Monday, June 29, 2015

The Impossible Made Possible

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26.  God moves in the realm of the impossible.  There are no limits to His power.  What God wants to be accomplished will be.  With God a world can be destroyed with a flood.  A sea can be parted and His people pass over on dry land.  A shepherd boy with no military experience can take down an enemy with a sling and a stone.   God can provide human redemption with a cross and an empty tomb.  Man seeks power and thinks power.  But, so many ideas and engagements are beyond his ability to preform.  Not so with God.  God empowers.  God is the Almighty.  Bathing in a river cured leprosy.  Fire from heaven devoured the water soaked sacrifice.  A multitude was fed with a picnic lunch.  Jesus has impressed upon His disciples the ability that lies within the hand of God.  Faith is the link to the impossible.  Faith is the connection to the One who moves the world.  The sin that stains can be blotted out.  The enslaved soul can be released.  The heart that is dead can be renewed.  The life without purpose is reborn.  The hopeless become hopeful.  God makes the impossible possible. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

God Or Man

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."  Acts 5:29.  The council had told the apostles to stop preaching Jesus.  Their response was quick and decisive.  They would listen to God.  The laws of man do not always interfere with the law of God, but when they do, God must be obeyed.  The laws of men change due to time and custom.  The laws of men are based upon personal feelings and interpretation.  God's law is not subject to any of those concerns.  God's law does not change and, of course, is without any flaw.  The law of God stands higher and seeks not only the physical well being of man, but also, the eternal well being of man.  Man's laws have long contradicted God's laws.  The natural law is taught whereas the creation law is not allowed to be taught.    Certain laws reject the humanity of man.  The law of the right to choose was a flagrant disregard of the law of God and the sanctity of human life.  Man has long disregarded God's law of marriage and the home.  The assault against the family has run rampant.  Standing on the side of right and human decency will require a price to be paid.  The refusal to stand will be a much higher cost.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yet Learned He Obedience

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."  Hebrews 5:8.   Jesus was the Son of God.  He was sent by God to redeem sinful man.  He was born of a virgin and lived upon the earth as man.  He took the form of flesh and blood just as you and I.  Jesus left for us a perfect example to follow.  One of the many examples that He left for us was obedience.  Jesus was an obedient Son.  Jesus followed in every aspect of His life the will of God.  God not only desires obedience, but He demands obedience.  Jesus, as a man, learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  Jesus suffered for us.  He endured poverty, rejection, and death for the benefit of the human family.  Jesus experienced loss, sacrifice, and sorrow.  The pains and trials through which we must pass were endured by the Savior of all humanity.  We walk in the steps of a suffering Savior.  We imitate an obedient Savior.  God was well pleased with Jesus because Jesus sought always to fulfill all righteousness and do all things that were pleasing to the Father. As we see Jesus and seek to follow Him, let us be pleasing unto the Father through our obedient life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fulfilling A Vow

"And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go, and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.  For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord."  II Samuel 15:7-8.  Absalom had been in Geshur for a time of  three years.  II Samuel 13:38.  He wanted the Lord to bring him again to Jerusalem.  God required the payment of vows.  "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee."  Deuteronomy 23:21.  After being in Jerusalem for forty years,  Absalom now wanted to pay that which he had vowed.  In times of need or stress, people will make promises to God if God will help them in their time of need.  However, many times after the need or stress has passed, the vow is forgotten.  We want God to keep the promises which He has made to us.  But, we are more reluctant to keep our promises to God.  We want God's help when we need Him, but perhaps, give Him no thought the rest of the time.  We might vow a certain gift or a change of life.  We are willing in the moment to make vows to God, and quite often, forget the vow.  Let's think about what we might vow unto God with the resolve that we will keep the vow.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Treasure Worth All

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth , and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."  Matthew 13:44.  The kingdom of heaven is a treasure that is worth everything.  The kingdom cannot be counterfeited.  The kingdom of heaven can be attained by all.  A man, any man, can find the kingdom.  One must be willing to give himself in order to possess the kingdom.  The kingdom comes into our possession only by sacrifice.  The value of the kingdom must be realized.  The kingdom is not a mere trinket.  Nothing can stand between a person and the kingdom of heaven.  When one finds the kingdom, he needs to possess it then.  Otherwise, the kingdom may lose its appeal.  The acquisition of the kingdom is a joyous occasion.  The opportunity to have the kingdom for one's own is an occasion of joy.  To sit at the table of the king must not be taken lightly.         

The Outrage Of Preaching

Stephen's sermon which is recorded in Acts chapter seven caused quite an outrage.  After listening to Stephen trace God's promise to Jesus Christ, they became so angry that they stoned him to death.  They "were cut to the heart."  Acts 7:54.  This multitude did not just simply walk away nor did they ignore what Stephen had preached.  They reacted in a most hostile manner.  The power of preaching is to convict and convert.  Whether that is accomplished will depend upon the heart of the hearer.  These hearts in Acts seven were filled with hate and prejudice.  This type of heart will respond in a very negative way to the gospel.  The heart must desire truth and must seek truth.  Stephen was just a messenger who had been sent with a message as were the prophets.  Stephen told them that they had persecuted and killed the prophets as well as the Lord Jesus Christ.  Acts 7:52.  This audience was "stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears."  Acts 7:51.  This type of hearer will only be outraged at the gospel.  This hearer will not hear and will not obey.  Our heart must be open to receive God's truth.  The heart that is convicted will be converted.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Assembly of Saints

"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God as prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."  I Corinthians 16:2.  The first day of each week is the time of coming together to worship God.  At this gathering, we sing, pray, study, observe the Lord's Supper, and give.  The purpose for which Paul was gathering this money from various churches was to help the poor in Jerusalem because of the famine.  Acts 11:28-30.  The reason for our coming together is to edify one another.  Strength and courage are required for living the Christian life because of the adversary that we face.  This strength comes from one another who are engaged in the same struggles of life and who are seeking to serve the risen Savior.  This assembly also promotes the growth of faith.  Faith must be fed and nurtured.  The faith of others helps our own faith.  The knowledge gained from studying together builds faith.  At the assemble, we learn to love one another and feel compassion for one another.  All who are gathered together are of one mind in the Lord and we are gathered together in the presence of the God who loves us and the Savior who saves us.  There is no grander experience in life than the assembly of saints upon the first day of the week who are worshipping God and loving each other.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Lawful, But Not Expedient

"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful unto me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."  I Corinthians 6:12.  The Christian has certain liberties.  These are things that one can do or leave undone.  These lawful things which the Christian can exercise are not forbidden by God.  These things apply to custom or tradition.   However, certain liberties that one has may not be beneficial.  The Christian is part of a community.  The Christian must in all that he does seek the well being of others.  They, who are in Christ, are unselfish and forbearing.  We have an attitude that desires to do that which will encourage and strengthen another.  The feelings of others must always be our concern.  A denial of self is the foundation upon which the Christian life is built.  Our own liberties must not overpower us.  While we may have liberty, we must not allow that liberty to deny any influence for good that can be exerted.  The desire of the individual Christian must in all cases be the spiritual development of the body.   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

As God's Elect

The people of God, the elect, are to be distinguished.  We are admonished to "put on therefore, as the elect of God,..."  Colossians 3:12.  The garments of our dress are mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness, and love.  We dress differently from the world about us.  We conduct our lives differently from others.  We, the elect, are to make a difference in our world. The person who wears these garments will improve our world.  These are divine graces.  These are heavenly garments.  Only those who know God and follow Christ are worthy to wear such dress.  The person who dresses in such attire walks in the heavenly realm.  The elect are delivered from the filthiness of evil and have been transformed into the very image of Jesus.  Rebirth and renewal gives us the right of such a wardrobe.  God has called us to election, and we must answer the call and place into our heart these holy and Godly qualities.  God enables us to dress with the clothing of heaven.  Let us dress as God would have us dress.  

The Waters Have Come In

In the psalms, we find pleas for help.  The psalmist finds himself in a situation that he needs God's grace and support.  I am sure that the number of those who never feel any need for God is great.  Many people base their need for help on those things that are temporal.  But, in times of real need, the temporal will not answer the call.  This is the plea of the writer: "Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul."  Psalms 69:1.  The waters of weariness, hatred from others, reproach, and sin were the waters flooding into his soul.  We all feel this overflow into our lives.  In a world of pain, weariness, and loss, we are overcome.  We need a deliverance from the waters that are drowning us.  The psalmist wants God to hear and deliver.  When we cry unto God, we want Him to hear.  We seek His power so that we might endure.  We seek His love so that we might continue.  The days of our lives will experience the "waters that come into our soul".  But, God's salvation will come and set us on high.  Psalm 69:29.  "Your heart shall live that seek God."  Psalm 69:32.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Out Of The Heart

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."  Luke 6:45.  The goodness of an individual is determined by the goodness of the heart and the evil of an individual is decided by the heart.  We either make our heart good or evil.  That which we think will determine our actions.  The old world of Noah was destroyed because the thoughts and the imagination of the heart was only evil continually.  We must think right to be right.  Our minds cannot dwell upon the impure and ungodly and pour our pure and godly deeds.  Our heart decides who we are.  The character is what the heart is.  The outward man displays the inward man.  Purity of heart will exhibit purity of life.  A good man will store a good treasure.  An evil man will store an evil treasure.  The choice is ours.  Therefore, the blessing or curse is ours.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Walk In Abraham's Faith

"And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."  Romans 4:12.  The faith of Abraham was a faith that did not question what God instructed him to do.  Abraham left his homeland and offered his son Isaac upon the alter of sacrifice.  His faith did not stagger at the promise of God.  Abraham would be the father of a nation that would be blessed by God.  That promise would be a blessing unto all the nations of men.  Circumcision was a seal of God's promise to Abraham and a reminder to all thereafter that God would bless all men.  Abraham believed God.  If we walk in the steps of Abraham's faith, we believe God.  We are assured that the promises which God has made unto us will come to pass.  Abraham could and did depend upon God.  We also depend upon that God.  God blessed Abraham and He will bless us.  We have been blessed by God through Jesus Christ.  May we believe as Abraham believed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Love Your Enemies

Jesus often spoke hard sayings.  We must be careful that we hear the words of Jesus even though those sayings may be difficult for us to heed.  Jesus calls us to a higher standard of living.  He asks us to do as He has done.  We are to follow closely in His steps.  In a statement that we might find hard to do, He teaches us to "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you."  Luke 6:27.  He spoke this message to us which hear.  Many will not hear.  The words of Christ have no bearing on their life.  Jesus knew that His followers would have enemies because of the standard that we follow and the character that we possess.  The world would have us believe that we must hate our enemies and do evil to those who hate us.  But, Jesus reacted in an opposite manner.  Jesus loved and did good, and the world, because of His reaction to the various actions of others, has made the world a better place.  As His followers, we are to love and do good.  We live and walk on a different plane.  Let us never allow others to determine our actions, but let us heed the good lesson that Jesus taught.  Our own life will benefit from a display of love and goodness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Uniqueness Of The Church

My first automobile was a Volkswagen Beetle.  It was unique.  Likewise, the church is unique.  It has been stated even within our own brotherhood that the church will lose her uniqueness.  That is a prediction that we will become like all of the others.  In their view, there will be nothing that will separate us from all the others who claim to believe in God.  I do not believe that will happen.  I believe that as long as the earth continues to exist that the church in her uniqueness will continue.

We, the church of Christ, are unique in name.  We wear the name of Christ to honor Him who died for the church.  We do not wear human names.  Our name is found in Scripture.  "The churches of Christ salute you."  Romans 16:16.  We do not wear this name as a denominational title.  But, rather, we wear this name because of the founder, Jesus Christ.

We, the church of Christ, are unique in faith.  The Scripture says there is "one faith."  Ephesians 4:5.  This faith is the Scriptures.  We do use the writings of men to justify our belief and practice.  We use only the word of God that has come by inspiration.  We teach the plan of salvation according to the Scriptures.  We worship according to the Scriptures.  We live in the manner taught in the Scriptures.

The Volkswagen Beetle was a unique automobile.  It was unlike any other.  The church of Christ is unique and unlike any other.  Her uniqueness will continue throughout all ages as we follow the pattern which God has given and "commit unto faithful men" this pattern.  As long as the unique pattern is followed, the church will continue and she will be distinct from all others.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Eternal King

"Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen."  I Timothy 1:17.  Jesus Christ is the eternal king.  Jesus is eternal because He is God, and God is "from everlasting to everlasting."  Psalm 90:2.  Jesus Christ has conquered death.  On the third day in the tomb, Jesus was resurrected.  In fulfilling prophecy, His soul was not left in hell, neither did the holy one see corruption.  Acts 2:27.  Jesus was destined to sit upon David's throne.  His kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom.  With His resurrection from the grave, Jesus took His place upon David's throne and the kingdom was established.  Jesus reigns never to be deposed.  Because of our obedience to Christ and the gospel, we have become citizens of that kingdom.  Jesus "hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen."  Revelation 1:6.