Have you ever heard someone tell you that they saw something, and you just didn’t believe it?
Someone may say, “There’s a zebra in the bathroom!” Naturally, a zebra would not be in a bathroom; therefore you would not believe it. When that person keeps insisting, you finally agree to go when they say, “come and see!” Sure enough, there is a zebra in the bathroom because one got loose from the zoo and happened to wander in.
John pointed out Jesus to his disciples, and they asked where He was staying. Jesus told them, “Come and see” and they followed Him (John 1:39).
Later, Nathanael asked Philip if anything good could come out of Nazareth. Philip’s response was, “Come and see (John 1:46).”
When Jesus heard Lazarus had died, He inquired where his body lay. The response was, “Lord, come and see (John 11:34).”
John was shown the seven seals, and the four living creatures each told him “Come and see (Revelation 6).”
Imagine what response you could give if someone asked about your faith:
- “Where do you go to worship God?”
- “How can I receive eternal life?”
- “Can I get to Heaven?”
A natural response could be: “Come and see!” See you this coming Lord’s Day, Lord willing!
A couple of weeks ago, everything seemed to be all worked out. The house in Alabama had a buyer, contracts were about to be signed, and we could officially close on a house in Ohio in a matter of weeks.
Suddenly, things began to take a different turn. A clause in the contract means the house has not been sold, and the buyer is walking away. However, all hope is not lost! A former interested party is still interested in the house, and a decision is forthcoming. What will happen? Only God knows.
Does this sound like you? Everything seems to be going your way, and all of the sudden – BOOM! Something happens and plans have changed. What are you to do?
Remember the words of James: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (James 1:2-3).”
Therefore, I am glad all this is happening! My faith is being tested, and is becoming stronger every day. I am becoming more patient to endure whatever life may throw at me.
If I am found faithful, I will be rewarded. What about you?
Go ahead and step outside. Take a look around. Inhale, and then exhale. What do you see? What do you feel?
God’s creation is all around us. Hebrews 11:3 states: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
What we see is evidence of the God we do not see. Paul said, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).”
How did God create the world? Remember, “…the worlds were framed by the word of God…” The very first thing God said was, “Let there be light (Genesis 1:3)!” What happened? There was light!
We know Jesus also had a part in creation, because He is the Word of God in the flesh that was in the beginning (John 1:1-5,14). Without Him there was not anything made that was made.
Later in John 1, we learn that no one has seen God at any time (John 1:18). Even though we do not see Him, we have faith that He is here! Faith is necessary to come to God (Hebrews 11:6), and it comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Let us share God’s Word with others, so they can know Him too!
One verse that has been on our hearts lately is Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
We can see this applying right this very minute. Our house in Alabama is being sold, the ministry I will give up has been taken care of, and opportunities abound to where I am going. Please notice a few things about this verse…
- We know! Let us not doubt God, but be confident that He is able to do more than we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
- All things work together for good. Not just some things, but everything we do God can use for His good! It is a good God that we serve, and He has always been good to us.
- God knows we love Him when we keep His commandments (John 14:15). When we do what He says, He will take care of us! Thus, God has a purpose for all of us.
Let us not doubt God, but follow His lead. If we do His will, He will take care of us. Let His purpose be done for us, not our own. “…Not My will, but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42).”
Growing up, my favorite author was Franklin W. Dixon. The Hardy Boys was my favorite series, and I soon collected the entire set (including the handbook).
Carolyn Keene is just as popular with girls for penning Nancy Drew. Many authors wrote classics, fiction, nonfiction, and biographies that thrill many readers. They create characters and expound upon their adventures.
The greatest author of all, however, is Jesus Christ! Jesus is the author of “eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).”
No one else can create anything as wonderful! He even tells us how to receive it – by doing what He says! In order to come to God, we do so through faith in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6). Thus, Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).”
There is a lot of confusion in the world, especially regarding matters of faith. But, this confusion did not come from God! He is “not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).”
What is your favorite book to read? I hope and pray it is the Bible. After all, God is its author (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Everything you read there is true, and you will be prepared for living now and in eternity.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Is faith a reasonable thing? There are those who would have us believe that our faith is built around a fallacy. The Bible, they argue, is not the word of God. Our world was not created, it just happened. Jesus Christ, if he lived at all, was nothing like the picture painted by today’s preachers.
TIME (April 8, 1996) focused on the debate. Jesus made the cover. In the past the magazine had drawn attention to the liberal claims of the Jesus Seminar (a self-appointed panel of so-called experts who deny any measurable historical content to the New Testament). This time, however, they offered at least a token response to the outlandish claims of this Seminar, and it was about time!
Is there any real reason for us to question the validity of the Biblical record, and especially the New Testament account of Christ and His church? Frankly, research into the past is not as easy as we would like. There are no old newspapers, file footage of events, or tape recordings to be consulted. It is impossible to verify the gospel story with these modern methods. Obviously, we cannot go back and interview the main participants in the saga. There is not that much extra-biblical material from that period to be examined. But, what does exist in no way destroys the creditability of the Scriptures.
Among the earliest believers, however, there would have been opportunity to consult with eyewitnesses, to verify facts, to determine truth. And, there is no doubt that such was done. The writers of the New Testament claim to have been eyewitness of the things which they describe. Peter wrote: “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). John said much the same thing (1 John 1:1-3).
The antiquity of the Bible, and in particular the New Testament, is undeniable. Given the age of Scripture and the events described, who would be in a better position to accurately represent the true Jesus, His contemporaries, or a group of self-appointed liberals in the twentieth century with an agenda to destroy the credibility of the Bible and Christianity?
Be assured, there are many, many highly educated, scholarly men and women who accept the historical reliability of the Scriptures. Our faith in Jesus Christ is built on a solid foundation. Those who take the time to learn the facts, if they are fair minded, will have no trouble accepting the fact that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and that the Biblical record of His life and ministry is true!
Jesus indicted the Pharisees saying: “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:3-4). The rules they made for others were much stricter than the ones they made for themselves. That is often the case with religious men.
D. R. Dungan, in his book, HERMENEUTICS, observed: “I knew a man who had a hobby on marriage. He was of the opinion that no man could marry twice without being a polygamist–in heaven, if not on the earth. His wife might die, but that had nothing to do with it; if he married again he would be guilty of polygamy. You could not talk with him five minutes without having his hobby brought out and made to canter in your presence. But his wife died, and in less than a year from that time his theology changed on that point. Almost anything that men want to do, they can find some text of Scripture that will sound like giving it support. And it is exceedingly difficult to make any man see that he has been preaching that which is not true. He has posed before the people on the subject, and is not willing to incur the humiliation of saying, ‘I was wrong, and my opponents were right.’” A man’s wishes sometimes blind him to the truth.
Why do men draw such varied conclusions from the Scriptures?
I think the answer is found in their approach to Bible study.
- Some people go to the Bible to discover what God has revealed on a particular subject
- Others go to the book in search of proof for what they want to believe
Conclusions should not be formed and then Scriptures sought to validate them. We should look to the Scriptures and form our conclusions based on what is revealed in them.
Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Paul admonished, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
It is only when we do this that we can have confidence in our faith!
Text: 1 Peter 1:6-9
1. One of the many blessings available to us as the elect of God is a very special kind of joy
a. For reasons we shall notice in our lesson, Christians are able to greatly rejoice – 1 Peter 1:6
b. We have access to joy that is inexpressible and full of glory – 1 Peter 1:8
c. A joy so great, so glorious, that it is impossible to truly express with words!
2. In this lesson, we shall focus our attention on Peter’s remarks in 1 Peter 1:6-9 concerning this inexpressible joy that we as Christians are blessed to have
I. THE BASIS FOR INEXPRESSIBLE JOY
A. THERE ARE PAST GROUNDS FOR REJOICING
1. We have been set apart by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit – 1 Peter 1:2
2. We have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 1:2
3. We have been born again to a living hope – 1 Peter 1:3
B. THERE ARE PRESENT GROUNDS FOR REJOICING AS WELL
1. We are God’s elect – 1 Peter 1:2
2. We are kept by the power of God through faith – 1 Peter 1:5
C. AND THERE ARE FUTURE GROUNDS FOR REJOICING
1. We have an inheritance reserved for us in heaven – 1 Peter 1:4
2. We look forward to the salvation which will be revealed in the last time – 1 Peter 1:5
D. All these blessings (Past, present, future) serve as the basis for inexpressible joy.
II. THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF THIS JOY
A. IT ENABLES ONE TO REJOICE EVEN IN TRIAL – 1 Peter 1:6
1. No matter what degree of suffering one may experience, in Christ there is joy to match
a. As Peter explains in 1 Peter 4:12-13
b. As he and the rest of the apostles exemplified in Acts 5:40-41
2. How can Christians find joy in such trials?
a. Informed Christians understand the purifying nature of such trials – 1 Peter 1:7
b. Knowing what trials can produce, it is possible to be joyful in trials – James 1:2-4, 12
B. WHAT KIND OF TRIALS?
1. The word various includes all kinds
2. Primarily, it includes those which come as a result of living for Christ – Matthew 5:10-12
3. But we can also rejoice in the everyday afflictions of life
a. For example, sickness, heartbreak, frustration, approaching death
b. For these things also provide an opportunity to test our faith, hope, love, longsuffering and patience
4. If one is able to rejoice even in the midst of such trials, surely they have a joy inexpressible and full of glory!
C. But how can Christians be sure to possess this joy?
1. For it must be admitted that all do not
2. There are times when even the best of us do not
III. POSSESSING THIS INEXPRESSIBLE JOY
A. WE MUST LOVE JESUS – 1 Peter 1:8
1. Whom having not seen you love
2. Jesus is the ultimate source for being able to rejoice in all things – Philippians 4:4
a. He has promised that if we truly love Him, He and His Father will be with us – John 14:23
b. If Jesus is with us, we can receive that joy which is inexpressible! – John 15:11
3. But can we who have never seen Jesus, love Him? Yes! – 1 Peter 1:8
4. How can we come to love Him we have not seen? Through a devotional study of:
a. The Old Testament, with its prophecies of the Messiah
b. The Gospels, with their description of His life, teachings, compassion, suffering, death, and glorious resurrection
c. The Acts, with its action-packed portrayal of the Lord working together with His church
d. The Epistles, where we learn of many blessings found in Christ, and of His ministry as High Priest interceding in our behalf
e. The Revelation, in which we learn of the glorious victory to be won by the Lamb and His followers
B. WE MUST ALSO BELIEVE IN JESUS – 1 Peter 1:8
1. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing
2. Through believing in Jesus we can rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory
3. But such faith is more than a mental assent, or academic knowledge of Jesus
4. It involves the key element of faith itself, which is trust
a. Trusting in His commands to be for our ultimate good
b. Trusting in His promises to be fulfilled
c. The kind of trust that prompts us to obey Jesus wholeheartedly
d. This kind of faith comes from the Word of God – Romans 10:17
1. When we have this kind of faith in Jesus, and when we truly love Him with our whole being
a. A blessing we receive is that joy inexpressible and full of glory!
b. A blessing that can sustain us till we reach the end (Goal) of our faith: salvation! – 1 Peter 1:9
2. And that is because this inexpressible joy
a. Is based upon many other blessings: past, present, and future
b. Enables us to joyfully persevere through all kinds of trials in this life
3. But again, this blessing is only for those who truly love Jesus and believe in Him
a. Do you love Jesus? If you do, you will keep His commandments – John 14:15, 23
b. Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, you will do what He says – Luke 6:46
4. Are there commandments of Jesus you have not yet obeyed? If so, why not obey them today so that this inexpressible joy can be yours as well!
I. Abraham’s faith was tested.
A. It took faith to leave all behind and follow God – Genesis 12:1-7
B. Abraham had faith that he would have a son – Genesis 15:1-7
C. God established His covenant to him and his generations – Genesis 17:1-9
D. Sarah was told she would have a son in Genesis 18:10-15, and it came to pass as God said – Genesis 21:1-7
E. Abraham was later asked to sacrifice the son of promise on Mount Moriah – Genesis 22:1-19
II. Abraham’s faith relates to our faith – Romans 4:16-25
A. God’s promise is of faith that it may be of grace – Romans 4:16
1. We are saved by grace through faith – Ephesians 2:5-8
2. Also, we become of Abraham’s seed through Jesus Christ – Galatians 3:16, 22-29
B. God has power
1. To give life – Romans 4:17; 8:11
2. To cause things to happen that otherwise could not – Isaiah 51:2
C. Abraham was well aware of this – Romans 4:18
D. He did not consider his own body as dead – Romans 4:19; Genesis 17:15-21
E. Sarah, too, trusted God – Hebrews 11:11-12
F. Abraham’s faith was unwavering – Romans 4:20; James 1:5-8
G. God is able to do everything, and Abraham believed that - Romans 4:21; Hebrews 11:17-19; Ephesians 3:20; Matthew 19:26
H. It was accounted to Abraham for righteousness because he believed God - Romans 4:22; Genesis 15:6
I. These things were written for our benefit, as well as that of Abraham - Romans 4:23-24
J. If Abraham believed that God could raise up Isaac, we need to believe that God raised Jesus Christ – Romans 4:25
1. This is what was preached on Pentecost - Acts 2:23-24; Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4-5
2. It is still preached today
III. Our faith is proven
A. God kept the promise to Abraham
1. He reminded Isaac – Genesis 26:4-5
2. He reminded Jacob – Genesis 28:14
B. God will keep His promise to us if we remain faithful to Him (Revelation 2:10)!
Salvation: Hear - Believe - Repent - Confess - Be Baptized - Live Faithfully
Text: Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23
A. The worldview states, “It doesn’t matter what you believe; we’re all trying to get to the same place”
B. The Biblical view shows otherwise.
II. There are ways that are wrong
A. Some ways are foolish – Proverbs 12:15
B. Wrong ways lead unto death – Proverbs 14:12; 16:25
C. Thieves and robbers enter other ways than the right way – John 10:1, 8-10
III. Only one way is right
A. Jesus Christ is THE way – John 14:1-6
B. The right way is not always easy – Matthew 7:13-14
C. In order to get in the right way, we must do what Christ says
1. Matthew 7:21-23
2. Luke 13:24-28;
3. Matthew 25:1-13
4. James 1:21-25
IV. Things really do matter! It matters…
A. …Where we “go to church”
1. Matthew 16:18
2. Acts 20:28
3. Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23
4. Colossians 1:18
5. Romans 16:16
B. …How we worship – Matthew 15:8-9
1. God did not accept Cain’s offering – Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4
2. God did not accept Nadab and Abihu’s sacrifice – Leviticus 10:1; Numbers 3:4; 26:61
3. Jesus gives us instructions on worship today – John 4:23-24; 14:6; 17:3, 17
C. …How we live – Revelation 2:10
A. If you’re going the wrong way, make a U-turn!
B. If you’re going the right way, do not stray!
Salvation: Hear - Believe - Repent - Confess - Be Baptized - Live Faithfully
A little boy visited Sunday School for the first time. There he heard about Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
Back home that afternoon, his mother asked him what he has learned in Sunday School. “Well, Mom,” he said, “Our teacher told us how Moses whipped the Egyptians at the Red Sea.” “And how did he do it?” his mother asked. “Oh, it was easy,” came the reply. “The Egyptians chased Moses all the way to the Red Sea. Moses had to build a pontoon bridge across the Sea to escape. When all the good guys had crossed the bridge, Moses called in his diver bombers and blew up the bridge killing all the Egyptians!”
His mother, rather startled by the account, asked, “Is that really what your teacher told you?” Realizing mom was not exactly pleased with his account of the story, he replied, “No, mother, but if I told you what she said you would never believe it!”
A recent article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and quoted in The Columbus Dispatch (3-14-92), argued that the biblical account of this event could have happened precisely as the Bible describes it. According to the article, “a moderate wind blowing constantly for about 10 hours could have caused the sea to recede about a mile and the water level to drop 10 feet. That would have left the land dry in the area where many biblical scholars believe the crossing occurred.”
It has become fairly popular in today’s society to deny the historical nature of the biblical account and to belittle any who might believe in it. The story is sometimes told of a teacher who was telling her class that the biblical account of the crossing of the Red Sea was not anything like what actually occurred. She said, “We now know that they actually crossed the Reed Sea, not the Red Sea. The Reed Sea was a body of water only 4 or 5 inches deep.” At that moment, a student in the back of the class shouted, “Praise God for the Miracle!” “What miracle?” the teacher demanded. “Why, God drowned Pharaoh and all his army in only 4 inches of water,” came the reply.
The Bible is filled with miracles. To deny them is to deny God. We can be confident that they are true, or God, who cannot lie, would not have permitted them to be included in the biblical text (Hebrews 6:18). There is no need to question the accuracy of the biblical record. Those things of a miraculous nature described in the Bible can be accepted with confidence. The Bible is true. It is not too fantastic to believe.
John wrote of Jesus, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:30,31).
Will you believe and obey?
Most acknowledge faith in a Supreme Being.
If the statistics can be believed, more than ninety out of every one hundred Americans believes in God or some higher power. When asked, most folks are quick to acknowledge faith in a Supreme Being. But, the life they live frequently betrays the faith they profess.
Folks often talk a much better religion than they live. The apostle Paul described his situation in his second letter to the young preacher, Timothy. In it he condemned those who have a “form of godliness,” but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). The AMPLIFIED BIBLE does a good job of conveying Paul’s meaning. It reads, “For (although) they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it—their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession.”
There is more than one kind of atheist in our world.
Sure, there are folks who deny the existence of God and belittle those who believe, but they do little harm to the cause of Christ. The real damage is done by those who claim to believe, but live like unbelievers.
The Bible makes specific demands upon those who follow Christ.
We must “follow after peace and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Paul challenged Christians to be different from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17), and urged them not to conform to the world’s standards (Romans 12:2). Everyone who follows Christ must depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). We cannot live like the devil and still be a child of God!
Do you believe in God?
You will never win the world for Christ if your preaching is contradicted by your living.
Around the middle of the 19th century Bruno Bauer, a German theologian and historian, concocted the notion that Jesus never lived. According to Bauer, Jesus was entirely mythical. He argued that Christ was simply a mental invention of a few second century Christians who drew their concepts of their “Messiah” from Greco-Roman philosophy.
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), a more recent German theologian and medical missionary, acknowledged the existence of a “Jesus,” but asserted in his book The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906) that the real Jesus of history was so different from the Christ revered by Christians that the Lord Jesus of New Testament fame could not really be based upon historical fact.
Rudolf Augstein, publisher of the German Der Spiegel (Germany’s equivalent to our Time magazine), wrote a book titled Jesus, Son of Man in which he claimed that it is impossible to believe that Jesus was God the Son.
Believers in Jesus are often saddled with the reputation of being very gullible.
Christianity reminds some people of the scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice asks the queen, “How old are you?” The queen responds, “I am a hundred and one, five months, and a day.” Alice shakes her head, “Oh, I can’t believe that.” The queen assures her, “Can’t you? Shut your eyes, hold your breath and try again.”
Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not some blind leap into the dark.
The identity of Jesus is based on an historically reliable document (Luke 1:1-4). We can know with certainty who He was, what He did, and what He expects of us. Our faith is not based on hearsay testimony, but on eyewitness accounts of His life, death, and resurrection (2 Peter 2:16; 1 John 1:1-3). The events and characters in question were not removed from the mainstream of life and society, but were open to the closest public examination. As Paul said to King Agrippa, “These things were not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).
Those who investigate Jesus are stuck by His amazing appeal. He speaks to the issues that concern us. The words of Jesus offer comfort and challenge to us:
- In the hospital
- At the graveside
- In the comfort of our own family room
The alternative, disbelief, offers nothing.
There is not the slightest reason for us to question the biblical record concerning Jesus.
We can be confident that the record is true. Our faith is not misplaced.
1. When you walk into the voting booth, remember…
a. It was not a Republican who died for you.
b. It was not a Democrat who died for you.
c. Neither a Republican or Democrat will be sitting on the Judgment Seat on the day of judgment.
2. Place your allegiance in Christ and not any certain political party.
3. As Christians, when there is a clear and discernible moral divide, vote on the basis of Christianity.
4. Do not worry about the letter that is after the name.
5. May this article help you keep a Christian perspective.
Whatever happens in the election…
Whatever happens in the election, God will still be on his throne, for “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 4:25 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, the Bible will still be true in all it says, since “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, Jesus will still be the only way to heaven, for he is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, good and evil will still be defined by the Lord, and government will still have the duty to function as a “servant, of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, for protection our military will never be as powerful as morality, since “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, citizens will still be obligated to work in such a way they are “dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:12 ESV), which means government ought not foster a culture of dependency.
Whatever happens in the election, America will still not be as important as the church of Christ, for it was “obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28 ESV).
Whatever happens in the election, every American is still supposed to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), remembering “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV).
In the church of Christ in the United States, we are thankful to be Americans, but even more grateful “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 ESV).
Text: Exodus 18:21
1. The time is almost here again.
2. It is time to select the man who is going to lead our country for the next four years.
3. We are blessed to live in a country where we have a say, in who our leaders are going to be.
4. This is not true everywhere in the world.
5. As Christians, we need to give serious thought to who it is that we think will steer this country in the direction which God wants.
6. Let me say before we start…
a. I am not a preacher for the Republican Party.
b. I am not a preacher for the Democratic Party.
c. I am not a preacher for the Independents.
d. I am a preacher for Christ.
7. Proverbs 14:34. Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.
8. Psalm 119:172. My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.
9. “God bless America…”
10. If we want God to continue to bless America, we had better show Him that we DESERVE to be blessed.
11. As a Christian, what do I need to look for in a candidate?
12. Here are some verses to vote by.
I. EXODUS 18:21. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
A. Able men.
1. There are many moral people in the world who are not able to lead.
2. There are also many “able” leaders (men or women who are good at leading others) who are not fit to lead because they do not fear God and love truth.
3. History is full of “able” men who led their respective countries to disaster because of their own wickedness and immorality.
B. Hating Covetousness.
1. Proverbs 28:16. A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.
2. Proverbs 29:4. The king establishes the land by justice, But he who receives bribes overthrows it.
3. Our leader needs to serve for reasons other than money.
4. His decisions need to be based on what is right and not what will earn him the most donations.
5. In choosing a President, we need a man who puts morals over money and we, ourselves need to put morals over money.
a) Sadly, many base their vote solely on who they think will make them the wealthiest.
b) The economy is not the number one issue in an election for a Christian.
c) Proverbs 16:8. Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice.
d) Consider the wealth in Solomon’s day:
(1) 1 Kings 4:20. Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.
(2) 1 Kings 4:24-25. For he had dominion over all the region on this side of the River from Tiphsah even to Gaza, namely over all the kings on this side of the River; and he had peace on every side all around him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
(3) 1 Kings 10:27. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.
(4) Yet during his reign, he and Israel became corrupt. As such, God removed him from office. 1 Kings 11:9-11. So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.
C. Fear God / Men of Truth.
1. Proverbs 16:12. It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness.
2. Proverbs 29:12. If a ruler pays attention to lies, All his servants become wicked.
3. Every political party has had problems with liars.
4. We need men in office who care about the truth.
5. Especially THE TRUTH. John 17:17. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
II. PROVERBS 6:16-17. These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,
A. We need a President who will fight to save innocent babies from murder.
B. Since Roe vs Wade, over 40,000,000 babies have been legally murdered in our country (see abortion).
C. Psalm 139:13-16. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
1. If I were to place before you a woman who was 2 months pregnant, a woman who was 9 months pregnant, a woman with a 1 year old child, and a woman with a 2 year old… which one of those children are done developing? Obviously, none of them… Yet many try to justify abortion by saying that the baby in the womb is not fully developed.
2. God sees no difference between the babe in the womb and the babe out of the womb.
a) Luke 1:44. For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
b) Luke 2:12. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
D. How can a Christian cast a vote for any person who vows to let the atrocity of abortion continue?
III. Matthew 19:4-5. And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
A. We need to elect a man who respects God’s plan for the home.
B. Leviticus 18:22. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
C. The Bible makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin and that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
D. What has this country come to that a person cannot express his belief in God’s word in regard to design for the home without being branded a bigot or worse? (Chik-fil-a)
E. We must realize that the downfall of the home is a prelude to the downfall of a nation. What will our vote say?
1. When you walk into the voting booth in a few weeks remember…
a. It was not a Republican who died for you.
b. It was not a Democrat who died for you.
c. Neither a Republican or Democrat will be sitting on the Judgment Seat on the day of judgment.
2. Place your allegiance in Christ and not any certain political party.
3. As Christians, when there is a clear and discernible moral divide, vote on the basis of Christianity.
4. Do not4 worry about the letter that is after the name.
5. Illustration: If you could choose your neighbor…
6. I cannot vote for anyone who openly ridicules righteousness.
7. When I know God opposes something, I cannot vote for someone who blatantly promotes it.
Delivered on: October 28, 2012. Streetsboro.
Text: 1 Timothy 4:1-5
I. THE DEPARTURE PREDICTED.
1 Timothy 4:1-2. Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron
A. The first word of verse 1, “Now” tells us that this thought is connected to the previous thought.
1. Paul had just finished discussing the “mystery of godliness.”
2. The mystery of godliness is just another term for God’s scheme of redemption.
B. Now Paul says that the Spirit has predicted that some would depart from the faith.
1. “The Spirit expressly says…”
a) This was a revelation from God Himself.
b) John 16:13. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
c) Galatians 1:11-12. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
d) 1 Thessalonians 2:13. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
2. “In the latter times…“
a) At some point in the future.
b) As we are going to see, this departure has already occurred.
3. “Some will depart from the faith…“
a) By implication, we see that it is POSSIBLE to depart from the faith.
b) We have numerous examples of individuals departing from the faith. 1 Timothy 1:19-20. Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
c) This prediction of “some” departing from the faith has to be referring to more than just some individuals.
d) It is talking about a “movement” or a “Great departure” from the faith.
C. The cause of the departure…
1. Some would give heed to deceiving spirits.
a) Not talking about literal spirits.
b) These “spirits” … “forbid” and “command” – we are talking about religious leaders.
c) They speak lies in hypocrisy.
(1) Some religious leaders would (And still do) speak lies.
(2) Acts 20:29-30. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
d) They have their conscience seared.
(1) Just as scar tissue from a burn loses it’s feeling, their conscience no longer functions as a reliable guide for them.
(2) Their wickedness would not bother them.
(3) We still have people like this in the world today.
2. The teachings of these deceiving spirits are called “doctrines of demons.”
a) Doctrine – teaching.
b) Some teaching is good and healthy. 1 Timothy 4:6. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
c) Some will cause you to lose your salvation.
II. THE DEPARTURE DEPICTED.
1 Timothy 4:3a. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods…
A. The Spirit gives two identifying characteristics of this great departure.
1. From these two identifying characteristics, we can pinpoint when this departure took place.
2. Quite frankly, the answer was shocking when I first learned it.
B. These deceiving spirits would forbid to marry.
1. Some have come to the conclusion that to remain unmarried is a holier life.
2. In part, this is from a misapplication of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7.
a) 1 Corinthians 7:1. Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
b) 1 Corinthians 7:8. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am
c) 1 Corinthians 7:32-33. But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.
3. As a result, for example, the Catholic church has, for hundreds of years, forbidden priests to marry.
a) Council of Elvira (C. 305) (Canon 33): It is decided that marriage be altogether prohibited to bishops, priests, and deacons, or to all clerics placed in the ministry, and that they keep away from their wives and not beget children; whoever does this, shall be deprived of the honor of the clerical office.
b) Council of Carthage (390) (Canon 3): It is fitting that the holy bishops and priests of God as well as the Levites, i.e. those who are in the service of the divine sacraments, observe perfect continence, so that they may obtain in all simplicity what they are asking from God; what the Apostles taught and what antiquity itself observed, let us also endeavour to keep… It pleases us all that bishop, priest and deacon, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve at the altar may keep a perfect chastity.
C. The deceiving spirits would command to abstain from certain foods.
1. Again, the Catholic church has done this throughout much of its history.
2. The new Code of Canon Law brought out in 1983 says about the matter: Canon 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. http://www.catholic-pages.com/life/fridaymeat.asp
3. The current regulations concerning Lenten fasting and abstinence for Roman Catholics in the United States generally are as follows.
a) Abstinence from all meat is to be observed by all Roman Catholics 14 years old and older on Ash Wednesday, on all Fridays of Lent, and on Good Friday (Which is not part of Lent, but rather part of the three day Paschal Triduum).
b) Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Roman Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting_and_abstinence_in_the_Roman_Catholic_Church
III. THE DEPARTURE CONTRADICTED.
1 Timothy 4:3b-5. …which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
A. First of all, the scriptures teach that marriage is a good thing.
1. It was instituted by God Himself. Genesis 2:24. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
2. Hebrews 13:4. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
3. Furthermore, the Scriptures not only say that marriage is a good thing but they say that marriage is a requirement for one who would serve as a bishop. 1 Timothy 3:2. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach
4. What about 1 Corinthians 7?
a) Paul was giving specific instructions to Christians in Corinth who were undergoing some kind of distress. 1 Corinthians 7:26. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is:
b) His instructions were not meant for all Christians of all times.
c) Notice that, even in these instructions, he made it clear that getting married would not be a sin.
(1) 1 Corinthians 7:2. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
(2) 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(3) 1 Corinthians 7:28. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
d) The Catholic church takes these passages and argues that “clergy” must not marry; whereas, Paul was not writing to “clergy” but to all the saints in Corinth.
e) In a nutshell, he is saying, “It is better not to marry because of this present distress. However, if you marry you have not sinned; but be aware that your life will be more difficult as a married Christian.”
f) To take these passages and use them to enforce mandatory celibacy is a horrible distortion of the meaning of Paul’s words.
B. Second, as to the commanding to abstain from eating certain foods…
1. Paul says that every creature is good and is to be received with thanksgiving.
2. Any type of food is sanctified with God’s word and prayer.
3. Fasting, in the Scriptures, is always a voluntary and very personal thing.
4. Nowhere in Scriptures is anyone ever commanded to fast.
5. To command such of anyone is sin.
Delivered on: October 14, 2012. Streetsboro.
The Bible claims to be the word of God.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of references to that fact in Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote that “all scripture is given by the inspiration God” (2 Timothy 3:16). It was also Paul who commended the church at Thessalonica because they received the word of not “as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Are the claims justified? Everything we know about the Bible would indicate that they are.
First, if there is a God, and there is, then it is certainly in keeping with His character to expect Him to communicate will to His creation in some form.
He has done so through the Bible. The first occurrence of God providing written directions for His people came in the deliverance of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20:17). In time He revealed His complete will in what we commonly refer to as the Bible.
The Bible is exactly the kind of book we would expect from a Divine Being.
It is accurate. When it touches on the areas biology, science, history, and geography it demonstrates knowledge far beyond what was commonly known (Job 26:7; Isaiah 40:22). It is utterly impartial in the delineation of human character. It not only speaks of David as a man after God’s own heart, but also shows his human weakness in his sin with Bathsheba.
One is also struck by the unity of the Bible.
Although written over a period of some 1,600 years by at least 40 authors of various social, economic and educational backgrounds, a “golden thread” runs through the text. Jesus fills its pages (Luke 24:44). Further, prophecy offers conclusive proof of its origin. Who, but God, can declare the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)?
There is no doubt. The Bible is God’s word.
We must study it prayerfully, believe it fully, obey it completely, and live it daily. No one will ever regret living as the Bible teaches us to live, but millions will regret not having done so (John 12:48). Are you ready to begin?
An interesting news story which stirred a great deal of excitement among many biblical archaeologists was the possible discovery of an ossuary (a burial box) which at one time, would have contained the remains of James, the brother of Jesus.
Engraved on this stone box is the inscription in Aramaic, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” According to the scholars, from all appearances, this box seems to be genuine. The greatest criticism is that “Joseph,” “James,” and “Jesus” were fairly common names in the first century like “Tom,” “Dick,” and “Harry.” However, naming the brother as well as the father on an ossuary is very unusual. In fact, there’s only one other known example of this in Aramaic. Thus, it is likely that this “Jesus” must have had some unusual role or fame for him to be included in the inscription.
Now here’s the point of this writing. Suppose it can be proved that this is indeed an ancient artifact verifying the life of Jesus, and the testimony of Scripture (Matthew 13:55). Do you think that suddenly churches will be filled to overflowing with people clamoring to surrender their lives to Jesus? Or what about the highly publicized searches for Noah’s ark? Suppose it did survive the centuries and was discovered. Would preachers’ hands be puckered from baptizing so many people? I think not.
The Bible was written to make believers (John 20:30-31). It contains sufficient evidence to convince one of the genuineness of Jesus’ claims. If God’s word can’t prick the heart and bring about conviction, an ancient relic isn’t going to do the job either. The power of conversion and the basis for faith is the Word of God, not the artifacts of the past. Keep preaching the Word, for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
Head – Christianity is a Religion of the Mind – God Expects Us to Think Clearly
- Isaiah 1:18
- Acts 18:28
- Matthew 11:3-5
- 1 Peter 3:15
- Acts 17:11
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
- John 20:30-31
- 2 Peter 2:20
Heart – Christianity is a Religion of the Heart – God Wants Us to Connect Emotionally
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
- John 3:16
- 1 John 4:19
- Romans 6:17
- John 4:24
Hands – Christianity is a Religion of the Service – God Wants Us to Work Actively
- James 1:27
- Galatians 5:13
- Mark 10:43-45
- Matthew 25:34-40
Health – Christianity is a Religion of the Balance – To be a Healthy Christian, One Must Have Balance
- 1 Corinthians 8:1
- James 2:19-20
- 1 Corinthians 13:2
- 1 John 3:18
- John 14:15
- 1 Corinthians 13:3
- Colossians 3:17
- Matthew 7:21-23
- Romans 10:1-3
Delivered on: September 23, 2012. Streetsboro.
(Eternal salvation comes from God only by obeying the truth)
- The source of man’s eternal salvation is Jesus Christ – Hebrews 5:8-9. Since God showered His love upon us, by giving us a perfect substitute sacrifice, for ours sins – John 3:16.
- God has provided the means by which man can be saved (Grace) – Ephesians 2:4-5. But man must be willing to obey Jesus for their eternal salvation – Matthew 7:21. Obedience means that man must also continue to abide with Christ, or obey Him, to retain their eternal salvation – John 8:31-32. Don’t be deceived by Satan, you can lose your salvation, by departing from the faith and returning to disobedience – Hebrews 3:12-14; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 4:1-2.
- There is a false doctrine rooted in Calvinism, called “Perseverance Of The Saints”, that erroneously asserts the impossibility of apostasy; the unconditional security of the believer in Jesus Christ. Also called once saved always saved. Therefore, let us make sure we are abiding in the true doctrine of Christ that we might have fellowship with the Father and the Son – 2 John 9-11.
Eternal Salvation is Made Available to All by God’s Grace
- It is through God’s love and mercy that He has prepared a way, through Jesus, that all sinners might avoid the wages of sin (Death) and be saved – John 1:17. This favor bestowed upon us without merit on our part is God’s wonderful grace – 1 John 3:1.
- In Titus 2:11-14, the Bible emphatically teaches the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to everybody. This does not mean that every soul will be saved, but that all humanity has the opportunity to access the benefits of God’s grace through His divine plan of redemption (By faith) – Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9.
- Before one can access the blessings of God’s grace, one must be first taught of God through His Word – John 6:45. God’s grace is not dispensed apart from instruction (Teaching) and obedience of His Word (Taught religion). Once this is done, it produces faith – Romans 10:17.
Eternal Salvation is Conditional Based of Your Faithfulness
- To have eternal salvation, to be saved, you must have faith in God. Faith in God will require you to obey the works of obedience which God has commanded – James 2:17-24. If you do not do these things you will not be saved. These are condition required for salvation – Mark 16:16.
- God admonishes repeatedly to overcome all things, that we might obtain the crown of life that He, the Lord, will give us – 1 Timothy 6:12; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:21-22. In 2 Peter 1:5-11, it is clear a Christian must add these virtues to their faith to be fruitful (We access God’s grace through faith) and to diligently make their calling and election sure.
- If an individual disciple of Christ stops being faithful to God, they have departed from the faith – 1 Timothy 4:1. They need to repent of the sins that caused them to depart from the faith to be reconciled back to God – 1 John 1:7-9; 1 John 2:1. In Acts 8:12-13, 18-24, Simon had been baptized and erred from the truth and was then admonished to repent and pray to God for forgiveness.
Salvation: Hear - Believe - Repent - Confess - Be Baptized - Live Faithfully