RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Boast In the Lord

“No man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:29-31

The city of Corinth was about fifty miles from Athens, the center of all Greek learning and the heart of all human wisdom.  The people of this part of the world prided themselves in their intellectual human wisdom and boasted in their great learning. They viewed the word of the cross as foolishness, and those who rejected their man made wisdom as ignorant and unlearned. (I Corinthians 1:18).

Paul said among the church of Corinth, “that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.” (I Corinthians 1:26). However, they possessed something far greater than any works, or wisdom man could provide. They possessed the wisdom of God which was Christ Himself; a wisdom of God that produced in them righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

We should never come before God thinking we are wise and learned. For this is boasting before God. Does this mean we should remain uneducated so we will not be guilty of boasting before the Lord? Of course not. Paul himself was a great educated man. II Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” In other words, work hard at studying and knowing the word of truth so when you proclaim it you will not be ashamed before the Lord and you will handle it accurately.

What then shall we do? We understand that our wisdom and education is not sufficient in progressing the Kingdom of God and bringing God glory. Therefore, we surrender whatever wisdom we have, great or small, to God in service unto Him, knowing He is the all knowing God who has made foolish the wisdom of the world. We submit ourselves to God and present ourselves to the world as knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Of course, this is foolishness to the world, but it is “God who has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” (I Corinthians 1:28, 29). Since it is God at work in us, we understand whether we are greatly educated or completely illiterate we can be powerful servants of the Lord. God’s only requirement is total surrender.

Though we may be fools for Christ to the world, we obtain a wisdom that is far greater than any wisdom the world can offer, we obtain the wisdom of God, Christ Jesus His Son. Therefore, we don’t boast in our works, or our wisdom, we boast in Christ alone. “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turning Condemnation into Compassion

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39 NASB

In the 23rd chapter of Mathew Jesus exposed the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and wickedness. He boldly proclaimed truth to them by exposing their wicked ways. While exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus pronounced eight wows warning them of their impending doom for their wicked ways.

Jesus told them of their wicked intentions to kill the prophets that He would send. Jesus was also fully aware of the fact that they wanted to kill Him, and eventually would. Jesus knew that Israel would soon turn on Him and be hostile to Him and His followers.  However, Jesus compassion for them is clearly seen in His statement, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” He loved them even though they were unwilling to love Him back.

I have no doubt that Jesus was not proclaiming the wows to the Pharisees with a smile on His face and joy in His heart. I would imagine He spoke these words with a grief stricken soul and tears on His cheek. He knew if they did not hear and therefore respond to the truth they would stand eternally condemned.

Jesus was not preaching condemnation to them. He was preaching with compassion. Jesus Himself said, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17). Clearly the unrepentant will be judged. However, Jesus compels the lost with compassion to repent and be saved from eternal judgment. The heart full of condemnation has no desire to see the sinner repent, thinking they deserve what they have coming to them for their wickedness. However, the bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, apart from grace, we all stand condemned. How then am I any better than they? I have repented and therefore received grace. They stand in need of repentance, and therefore need to receive grace.

Clearly the world is becoming more and more wicked. Clearly, the world will remain in their wickedness until the Children of God evangelize them with a heart of compassion rather than one of condemnation. I have no doubt that the church will never reap a mighty harvest until it repents of its hardened heart. Just as Jesus did, when we evangelize we need to speak the truth. We need to call sin what it is and warn of the impending judgment for those who refuse to repent. However, Just as Jesus did we need to do it with a heart filled with compassion desiring the sinner to come to repentance before it is eternally too late.

The church today needs to be broken with compassion; a compassion that will bring the saint to his knees pouring his heart out to God in prayer on behalf of the sinner; a compassion that will move the congregation out of their comfortable pews and out into the community to proclaim truth and love to the sinner; and a compassion that overcomes selfishness, overlooking suffering and sacrifice for the sake of the sinner. In truth, we need a compassion that looks, acts, lives, and exists, just like Jesus. Until that time, the church will remain in its pews, the sinner will remain in their sin, revival will tarry, and judgment will come.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Greater Love

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

The English language is a generic language. For instance, if I say I love my wife and then say I love my car, are the two words for love one in the same? Of course not. However, the Greek language is a very specific language that uses very specific words. The Greek word used for love in John 3:16 is agape. It literally means a sacrificial or giving love. A type of love where you put the needs of the one of whom your love is directed above your own, even if it means you will have to sacrifice or suffer. This is God’s agape love towards us that He gave His only begotten Son.

Although we are greatly undeserving of God’s love He has chosen to give it to us anyway. Why? Because He loves us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Even while we were living in hostility towards Him in the rebellion of our sin God loved us. How much does He love us? Enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die a cruel torturous death on a cross to pay the price of sin for the whole world, so those who will repent of their sin and believe in Jesus as their Savior shall not perish but have eternal life. God’s heart is to spend eternity with us, because He loves us.

John 15:3 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down His life for His friends, us, because He knew we would be eternally condemned for our sins. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23.) With Jesus sacrifice in mind II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Whether you have been loved little or loved much within your life you will never find a greater love than the love from which God loves us.  To receive this love you only need to repent from your sins and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Preach the Word

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:1-4 NASB

Paul told Timothy, a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. Clearly, we are living in those days. I often hear people say, preachers included, “We don’t need doctrine, we just need Jesus.” How do we know we need Jesus apart from the biblical doctrine that teaches us of our need of Jesus? Doctrine is simply biblical teaching. Jesus Himself commissioned the church to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Jesus didn’t tell us to only baptize the nations, which is important and indicates their clear need of Jesus, but also to make disciples, followers of Jesus, and teach them. What do we teach? We teach the Word of God, “all that I commanded you.”

To preach simply means to proclaim or make known. Clearly the pastor on Sunday morning preaches to the congregation, however, preaching should not be limited to this time nor is it only the pastor’s responsibility. We find Steven, who was just appointed as a deacon, preaching to the Jewish leaders in Acts seven. Clearly, the proclamation of God’s word doesn’t have to be directed to a large gathering of people either. Philip proclaimed God’s Word to the Ethiopian Eunuch while Paul and Silas shared God’s Word with the Philippian jailer.

I believe every Christian is responsible for the proclamation of God’s Word. I also believe the reason we have such moral decay in our world today is the direct lack of sound biblical teaching and preaching. I’m not saying there isn’t good solid preaching from the pulpit today. Clearly there is. However, every Christian is responsible to carry that good solid word to their families, their communities, and their world. Whether we are teaching our children around our dinner tables within our homes or conducting a bible study, with and individual or with a group, while on break at word, we should be proclaiming God’s Word.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Jesus, with evangelism in mind said Go therefore. To evangelize is to share the gospel for the purpose of compelling someone to put their faith in Jesus. When Jesus said Go therefore, He was literally saying as you go. As you go about your everyday routine of life evangelize in the name of Jesus. We need to make a point to plant gospel seeds everywhere we have had a presence.

Imagine for a moment if every Christian began proclaiming God’s Word throughout this world and standing firm upon their biblical convictions. This world would quickly be changed for God’s glory. I know you are full of excuses as to why you can’t do this. You don’t know God’s Word well enough right? Do you own a bible? Yes? Then you have your solution. Pick it up and start studying it. You’re not bold enough right? Then pray for boldness as the church did in Acts four and God will give it to you just as He did them. As a matter of fact, if we trust in the Lord, He will give us everything we need, all He requires of us is faithfulness and obedience.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can I Believe the Bible?

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” II Peter 1:20-21 NASB

As Christians we are faced many with choices. For instance, are we going to chose to believe God’s Word as an accurate and dependable document that has been handed down as an act of God from generation to generation?  The evidence is overwhelming of how perfectly accurate the Word of God has been preserved. Even honest historians who are avid atheist admit this truth. Many wise men, such as Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, who were determined atheist, set out to disprove the Word of God, only to find that it couldn’t be done.

Can we believe all of God’s Word, or just certain selections? I find it amazing that the bible is sixty six separate books compiled together, written by over forty authors, written in different parts of the world, and over a period of about sixteen hundred years. Yet, it is in perfect sync and consistency as a whole. How can this be? Because, these men “moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Therefore, if I have to question any of God’s Word I will have to question all of it. If God isn’t big enough to accurately preserve His Word, is He then a trustworthy God? He has, therefore, He is!

Today, Christians are often ridiculed because they believe God created. Christians are told they reject science and are therefore fools. First of all evolution isn’t science. It is an unproven theory, a philosophy. True science takes observation. There is nothing to observe when it comes to evolution. Just ask an evolutionist where natural laws come from. Or, ask them to show you an evolving specimen that is half reptile and half mammal. There isn’t any. You would think after all the years of research and excavation they would have found something, anything, but they haven’t. However, they build entire skeletons proving their theory that are based off of a single tooth or a bone fragment. This is called grasping at straws.

So why do so many people believe this philosophy? If you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it. Every so called proof of evolution has been disproven time and again. Due to the blatant lack of proof of evolution, I believe it takes more faith to believe evolution than it does to believe in creation.

Do I believe God literally created in six literal days? Absolutely! Why? Because that is the abundantly clear teachings of God’s Word. Any other belief is not founded in God’s Word and therefore rejects God’s Word. Again, if I have to question any of God’s Word I have to question it all. To be clear, there are Christians that have placed their faith in Jesus atoning grace that believe in evolution, or a prolonged form of creation. However, their conviction does not come from the Word of God. It comes from outside sources.

How then do we explain a mature earth? Was Adam a man or a baby when God created him? He was a man. Likewise, the tree’s that were in the Garden of Eden were in full bloom bearing fruit. God created a mature earth ready to sustain the life of a mature man and his mature wife. In John 2 we see Jesus turning water into wine. When the headwaiter, not know what Jesus just did, tasted this wine, he asked why they saved the good wine for last. The wine Jesus just created out of water was the good wine. It was the best wine. What makes good wine good? Age. The wine Jesus just created moments before was perfectly aged. I find it amazing of how God’s Word always complements itself, and never contradicts itself.

Is the history of God’s Word reliable? Absolutely! Take the Book of Daniel as an example. The Book of Daniel is a history book of the four major world empires, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman, giving accurate and precise information of each one. Interestingly enough the Book of Daniel was written during the Babylonian Empire-the first empire. With this same precision the Old Testament prophets precisely described the first coming of the Messiah. Jesus perfectly fulfilled them all. Yes, the Word of God is an accurate historical document that has been proven true time and time again.

II Peter 3:3 says, “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” We see this prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes today. What do we do in the midst of their scoffing? We stand up in defense of our faith upholding the truths of God’s Word in hopes of winning over some. What about those who reject, scoff, mock, and ridicule? We turn the other cheek, love and pray for our enemy, be at peace with all men so far as it depends upon us, while being steadfast and immovable in our faith.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Let Your Light Shine

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 NASB

When the apostle John introduced Jesus in his gospel he said, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4). While speaking to Nicodemus Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19). Again Jesus said of Himself in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus clearly said that the world is in darkness. They are in darkness because they have rejected the Light of life-Jesus. They are blindly walking towards their demise yet they are clueless of the destruction just before them. They are in darkness and therefore cannot see.

Jesus came to shine the Light of life into this dark world to save those who would turn away from the darkness and walk into the light. However, Jesus said in John12:35-36, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

Why did Jesus say that they would only have the light for a little while? Jesus time on earth was temporary. He came for a specific purpose, to redeem all mankind, and once that purpose was fulfilled through His death, burial, and resurrection He was lifted up to be at the right hand of the Father. Jesus has not forsaken us. Those who have believed on Him and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior now have, as Jesus said, the Light of life.” Jesus is still in this world. However, He has chosen to be in this world through His followers.

The moment we become a Christian God places His light, Jesus, into our lives. Just as in Jesus day the world is still in darkness. Our duty to God as Christians is to allow our light to shine in this darkness so people will be saved from the darkness and turn to the light-Jesus. Had Jesus not come into this world all mankind would stand eternally doomed, blindly walking in darkness to their eternal destruction. We are included in that number. If we as Christians choose not to let our light shine, today’s world will remain in that same darkness awaiting their eternal doom. I believe this is the highest form of greed.

We are to let our light shine so our Father will be glorified. He is glorified when people turn to Him and trust in Him for eternal salvation. If we choose to live a life of self-centeredness and self-gratification, we have placed our lamp under a basket. How foolish is that? We are the city set on a hill. We are the lamp God has chosen to use. Therefore, we need to place ourselves on a lamp stand for the world to see. Not for our glory. Not even to where people see us. We are to let our light shine so the world living in darkness will see Jesus, the light within you.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Need More Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Matthew 5:13

Why is the world so tasteless? It needs more salt. In Matthew 5-7, we find Jesus Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon Jesus is telling His followers how to be kingdom minded. Although the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, within the hearts of believers, and not a physical kingdom, the citizens of God’s spiritual kingdom are clearly expected to have influence and impact upon this physical world. Therefore, when the world becomes tasteless, tacky, and immoral, we recognize the fact that the world needs more salt. If you are a citizen of the kingdom of God, you are the salt of the earth.

Salt serves two major purposes. It’s most important purpose in Jesus day was its ability to preserve meat and prevent it from decay. One of the major themes in Jesus Sermon on the Mount was morality-righteousness. The bible clearly teaches that true morality-righteousness can only be obtained through a relationship with Jesus. As Christians we are expected to live in accordance to the righteous standards of our holy God. Not a self righteousness as of the Pharisees, but a righteousness obtained only through faith in Christ. As we live out our faith before this world, upholding God’s righteous standards, we are being God’s salt upon this earth. God’s preserving agents of morality and righteousness preventing the decay of sin from taking over and destroying.

The second major purpose of salt is to add flavor. Being from South East Louisiana I love flavorful food. I try to avoid bland foods but find well flavored food hard to resist. As citizens of God’s kingdom we are expected to be the flavor of God to this world. If we are faithful representatives of the kingdom we will present the flavor of God to this world as being desirable drawing in those who are dissatisfied with the tastelessness of this world. If we are bland or even distasteful we will not attract people to the kingdom; we may even become guilty of turning people away.

The fact is pure salt cannot lose its saltiness. However, when improperly cared for it can become mixed with impurities that will cause it to lose its flavor making it useless. In Jesus day impure salt had only one purpose. If thrown into the field it would cause the soil to become infertile ruining the field. Its only purpose was to be thrown into the road where it would then be trampled under foot by men.

If we as citizens of the kingdom of God allow impurities to infiltrate us, and/or our churches, we will become useless to the kingdom of God. Our impurities will also become a stumbling block to the fields God wishes to harvest for His kingdom making the fields unfertile. However, we can rejoice over the grace of God, for if we chose to repent God will forgive us, remove our impurities, and restore us to righteousness. (I John 1:9). If we chose not to repent we are of no more value than the dust of the road that is trampled under foot by men.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,