Don’t be Given to Hatred

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).

Hatred is something that does a slow burn in the heart. Occasionally even genuine Christians are guilty of it. It produces serious problems, not only for those who are hated, but also for the hater. The heart and soul of the hater is poisoned.

With increasing frequency in our day we are seeing or hearing of the aftermath of hatred. If hatred is allowed to take root and flourish in the human heart it is capable of resulting in some ugly, gruesome acts. People go out and kill people in cold blood. If they aren’t shot by the police they take their own life rather than face the shameful consequences of what they have done. Others blow themselves up with explosives and kill other innocent people in the act. Acts of terrorism are committed by people under the control of hatred.

The opposite of hatred is love. The Bible leaves us without any doubt as to which of the two should have preeminence. Strong’s Concordance of the Bible lists 186 verses where a form of the word hate is used. In contrast, there are 556 verses where a form of the word love is used. Again and again the Bible tells us to love . It never tells us to hate anyone. It even says, in Matthew 5:44, that we are to love our enemies. The Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” If we reference all the verses where the word hate is used in the Bible, we won’t find any that tell us to hate people. It tells us to hate evil. Numerous verses, however, tell us to love people.

Perhaps someone asks “How about a soldier who goes to war? Doesn’t he have to hate his enemy?” Perhaps, to a certain extent, he does. War is an ugly thing. Soldiers in combat are not in a real life situation. They go out with the intent of wiping out a wicked ideology and the only alternative is to take the lives of whose who have embraced that ideology. Sometimes it come to the point where war is the only way to restore peace to a nation or society.

Hatred, by its very nature, produces stress which isn’t good for our health. It depletes the bodie’s capacity to function as it should and leaves it vulnerable to weakness and diseases. It is detrimental to us.

Those who are given to hatred are a menace to society. They destroy peaceful relationships.

Our text verse says they stir up strife. They produce ill-will, turmoil, and suspicion in people groups. A prudent employer doesn’t hire someone if he knows that he or she is given to hatred. If he hires them without knowing that they are haters, he would probably fire them. Again, the hater is the loser.

A person given to hatred is often angry. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Proverbs 29:22 also says, “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Hatred doesn’t solve problems. To the contrary, it further aggravates problems. Giving in to hate groups is never a way to promote peace and harmony in society. Problems are solved when people sit down peacefully and look for solutions to their problems.

The farther people get from God the less they show the nature of God. I John 4:8 says. “God is love.” A return to walking with God will be a return to loving people.

Dear reader, you can’t afford to be a hater. The stakes are too high. You are sure to be a loser. It isn’t God’s way. If you are a child of God, he stands ready to forgive you and give you victory over hatred. If you aren’t a child of God, he will accept you as one of his if you will ask him to forgive you of all the sins you have committed against him and make you a child of his. (See also my article “Right Thinking About Hatred” under “Various Themes.”)

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Take Control Of Your Life

Millions of Americans have lost control of their lives due to addictions. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia says that in 2013 there were 120 million drug users. Little by little drug users become slaves to their addiction.

Many addicts like to think they still have control of their lives, but they are increasingly losing control. They lose their independence when they become dependent on something they can’t live without. Because of their addiction they do things they are ashamed of. Their addiction costs a great sum of money without adding anything worth while to their life. Alcoholics are a menace on the highways. They abuse their family members. They are in danger of losing their job if they come to work under its influence. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Countless millions of young people lose control of their lives because of drugs. Their minds are debilitated to the point where they can’t learn and prepare themselves to have a good job. They become more and more dysfunctional to the point where they die an early death.

Many lose control of their life because they resort to alcohol or a controlled substance in hopes it will help them cope with stress. In no way will it mitigate the cause of the stress. It becomes a crutch that they need to lean on more and more.

In times of stress obedient Christians find consolation, strength, and direction by means of their relationship with God. Stress is a part of life; for some more than others. God has provided his people with a means of facing stress without putting them in danger of losing control of their life. In II Peter he promised to give them all that pertains unto life and godliness. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” I Peter 5:7 also says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

If you aren’t addicted; flee from every temptation to be addicted. If you are already in the grips of an addiction, with God’s help you can take control of your life again. First you will need to become a child of God. To do that you must first recognize that you are a sinner under the condemnation of God. You will need to go to God in prayer and ask him to forgive you and make you a child of his. God will forgive you if you receive for yourself the sacrifice that Christ made when he died on the cross. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Then you will need to surrender your life to God as we read in Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” At first, it may seem like you are losing control of your life if you surrender it to God. Keep in mind that God has no slaves. He does have, however, an innumerable multitude of servants. They serve him of their own free will because they love him and want to please him.

Release from an addiction won’t come unless you are willing to do your part. For a time, withdrawal may be an agony, but it’s worth it. Think of your loved ones. You may become a burden to them. They will be ashamed to be identified with you. You will need to claim the promises of God. They are promises like Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Another is II Corinthians 9:8. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

In your struggle to be free from an addiction you will be greatly helped if you are a part of a good Bible believing Church. They will be a support group for you by praying for you and encouraging you.

Faith is the victory. There is hope for you. With God’s help you can take control of your life. He can help you change your desires so you won’t go on doing things that hurt you and those around you.

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The Danger of the Dance

June 28, 2016

The Dangers of the Dance

A genuine Christian should feel out of place in a dance hall. This article was written to tell you why. It is a dangerous place for a good Christian to be. He is in danger of being overcome by temptation. Romans 13:14 tells us that we should “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

In spite of what some say, what attracts people to dance halls is sexual excitement. For a man, it is an exciting experience to move with the music with his arm around a woman. For a woman, the excitement comes from giving herself to a man and letting him control the movement of her body across the dance floor. One seldom sees men dancing with men or women with women. Dancing excites fleshly passions that some young people, even adults, can’t control.

Dance halls are often a hang out for prostitutes. Often it is there that young girls are lured into prostitution. That alone should tell any right thinking Christian that the dance hall is not a good environment for him or her. The Bible verse in the first paragraph of this article tells us that we should make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

Another danger of the dance hall is that there many young people are offered alcohol or drugs for the first time. They may be enticed by someone telling them “It will make you dance better.” It is almost certain that there will be no one there to warn them of the danger of addiction. Alcohol lowers a prson’s resistance and ability to think clearly.

It is almost certain that rock music will be played loudly at the dance hall. It stimulates thoughts of illicit acts.

Some man may say, “My wife and I go to the dances, but we just dance with one another.” If you find enjoyment in that, there is a better way to do it. After you finish your evening meal, and wash the dishes, push the table and chairs in the dining room to one corner of the room and clear a space for dancing. Put on some dance music and you can dance until you are exhausted. That will save you making the trip to the dance hall and buying the tickets. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you perhaps you need to ask yourself what there is about the environment at the dance hall that makes a difference?

Some seek to justify dancing by quoting verses from the Bible. They use verses like II Samuel 6:14. “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.” When David danced on that occasion it was for joy that the ark was being returned to Israel. There is no comparrison between that and what takes place in a dance hall. Another Bible verse that is cited is Ecclesiastes 3:4. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” In the Old Testament to dance was a way of expressing great joy. It is here contrasted with a time to mourn. It wasn’t a form of entertainment.

The Bible gives us good admonition about how to keep ourselves from temptation. The following are some verses to take into consideration.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).

Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22).

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:16).

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” ( I John 2:15-16).

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11).

It can’t be denied that there is pleasure in dancing, but there is danger with it. There is pleasure in sin. In Hebrews 11:25 we read that Moses chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” God has a plan for our life. Included in his plan is all the pleasure we need. II Peter 1:3 says, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” The pleasure God has for us is not sinful; neither does it put us in an environment where we will be tempted above that which we can resist. There is pleasure and satisfaction in doing good. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to our e-mail address.  It is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Forgive And Forget

June 13, 2016

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Help Wanted

April 18, 2016

                                      Help Wanted

Our society is in great need of people who are willing to give of their time to help hurting  people.  We have medical professionals who are prepared to help those who are hurting physically.  There are also multitudes that are hurting emotionally.  They aren’t getting the help they need.  That’s where you come in.

Our society is abandoning the moral precepts of God’s Word.  It is resulting in an alarming increase in the number of people who are suffering emotionally.  Anyone with just a grain of perception will acknowledge the truth of what we read in Proverbs 14:34.  “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” God’s moral laws are not meant to limit our enjoyment of life.  To the contrary, they are to facilitate the joy of living.

God fearing people are also hurting because their loved ones, and others around them, are violating divine moral precepts.  Many parents are suffering because their children have thrown aside the moral standards their parents taught them.  Many marriages are dysfunctional, or have ended in divorce, because one partner has given in to fleshly desires.  Sin is deceiving. It often has a pleasant beginning, but a devastating ending.

Hurting people are sometimes too proud to admit that they have brought sorrow upon themselves.  There comes a time, however, when they too must recognize their need of help.  Someone needs to kindly tell them, “I’m sorry, but you can’t live the way you are without hurting yourself and others.”  Drunkards are turning to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Pastors find that much of their time is spent counseling people.

You can be used of God to minister to the needs of others.  In the Bible we find some special words that speak of the ministry of a helper.  One is the word “exhort,” found in II Timothy 4:2.  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  The Greek word means to come along side of someone and offer help.  To exhort sometimes means to lift up someone’s spirits and encourage them to go on.  Another word is “compassion.”  In I Peter 3:8 we read that we need to have compassion.  “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another.” To have compassion on someone is to come along side of them and share in a measure in their suffering.  You won’t be able to do that if you are like many who are all wrapped up in themselves and don’t have time for others.

Another word is “comfort.” From II Corinthians 1:3-4 we learn that God expects us to comfort others.  “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;    Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God comforts us, and he expects us to comfort others.  To suffer loss is a part of life.  It hurts.  It is a relief when others come along side of us and give us comfort.

When people are hurting they need to be introduced to “the God of all comfort.” II Corinthians 7:10 says that God can use sorrow to bring people to repentance and salvation.  “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” The words “not to be repented of” mean that people never have regrets about having been saved.

Galatians 6:9 says we should “not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” It costs something when we give comfort, compassion and exhortation.  It may seem as though we get little or nothing in return.  The reaping will take place when we get to heaven.  Revelation 22:12 says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

In life there is a time to give and a time to take.  There are times when we are hurting and need help.  Will there be someone to give it to us when we need it?  If we haven’t given it to others, what right have we to expect to receive it from others?  Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  Be a giver, and the promise of God is that you will also be a receiver.

Comments or questions are welcome.  Please send them to the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

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Good And Bad Pleasure

April 11, 2016

                                  Good and Bad Pleasure

Sometimes we hear the word “puritanical” used in speaking of the Christian life.  According to the Merriam Webser’s Dictionary, the word means “one who practices or preaches a very strict moral code.” There are those who think Christians cut themselves off from pleasure that is culturally acceptable.

With almost everything in life, there are extremes.  It is possible to go to the extreme in our self-denial.  Most people don’t have a problem with that.  The more common problem is to go too far to the other extreme.  This article was written to help Christians know where they should draw the line in regard to pleasure.  The criterion for unbelievers is to ask if a certain behavior is culturally acceptable.  The criterion for God’s people should be to ask two questions.  They are; is it pleasing to God? And will it hurt me or those around me?

The Christian life is not devoid of pleasure.  If you hear a genuine Christian say, “Everything I want is either prohibited or fattening” you can be almost sure that it was said in jest.  In Psalm 16:11 we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” God gives us joy, pleasure and satisfaction in doing what is right.

We all have our likes and dislikes.  What one finds pleasure in doing is boring for someone else.  The word pleasure comes from the word “please” or “pleasing.”  We need to keep in mind that just because something gives us pleasure doesn’t make it right for us.

The following are some questions you can ask yourself to help you know if something is right for you.

  1. Does the Bible say it is wrong?
  2. Will it be detrimental to my health and well-being?
  3. Will it be detrimental to others?
  4. Will I be taking undue advantage of others?
  5. Does it demand too much of my time or money?
  6. Do I feel that it’s best that others don’t know that I do it?
  7. If I do it will I lose the respect of those who love me?
  8. Does doing it tempt me to evil thoughts?

There may be times when others will suffer because we chose to do what is right. For example, let’s suppose you were lying to cover up the truth about someone who is doing wrong.  That might even mean that you are an accomplice in a crime.  It could also be that you are receiving stolen goods.  You may have to tell him, “Look, I’m sorry but the next time I’m asked about you I will have to tell the truth, because I can’t go on telling lies.”  One of the Ten commandments is “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16).

Taking heed to what I Thessalonians  5:15, 21-22 says will be a help to you.  “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Sanctification

March 23, 2016

                                 Sanctification

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1).

God expects born again believers to be making an effort to improve themselves. It is true that we will never be perfect in this life, but there is always room for improvement.  In theological terms, this is called sanctification.

The word “holiness,” found in our text, means something sacred. It is something separated or set apart for a special purpose.  The Apostle Paul is still developing the theme found in the last verses of chapter six.  He tells God’s people to separate themselves from that which is unclean.  If we do that, at the same time, we are perfecting holiness.

Sanctification is accomplished by obedience to God’s word. In the Bible we find sanctification in three stages.  At the moment of salvation the believer is sanctified.  We find that stage in I Corinthians 6:11.  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  It is an act of God whereby we are set apart to be a child of God.

Then there is progressive sanctification. The word isn’t used in II Corinthians 3:18, but  there we see the process.  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  It could be translated “are being changed.” That thought is also in mind in our text that speaks of perfecting holiness.

Then our sanctification will be complete after we leave this life and are clothed with our new body. I Thessalonians 5:23 speaks of that blessed hope. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are some in the charismatic movement that teach that we can be completely sanctified in this life.  To do so, they have to overlook some things in their life or call them something other than sin.  Romans 3:10 contradicts what they teach.  “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” We have the righteousness of Christ, but in and of ourselves, we are not perfect.

I Peter 3:15 tells us that we should “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”  That means to give God a special place in our hearts.  It is to give him the respect that he deserves.  In II Corinthians 6:18 God offers to be a father unto us.

The Apostle Paul tells us that we need to clean up our life. By doing that we perfect holiness in our life.  God wants, and deserves to have, a people who will bring honor and glory to his name.  Paul exhorts us to cleanse ourselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit.” Some of the works of the flesh are listed for us in Galatians 5:19-21.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,   Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The filthiness of the spirit is that mentioned in II Corinthians 6:16. It has to do with identification with and participation in false religions.  “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” In verse 17 he tells us that we should come out of them.  Don’t leave people in doubt about where you stand.

I Peter 5:15-16 tells us that we should be holy. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;    Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  One of the best ways to perfect holiness is to pray often or daily, and with sincerity, the prayer of David in Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:    And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Comments or questions can be sent to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Blessed Hope

March 19, 2016

                                              Our Blessed Hope

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

If you are a child of God, this verse has some good news for you.  It doesn’t matter what your present condition may be.  You may be in the most miserable situation you have ever been in your life.  This verse speaks of something great waiting for you.

More than 2000 years ago Jesus stood with some of his disciples and gave them some promises before he went up to heaven.  Since that day no man in the flesh has seen him. I Peter 1:8 gives this commentary on our relationship with him.  “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

That day Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them power to be his witnesses. In Acts 1:8 we read what he told them.  “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Titus speaks of that glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. That appearing is what Christians call “the rapture.” It is that time when Christ will come for his own.  We read about it in I Thessalonians 4:16-18. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:   Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.   Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” After that, end time prophecy talks about seven years of wars and tribulation on the earth.  Then we are told that Christ will come with his saints and set up an earthly kingdom that will last for 1000 years.

We are told that Christ’s reign will be characterized by peace, prosperity, and righteousness. Micah 4:3-4 tells us something about it.  “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.   But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” Even now we can have the peace of God.  Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”  That isn’t just a promise.  It is a fact that many of God’s people can attest to.

When we are tempted to be discouraged and depressed we need to get our eyes on that blessed hope that we read about in Titus 2:13. None of us know how our entrance will be to heaven and to that blessed hope.  For many centuries it has been through death.  What we read in I Thessalonians 4:17 tells us that there will be a moment when the saints on earth will be “caught up.” That word means to be taken away suddenly.  If we are living on earth at that time,  in an instant, we will be taken up to meet the Lord in the air.

Some may have doubts about how this could be, but with the Lord nothing is impossible. We have some Old Testament examples.  In Genesis 5:23-25 we have the example of Enoch.  In II Kings 2:11 we read about how Elijah was taken up in a chariot.

There is another great truth in Titus 2:13. It is the fact that Jesus is God.  In the last part of the verse it isn’t talking about two people.  The word “and” could be translated “even.”   That way it could be written “the great God, even our Savior Jesus Christ.” We already know that Jesus said in John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”

This blessed hope is only for a prepared people. The Lord knows those who are his.  If you want to be included among those who will have a part in this blessed hope, you need to be sure you are in God’s family.  Are you sure you are?  John 10:14 says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” If you aren’t sure, I John 5:11-13 tells us that we can be sure.  “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.    He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.    These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  If you have personally trusted in Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins, then you have the Son.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Christian’s Debt

March 1, 2016

                                The Christian’s Debt

In Romans 1:14-15 the Apostle Paul said he was in debt. Here is what he said. “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.   So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”  He was in debt to a lot of people.  When we are in debt we are under obligation to pay.  The debt Paul is talking about here is that of giving the gospel to all these people.  His obligation was first of all to God.  God had saved him, called him, and enabled him to preach the gospel.

The people to whom Paul was indebted weren’t aware of the fact that he owed them anything. Some didn’t even want to hear what he felt obligated to tell them.  His debt, therefore, was to God because he had called him and commissioned him to take the gospel to all these people.

We too are under the same obligation. Most of us haven’t been called and commissioned by God like Paul was.  God still expects all of us to be his witnesses.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

This verse says that we become witnesses when the Holy Spirit has come upon us. According to Romans 8:9 all born again Christians have the Holy Spirit. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”  If we have been saved we have a relationship with God.  We have something to tell others about.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus left us with what is called “the great commission.” “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost:   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  He made no distinction about who was given the command to go and make disciples.  That gives us reason to think that it is for all who are God’s children.

Also in Romans 10:13-15 the Apostle Paul gave us some important questions to think about. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.   How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?   And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  Obviously God has left all of us with the obligation of reaching this world with the gospel.  That means that we too are debtors just like the Apostle Paul.

From reading the book of Acts we see that the first Christians took seriously the obligation of carrying out the great commission.  Acts 8:4 says that when they suffered persecution “they went everywhere preaching the word.”  The message of the gospel spread rapidly because these early Christians didn’t hesitate to tell others what Christ had done for them.

We are without excuse for not paying our debt to those around us.  We have facilities at our disposal that the early Christians didn’t have.  All of the following are tools we have to help us evangelize the world:

Printed material

Radio

Television

Movies, now in DVD format that we can watch at home

The social media

Web pages

Even the telephone

If the early Christians could make the gospel known without these tools, we have no excuse for not doing it in our day.

What are you doing to make others aware of God’s great salvation?  Does it matter to you that those without Christ are lost and destined for eternal punishment?  How long has it been since you shared the gospel with someone?  There may be some who will never hear if you don’t tell them.  If you fail to tell them you may have to answer to God for it.  Let God lay a burden on your heart to reach others with the good news of salvation.

 

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A Faith That Has an Anchor

February 15, 2016

                                 A faith That has an Anchor

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:19).

If we lack assurance that our faith is the truth it will not do for us what it should.  In Job 19:25 Job said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”  It is a great consolation for us to know that we can accept the Bible as absolute truth.  I have never met anyone who found himself in serious trouble for accepting the Bible as truth.  I have met many who are obviously on the wrong road because they rejected the Bible as divine truth.

I once read about a man who wanted to know for sure that God exists. He was studying at the university and noticed that there was a course being taught on religion.  He thought it would be to his benefit to enroll in that course and find out for sure that God exists.  He enrolled in the class.  Numerous times the teacher put in doubt whether the Bible was right.  After finishing the course and taking the final exam he was still in doubt about the existence of God.  A number of the students shook the professor’s hand and thanked him for teaching the course.  This man waited until last to shake his hand.  When he did, he said to him. “I took this course to find out if God exists, but I’m still in doubt about it.  What is the truth?  Does God exist?” The professor said, “I don’t know.”  The sad truth is that many in this world are of that mentality.

Many refuse to believe that the truth about the existence of God is a closed system. That means that there is only one religion that has the truth, and that all the rest are wrong.  We are repeatedly told that we must be tolerant of the religious beliefs of others.  They advocate pluralism.  That is the teaching that there are many religious systems, but they are of equal value even though they contradict one another. That is to say that everyone believes in the same God.  They say it’s just that not everyone has the same concept of how God is.  They say “Everyone believes in God but….”

It is unfortunate that many who call themselves Christians have accepted this way of thinking. The result is that the word “Christian” doesn’t have much significance in our day. He who accepts the philosophy of pluralism doesn’t have confidence in his beliefs because he lacks assurance that they are true.  His faith is like a rotten plank.  He is afraid to put much weight on it because he never knows when it will break and let him fall in disgrace.

This is one of Satan’s devices we read about in II Corinthians 2:11. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” The one who lacks assurance that his religious beliefs are true won’t be willing to make any great sacrifices for them.  They aren’t worth sharing with others because; perhaps what they believe has equal validity.  Therefore those who don’t have an anchor for their beliefs aren’t much inclined to defend them.  By this device, Satan leaves many professing Christians crippled and ineffective.  It may be that they aren’t really genuine Christians.

God wants us to accept what he says as the truth. The Bible gives us truth that we can know. In John 7:16-17 Jesus said, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

How can we have assurance that what we believe is true? The true believer accepts by faith that the Bible is true.  Perhaps, at first, he has some doubts, but as time goes on, he is more and more persuaded that it is true.  In his heart he feels peace and tranquility.  He begins to realize that what the Bible teaches makes sense.  There is harmony and agreement.  Generally speaking, his beliefs don’t in any way hinder him from living a happy life.

In II Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul said, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” He said “I know” and “I am persuaded.” There certainly isn’t anything to indicate that he believed in pluralism.

Another assurance we can and should have is that regarding our salvation. Many go through life without that assurance.  In great part, it is because they are inclined to think that entrance into heaven depends on their own merit.  That isn’t what the Bible teaches.  Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”  If that verse isn’t enough to convince you, you can also read what the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:   Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

We gain entrance to heaven only by the merits of the work Christ did for us when he died on the cross.  Good works will follow if we are truly saved and surrendered to God.  Good works result from God’s work in us according to what it says in Ephesians 2:10.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Good works assure us of rewards that are laid up in heaven for us.  In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus told us that we can and should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

The Bible tells us that we can know that we have eternal life.  I John 3:13  says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”   If our salvation depends on our own merits, then we couldn’t have that assurance because we would never know if we had been good enough.

John 1:12 tells us that we become a child of God by putting our faith in the sacrifice Christ made for us when he died on the cross. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” That means to put our faith in Christ’s sacrifice and believe it is sufficient for us.  God isn’t going to let any of his children go to hell.  Jesus said, in John 14:3 that he wants us to be with him.  “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Does your faith have an anchor? Have you accepted Christ as your Savior from sin?  If not, why not now?

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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