26 February 2010

One Another

What began as a simple word study done on a whim this afternoon quickly became a very convicting list of NT instructions. Take a look.


Love – John 13:14; John 15:12; John 15:17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:11; 1 John 4:12; 2 John 1:5

Prefer – Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3

Receive – Romans 15:7

Admonish – Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16

Salute – Romans 16:16

Greet – 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14

Serve – Galatians 5:13

Forbear – Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13

Forgive – Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13

Comfort – 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 1:4

Edify – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Exhort – Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:25

Consider – Hebrews 10:24


Betray & Hate – Matthew 24:10; Titus 3:3

Judge – Romans 14:13

Bite & Devour – Galatians 5:15

Provoke & Envy – Galatians 5:26

Forsake – Hebrews 10:25

Lord willing, this will be worked into a Sunday School lesson in the near future. In the meantime, I need to ask for God’s help in brining my life into line with these instructions regarding my actions and attitudes toward my brothers and sisters in Christ. How about you?

19 February 2010

I'm Offended - Part 2

Mark 14:26-27 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

As Jesus neared the end of His public ministry and “the hour” for which He had come drew nigh, He often spoke to His disciples of His betrayal, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. And they never got it. They never understood what He was talking about.

In fact, on the eve of His crucifixion, right after leaving the table of the last supper, Jesus told these disciples they would be OFFENDED because of Him that very night.

Why did they not understand what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of the decease He would accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31)? Further, why was it an offence to them?

I submit to you that one of the reasons they didn’t understand, the reason they were offended, is the same reason that men and women today don’t understand and are offended by the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ.

The disciples, who believed Jesus was the Son of God, and all the rest of nation who rejected Him, were both looking for a Messiah. And neither group was necessarily looking to be saved from their sin by His death on a cross; they thought that in some way this Messiah would save them from oppression (either from Rome or from the Jewish leadership) by His leadership and conquest. They were anticipating the kingdom of heaven (physical) but missed the fact that it would have to come through the kingdom of God (spiritual). And because they were looking for a political leader instead of a Savior, they didn’t really understand what would be accomplished by Jesus’ death.

The multitudes followed Jesus because He healed their sick and filled their bellies (John 6:26). That same multitude sought to make Him a King (John 6:15) and brought Him triumphantly into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna (John 12). But where was that multitude on the eve of His crucifixion? Offended. Why? Their focus was on what Jesus could do to make their lives better. The cross didn’t quite fit into that picture.

In like manner, men and women today are OK with the life of Jesus. They don’t mind His teachings (the ones they know about) or His example. In fact, in many ways they see that all those things can make their lives better. But when you talk about the death that Jesus died and the reason it was necessary, you’re insinuating that they have a spiritual problem and are hopeless without help from God. And the thought stings their conscience because they know it’s true.

The message of the cross of Jesus Christ is an offence to the carnally, temporally, physically minded individual, whether he’s a first-century Jew or a twenty-first century American. Let’s be faithful to preach that saving gospel in hopes that some will fall at the feet of the rock of offence and believe (Romans 9:33).

17 February 2010

Moses' Desires

Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

It is said that great men desire great things. No doubt Moses was a great man. So let’s take a look at what he wanted from God here in Exodus 33: (1) He wanted to know God’s way; (2) He wanted to know God’s person; and (3) He wanted to know God’s grace.

Moses got what he wanted. And if you and I want what Moses wanted, we can have what Moses got. In each case, here’s what we need to do: (1) humble ourselves; (2) trust the Lord; and (3) believe what we find as we search His word – enough to commit ourselves to doing what it says.


David often prayed the same prayer. “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me…” (Psalm 25:5). “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path…” (Psalm 27:11). “Teach me thy way, O LORD…” (Psalm 86:11).

He also expressed His trust in the Lord and His commitment to following God’s way once He knew it. “…for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5). “…I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11).

If you and I really want to know what way God would have us to go, we need to realize that “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23) and that God’s way is perfect (Psalm 18:30) and so much higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). And if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, trusting in Him with all our hearts, He’s promised to direct our paths in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 23:3; Psalm 119:105).


Paul wrote of this desire in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him…” Do you want to know God in a personal way? Do you want to fellowship with Him and commune with Him on a daily basis? We can. And we go about it the same way we go about getting to know anybody else. We spend time WITH Him. We talk WITH Him. We talk ABOUT Him with others who know Him so we can better know what He’s like and He likes.

The Bible says He stands at our hearts door, desiring to come in and fellowship with us. But the only way to open the door and let Him in is for us to hear His voice (Revelation 3:20). The Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6; Jeremiah 29:13), and He reveals Himself in the pages of His word (1 Samuel 3:21).


“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). And we too can find it at the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16). We can get in on good things we don’t deserve. There’s only one requirement. Humility. “God resiseth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).

What we want says a lot about who we are. There are abundant blessings to be received at the hand of a gracious God, if we want them enough to go after them on the terms He’s set before us. What do you want?

15 February 2010

The Sin of Ignorance - Part 3

OK, we’ve made this just about as clear as we can from the Bible. Let’s give it one more go and try to bring it down to where we live and make it just as practical as possible.

As Christians, we sorely need to develop some BIBLICAL standards and convictions. Sure, it might be easiest to just go with what our pastor teaches or what our church demands, but God has commanded every one of us to be a student of the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15).

If you attend a church like ours, our pastor does everything he can to stay away from preaching his opinion. He preaches and teaches the word of God, not his own personal convictions. And I thank God for it. But that doesn’t excuse any of us from searching God’s word and using that preaching to make some practical decisions about some important issues in our Christian lives.

Let’s pick an easy example. Should a Christian go to the movies? Should a Christian watch TV? What forms of “audio visual entertainment” are acceptable for the child of God? Now, the Bible never mentions TV. The Bible never mentions movies. It never says a word about video games or the internet. But those things can and will and do have a profound impact on our Christian lives.

Have you taken the time to consult the scriptures in an attempt to determine what the Lord would find acceptable along these lines? Have you taken the time to consider the preaching you’ve heard on these topics and what you should do with it? Have you prayed about what God would have you to do? Do you see the importance of developing a biblical standard where your family’s entertainment choices are concerned?

Be careful lest you sin through ignorance. “I didn’t know it was wrong” won’t work. The honest truth is you didn’t care if it was wrong. You were more interested in doing what you wanted to than doing what God wanted you to, or else you would have done what you should have and devoted some time to discerning His will. If you care enough to know what the Lord finds acceptable, He’ll not keep you in the dark (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 5:17).

While we’re at it, we’ll shoot at another easy target. We’ll take a trip to the closet and talk for a minute about (dun, dun, dun) DRESS CODES. Now, before you get all defensive and start drawing out that one verse or argument you use to justify your preferred manner of dress, here’s all I want to know. Have you ever honestly consulted “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) in an effort to determine how God would have you to dress? Now that’s different than scanning the Bible for a verse that makes you feel like God’s OK with what you want to wear. Be careful lest you sin through ignorance.

How about one more? Many saved people shrug off their responsibility to be a witness and/or dismiss their obligation to get personally involved to the work of world evangelism because they think it’s the job of the missionaries and the preachers. How’d they get that idea? One word – IGNORANCE. Now, it’s right there in the Bible. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Those aren’t hard to find. They’re not difficult to understand. But sometimes they’re easy to IGNORE.

We could go on and on. The answers to all matters pertaining to the Christian life are available to those who really want them. But it takes desire. It takes devotion. It’s a diligent pursuit to discern God’s will. You see, the answers aren’t all in one place. It’s here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:13). It’s comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13). It’s studying to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Again, none of our excuses will work on the day of judgment. Which means that none of them are valid now. May we each renew our resolve to live in such a way that we might have confidence, and not be ashamed before the Lord at His coming (1 John 2:28).