Search

My Thoughts

Adventures in Faith

RIGHTEOUS, BLESSED, AND WASHED

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Solomon stated, “Righteousness exaulteth a nation.” (Prov.14:34). If the nation I am a citizen in does righteous things, does that guarantee my salvation? No. When citizens of a nation do what is morally right, the individuals and nation as a whole enjoy the results. However, salvation is granted by God to individuals, not nations. Salvation takes place in the mind of God. Therefore, man cannot create his own way to be saved. A prophet stated, “The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life (John 14:6). God gave us the way through His Son. Jesus died in our place for the sins you and I committed. When we place our trust in and follow Him, he takes away all our sins.

In Romans 4:7,8 we read, “Blessed and to be envied, are those whose sins are forgiven and put out of sight. Yes, what joy there is for anyone whose sins are no longer counted against him by the Lord.” When a Christian stands before Jesus in the judgment, guess how many sins he will have to answer for? None. That’s right. None. Why? Because all his sins have not only been forgiven but forgotten. That person will stand before God as though he had never sinned. He will be perfect because he is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s why we must put our trust in Jesus rather than in our accomplishments. Not our works, but his blood puts us in right standing with God.

We often ask in song, “What can wash away my sins?” The answer is also given, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” That song is correct. We sing God’s truth which is called gospel or “Good News.” How can I bath myself in the blood of Jesus? He died 2,000 years ago. By faith I can die to sin and be buried with Christ into his death. Inspiration tells me that I get into this burial by immersion. What a beautiful picture Paul paints in Romans 6 of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I can be blessed by what he did by being involved in his sacrifice through that immersion. As a sinner, I must die to the body of sin. I bury that body through a burial with Jesus in water and I am raised from that watery grave as a new or saved person because I became a partner with Jesus in his death. Free at last from the old creature and now revealed as the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:3-4).

Regardless of which path my country takes, I can be right with God. When I am right with God, He removes all my sins. All of them. My trust is in Jesus whose blood keeps me in good standing with the Father. God has provided the way, the truth, and the life for us if we will accept it. God saves. Since He does, we can be saved by following his guide lines rather than ours.

Featured post

I FEAR!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

fearWhen I look at my righteous achievements, I fear. When I look at my perfection, I fear.  When I look at the quality of my prayers, I fear.  When I look at my life each day, I fear.  When I think about dying, I fear.  When I think about the judgment, I fear.  Am I paranoid?  Some might think so, but “No!”  Do I have panic attacks? No. How can I possess fear and not have negative results?  How can I own those fears and be a Christian?  I am one, but my shoulders are too small to bear fear’s burden alone!

My righteous achievements?  Laughable.  My perfection?  Nonexistent.  The quality of my prayers? Dismal. My daily life? Inadequate. My death? Frightening. The judgment? Questionable.

Yet, I don’t have panic attacks nor negative results.  I haven’t been defrocked.  My shoulders remain small.  I fall so short, if measured in inches, powerful microscopes would not see me. Paul may have been “chief” but I’m second.  My cry is the same as his, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  (Romans 7:24 (NKJV).  His and my answer?  Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!!  What’s yours?

Without Jesus, fear would be my driver.  What can I do to pay for my sins or assist Jesus’ blood in my cleansing?  If perfection is required, failure is my companion.  Perfection was Jesus’ mission, not mine.  Belief in what He did for me is required, not “Look how much I have done for you, Jesus.”  I sin, but it drives me to the one who remits it.  If I thought my prayers paid for my forgiveness, I would be a fool.  My gospel would not be good news but one rewarded with damnation.  I don’t fear dying because I know who walks with me through that valley.  I am not afraid of judgment because I will not stand there to remind Jesus about how faithful I’ve been, but rather praise Him for how gracious He is.  I will not look at my achievements, but glory in His.  He takes away fears and gives peace! He is my focus, not me!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).

Featured post

A COMPLETE BIBLE; A BLESSING!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

In Luke 14: 15-24 Jesus tells about a man who had a banquet but the invited guest had excuses and could not attend.  The master sent hbible-scrollis servant out to invite people off the street.  The hall was still not filled, so the master told the servant to “Go out to the highways and country roads.  Make them come.  I want my house to be full!  I tell you, none of those men whom I invited first will get a taste of my banquet!

We are introduced to the same story in Matthew 22:1-10.  However, a lot of things are added and the purpose is different from the one in Luke.  In Matthew, the secondary invited folks, if not properly dressed, are bound and thrown out.  The story ends with, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” rather than “none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

In Luke’s account the “excuses” are more detailed than in Matthew.  Luke doesn’t mention that this is a wedding party.  Matthew does.  Luke is more descriptive about who the servant invites.  In Luke the guest are compelled to come, but not so in Matthew.  In Luke the host is “a certain man” whereas in Matthew he is “a king.”  In Matthew, how one is dressed is important, but Luke says nothing about it.

The Holy Spirit inspired both Matthew and Luke.  So, why are their stories different?  Both are stories or “parables.”  Matthew is writing to a different audience than Luke.  Matthew fills in some details of Jesus’ story not covered by Luke.  Luke is writing to a Gentile readership.  Luke picks out a lesson that fits the audience he is writing to whereas Matthew uses what will best fit his readers.

Preachers are often approached after a service and told what the individual got from the sermon.  Most preachers are surprised because the point they were making is different from the point that person heard.  Sometimes an audience with different needs receives help to deal with that need from a sermon that wasn’t designed by the speaker to address it.  Sometimes a person is feeling guilty about a secret sin and imagines the preacher is exposing it, whereas the minister is totally innocent of the charges.  It is the power of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12)!

Matthew is not contradicting Luke.  Both are giving the essence of Jesus’ story, but dealing with different points from the story which fits their respective readers.  In the first century, most people would not have both Matthew’s account and Luke’s.  We have the advantage of possessing both so we may gain the lessons delivered to both audiences.

In studying Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one needs to research the parallels of each to gain all that is being said.  Our studies are enriched by this advantageous blessing.

Featured post

WHAT’S YOUR ASSURANCE?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A few Sundays ago one of our songs was, “Lord, I Need You,” written by Matt Maher in 2013.  Some of the words are:

assuranceLord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart.

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You.

As the congregation sang that song I wondered how well those words were sinking into our consciousness?  How many believe God will save them because of their righteousness, performed to co-host His?  One faith teaches that we must have more “good” works than bad ones if we are going to heaven.  In other words, you are on a “point system” and must work to produce “x” number in order to save yourself!  If that is our religious foundation, we have no business singing Matt’s song!

In discussing the righteousness of Jesus as compared to ours, an individual asked if his obedience didn’t amount to something in procuring his salvation.  Is “obedience” necessary?  Yes (2 John 1:9 NIV).  If one loves the Lord, he will willingly obey Him (John 14:15, 23; 15:10).  However, that is altogether different than saying, “My righteousness is worth __% in paying for my salvation.”  Actually, “our righteousness” is like a dirty rag, that if you touched it, you would want to immediately wash your hands (Isaiah 64:6)!

At the judgment, one will not remind Jesus about how well his works measured up to Jesus’ actions upon the cross and expectantly state, “You owe me something for what I’ve done!”  Those who do such have missed the Good News completely.  In fact, it could be another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

If my trust in going to heaven is based upon how obedient I am, my failure to “do enough” will leave me frustrated, ridden with guilt, depressed, and with a fear that will consume me.  Why?  Because our obedience will never be sufficient to make a down payment on our sin debt.  However, I can with assurance say that Jesus is my Savior and I trust that He paid it all for me!

“Lord, I need You, oh, I need You, Every hour I need You, My one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, how I need you.”

Jesus paid it all!!  I am not capable of adding even 1%.  Jesus is not a 99% Savior.  He is my 100% Lord and Savior!  He is the one who saves, not me (Hebrews 5:1)!  I obey Him, not to make points, but because He made the points for me.  I can never repay Him.  My obedience does not supplement the full price he paid for me (1 Corinthians 6:20)!  Why do men demote what Jesus did in order to glorify what we think we’ve done?

What is your assurance built on?  You??

Featured post

Monday, December 26, 2016

This family got up together.  The boy dressed and went to milk the cow.  The father cut and retrieved wood for the cook stove and started the fire.  The mother prepared breakfast for going-to-church-2everyone after she got the youngest child dressed.

The father fed the livestock.  The mother gathered the eggs and fed the chickens.  The boy strained the milk, separating the cream, and put the milk where it would stay cool.  Everyone finished breakfast, got the Bible, and finished getting ready to go to church.  The mule was harnessed and each member mounted it.  Snow was still on the ground, but the weather had warmed causing the yard and road to be soft and muddy.  They rode five miles to the church building in town, arriving fifteen minutes early.  The year was 1895.

The alarm goes off.  An arm manages to swings out from under the covers and hit the snooze button.  Fifteen minutes later, the scene repeats itself.  He and his wife finally drag out of bed.  He retrieves the Sunday paper and sits to read the funnies.  The wife yells at the two boys to get up, “IT’S SUNDAY”!  There is no response.  A second, third, and fourth warning is called out, each getting louder.  Grumbling is heard.  Arguments begin.  It signals that both are up!

Mom heats up some Pop-Tarts for breakfast.  Three times “Breakfast is ready” bounces off the walls before anyone appears.  There is bantering between the boys but breakfast is soon consumed.  Instructions again about it being Sunday and the boys are admonished to “quit messing around and get dressed.”  Dad is included in the instruction!  He shaves and combs his hair.  He and she get dressed.  A few more admonitions and the boys look half way decent.  It takes a few more warnings to get everyone in the family vehicle.  Off they go.  They live four block from the church building.  The speed limit is 40, but dad fudges 5 miles more.  This morning they hit all the green lights.  They arrive but parking near the entrance is taken.  Four part grumbling fills the car.  They are in the seventh row of parked cars and down about 300 feet.  All four doors open and the family exits, heading for the church entrance.  The wind is brisk and cold.  More grumbling. They are ten minutes late rather than the usual fifteen.  They congratulate themselves on being five minutes earlier!  The father is the great grandson of the youngest brother pictured on the mule.  The year is 2016.

The wife sees that picture every Sunday and wonders if their ride was on a mule rather than in a Ford Bronco, would they arrive at church fifteen minutes early?

Featured post

I DID IT MY WAY?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 06-29-2020

I have been a minister for sixty-six years.  I am not trained as a counselor, but a few thought I was.  People seeking that profession want to talk with someone about the failures r troubles in their life.   All of us are failures or have problems to one degree or another.  Why?  It is a part of being without perfection.  The song, “My Way” was co-written by Claude Francois, Gilles Thibaut, Jacques Revaux, and Paul Anka.  Frank Sinatra made it famous and later Elvis Presley.   Some of the pertinent verses are,

“Regrets, I’ve had a few

But then again, too few to mention . . .

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew

But through it all, when there was doubt

I ate it up and spit it out. . .

Although the words of that song do not exactly fit your story nor mine, most of us have seen regrets and chewed on life’s despair.  We see ourselves as failures in some aspects of our life.  Man attempts to make a good living for his family.  Sometimes, due to work, too little time, excuses, fatigue, and attempting to provide things as a substitute for self, our shortcomings fill that void.  Age begins to reveal what hindsight does not want to see.  Regret over those lost moments and failed promises paints some woeful memories.

“Tomorrow” is an often-used promise that becomes yesterday’s regrets.  Little boys and girls grow up.  Dad goes from being a youngster’s Superman to someone who is there physically but missing emotionally.

Reba McEntire sang the song, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” written by Richard Leigh and Layng Martine, Jr. in 1991.   The lyrics are so true that it makes the song a haunting one.

1st verse:

The greatest man I never knew

Lived just down the hall

And every day we said hello

But never touched at all

He was in his paper

I was in my room

How was I to know he thought I hung the moon

3rd verse:

Then the days turned into years

And the memories to black and white

He grew cold like an old winter wind

Blowing across my life

4th verse:

The greatest words I never heard

I guess I’ll never hear

The man I thought could never die

He’s been dead almost a year

He was good at business

But there was business left to do

He never said he loved me

Guess he thought I knew.

The depression of the thirties kept my dad searching for work.  In 1943 the war took him into the US Navy Construction Battalion.  He never came home because he met someone else.  I did not see him again until 1955 for a few brief hours.  The last time I saw him was around 1957 when he left from West Missouri moving his family to Arizona.  In 1974 he disowned me due to our religious differences.  I never heard from him again.  My sister informed me that he died from Alzheimer in 1995.  He was a stranger in many ways, but I still loved him.

We all have our shortcomings.  That is why we need a Savior.  Not just any Savior.  We all come up short on being sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandparents and great grandparents, and as human beings.  Because we are human, we have our regrets.  Thank God that He sent His Word to become our Savior.  I hope you have met and have accepted his cleaning blood.  His name is Jesus.

SINNERS IN THE CHURCH!

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 06-25-2020

He did WHAT?  I thought he had more sense than to correct someone publicly.  I cannot believe he did that?  Who does he think he is?  Is HE perfect?  No, of course not.  What is he trying to do, RUN people OFF from the church?  Why didn’t he take the person aside privately rather than embarrass him before all?  It is things like that which give the church a bad name.  Perhaps he needs to be called down off his high horse so he will be humbler?  It might put the love of Jesus in him and make him more approachable.  We just do not need people like that in leadership roles.  Give some people a little authority and they run it into the ground.

But when Peter came to Antioch I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong.  For when he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians [who don’t bother with circumcision and the many other Jewish laws]. But afterwards, when some Jewish friends of James came, he wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore because he was afraid of what these Jewish legalists, who insisted that circumcision was necessary for salvation, would say; and then all the other Jewish Christians and even Barnabas became hypocrites too, following Peter’s example, though they certainly knew better.  When I saw what was happening and that they weren’t being honest about what they really believed and weren’t following the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Though you are a Jew by birth, you have long since discarded the Jewish laws; so why, all of a sudden, are you trying to make these Gentiles obey them?” (Galatians 2:11-14 TLB).

 

Did you hear what our preacher did?  I cannot believe it.  He was the first one to convert those folks.  When he got back to the capitol, he was criticized, but soon gave answers that left his critics without an argument to stand on.  He was present when the church had a big meeting to determine if it was right or wrong to accept those people into the church.  He even stood up and defended his right to accept them.  I do not know why he stopped fellow shipping those members when that bunch of legalists came up here from the city.  His shenanigans caused several in the church to be hypocritical and follow his lead.  Why he would do a complete reversal mystifies me.  This is really going to HURT the church!  If you ask me, I think we need to get another preacher.  This is not the first time he’s been mixed up in things that had non-believers rattling their tongue about us.

What did he do in that other thing you’re talking about?

Oh, he was presiding for the weekly collection.  One of our biggest givers and a very influential member gave a sizeable contribution.  Out of nowhere, this preacher started questioning him about his offering.  He accused him of lying to the Holy Spirit.  You should have seen the look on everyone’s face when the preacher made that accusation.  Suddenly that member had a shocked look on his face.  His expression froze and without warning, the man died.  Some of the men took the body out for burial.  The man’s wife came in later.  She was dressed to the hilt.  All eyes were on her.  Suddenly the preacher started questioning her about their giving.  On one question, she went rigid, immediately collapsed like a rag doll, and she was dead before she hit the floor.  The preacher accused her and her husband about lying to the Spirit about their giving.  You talk about reflection and fear gripping all who were present.  I immediately thought about my contribution and my heart began to run away!  Then the burying fellows came back in, saw she was dead, and took her for burial.  What surprised me was the reaction of the non-believers in town when they heard about our service.  “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” (Acts 5:11).  People who responded to the gospel after that were not your Sunday morning only kind of folks!  For a long time after that, if anyone thought about lying when he gave, that notion disappeared.

WHAT IF?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 06-22-2020

At one time or another, we will ask ourselves, “What if. . .?”  What if I had made that choice rather than the one I did make?  Guess what?  No matter how many “What ifs” you ask yourself, you will never know how your life would have been different if that “What if” had been chosen.  Maybe it would have been better, maybe not.  We are n0t privileged to make alternate decisions as James Stewart did in the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  “What ifs” are wishful daydreams that could have been nightmares.

What if Saul of Tarsus had not gone to Damascus (Acts 9:1-2)?  What if, due to that decision, he became the chief priests in Jerusalem or Gamaliel’s replacement instead?  Jewish history books would have praised his accomplishments, but Luke’s book of Acts might not even mention him?  The bitter confrontation between Paul and Barnabas would never have happened (Acts 15:36-41).  Timothy nor Titus would have received the needed encouragements from Paul (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus).  The New Testament would be absent of Romans through Philemon.

What if Philip, looking upon his successful work in Samaria and decided it would be better to continue it rather than preach to one man who was going home (Acts 8:5-8, 12, 26) ?  What if Zacchaeus had thought that he was too important to embarrass himself by climbing a tree to view a young itinerant Rabbi named Jesus (Luke 19:1-4)?  What if Nicodemus felt his position on the Jewish court was more important than a nighttime visit to talk with a traveling evangelist (John 3:1-2)?

Paul and Silas were beaten unmerciful by an irate crowd.  What if they had fled and missed the beating and the resulting jail time (Acts 16:16-19)?  What if they had refused to immerse the jailer because he wanted to doctor their wounds first rather than be baptized (Acts 16:33)?

Mordecai told his niece she needed to approach her husband, the king, on behalf of the Jews, to stop an order which was meant to destroy them.  His statement to her was, “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).  Rather than ask, “What if,” we should be thinking “Who knows?” Who knows whether or not we are where we are today so our presence will make a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with?

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS DON’T COUNT!?

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, June 18, 2020

There is a story about the judgment.  A line is waiting for the time when each stands before Jesus.  Toward the end where judgment is made, everyone in line hears a commotion.  Those in line comprehend that the announcer is excited and overwhelmed with the news he wishes to share.  As that individual gets closer, people see that he is an excited male running and shouting a repeated statement.  After a few minutes they can make out what he is excited about.  He announces, “Wednesday nights don’t count!  Wednesday nights don’t count!”

Some folks believe the ovens of hell are reserved for people who neglect to go to church on Wednesday nights.  They believe a Christian will experience heaven only if he has perfect Wednesday night attendance.  If you do not teach those requirements, it must be because you do not believe the gospel.  Actually, the Good News of Jesus is not that one is required to attend on Wednesday nights.  I know that sounds blasphemous, but Wednesday attendance is not mentioned anywhere in your Bible.

Although one may admire the zeal of a person who has perfect Wednesday night attendance, it is sad that one seeks that honor when God has not made it part of His Good News.  The doctrine concerning the necessity of that Wednesday night service was introduced eighteen hundred years after Acts 2.  That would make it a doctrine that was too late to be a biblical requirement.

The Acts 2 church met EVERY day (Acts 2:46).  Yes, EVERY day!  You do not hear anyone demanding that we must copy that EVERY day pattern in order to please God.  In fact, a few years later the Troas assembly was meeting on the first day, with no others being mentioned.  So, Paul and company met with them on that one specific day (Acts 20:7-11).  Luke indicates they were there seven days, and a Wednesday night assembly is not mentioned.  Surprisingly, the biblical pattern given is not completely ours!  It is NOT a Sunday morning assembly.  They met Sunday night and did not break bread until AFTER midnight (Acts 20:11).  I do not know of any preacher who demands that we follow their example, or we will lose our souls.  We pick out of Acts 20:7 what we deem essential and ignore the rest of that pattern.  We assume the way we do things is what will please God.  Are our assumptions the standard for arousing God’s favor?  Are those assemblies at other times and on different days biblically required or just humanly invented?  To ask may be considered heresy, but did Jesus not question why certain religious actions were being practiced in his day?  To ask is not sinful nor being disrespectful, but to understand why we do what we do.  If we are to be a group that quotes book, chapter, and verse for our authority, we need to always examine our practices to make sure they are (2 Corinthians 13:5).

If willfully neglecting to attend the Wednesday night assemblies 1) shows one’s disrespect for God, and 2) puts the absentee’s soul in jeopardy of being lost, then are elderships not remiss in their responsibilities by allowing that sin to continue without fellowship from being withdrawn?  Since the guilty are not disciplined, it demonstrates that the “sin” is not as severe as some claim.  If those who fail to attend are guilty of not respecting God, the lack of disciplining portrays that same disrespect.

Should churches have Wednesday night assemblies?  Certainly.  The purpose for its establishment was to give members a mid-week meeting to build of their faith.  Such assemblies are to provide needed instruction, an opportunity to have fellowship, to be and to give encouragement, and to provide that love which is a bond that glues us together.  When for that purpose, Wednesday nights do count!

VILIFIED MINISTERS!

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 06-11-2020

Some politicians are thinking of reducing their police force and investing that money in social programs.  I admire a politician who is interested in helping the people in his city or State, but to decrease the size of the police force is questionable.  To take needed funds away from the police department that aids officers in safely dealing with crime is inconsistent.   To punish the department for the sins of a few is equal to a schoolteacher punishing an entire class for one student’s failure.

Some cities want to eliminate the police department and substitute other organizations.  If politicians think their constituents do not need that protection, let them demonstrate it by firing their own armed personal protection.  Make that into a law and see how quickly politicians change their tune without that protection.  However, resignation by some politicians would be a plus.  Second, to decrease the police department is putting those individuals out of a job.  Try downsizing a politician’s staff and see how it flies?  Third, it leaves that community without protection.  So, who or what is going to fill that void?

Will the void be filled with people who are nicer, better qualified, and loved by the criminal element in the community?  Without police, and with less qualified substitutes, the community will suffer with more crime rather than less.  Criminals prey upon defenseless individuals who are not protected by the law or hired bodyguards.  Politicians make fools of themselves by punishing the entire police department for the sins of a few.

Most people have no idea what a police officer is subjected to every day.  Police officers do not work with the nicest people in society.  If you work among inmates, you will find very few admitting that they are incarcerated because they deserved it.   You attempt to arrest them, and they resist because they claim they have not done anything and do not deserve being questioned by the police.  They act as if they are the most respected people in society, so the police should leave them alone.  Take away the police, and some will continue what they claim they are not doing!  When a law-abiding citizen is stopped for a driving violation, some of those characteristics invade his thinking.  How many God-fearing motorist feel it is their right to drive 5 to 8 miles per hour over the speed limit?  How many would believe that officer should be stopping and arresting crooks and rapists rather than wasting their time because they were driving a few miles over the posted speed limit?  How many of us would let that officer know how wrong he is and how right we are?

Policemen are killed by the most innocent acting individuals when stopped and questioned.  They are the nicest people you could meet until they pull a firearm and shoot an officer who is caught off guard.  The officer does not know you despite your claims of being the governor’s uncle or aunt.  He only knows that you have broken the law, or you fit the description of someone who has.  In such cases keep your hands where he can see them.  Do not argue.  Do not make any sudden moves.  Follow his orders but without doing anything that would appear to endanger his life.  Slow is better than quick.  Treat him with dignity which means you reply without sarcasm.  He is just doing his job and he wants to go home at the end of his shift.

If you decide to argue with an officer because “you are a tax paying citizen,” do not be surprised if he has you lying face down on the pavement. There is a reason for that.  Certain actions are red flags to officers.  If you are going to act like a criminal, the officer will take precautionary action by treating you as if you are one.  That is how he is often greeted by someone who would kill him if the opportunity presented itself.  Remember, if you are going to act criminal, expect to be treated as if you might be one.

When Paul wrote the Roman brethren, he referred three times to officers of the law as God’s ministers,

“He is THE MINISTER OF GOD to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is THE MINISTER OF GOD, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For this cause pay ye tribute also: for THEY ARE GOD’S MINISTERS, attending continually upon this very thing” (Romans 13:4-6).

If you believe an officer of the law must be held to a higher standard of conduct than the average citizen, then why shouldn’t that be true in the lives of those citizens who claim to be Christians?

 

HE BLED SO YOU MIGHT BE FED

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 06-08-2020

Brave people stand up for what they believe.  Don’t they?  If someone knows that a statement is harmful because it is false, but says nothing, his faith is cowardly.  Right?  Some would not hesitate because they are convinced that they will always stand up and be counted on the side of truth.

Peter told Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33).  To his credit, he drew his sword to protect Jesus (Matthew 26:51).  He is to be commended for going with John to Jesus’ judgment hall (John 18:15).  However, this is where his conviction became water.  He denied with cursing and swearing that he was a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 26:74).  Later he ate his words even though Jesus never brought it up.  In fact, Jesus commanded him to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

We are more like Peter than we admit.  Those “great things” in the name of Jesus were sadly fulfilled with positive affirmations that ended in shame.  Like Peter, we thought Jesus would shake his head and be ashamed of us.  He did not.  He said, “Feed my sheep.”  He did not give that instruction to Peter to shame nor belittle him.  He does the same with us.

Jesus knows we are sinners.  He knows we think “perfection,” while stumbling over our own feet.  It is our nature.  Jesus did not come to save the perfect.  None exist except in one’s own mind.  He came to save people like you and me.  No matter how deep or long we have been wallowing in the mire, his extended hand continues to invite “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28-30).

If you think Jesus cannot forgive, forget, or save, you are listening to the wrong voices.  He said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13).  That is you and me!  He stated, “I am come that they might have life” (John 10:10).  He was talking about you and me.  He is not looking for perfect people, but the imperfect ones like you and me.  We need saving.  After all, Jesus is your Savior if you are ready to die to your past life, be buried with him into his death and be raised to walk in that new life.  As you come to know him, you will grow (1 Peter 2:2).  You may fail at being perfect, but his blood will continue to keep you cleansed (1 John 1:7-10).  God will continue to dwell in you as His holy Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20).

As a child of God, you are comforted, not condemned.  You are God’s Temple, not the devil’s triumph.  You are Satan’s disaster, but God’s design.  The devil lies by telling you that you need to recognize your failures.  Jesus’ blood keeps you in perfect fellowship with Him.  Rejoice!  You are a child of God being developed for eternal habitation with the Father!  Satan’s failures haunt him whereas God’s love clothes you!  You have been invited to the feast, accept the invitation!

FAITHFULNESS. . .

My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, 06-04-2020

A man stands before the judgment seat of Jesus. Jesus opens the books, finds the man’s name, and states, “You are John Somebody, a Christian.

John: Yes I am. Lord, I want you to know that. . .
First: I was immersed for the remission of my sins when I was ten years old.
Second: I preached my first sermon when I was ten years, three months old.
Third: I taught and baptized my good friend when I was thirteen.
Fourth: I led my grandparent to the truth and baptized them when I was fourteen.
Fifth: I began waiting on the table when I was twelve.
Sixth: I worked with the Youth minister from the time I was eleven.
Seventh: I taught the youth class from the time I was thirteen.
Eighth: I started filling in for the preacher when he was away for meetings or vacations from the time I was thirteen.
Ninth: My first gospel meeting was when I was fifteen. I held a meeting each summer in our area.
Tenth: I led congregational prayer from the time I was twelve.
Eleventh: For eleven consecutive years I won the scripture quoting contests at the State Youth Forums.
Twelfth: I attended school from Kindergarten to the twelfth grades at the local Christian School. I was Valedictorian of my class.
Thirteenth: I went to the local Christian University and graduated with top honors.
Fourteenth: I went on to the Christian Graduate School and earned my doctorate.
Fifteenth: I won the highest intellectual honors at both schools.
Sixteenth: I have had perfect attendance in Bible classes since I obeyed the gospel.
Seventeenth: I’ve been preaching for 65 years and during that time I’ve baptized 6,382 people.
Eighteenth: I married a Christian and we’ve been married 57 years.
Nineteenth: My wife and I have three children and all are Christians and our grandchildren are Christians.
Twenty: I’ve never been fired from a church, but always left on the best of terms.
Twenty-one: Every church I’ve worked with has grown in membership.
Twenty-two: I write articles for all the faithful gospel papers in the brotherhood.
Twenty-three: I have defended the truth in public discussions fourteen times.
Twenty-four: I pray numerous times each day.
Twenty-five: I give 30 percent of my salary each Lord’s day to the church.
Twenty-six: I’m in the book, “Faithful Preachers of the Gospel.”
Twenty-seven: I could go on and one, but I think you understand and know about my faithfulness?

Jesus: Yes, you have a very long and distinguished resume. However, you’ve left out one thing.

John: What? What did I leave out?

Jesus: Me!

WHAT IS CHURCH?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 06-01-2020

Jesus emphatically stated, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).  The church established by Jesus is essential to one’s salvation.  Why?  It is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).  Jesus is its head (Ephesians 1:22-23).  God adds the saved to it (Acts 2:46-47).  Yet, we are told it is invisible.  You cannot know its true membership.  Yet, one must be a member of this divine body of Jesus to be saved.

Although the Bible does not mention it, some believe there is a visible church.  Its membership is made up of the saved AND the lost.  It is visible and non-essential to ones salvation.  Yet, it is essential for fellowship.  Although most who advocate the invisible and visible church doctrine seldom admit it, but the entire belief system is without biblical authority and is little more than a man-made contradiction.

Basically, this view teaches that Jesus, the Son of God, was capable of building his church which would contain ONLY the saved and it would be invisible.   However, Jesus was incapable of making his church visible.  Therefore, a visible non-essential church had to be created that would provide fellowship for both the saved and unsaved membership.  Jesus was powerless to provide that fellowship in the church he built.  Notice, Jesus is not the builder of the visible, non-essential church!

The non-essential church could be divided, different doctrines could be taught, and each could have its own religious vocabulary.  Each could have its necessary rules of worship, ordination, operation, designation, membership, fellowship, dialogue, designations, and doctrine different from the others.  These differences would not affect the membership of those who were in the body of Christ.  Everything required, taught, or practiced by the visible church was not essential to salvation, nor would it affect the salvation of those in the invisible church.  I hope you are keeping up with which church has and does what?

The visible church could divide without violating Jesus command to be “one” (John 17:21).  Why?  Because the visible church is not his.  Why?  It is non-essential.  Its only purpose is to allow saint and sinner to be in fellowship with one another.  Yet, no one knows for sure that he nor the other is in the invisible saved church.  The visible church makes it possible to refer to an unsaved member as his brother or sister in Christ.  Yet, the unsaved are not in the body of Christ.  So, the relationship does not exist.  It is a lie propagated by Satan so the unsaved will feel brotherly.

If one is a member of the visible church, how does he know whether that relationship with the unsaved will not cause him to lose his fellowship with Jesus?  One is not saved by anything that relationship in the visible church offers!  Membership has no validity.  The worship, work, and support the member of that visible church donates does not bring any spiritual reward from God.  God reserves His blessings for the church Jesus built, not the man-made pseudo ones.  They are non-essential creations of man.

This view of the visible/invisible church teaches that fellowship may be found in a visible, non-essential church but it is absent in the body of Jesus Christ!

THE CLASSROOM OF COVED 19

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 05/28/2020

I was added to the body of Christ on May 9, 1957.  After two attempts to be employed, the good folks in Wapanucka, Oklahoma took me in.  I was a new convert.  I was more ignorant than I claimed.  What would the church have done if I had preached that we could meet in our homes rather than at the building?  That the Lord’s Supper would be valid if each family partook at home rather than at the church building?  What if I claimed each family could stay at home and worship and they would not be guilty of violating Hebrews 10:25?  What if we no longer needed to wear our “Sunday-Best” if we worshiped at home rather than at the building?  The results?  There would have been an uproar followed by my dismissal.  When others heard about my foolish notions, I would have remained unemployed.  Of course that was in 1957 not in 2020.

2020 introduced us to COVED 19!  People stopped going to the building to worship and the doors were locked.  COVED 19 sent us in another direction, which we accepted, even though the church of 1957 through 2019 would have been shocked by our compliance and we would have been labeled.

  1. Some quoted Hebrews 10:25 to prove that the building was where we must be to obey that passage. Some would have informed us that elders nor membership may change our generational practice without losing our soul. Brethren of 1957 to 2019 would have been shocked over the results COVED 19 had led us to practice.   Some would have thought that we had gone “worldly” rather than follow Jesus.

Folks from 1957 to 2019 would have loudly disagreed that COVED 19 was directing us back to the Bible.  A wake-up call reminded us that quoting Hebrews 10:25 out of context did not make our application true.  The ones who were guilty of “forsaking” are found in 6:4-6 and 10:25-29.  An example of those who left the assembly but were not guilty of forsaking it is found in Acts 5:1-11.  A husband and wife lied about their giving and died “in church.”  The burial committee “forsook” the assembly twice, to bury the man first and his wife later.  However, their absence did not number them with the ones mentioned in chapters 6 and 10 of Hebrews.  Worshiping at home due to COVED 19 may cause us to be absent from the church building, but it has not caused us to be absent from the Lord!  Those familiar with first century practices know the early church met from house to house.

  1. The King James Version, mistranslated 1 Corinthians 11:20. Because of that addition, some have taught that communion is not valid unless everyone is present in one room to partake. Although the Jerusalem assembly met in the Temple courtyard, that ended very rapidly due to persecution.  What did not end were the house to house assemblies.  COVED 19 put us back in the biblical house to house style of assembling.  The church in Jerusalem very rapidly grew to 8,000+ in membership.  Multiple meeting places were needed which house to house assemblies filfilled.  Acts 12:12 points out one of those house meetings while James and others were meeting elsewhere.  COVED 19 gave us an opportunity to practice what the first century church did by putting us back in that kind of an assembly.  Locked church building doors do not immerse the church in sin.  Today’s church is just meeting somewhere else as first century saints did.
  2. COVED 19 opened our eyes to things that the 1957 to 2019 church was blind to. Some had the idea that an eldership could not oversee the congregation unless they could eyeball them in the building on Sunday. Since church buildings are a fourth century addition, how did the Jerusalem elders oversee 8,000+ members scattered in multiple house assembles?  Does that mean elderships from the first to the fourth century could not oversee the flock because they lacked an auditorium?  COVED 19 introduced us to the first century way of church meetings.  We learned that elders could oversee without seeing each member.  Most of us have not personally seen our elders in the past 6+ weeks but they were still pastoring us.  We are thankful to them for their wonderful oversight and prayers during this COVED 19 period!

God can take the bad things that happen in life and use them in a positive way.  He used COVED 19 to teach us what the Bible actually says.  So, we have been doing things, in the name of Jesus, which first century believers practiced.  We will eventually go back to our buildings.  Let us not forget what we have learned during this 2020 COVED 19 period.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑