January 25, 2015

God Knows Me – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me” (Psalms 139:1)
When our proud hearts understand that God is absolutely holy and that we are all sinners who would be justly punished eternally, but for the blood of Christ, it is frightening to know that He knows everything about us. Everything! Truly, He has an all-seeing eye. He has searched us and has known us.

The Hebrew Lexicon, Brown, Driver, Briggs defines “searched”:
“examining thoroughly, so as to expose weakness in a case; so of self-examination. …be searched out, found out, ascertained, (weight of the bronze used in temple utensils), of forest; searched out.”

Brown, Driver, Briggs defines “known”:
“of God’s knowing persons, etc., thoroughly; knowing the heart; knowing his true servants, recognizing and acknowledging them; – take notice of,…”

Nothing escapes God’s conscious knowledge about us. He observes our ordinary activities and our innermost thoughts.“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:2-3)

Most Christians are familiar with the story of Jonah and smile when we see him run from God. “How foolish,” we think. Then we see those same Christians think they have gotten away with sinful actions or thoughts that no one sees. The prophet David says, God even knows when you sit down. He knows every thought that we think. We can’t run. We can’t hide.

David says He actually sees the formation of the words on our tongues before we begin to speak them.
“Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” (Psalm 139:4)

That means that we are transparent to Him; we cannot deceive Him in any way. He knows what we are going to say; we cannot hide anything from Him. God knows what only we know about ourselves and He knows those things we won’t even admit to ourselves.

Furthermore, He is everywhere around each one of us, wherever we are or could be. He fills all space, and there is no escape. He is wherever we go.

“You have enclosed me behind and before, …Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, …” (Psalm 139:5, 7-10)

The apostle Paul described the nature of the true God, in contrast to their stone idols of Athens saying: “For in him we live, and move, and exist.” (Acts 17:28)

This very intimate and complete knowledge about us is what makes God’s salvation such a marvelous matter.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

How foolish to pretend to be something God knows we are not. In spite of His infinite holiness, amazingly, God loves us, though He sees our un-holiness (even when we do not). He knows perfectly what we have become and it is not pretty (no matter what our haughty pride tells us). In contrast to God’s perfect knowledge, what we know is limited, distorted and perverted. How foolish it is to think we know better and refuse to submit completely to everything He tells us.

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January 18, 2015

Our Conviction and Commitment To God – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

As Christians we must be both convicted and committed to the Lord if we are to be pleasing to Him. Paul says, “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). We must be convicted by God’s word and never compromise our conviction. We are to be “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:21).

Conviction is a strong belief of being fully persuaded by evidence, which causes one to have faith and confidence in the Lord. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Conviction and commitment go together. You can’t have commitment without conviction. In our conviction, we are to set our “mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2) and “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15). If we are truly convicted we will be completely committed. In our commitment we must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). If we are convicted and committed, God and Christ will be first in our lives. Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). How do we show our love to God and Christ? Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). One who says he loves God but does not keep His commandments is not telling the truth.

In our commitment to God we should do as the Macedonians did who “first gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). In doing this we should present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed” (Romans 12:1-2). In living our lives for God, we must be different from the world. In our sacrifice of ourselves to God we should do as Paul told Timothy to “meditate upon these things, give yourself entirely to them” (1 Timothy 4:15). In our commitment to the Lord, we should never look back to our old life. Jesus says, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). We cannot put anyone or anything ahead of Christ. Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).

Our living sacrifice to the Lord does require us to make sacrifices. It is not a free ride. “And anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 9:29). There can be no reservations in our commitment to the Lord. Jesus tells us that in becoming a living sacrifice, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Notice our sacrifice is to be a daily sacrifice, not just when it is convenient. But Governor Felix told Paul to, “Go away for now, when I have a convenient time I will call for you” (Acts 24:25). We cannot wait on a convenient season to obey or work for the Lord for, “the night is coming when no man can work” (John 9:4). It will be too late then.

In our commitment to the Lord we have the world trying to pull us away. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). But we should “lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

In our commitment to the Lord we will face opposition. We are told that, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But as persecution comes our way, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).

If we are convicted and committed to God and Christ, “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:13) and “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

 

January 11, 2015

Simplified Salvation – Philip Stong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Philip Strong

The apostle Paul wrote regarding the revelation (i.e. the gospel), “…when you read you can understand…” Ephesians 3:4.  Could it be that so many don’t understand the gospel’s message of salvation because they don’t read it?  See if this simplified version helps.

Why do we need salvation?  Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

What is sin? 1John 3:4, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”  And, 1John 5:17a, “All unrighteousness is sin…”

God wants us to be saved. 1Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

So, He sacrificed His Son to save us. Romans 5:10, “For while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”   Christ’s blood paid the penalty for our sins.  Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace…”

And He gave us the gospel.  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek.”

The gospel tells us what to do to receive this salvation:

We must hear (listen to and learn). Romans 10:17, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  We cannot believe and follow what we will not hear and heed.

We must believe (have faith in) in Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God. John 8:24, “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”

We must repent (change) our hearts, minds, and conduct.  Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” 

We must confess (affirm) our belief in Jesus as the Christ.  1John 4:15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

We must be baptized (immersed) to contact the saving blood of Jesus and have our sins remitted.  Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  

We must live according to the instructions of the gospel.  Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Now who can’t understand and follow this simple plan of God for saving and allowing us to spend eternity with Him in heaven? It really is just that simple!