Electronic Worship

The following article, “Electronic Church” was written by Wayne Jackson.  It is an excellent article that stresses the importance of assembling together to worship as well as the dangers of the “electronic church.” It is especially appropriate at a time when far too many elders, preachers, and other influential “church leaders” have seen fit to cancel the times of assembling together and opted instead to “assemble for worship” through the use of social media. As Christians, we are commanded to assemble on a regular, weekly basis.  The Greek word translated “assembling” in Hebrews 10:25 means “a gathering together into one place.” Social media does not, cannot, satisfy the command to assemble.  While there are those who undoubtedly have health issues that warrant their foregoing assembling together, there are far too many who will justify canceling services of the church while they shop in crowded stores, send their children to crowded schools, and forego “social distancing” to sit at restaurants across from one another without wearing masks.  Such inconsistency!  Is it too risky to assemble to conduct Bible classes, but not too risky for these other activities? What example does this set for others? Does this not present a stumbling block for others? How will others in our community view the church when we they see us cancel Bible classes but gather in public places to eat?   It is my concern that, as a result of the acceptance of worship through the use of social media, many Christians will eventually quit assembling altogether.  I honestly hope time proves me wrong!

Christians, assemble! Parents, see that your children are in Bible classes! And yes, of course, teach them throughout the week. Make your religion a “daily” religion! As Christians, may we ever learn to act out of faith and never act out of fear.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7)

Electronic Church

By Wayne Jackson

In recent months numerous articles have focused attention upon the phenomenal value of the World-Wide Web as an evangelistic tool. A recent issue of the popular denominational journal, Christianity Today, was devoted entirely to this medium of communication as it relates to religious information. Twenty percent of those who use the Internet do so for religious purposes. During the final quarter of last year, twenty million people accessed various web sites seeking metaphysical data. Two million Americans visit the Web every day for spiritual guidance. Surely Christians should see the value in teaching the gospel of Christ via this increasingly popular medium.

At the same time, there are dangerous pitfalls associated with the Web.

An Avenue for Error

There is a vast range of false teaching that clutters the World-Wide Web. Everything from Eastern mysticism, to religious agnosticism, to sectarianized “Christianity” is available. They can be invited right into your home – with but the click of a “mouse.” Some sites are very professionally done and therefore, are slick avenues for promoting error to the unsuspecting.

The Web also accommodates a wide variety of “church nuts,” providing them with an opportunity to peddle their wares, when they could never secure an audience otherwise. Anyone with the right kind of technical skill can get a web site going, whether or not they know anything at all about the Bible. In the minds of some, their very presence, via such a sophisticated medium, legitimizes their endeavor. This is a part of the “price tag” for “freedom of the press.”

Unfortunately, some Christians, unwittingly or otherwise, assist with the propagation of error by their “links” network. Some web sites, operated by members of the church, have elaborate link connections to other sites. And yet, virtually every link directs the viewer to a denominational source – some of which are rank with false teaching. Apparently, there is not a solitary Christian web site worthy of their recommendation. What message does that convey? A revealing one for those who consider the matter thoughtfully.

A Substitute for Corporate Worship

A news service recently quoted Brenda E. Brasher, a theology-philosophy professor, and author of the book, Give Me That Online Religion, who says that, “One of the best-kept secrets of cyberspace is the surprising amount of religious practice that takes place there.” Brasher has found more than a million religion-oriented web sites, with many of them virtually functioning as temples and churches.

For many people, sitting in front of a computer and accessing a religious web site, has become a spiritual exercise that fulfills their need for a worshipping experience. A new study by the Barna Research Group suggests that “by the end of the decade, we will have in excess of 10 percent of our population who rely upon the Internet for their entire spiritual experience” (emp. added).

For a long time anemic Christians have rationalized their slothful religious devotion by appealing to the use of various media or electronic devices. Some churches, for example, broadcast their Sunday morning services; a few perfectly-healthy, though lazy, members rationalize remaining at home on the ground that “we can tune-in the services on the radio.” Many a preacher has heard this line during a gospel meeting: “We can’t be at the meeting on Friday evening; we’re having a family outing. But we’ll get the tape!”

As wonderful as the new tools for electronic evangelism are, they can never function as a substitute for assembling with the people of God at the prescribed times for engaging in corporate worship. There are Bible commands and principles that obligate us to “come together” when we are able to do so, and no “flip of a switch” can satisfy those demands upon able-bodied people.

Jackson, Wayne. “Electronic Church.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 21, 2020. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/364-electronic-church

From the Time You Were a Child

In II Timothy 3:15, Paul wrote, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  How was it that Timothy was able to know the scriptures from the time he was a child?  No doubt he had been taught by his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice. 

What great influence these two women had on Timothy!  No doubt Timothy, being taught the scriptures from a very young age, could not look back and remember a time when he had not heard about God! 

Paul’s words to Timothy still serve as an important reminder for all parents today. Children, when they grow older, should never be able to look back and remember a time when they were not taught about God.  A time when they were not present at every worship service and every Bible class! A time when they did not pray daily!  A time when their parents did not study the scriptures and teach them to their children! 

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Why Be Thankful?

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are also called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)  The Scriptures command us to be thankful.  But, have you ever wondered why we should be thankful?  Who benefits most when we are thankful?  Us?  Or God?  Click the play button below to find out!

Will You Always Be Faithful?

bible-998150_960_720Will you still be living faithfully to God ten years from now?  How about five years?  How about this time next year?  “Well, of course,” you say, “I’ll always be faithful!  I would never leave God.”    I’m glad you feel that way.  But remember, there are many who have become unfaithful who, at one time, probably expressed that very same sentiment.

Why should a Christian remain faithful?  It seems like a simple question.  But I think it’s still a fair question to ask.

First, I should remain faithful to God so that Christ will not have died in vain.  It was a great act of love on God’s part to give His son so that we may enjoy eternal life (John 3:16).  Jesus’ submitting to His Father’s will and experiencing the death of the cross was the greatest act of love any man could do for another (John 15:13).

Yet if, after becoming a Christian, I later become unfaithful, Christ will have died in vain; at least from my perspective.  Some would deny the clear and plain Bible teaching concerning the possibility of a Christian falling away and going back to a state of being lost in his/her sins.  But not the apostle Paul!  He understood the possibility of being a “castaway,” rejected or disqualified concerning the race he so strongly encouraged others to run (I Corinthians 9:24-27).  Peter understood the possibility of, after being converted to Christ, falling back into the world and being lost (II Peter 2:20-22).

If I refuse to remain faithful to Christ and His church, His death will profit me nothing!

Second, I should remain faithful to God so I can have the very best life on this earth!  In Mark 10:17-22 we read about Jesus’ conversation with the rich young ruler.  When Jesus told him to sell what he had and give to the poor, the young man, unwilling to part with his possessions, went away sorrowful.  Peter then responded, “Lord, we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:28).  From Matthew’s account of this incident, we know Peter is asking, “Lord, we left all to follow thee.  What shall we have?” (Matthew 19:27) Notice Jesus’ response.  “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

Shall I take Jesus’ words literally?  Is Jesus really teaching that anyone who follows Him will own a hundred houses?  Surely not!  What then, is Jesus saying?  Notice the last part of verse 30, “and in the world to come, eternal life.” The blessings Jesus promised to Peter, and us today, were distinct from the blessing we will eventually enjoy in heaven – eternal life! I believe the point Jesus is making to Peter is simply this: Whatever anyone may give up to become a Christian will pale in comparison to the blessings of being a Christian – even while living here on earth! Live this life with heaven as your goal.  While here on earth, stay focused in heaven!  But never forget that the best life anyone could ever live here on this earth is the life of a Christian!

Third, I should remain faithful because of my influence.  Influence can be defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something.”  Someone may say, “Not me.  I’m not going to have an influence on anyone.  I’ll just live my life and let everyone else live theirs!”

Solomon allowed his wives to have an evil influence on him, causing him to turn his heart away from the one true God and instead follow after false gods.  I Kings 11:4.

In contrast, Timothy was influenced for the good by his mother and grandmother.  Timothy knew the scriptures from the time he was a child.  II Timothy 3:15. How did Timothy come to know the scriptures?  No doubt he had been taught by his mother and grandmother.  II Timothy 1:5. Our influence continues even after we are gone!  Hebrews 11:4

Friends, it’s not possible to live without having an influence on others!  Others, maybe your family, friends, or even coworkers, are watching you.  They need you to remain faithful!  They need your positive influence.

Fourth, I should remain faithful because there is a judgement to come.  There is a day coming when I will be judged by Christ for the things I have done, whether they be good or bad.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  II Corinthians 5:10. Notice the word “must.”  This is an absolute imperative.  We cannot forego, or escape, the judgment.  Notice the words “we must all.”  No one will be exempt from being judged. Notice the words, “the judgment seat of Christ.”  We will be judged by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Christ is well suited to be our judge because He lived on this earth, faced the same temptations we face and knows what it is like to experience the difficulties of this life.  Notice the words, “whether it be good or bad.”  When judgment day comes, some will be able to hear the words, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” They will be able to experience an eternity with God in heaven.  Sadly, others will experience an eternity separated from God and all His people.

Why should you be faithful?  It’s a fair question to ask.

Is God Racist?

The following article, “Is God Racist,” written by Dave Miller, was originally published by Apologetics Press and can be found at https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1007&topic=425 .

Dave Miller, Ph.D.

cropped-bible-medium2.jpgA certain segment of the American population has succeeded in perpetrating the notion of “political correctness” (PC) across a broad base of society. This ideology has infiltrated politics, education, and religion. While touted as a manifestation of “compassion” and “respect” for those with whom one disagrees, the fact is that PC seeks to silence any expression of disagreement that is not in line with its covert agenda.

What, specifically, is PC? A working definition would be the belief that we should avoid language and actions that could be offensive to others, especially those relating to gender and race. For example, the word “fireman” is considered to be a “sexist” term that slights women; the politically correct term would be “firefighter.” Those who embrace PC seek to avoid any forms of expression or action that might be perceived to “exclude,” “marginalize,” or insult any group that is deemed “socially disadvantaged” or discriminated against. Hence, the PC advocate constantly uses terms like “inclusion,” “tolerance,” and “multiculturalism.”

Observe that the term “offensive” refers to the subjective feelings of the individual who deems the term to be hurtful. This definition implies that no objective standard exists by which all conduct, language, and behavior are to be measured. However, the fact is that if there is a God, and He is the God described on the pages of the Bible, then the only standard by which human conduct may be measured and evaluated legitimately is by the Word of God and the Christian moral framework depicted within its pages. If there is no objective, higher standard that transcends human opinions and to which all humans are amenable, then who is to say what is politically correct? Who can authoritatively define “compassion” and “offensive”? Suddenly, all of society is thrown into a confused hodge-podge of conflicting views on proper speech and behavior. Each person becomes a law unto himself and what offends one person is deemed by another as appropriate and valid.

Hence, PC is driven by two foundational presuppositions: (1) since no absolute truth exists, every person’s views are to be considered as equally valid and steps should be taken to facilitate his views and silence all those who disagree; and (2) the beliefs, values, and moral precepts of Christianity are to be rejected and aggressively opposed. This latter assumption explains why the PC people are so accommodating to the encroachment of Islam into American institutions (though Islam is categorically opposed to PC and those who promote it). It also accounts for the open and widespread hostility that exists in the media, Hollywood, and among liberal politicians against Christian morality. Even as Amos described his contemporaries in their quest to silence his righteous pleadings: “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly” (Amos 5:10). In their campaign to banish “hate speech,” the PC proponent is hypocritically guilty of the same. The solution? “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

The irrationality of the PC crowd is on display in their frenzied efforts to silence candidates and their supporters who say anything that conflicts with the PC agenda. The expression of any Christian belief that labels certain human behaviors as immoral or sinful is deemed “hate speech” and “racist.” Even otherwise clear-thinking Christians can be caught up in the societal propaganda that redefines critical Bible concepts, twisting them to the service of PC, including “love,” “grace,” “hate,” and “racism.” Even if a Christian possesses deep love and concern for a person overtaken in the sin of homosexuality, or the gender confusion associated with transgenderism, merely to speak against the behavior and suggest homosexual acts to be immoral, sinful, and evil is to invite accusations of “hate” and “intolerance.” Sadly, such sentiments demonstrate the extent to which American civilization and the church itself have lost touch with Almighty God.

After all, under the Law of Moses (authored by God Himself), God required the death penalty for same-sex relations: “You shall not lie with a male as lieth a woman; it is an abomination…. lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean” (Leviticus 18:22,28, emp. added, ESV). Question: When God identified a particular human behavior as “an abomination” that would cause the land to expel its practitioners, was He guilty of “hate speech” and being “racist”?

Two chapters later, God again declared His view of homosexuality:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them…. You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them (Leviticus 20:13,22-23, emp. added, ESV).

Question: When God stated that he detested those who engage in same-sex relations, was He guilty of “hate speech” and being “racist”?

The psalmist called upon righteous people to possess the appropriate level of disdain for that which God defines as “evil”: “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10). Solomon taught the same concept: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). The prophet Amos articulated the same sentiment: “Hate evil, love good” (Amos 5:15). The Bible clearly teaches that Christians are not to hate anyone (e.g., Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:27-36). Question: When God issued these divine admonitions to hate specific actions committed by humans, was He guilty of “hate speech” and “racism”?

Have Americans, and even Christians, become so accustomed to the moral filth that is rampant across the nation that they no longer blush or possess the same revulsion that God Himself possesses? (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12). Can we no longer identify with the psalmist when he said: “I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law” (Psalm 119:163, emp. added)? The words of Proverbs 24:24-25 are extremely apropos: “He who says to the wicked, ‘You are righteous,’ him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”

Rather than being caught up in the PC atmosphere of our day, Christians would do well to breathe in the Spirit of God by adopting the disposition, attitude, and thinking of Him who sits upon the throne: “[T]he cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Such forthright expressions arise from the very nature and character of deity. We would do well to adopt the same perspective, and approach our current moral and spiritual confusion with a firm reliance on the example of God. Indeed, Americans desperately need to reacquaint themselves with the God of the Bible. Failure to do so will inevitably result in national crisis and reproach—“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34)

The Problem of Prejudice

bible-998150_960_720Prejudice can be defined as “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.”

A few things about prejudice are worth mentioning: First, no particular race, or ethnic group, has a monopoly on being prejudice.  It is possible for someone from any race, country or ethnic group to be prejudice.  Second, prejudice does not always involve race.  It is often the case that one person is prejudiced toward another because of his (or her) race. But a person may be prejudiced toward another person because of his education, or lack thereof.  Someone may be prejudiced toward others because of their financial status, or lack thereof.  Other causes of prejudice may be a person’s appearance or prejudice toward another person simply because of where they come from.  Prejudice can take on many forms!  Third, prejudice toward others is always a sin.  James wrote, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9) Fourth, sadly prejudice often exists among those who profess to follow Christ!

We all realize the problem exists.  The question all of us should be asking is, “What’s the solution?  How can the problem of prejudice be corrected?”  A number of answers have been proposed – rallies and protests, police reform, income equality, free college for everyone, reparations toward those who have been wronged, etc.

None of these things will eliminate the problem of prejudice!  The problem of prejudice is a problem of the heart.  Prejudice will never go away until men’s hearts are changed.  The problem of prejudice will never be remedied until men recognize God as their Creator and Jesus Christ as their Savior.

The problem of prejudice will never be remedied until men strive to do God’s will and follow Christ’s example for living.  Can you imagine the good that could be realized if everyone of us took to heart Paul’s admonition to Timothy – “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” (I Timothy 5:21)

Your Marriage Can Be G-R-E-A-T!

wedding_bandsMarriage! Just say the word and a number of thoughts come to mind. Will I ever get married? If so, whom will I marry? Will I have children? If I do have children, how many? Where will I live? Will I have a good marriage? Better yet, will I have a great marriage? Wait a minute. Let’s consider that question again. Will I have, not just a good marriage, but a GREAT marriage?

Friends, great marriages do not come about by accident. Oh no friends, great marriages are the result of much planning and effort. Someone has said the success of a marriage is not determined by how much love you put into it as much as it is determined by how much work you put into it.

But have you ever stopped to think about what sets great marriages apart from all others? Have you ever wondered what makes great marriages great?

When we consider the letters in the word great, several things come to mind. First, the “G” reminds us that God must be in our marriages. It is no coincidence that this is first on the list, for no marriage can be truly great without God. I cannot emphasize this enough! Couples who strive to build homes with God as their center enjoy enormous advantages over those couples that do not make God the center of their home. Couples who strive to build homes with God as their center enjoy a common sense of morality, a common sense of values, a common standard of right and wrong, a common source of strength in time of need, and a common purpose in life. A couple that builds a home with God as its center is able to pray for one another and for their marriage. Friends, it is an undeniable fact that the closer a husband and wife get to God, the closer they get to one another.

Consider the words of Solomon, recorded in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Did you notice the emphasis that is placed on the advantages that two have over one?

And yet, we cannot help but notice the significance of the phrase “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” This “third cord” Solomon tells us of is undoubtedly a reference to God. When a couple includes God in their marriage, their marriage is not easily broken. Friends, a great marriage is a marriage where husband and wife are both Christians, striving to help each other grow spiritually and obtain an eternal home in heaven.

Second, the “R” reminds us that we must remember our vows. A vow is a solemn promise you made to your spouse. Husbands, did you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect your spouse, forsaking all others? Wives, did you promise to love, honor, cherish, and obey your spouse, forsaking all others?

When you made your vows, you not only made them before your spouse, but you made them before all others who were present. But far more important, you made them before God. That’s right! You made a promise to God! Man and woman are joined together as husband and wife, not merely by man, but by God.

Did your vows include the often spoken phrase, “Till death do us part?” Marriage is a lifelong commitment. The story books may picture a couple getting married, only to live happily ever after, seemingly free of problems. But we know that real life is not always like what we read about in the story books. Admittedly, there will be difficult times with any marriage. There will be times of hurt feelings, disappointments, and problems that, at least at the time, seem to be insurmountable. But times like these should cause a husband and wife to remember the promise they made to one another. Friends, when a husband and wife are committed to one another, they will never face any problem that cannot be resolved with God’s help.

When Jesus was asked about divorce for any cause, he responded: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”(Matthew 19:4-9). Friends, God expects us to keep our vows! God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).

Third, the “E” reminds us that a husband and wife are to enjoy life together. A husband and wife should take time simply to enjoy being with one another. It goes without saying that we all have daily obligations to meet and responsibilities to fulfill. I understand we all have busy schedules and appointments to keep. We all share in many of the stresses of daily life. Sure, life is filled with its peaks and its valleys, its ups and downs. But we should not allow the “downs” to prevent us from enjoying life. Couples should make it a priority to spend time together, to do things together, to have fun together, and to laugh together. A husband and wife ought to develop an interest in recreational activities they can both enjoy together. Someone has said, “The couple that plays together stays together.” Listen to the words of Solomon, recorded in Ecclesiastes 9:9: “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.” Also notice Proverbs 5:18: “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Your spouse should be, not only your spouse, but also your best friend!

Fourth, the “A” reminds us that husbands and wives are to appreciate one another. When you stop to count your blessings, don’t forget to include your spouse. Don’t neglect to tell your spouse that you appreciate him (or her). To appreciate your spouse means to grasp or understand your spouse’s worth, or value. Few things can be more harmful to a marriage than for one (or both) of the spouses to feel unappreciated. A failure to appreciate your spouse will eventually manifest itself in selfishness and disrespect. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). Also notice Proverbs 19:14: “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

The fact that a wife is given to man by God can also be seen in Genesis 3:9-12: “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

Friends, precious gifts are not to be abused nor flaunted. They are to be treated graciously out of respect for the giver. For a husband or wife to neglect his or her spouse is to work against God’s plan.

Fifth, the “T” reminds us that a husband or wife is to treat his or her spouse as the most important person in the world. After all, who on earth is more important to you than your spouse? Listen to the words of the apostle Paul: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:24-28).

In I Peter 3:7, Peter wrote: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

Also notice Paul’s words to Titus: “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:3-4).

Did you notice something about Paul’s words? Love is not just an emotion! Not just something we feel! Love is an action! Love is a type of behavior! Yes, a husband should treat his wife as the most important person in the world, because to him, she is the most important person in the world!

How can a husband treat his wife as the most important person in the world? By refusing to ignore her. By valuing her opinion. By taking time to be with her. By refusing to make sarcastic remarks about, or to, her. By refusing to be rude to her, whether publicly or privately. By being aware of her needs. By defending her when others are criticizing her. Of course, these things would also apply when considering a wife’s treatment of her husband.

To sum it all up, in terms of your relationships with others, none should be more important to you than your relationship with your spouse.

Yes, your marriage does not have to be just good. Your marriage can be great! Your marriage can be great if God is in your marriage. If you remember your vows. If you enjoy life together. If you appreciate one another. And if you treat your spouse as the most important person in the world.

What Does Going to a Garden Party Have to Do With Living a Life That Is Pleasing to God?

tone armGood question!  How could an old song about going to a garden party make me think of the importance of living a life that is pleasing to God?  It’s really not as odd as you might think,  To find out, listen to the audio below!

Don’t Let the World Make Play-Doh Out of You!

ydR7CCNlMost of us remember playing with Play-Doh when we were kids.  (Yeah, I know, some of you are saying to yourself “A kid is a young goat.”  But I’m not so formal that I can’t refer to children as kids.  Please indulge me for a moment).  Play-Doh is a modeling compound that can be shaped into cars, flowers, dinosaurs – just about anything a kid (or even adult) can imagine.  Once only available in white, it now comes in fifty colors.  You may not have known it was originally sold as a wallpaper cleaner.

If we’re not careful, we will allow the world to make play-doh out of us!  The world is constantly trying to influence us.  Always trying to mold us into what it want us to be.  Satan would love nothing better than to shape you into what he wants you to be – your thoughts, your speech, your focus – you name it, everything about you!  Don’t let him do it!  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Living Certain in an Uncertain World

Sleepless Young Man

Seems like I’ve been hearing the phrase “We are living in uncertain times” a lot lately.  Folks, ever since Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and Eve was formed from one of his ribs, people have always been living in uncertain times.  The word “certain” can be defined as “free from doubt, confident, sure.”  Synonyms that come to mind include “unquestionable” or “indisputable.”  When, in the history of man, could a man be certain he would live a long life?  At what point in the history of the world could a man be certain he would always enjoy good health?  Could a man ever be certain his standard of living would always match, or surpass, his previous standard of living?  Could a man ever be certain the value of his investments would always increase and be sufficient when he hoped to retire?  When could we be certain our country would be safe from enemy attack?

Friends, we have always lived in uncertain times!  But, before you start to wring your hands in despair, can I remind you of some things of which I am certain?  First, I am certain God created me and loves me. Some would have you believe you are here as a result of the process of evolution.  Such foolish nonsense! The epitome of ignorance! To borrow a phrase from the late Curtis Cates – “that’s hyper-stupid!”  David wrote, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalms 139:14) My physical body stands as a witness to the creative powers of God!  Because I am a product of God’s handiwork, I know He loves me and cares for me.  Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Second, I am certain there is a Savior who loved me enough to die for me!  I have sinned.  There is nothing I can ever do to remove sin from my life apart from the blood of Jesus Christ!  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) Because of Christ’s sacrificial love, I am certain I can be forgiven and live this life (as uncertain as it may be) with the hope of an eternity in heaven.

Third, I am certain this world is not my home.  Paul described my earthly, physical body as a tabernacle (II Corinthians 5:1-4).  My physical body can be compared to a tent – temporary, a place where my spirit dwells for a short while until I am clothed with my immortal body (II Corinthians 5:2).  I am merely a pilgrim on this earth (Hebrews 11:13; I Peter 2:11).  One day, this sinful world in which I now live will come to an end (Hebrews 1:10-12).

Fourth, I am certain that life is good.  Sure, life on this earth has it troubles.  I would not be so foolish to deny that!  Jesus said “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) But I am certain that life is still good!  Life is good because I’m a Christian!  I enjoy greater blessings than money can ever buy – I experience the joy of my salvation.  I understand that the troubles of this world are temporary and pale in comparison to the glory of heaven (II Corinthians 4:16-18).

Fifth, I am certain an eternal hell awaits the unrighteous (II Thessalonians 1:8) and an eternal heaven awaits those who keep the faith – those who fight the good fight and finish their course (II Timothy 4:7-8; Revelation 22:1-5).

I’m aware of how the headlines read.  I know what the “talking heads” are saying on tv.  But I also know I can live certain in an uncertain world!

Does It Really Matter How We Worship?

cropped-bible-medium2.jpgGod is deserving of our worship.  Jesus taught that God desires that we worship Him. (John 4:23) Has God instructed us as to how we should worship Him?  Or are we free to worship God in any way we choose, as long as we are sincere in what we do?

In Matthew chapter fifteen, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for their vain worship. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) The word “vain” means folly, or of no purpose. We learn from this passage that worship consisting of manmade traditions while ignoring the commandments of God is useless.  Surely, God will not accept this kind of worship.

Another kind of worship mentioned in the scriptures is ignorant worship.  Ignorant worship is worship offered to God without a knowledge of God’s will concerning who He is and how He is to be worshipped. (Acts 17:22-23) Those people at Mars Hill in Athens were guilty of this type of worship. This type of worship is also unacceptable to God.

The apostle Paul spoke of those who were guilty of “will worship.” “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23) While the King James Version refers to “will worship,” the English Standard Version refers to it as “self-made religion.”

Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament defines will worship as “worship which one devises and prescribes for himself, contrary to the contents and nature of the faith which ought to be directed to Christ.”  Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines will worship as “voluntarily adopted worship, whether unbidden or forbidden.”  In simple terms, we can think of will worship as “doing what we like and what we think is good, but not taught by God in the scriptures.”  Examples of this type of worship can be seen in solos, choirs, and mechanical instruments of music in worship, such as pianos, organs, etc. These are things that men desire, but are not taught in the scriptures.

Jesus spoke of the need for us to worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) This is the only type of worship that God accepts.  To worship in spirit means that our worship is spiritual in nature, in contrast to worship that is physical in nature. Old Testament worship consisted of a physical structure (the tabernacle), special clothing for priests, lampstands in the tabernacle, burning of incense, instruments of music and animal sacrifices.  Worship under the New Testament is spiritual in nature.  Today, God’s temple is not physical, but is made up of Christians (I Peter 2:5), all Christians are priests offering spiritual sacrifices (I Peter 2:5, 9), our prayers are described as sweet incense before God (Revelation 5:8) and our music consists of making melody IN THE HEART (Ephesians 5:19). Today, we worship in truth, meaning the real, or substance, of which those things in the Old Testament were merely a foreshadowing, or figure, of things to come.  (Hebrews 10:1) When we worship in spirit and in truth, we worship according to the teachings of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 3:11).

It does make a difference how we worship!

Denominations Are a Product of Men, Not God

cropped-bible-medium2.jpgThis past week I read an article written by a minister of a well-known denomination.  The first statement of the article read as follows, “When the church age began during the Lord’s earthly ministry, there was only the church Jesus built.”  Questions for the minister who wrote the article, and all of us, to consider include, “Does the one church Jesus built exist today?  If Jesus only built one church, why are there so many churches today?  Who made the change?  If Jesus only built one church, who built these other churches? And does any of this really matter?”

A denomination can be defined as “a large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name, usually organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.” Friends, I must say with all kindness yet with all truthfulness to God’s word, denominationalism is completely incompatible with and foreign to the scriptures.  Notice the following from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) Men may accept, even applaud, the division that exists in the religious world today, but God never has and never will.

Denominations are of human origin.  In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Jesus said He would build His church, singular.  All denominations exist without New Testament authority, New Testament example or Christ’s approval.

Why does any of this really matter? The inspired apostle Paul taught that Christ’s church and Christ’s body are one and the same.  (Ephesians 1:22-23) He went on to teach that there is only one body, therefore there must be only one church. (Ephesians 4:4) Later in his same letter to the church at Ephesus he taught that Christ is the savior of the body.  (Ephesians 5:23) What can we conclude from all this?  Christ is the savior of the one church that He built!

Peter told those present on the Day of Pentecost to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) When these people were saved by believing the gospel, repenting of their sins, confessing their faith in Jesus Christ and being baptized to receive the forgiveness of their sins, how did the Lord respond?  He added them to the one church that He built.  (Acts 2:47) He did not add them to a denomination, for there were no denominations in existence!

The church that Jesus built still exists today, just as it did in the first century.  It has no earthly head.  It has no legal hierarchy.  It follows no manmade creeds, practices, manuals or handbooks. It simply follows the New Testament pattern for the church.  Its congregations are autonomous and are overseen by elders who have authority only over their particular congregation. (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5; I Peter 5:1-3) Its members meet on the first day of every week to worship, including partaking of the communion. (Acts 20:7) Its members worship God through acapella singing, just as the early church of the first century did.  (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) Its members pray and study the Bible together. (Acts 2:42) Its members hear preaching together and give financially on the first day of the week. (I Corinthians 16:1-2)

Can a person be saved from his sins today and be a member of Christ’s one church without being a member of any denomination?  Yes!  He not only can, he must in order to please God.  How can a person do this?  He must believe the good news, or gospel, concerning Jesus Christ.  (John 3:16) He must repent of his sins (Acts 17:30-31) He must confess his faith in Jesus Christ.  (Acts 8:37) He must then be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of his sins.  (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16) When he does this, the Lord will add him to the one church that he, Jesus Christ, purchased with his blood.  (Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28)

Friends, it is not my intention to be unkind.  Rather, it is my desire to expose the clear teaching of the scriptures concerning Christ and His church. Search the scriptures and see whether these things are so! (Acts 17:11)

“The churches of Christ salute you.” (Romans 16:16)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

What do YOU see when you survey the wondrous cross?  Some would see no more than a rough, wooden cross.  Some look at Christ on the cross as a myth, a mere invention of men.  Some look at the cross with indifference, having no desire to appreciate its significance.  Some look at those who appreciate the cross as foolish – after all, how could anyone place their faith in someone who died in such a horrible manner?  Click to listen and I will tell you what I see when I survey the wondrous cross!

And the People Answered “Amen!”

cropped-bible-medium2.jpgMore than just “interesting reading,” the Old Testament provides many lessons helpful to us today. One such example is found in Nehemiah 8:1-12.

First, consider the assembly (verses 1-2). The people gathered as one man, indicating an atmosphere of unity. Unity among God’s people is as important today as it was in Nehemiah’s day (I Corinthians 1:10-11, 3:9, II Corinthians 13:11). The people wanted Ezra to “bring the book,” indicating they had a desire to hear God’s word (Psalm 119:31, Matthew 5:6). It was a common gathering, consisting of men, women, and children. Along with this, consider I Corinthians 11:17-20.

Second, consider the attention that was given to God’s word (verse 3). The Bible will be of benefit to us today only if we pay attention to what we read, realizing it can be understood (Acts 17:11-12, Ephesians 3:1-4). Also consider Proverbs 18:15: “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.”

Third, consider their attitude (verses 4-6). The people stood, indicating they had an attitude of reverence toward the word of God. Ezra blessed the Lord, meaning he praised, or spoke well of, the Lord. Consider Psalm 119:12: “Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.”

Fourth, consider their awareness (verses 7-9). The people mourned when they were convicted of their sin. They had neglected God’s restrictions concerning marriage (Deuteronomy 7:1-6, Ezra chapter 9-10, Nehemiah 13). They had failed to keep the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13). They had forsaken God’s house (Nehemiah 10). But God’s word was also able to bring them joy, just as it is able to bring us joy today. Because of God’s word, we are able to experience the joy of forgiveness, the joy of salvation, the joy of protection, the joy of instruction, and the joy of comfort.

Can Blood Transfusions Extend Life?

imgbin-blood-donation-blood-transfusion-human-body-blood-bank-blood-red-blood-drop-vB0gVuMyQXZCvY5WPUscLhpJxI came across an article recently discussing bizarre ways tech billionaires are attempting to reverse the aging process and live forever.  More than one company is conducting research to determine if blood transfusions from younger people can extend life.  According to some experts, transfusing blood from young, healthy people – specifically those between ages 16 and 25 – into those who feel that they’re getting on in years could reverse aging.

I’m no expert in the medical field; far from it.  But I am expert enough to know that eternal life is made possible by blood. No, I’m not talking about the blood from a younger person.  Eternal life is made possible only by the blood of Christ.  The really great news is that you don’t have to be a tech billionaire to benefit from this blood!

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:14-17)

Why Worship God?

cropped-bible-medium3.jpgOur English word “worship” is often translated from two words meaning “toward” and “kiss” (or “kiss toward”).  In certain cultures, it was a common practice to prostate oneself before another and kiss his feet, the hem of his garment, or the ground.  This was especially done by the Persians to express reverence toward their deified kings or by the Greeks to honor their idols.

Our common English word “worship” has its origin in an old English word meaning “worth-ship.”  This indicates the worth, or value, of the one being worshipped.  God is worthy, or deserving, of our worship because of who he is and what he has done.

As Peter was coming into Cornelius’ house, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.  Peter then responded, “Stand up; I myself am also a man” (Acts 10:25-26).  God, in comparison, desires that we worship him (John 4:23).  Why the difference?  What do we worship God, and not man?

First, we worship God because he is our creator.  Where did we come from?  How did we get here?  Yet the answer is very simple – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  Later, in that same chapter we read – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27).    It only makes sense that the creation worships the creator.

Second, we worship God because he is our provider.  Every physical blessing that we enjoy comes to us from God. James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).  God has not only blessed us physically but, more importantly, he has provided us with every spiritual blessing.  Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3).  God is truly the fount of very blessing!

Third, we worship God because he is our savior.   The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  God loves us so much he was willing to gave his sin as the only sacrifice that could remove sin from our lives (John 3:16).  Those in the church have been purchased, or bought back from their bondage of sin, with nothing less than the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28).

God is seeking those who will worship him.  Are you seeking opportunities to worship God?

To listen to thoughts on “Why Worship God” click here:

Hang in There, the Game’s Not Over Yet!

Football-Field-Artificial-Sports-Turf-12-1024x680On September 16, 2018 Buffalo Bills defensive back Vontae Davis shocked his team and sports fans when he retired during halftime of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He later issued a statement confirming his abrupt decision to retire. “This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL,” the 10-year veteran said, adding that he meant no disrespect to his teammates and coaches.  “I’ve endured multiple surgeries and played through many different injuries throughout my career and, over the last few weeks, this was the latest physical challenge,” he continued. “But today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore.”

Is there a spiritual application to be made from Vontae Davis’ experience? There most certainly is!  Christians often experience more than their fair share of bumps, bruises and hits on life’s playing field.  Perhaps, like Vontae, we are tempted to think we shouldn’t be out here anymore.  “It’s just not worth the effort,” some may say.

Not so!  Sure, no one can deny that life can be difficult.  Like everyone else, Christians may become weary.  But hang in there!  Any hardships in this life will compare in comparison to the blessings of heaven.  The apostle Paul understood what it meant to experiences life’s difficulties, yet he wrote, “16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (II Corinthians 4:17).

I hope everyone of you will keep the faith, endure to the end and one day experience heaven!

I’m Thankful Some Things Don’t Last

bible mediumHow many times have you asked someone about their vacation, only to hear them say, “It was great, only one problem – it ended too soon?”  Have you ever asked someone about his weekend and heard him say, “It was too short”?  Some things just seem to end sooner than we would like!

Some things may end too soon, but I am glad some things are brief (or, at least, relatively so).  I appreciate the fact that some things do not last. John wrote, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).  The tears we shed, the death we mourn over, the sorrow we feel and the pain we endure will one day all end.

Today, I am thankful the travails of life on earth are passing; while the blessings of heaven are eternal

The Significance of Christ’s Resurrection

Empty TombCountless number of people around the world recognize Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday – the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after March 21.  We cannot be certain of the origin of the term “Easter.”  It is likely an Old English word of Germanic origin, that honors a goddess associated with spring.  Others say it comes from the German word for resurrection.  The word “Easter” is found in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version.  Other translations translate it (the Greek word pascha) “Passover.”  This Greek word (pascha) is found 29 times in the Greek New Testament, yet it is translated Easter only once, even in the King James Version.

Christians are not commanded or otherwise authorized to celebrate Christ’s resurrection as a designated annual event.  Christians are to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on a weekly basis (John 20:1ff; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1-2).

I am glad, however, that people all over the world take time to recognize Christ’s resurrection!  I wish they would do so much more frequently!  I like to talk to people about Christ’s resurrection!  Why wouldn’t any Christian?  We need to be able to talk about the resurrection of Christ to our family, our friends, our neighbors, to anyone who will listen!

What makes Christ’s resurrection from the dead so significant?  First, the resurrection of Christ is good news!  The apostle Paul wrote, “ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain (I Corinthians 15:1-2).  The very word gospel means good news!  It includes the good news of the kingdom of God and salvation through Jesus Christ made possible by His death, burial and resurrection.  I Corinthians 15:2 tells us it is by the gospel that we are saved.  If Christ were not raised, we would still be living with the burden of our sin (I Corinthians 15:17).

All of us will die one day (unless, of course, we are a part of those living at the time of Christ’s return).  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27).  Conquerors throughout the history of the world, such as Alexander the Great, have been considered powerful by others yet they have died.  Samson was known for his great strength, yet his strength did not enable him to escape death.  Solomon was known for his great wisdom, yet his wisdom did not enable him to escape death.  Methusaleh lived to be 969 years old, yet he eventually died.

Only Jesus conquered death.  Consider the accounts of Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (II Kings 2:11).  Although these men did not die, they did not conquer death in the sense that Jesus conquered death.  These men were not dead and later resurrected.  Consider the case of Lazarus.  He was resurrected, yet he died again.

Second, the resurrection of Christ is significant because it proves He is the Son of God.  Take note of the following passages: Take note of these words from I Corinthians 15:3-4: “3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Christ died according to the scriptures.  Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13).  Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet would remain silent (Isaiah 53:7).  Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm that speaks of Jesus’ words from the cross, his bones not being broken but out of joint while on the cross, the piercing of his hands and feet and the soldiers casting lots for his garments.

Christ rose from the grave according to the scriptures.  Psalm 16 includes a prophecy that Christ would be raised from the grave on the third day.

Christ’s death, burial and resurrection were the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, proof that He was the Son of God.  Romans 1:4 – “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”

Third, the resurrection of Christ is significant because it gives Us Hope.  The apostle Paul wrote, “16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (I Corinthians 15:16-23).

The firstfruits were the first born of the flocks and the first of the grains to be gathered at harvest time.  The Jews thought of these as belonging to God in a special way.  They were offered to God on the day of the firstfruits as part of the celebration of Pentecost (offered fifty days after offering of the barley for the Feast of Unleavened Bread – Numbers 28:26; II Chronicles 31:5).

Just as offering the firstfruits served as an acknowledgement that the whole harvest is possible because of God (Leviticus 23:10-16), Christ being the “firstfruit” of them that are asleep is an acknowledgement that our resurrection is possible because of Christ.  Christ’s resurrection gives us hope of our resurrection.  Hope of an incorruptible body.  Hope of a spiritual body.  Hope of an immortal body.  A desire that we too will one day be raised from the dead.

Finally, how can we benefit from Christ’s death, burial and resurrection?  “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

I hope everyone reading this has a good day today!  More importantly, I hope everyone reading this thinks of Christ’s resurrection year round!

Christian, Rejoice!

Rejoice-1How sad it is for people professing to be Christians to fail to experience joy in life.  These people may go through life with a negative outlook, pessimistic attitude, and perhaps even harboring bitterness in their hearts.  This is certainly heartbreaking – not what God intended!  Christians, more than any other people on this earth, have reason to rejoice!

Consider Paul’s words to the church at Rome, recorded in Romans 5:1-4: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

First, Christians ought to rejoice because they have been justified by faith.  To be justified is to be considered righteous, or “right with God.”

Second, Christians ought to rejoice because they have peace with God.  The strife that existed between them and God, before they obeyed the gospel, has been taken away.  They now enjoy a harmonious relationship with their creator.

Third, Christians ought to rejoice because they have access, by faith, to God’s grace.  Knowing we can never deserve, or earn, heaven, Christians can rejoice in God’s “unmerited favor” toward them (without which, no man can be saved).

Fourth, Christians ought to rejoice because they have hope – a sincere expectation that all the promises of the gospel will be fulfilled.  Christians enjoy a genuine hope of an eternal home in heaven with God.

Today, as a Christian, I will rejoice because I have been justified by faith, have peace with God, have access to God’s grace and live in hope of heaven.