go

            boldly before the throne of grace where we will receive mercy and find

            help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).

 

       3.  Take time for spiritual nourishment each day (1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:11-14;

            2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18). Feeding on his word, we let him be our guide

            (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This will be our means of placing every thought

             and motive under his control as we run the race (Col. 3:15-17;

            2 Cor. 10:3-5; Phil. 4:8).

 

My prayer is that all of us will be found running this Christian race every day in such a way that we can say: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me  the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, righteous Judge will award me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

 

Charles Hicks

Monday, October 15, 2018

re: https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/10/07/people-who-are-just-christians-dont-have-a-clue/

This is a reply to the article “People who are “Just Christians” Don’t Have a Clue” posted at https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/10/07/people-who-are-just-christians-dont-have-a-clue/

My reply?

1 Peter 4:14-16; 1 Corinthians 4:1-13

Even the first “pope” – Peter himself – said we suffer for the name of Christ – as Christians. Nothing about Catholics, Protestants, denominations, sects, heresies, philosophies, etc.

And the whole point of 1 Peter is to stress that we suffer for what is right, not for what is wrong. 1 Peter 2:20; 3:17; 4:19.

Setting yourself up as a human head of the church on earth is clearly wrong, since only Christ is head of the church in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Peter 3:21-22.

Claiming a foundation for the church that is other than Christ and the original apostles, is clearly wrong. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:18; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Ephesians 2:19-22.

Dividing Christ’s church into denominations is totally against Christ’s will which urges us to be “perfected in unity.” John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10-15; 3:1-4:7; Ephesians 4:1-6.

Christians are nourished by the word of God, and only the word of God. Matthew 15:1-14; Acts 20:20,24,27,32; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-15; 1 Timothy 3:15; 6:14,20-21; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 3:16-17. Since the word ‘tradition’ refers to what is handed on and received, the only tradition that is handed on to be received as authoritative, by those interested in the truth, is the inspired word of the Old Testament prophets, and the inspired word of the New Testament apostles – all of which we have access to in the Scriptures we call the Bible. 2 Peter 1:16-21; 3:1-2.

Jesus once said, “I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Anyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” John 18:37. This is what caused Pilate to ask: “What is truth?” John 18:38. Pilate was probably confused. He had heard the Jewish high priest’s version of the truth, and he had heard Jesus’ version of the truth.

We listen to Jesus when we hear and obey his word. Matthew 4:4; 7:13-29; Mark 4:20-25; 7:5-14; Luke 6:46; 1 Corinthians 14:37.

Salvation comes to those who obey Jesus who died to save, and who lives forever to make saving intercession. Hebrews 5:7-9; 7:23-28.

We have no other mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:3-7.

--David Carr

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