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Bible Study | Online Bible Study | Lewisville Church of Christ

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Can you See Satan?

 

It is a well accepted fact that, in this world, there are two forces:

 

GOOD & EVIL; RIGHT & WRONG.

 

We are shown both of these Rulers in the Scriptures of God’s word, the Bible.

 

Many times he, depending on which one for whom we are looking, may be somewhat obscure.

 

However, the one who wishes NOT-TO-BE seen is Satan, for he is a coward, a sneak-

thief.

 

He began his appearances to mankind in the Garden of Eden, in Gen. 3:1, disguised as a

serpent.

 

From then on, we really do not “SEE” him in the Old Testament, nor is he referred to very

much, except in Job 1:6ff and 2:1ff.

 

There are various events which certain elements of his handiwork can be seen if we look

closely.

 

However, when we come to the New Testament, there are several passages which warn us

about this wicked one and show us his devices, revealing him to us if we will only pay close attention to what is said, and then to what is going on around us as we live our daily lives.

 

For example, Jesus warned, in several places, as are recorded in the Gospel accounts of this

one:

 

Matt. 7:15.

 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing,  but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

Matt. 24:11.

 

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

 

Matt. 24:24. 

 

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

Mark 13:22.

 

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

 


Luke 6:26.

 

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did  their fathers to the false prophets.

 

And, both Paul and Peter gave their warnings and told about him:

 

2 Cor. 11:12-15.

 

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.{13} For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. {14} And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.{15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

Gal. 1:6-8.

 

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.{8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach

any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

 

1 Tim. 4:1-2.

 

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; {2} Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

 

1 Tim. 5:14-15.

 

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. {15} For some are already turned aside after Satan.

 

2 Tim. 3:1-7.

 

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. {2} For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, {3} without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, {4} Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; {5} Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. {6} For of this sort are they  which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, {7} Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.


2 Tim. 4:3,4.

 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; {4} And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

2 Pet. 2:1-3.

 

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. {2} And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. {3} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

 

With all these passages in mind, let’s look at some things, and ask this question;

DO YOU SEE SATAN?

 

 

In the world of religion, most agree that Satan has been trying since Eden, to destroy all of

God’s people, especially those whom He set apart for certain and definite works, such as Moses and Jesus.

 

This evil one tried to destroy each of them in their infancy (Exo. 1:22; Matt. 2:16).

 

All through the Old Testament we find where Israel continually withdrew themselves into

idolatry and away from Jehovah, being lured, and even LED at times by their king, or some other leader.

 

In the New Testament, we have the above Scriptures which show us how the same things are

taking place in the Lord’s church.

 

The really sad thing about this is, the very same things continues today, and from more avenues than many people are willing to admit. It isn’t that they could not see it happening, but rather because Satan does not want it revealed, for then his works would be plain, as John said in 1 John 3:10.

 

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the evil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

 

 

John is referring to “Sinning and remaining-in sin“, as the Greek bears out in a close study of

v.9.

 

Being EVIDENT is the same as John uses here when he said, “…are manifest,…

 

When we examine the word of God, and compare things going on in the world around us, it is

easy for us to see Satan at work.

 

Just look at all the crimes, of every category. 

 

Look at all the wicked things happening in the world of business: in the world of Education: in

homes where people are being molested, raped and murdered. Families are being torn asunder by various causes. Parents are deserting their families by the score.

 

All these things happen because of this one, the master of evil, lies and deceit.

 

Look at all the corruption in government of all kinds, whether National, State, City, or

whatever.

 

People are doing the very things Satan wants them to do.

 

Even in the Penal Institutions, where one might suppose things would at least TRY to go the

opposite direction.

 

Look at all the homosexuality in our world, and being both accepted and condoned by all, in

general.

 

The government even supports their “Rights“, giving them equal status as anyone else, when

God’s word speaks vehemently against it, in Old and New Testaments alike, condemning all who practice such a lifestyle.

 

Yet, nothing like this is even mentioned by anyone in the Public-eye.

 

WHY?

 

For the same reason as all the other wickedness which is publicly accepted is not spoken

against: Satan does not want it so!

 

Most can agree on these things, but some may not. However, just because even the majority

want things the way they are {wicked, etc.} does not make it right in God’s sight, for there were times in the Old Testament when even Israel “Did what was evi  Did what was right in their own eyes“, etc.

 

This is what Paul said would happen in his epistles to Timothy.

 

This is what Jesus said when He said,

 

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. {Matt. 7:14} 

 

And again in Matt. 7:21-23.

 

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?{23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In these two passages, Jesus tells us that there will be the majority who will not be saved.

 

And WHY?

 

You guessed it: Satan wants it this way.

 

But how can this be, when there are so many educated, responsible people who are in

positions to avert such as this?

 

The answer is just as simple as answering the last question asked above; ie; Satan!

 

Are we so naive so as to think that Satan only works in the lives of UN-educated people?

 

NOT SO!!!

 

He’s too smart to follow that avenue.

 

Sure, he does a great deal of his work through the un-educated, but there is a GREAT percent

of it being done through the MORE educated.

 

Re-read 2 Cor. 11:12-15 and listen to Paul:

 

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. {13} For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. {14} And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. {15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

Does this sound like Satan uses educated people?

 

It sure does, my friend!

 

And when we think that this is not going on today, in general, in the world of religion, he has

us right where he wants us.

 

When someone makes the statement, “One Lord, One faith, One Baptism” {quoting Eph. 4:5},

many religious people make fun of them, and deride them to shame.

 

While on the other hand, there are those who proclaim that “THE church” we read about in the

New Testament is, in reality the “Church Universal“, meaning that “All churches are equal“, and that “We are all God’s children and He accepts us all, wanting us all to conform to His will.”, and they will quote certain verses, taking them out of their context, applying them to their view and doctrine, and many, many Christians are buying into this philosophy and belief, admitting that THEY are right and we are wrong.

 

If this is, by some chance right, then why are so many teaching so many different ways to be

saved?

 

If  they are TRYING TO CONFORM TO GOD’S WILL, then when are they going to change

their views on this subject, when Jesus Himself said that there is only ONE WAY, and that is Him {John 14:6}.

 

CAN YOU SEE SATAN at work in these fields?

 

Are his deeds evident to you?

 

Where else can you see him and his works?

 

Just look closely, letting God’s word be your guide, not preconceived ideas and beliefs as so

many are doing.

 

People are violating God’s word simply to adhere to their traditions and beliefs, which is

exactly as the Pharisees were doing in Jesus’ day, to which He said,

 

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, {8} This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.{9} But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. {Matt.  15:7-9}

 

Read that entire chapter to really get the whole picture of this.

 

When are we going to really get back to God’s word?

 

What is it going to take to get this done?

 

When are Christians going to “Come out of their closets” and take their stand for TRUTH?

 

When are gospel preachers going to stop preaching “Powder-puff” sermons - “Social gospel“,

if you please?

 

When are elders of the Lord’s church going to INSIST on the flock being fed TRUTH, and not

What the people want to hear?

 

King Saul let this very thing cause him to lose his kingdom and even his soul, as we read

            1 Sam. 15:1-35.

 

Yes, these things happened in the Old Testament, and they happened to people hundreds of

years ago: years before the church ever came into existence.

 

However, listen to the apostle Paul:

 

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. {Rom. 15:4}

 


Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. {11} Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

1 Cor. 10:6 & 11.

 

We use such expressions as, “History repeats itself“, and, “We should learn something from

history“, and justifiably so.

 

Then WHEN are going to start listening to God’s word?

 

Are we going to let the “Great Deceiver” keep us with his “Wool” pulled over our eyes, and go

to hell, as it were, with our eyes closed?

 

We like to look around and SEE GOD. This is good, and we should.

 

We enjoy praying, “God, bless America!“, but how can He bless a wicked Nation?

 

A people who are not really trying to please Him?

 

But, my friends, it’s about time we began believing 1 Peter 5:8!

 

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

 

Don’t you agree!?

 


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A Study of the Hand

A Study of the Hand

 

The hand is peculiar to mankind. No other creature has hands like man. It is an amazing tool. The hand reveals the wisdom and power of Him who designed it. Hands are lifted up in prayer, extended in friendship, folded in sleep, laid on in blessing, raised in solemn oath, clutched in anger and defiance. Hands are joined in holy wedlock. Clapping hands is an act of homage. Giving the hand is a pledge of fidelity. Raised hands indicate surrender. One hand raised shows a desire to be recognized. Washing hands is a sign of innocence. Clean hands symbolize a clean life – bloody hands, a murderous and guilty life. Filthy hands indicate a sensuous life.

 

Ecc.9:10

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for

there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the

grave where you are going.”

 

The hand is a symbol of achievement. God told Adam in

Gen.1:28 to “…replenish the earth and subdue it.” Man was

provided the instruments (the mind and the hand) to

subdue the earth. Mankind is still carrying out God’s

command to subdue the earth. We are harnessing wind and

water, imprisoning the rays of the sun and bridling the

lightning. Mankind has transformed coal and water and

light into power.

 

With the hand, man has destroyed kingdoms and built empires.

Instruments are virtually useless without the hand. Moses had a

shepherd rod when God said, “What is that in your hand?” His rod

became a scepter of power that brought plagues, divided the Red Sea

and won Israel’s wars. David had a sling, Shamgar an ox goad, Samson

the jaw bone of a donkey, and Dorcus a needle.

 

God asks of us today, “What is that in your hand?” He expects us to use

it for His glory and the good of others. What familiar instrument is in

your hand? A hoe? A plow? A needle? A broom? A computer or pen? A

hammer or saw?

 

There is an old children’s song that says, “I washed my hands this

morning so very clean and bright, and lent them both to Jesus to work

for Him till night.” Whatever you find in your hand, use it to God’s

glory. Give it in loving service to the cause of Christ.  

  

Ecc.9:10

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for

there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the

grave where you are going.”

 

Mk 3:1 

“And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a

withered hand.”

 

A withered hand – what a pity! Today in this competitive world, how uneven are the chances of a success. Look at the achievements of busy, able hands: The pyramids, mighty bridges, great monuments and statues, ships and planes and every invention from microcomputers to the great machines of industry. All are products of the hands of mankind.

 

What of all these things if man had a withered hand? Would we have the sculpture of Michelangelo, the paintings of Rembrandt, the writings of Shakespeare?  Where would the church be without all the selfless hands in loving service to the Lord? What if all the apostles had withered hands – Paul the tent-maker, Luke the physician, Peter the fisherman?

 

But the more tragic is the Christian with a spiritually withered hand. It has the power, but not the will to work for the Lord. Hands that sooth no fevered brow, lift no burdened soul, write no words of cheer. Hands not extended in a friendly clasp.

 

 

Matt.25:41-46

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you

cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave

Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and

you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did

we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison,

and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying,

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least

of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting

punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

The spiritually withered hand of the Christian who will not get his hands a little dirty in serving others is withered by indifference.

 

A rich man offered a beggar money to run an errand for him, but the beggar said, “My business is begging, not running errands.” Our Lord has errands for us to run, but we go to the gates of heaven begging blessings and refusing to do the Lord’s errands. Pathetic? Yes. Hopeless? No.

 

Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand…” The willing hand becomes a useful hand. We need but to stretch out our hands to His service and it will become a useful hand.

 

Clean hands indicate a clean life.

 

 Psa.24:3, 4

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His

holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not

lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.”

 

Clean hands are the counter sign by which we pass the guardian angel

of the New Jerusalem (Heaven). In the Judgement, the righteous Judge will look at our hands…

 

 

 

What about your hands – my hands? Are they defiled with blood? “No” we cry, “of course not!” But are we guilty and don’t know it? Could God say as He said of Cain, “Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground.”

 

 Eze.3:18

“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.”

 

Are our hands guilty of the blood of souls lost without warning? Are your hands defiled with immorality or dishonesty? Unclean hands can be washed clean in the blood of Jesus.

 

Act.2:38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Sinful hands can be made clean again. Are you ready to present your hands to the Judge?

 

The closed hand is the hand of selfishness. What can the closed hand do? It cannot lift the fallen, feed the hungry or put money in the treasury. The closed hand can do nothing good. The clinched fist is brutal and can hurt and bruise. The hand of Jesus was never closed in selfishness or clinched into the fist of brutality.

 

The hand of Jesus was always open, helping. His was the hand of charity and mercy. His hand was open when He raised the dead, and when He healed. It was open to feed the 5,000 and the 4,000 in giving. The hand of Jesus was open and raised in prayer. His hands are open and extended in invitation. May God give us an open hand of benevolence and not the closed hand of selfishness and brutality.

 

The pierced hands of Jesus, nail-scarred, told of His identity to the disciples. The Christ of the cross was the Christ in the resurrection. The proof positive were the prints of the nails in His hands. Even Thomas, upon seeing the hands of Jesus could doubt no longer, and cried, “My Lord and my God.”

 

This evidence of His divinity gives us faith, and we too cry, “My Lord and my God,” believing. Those wounded hands of Jesus tell of His great love.

 

Jn.15:13 

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

 

He suffered and died for you and for me.

 

The pierced hands of Jesus also tell of His victory! He died a shameful death, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and drained all hope from His disciples. But to SEE the marked hands of Jesus, they saw the SIGN of His resurrection and triumph over death. That victory proved the FACT of His resurrection. His resurrection proves OUR RESURRECTION from the dead.

 

The marked hands of Jesus give us hope of immortality.

 

“The hand that was nailed to the cross of woe, in love reaches down to the world below; ‘Tis beckoning now to the souls that roam, and pointing the way to the heavenly home.

 

E’en now I can see through a mist of tears; That hand still outstretched o’er a gulf of years, With healing and hope for my sinsick soul; One touch of His finger will make me whole.

 

The hand that wrought wonders in days of old hold treasures more precious than gems of gold; The price of redemption from sin and shame, The gift of salvation through Jesus’ name.

 

Triumphant through grace I shall someday stand with Jesus at home on that golden strand. His face in its beauty at last I see; my hand in the hand that was pierced for me.”

What will you do with your hands? Will you give them to Jesus to walk hand in hand with Him in this life and in eternity? Will you obey the gospel in faith, repentance and baptism into Christ? If you have taken your hand away from Him, why not be restored to that closeness with Him? This very hour, give your hand to Him whose hands were pierced for you.

 


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Pray Without Omission

Pray Without Omission
Prayer is powerful.  I know this not only because God said it in the Bible, but I have also experienced the power of prayer.  Although I know and feel that prayer is such a marvelous tool in which we can beseech our Father, why do I still have days go by when I do not pray at all?  I have noticed that when I pray, it is usually because there is something beyond my control.  Since I cannot fix problems on my own, it is at those times that I go to God for help.  This is nothing but my selfish pride.  It is in my human nature to place myself before God when it comes to the troubles in life.  I would like to share with you what I am allowing God to do in my life to remedy this problem.

While growing up and reading 1Thess 5:17 which says, “Pray without ceasing,” I was left with the idea that I must be in constant prayer with God or that I must have a constant habit of prayer.  This was too burdensome for me to follow because I felt like I must be praying during every minute of the day.  Now being able to study the Greek word used there, adialeiptos, which means “without omission,” 1Thess 5:17 carries a whole new meaning.  “Without omission” carries the idea that we should pray at every opportunity.  Don’t let an opportunity go by where we can talk to God about something.  Whenever you think about someone who is hurting, pray for them!  Whenever you see someone who is spiritually lost, pray that they will seek God because of you.  Whenever you come home, thank God that He has blessed you with a house and a vehicle which brought you there!  Whenever you remember Jesus Christ, tell God how great He is for giving us spiritual life through Christ!  Whenever you see the sun shining, thank God that on this day we can live, move, and have our being!  Whenever a thought to pray enters your mind, pray immediately!  I believe the more we say, “I will pray for that later,” the more we lose the power God gives us in prayer.  I am guilty of this beyond count.  In order for my prayer life to grow, I will work to train my heart to pray at every opportunity that comes my way.  I will even pray for God to remind me to pray!

Today, whenever you have something to pray for, pray for it.  And in so doing, you will tap into God’s immeasurable power.


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Grow in Grace


But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

THE NEW BIRTH is the beginning of a process of spiritual growth in which we seek to weed out of our minds and hearts any worldly influences that would separate us from the Lord. Our aim is to be transformed into His image and take on those godly attributes that equip us to someday live with God forever. We seek to follow Christ’s teachings and example –to grow in Christ likeness.

 

THIS SPIRITUAL CONVERSION requires a drastic change, from fleshly desires to holy aspirations – from the love of the earthly to a love of godly righteousness – from having this world’s mindset to being filled with holy desires – to having the mind of Christ. Philippians 2:1-11. We must learn to love what God loves and to love as He loves. 1 John 4:7-21. Our Father desires our sanctification – He has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4: 3, 7.

 

HIS IS HEART EDUCATION, spiritual circumcision, where we root out of our system all that keeps us separated from a Holy God. Colossians 2:9-13; 3:1-10. Trained in the knowledge of Christ, we can then partake of His divine nature. 2 Peter 1:2-11.  This is not achieved by human effort but by the Lord’s Spirit working in us as we pray and obey His will.  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”.   2 Corinthians 3:18

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:2   Compare 2 Peter 3:18

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.   2 Cor.5:17


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Monkey Trap Religion

MONKEY TRAP RELIGION

 

For the benefit of those who may not know where the MONKEY-TRAP came from, let me explain:

 

Many years ago, in the African nations, the monkey became so numerous and food became so depleted, the monkeys would ravish the farmer’s crops. The farmer devised a method of ridding their problem. They would take a long necked gourd and attach a chain or a strong wire through the end of the neck. Then they would drill a tiny hole in the very end of the larger part of the gourd and remove all the insides. Then, they would place pieces of candy inside this empty gourd and leave it on the ground for the monkey to find. The monkey, being greedy, stingy and selfish, would manage to squeeze his hand inside this gourd and take hold of a piece of candy. Now that his hand is in a fist, holding the candy, he cannot get it out the tiny hole. He is so stupid, selfish and greedy that he will actually keep hold of the candy while the farmer bashes his head in with a heavy stick of some kind.

Hence, the “Monkey Trap”.

 

There are people in this world who are so caught-up in their religion that they will not turn loose and let God rescue them.

 

Billy Graham once was asked by Art Linkletter on The Art Linkletter Show on t.v. “When you preach to your audience, why don’t you complete your message by telling them what they must do in order to be saved?” To which Mr. Graham replied, “Art, there are so many different religions in my audience that I cannot compromise by telling them something that would cause some to turn away.

 

What was Mr. graham actually saying? “I would rather have their approval than tell them what God demands.

 

People are just like this in many areas of life: they have so many years invested in error that for them to change would mean complete financial ruin, which they cannot afford to give up.

 

What did Jesus say, in Luke 14:26?

“If any man comes to me, and [hate] not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

 

…And again in Luke 16:13; Matt. 6:24.

“No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”


Look at this verse: Luke 16:15.

“And he said unto them, You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

 

The apostle James worded it thusly –

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4.

 

Other passages come to mind at this point in this study:

 

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? {37} Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? {38} For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:36-38.

 

Can a person honestly be so persuaded in erroneous belief that they will continue rebelling against God’s word?

 

Does “Family Traditions” and “Pride” mean more than eternal glory with God?

 

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? {37} Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

Are they not caught-up in a “Monkey Trap Religion”?


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True Blessings

True Blessings

 

Many years ago, I enlisted in the United States Air Force where I served four years in active service.

I was a young seventeen year-old lad who was merely seeking adventure and had no idea of what I was actually doing in reality.

Not only was I blessed to serve my Country, but I was blessed to have many opportunities besides.

I got to travel to different parts of this Country and meet different people from various walks of life and different cultures other than with what I was accustomed to, growing up in different areas of Texas.

Besides these blessings, I also had the marvelous opportunity to travel to foreign lands and meet people of those places as well.

I got to see how they lived – how they talked – how they dressed, and everything of the Country.

I learned to speak some of one foreign language and still remember some of it till this day, but am sorry to say, I have forgotten most of it.

You see, being so young and all, merely seeking adventure and enjoyment, I completely overlooked what I actually had at my disposal.

I was as worldly as anyone else, and lavished in that lifestyle, never really considering The Lord in any respect, much less being a Christian.

 

You see, beloved, we, today, are a lot like that young lad back in the early 1950’s in that we are so caught up in what we want, that we really do not know just what it is that we SHOULD want and for what we should seek and do.

 

We learn a lot about different things of this world, but fail to consider The One Who made it all and gave it all to us!

 

We are actually Stewards and do not realize it!

 

Stewards of – first, our own souls.

Second, to our fellow-man, our Neighbors.

 

We know the language of Ashdod, so to speak, but overlook how to talk to others about the true and meaningful things of life, both now and in the hereafter!

 

We are like the ones the writer of the Hebrew letter spoke, when he said, in

 

Heb. 5:12,

 

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”

 

We need to grow up and start putting into action what we profess!


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Emergency Telephone Numbers

Emergency Telephone Numbers

 

(These are more effective than 911)

 

When –

 

You are sad, phone John 14

You have sinned, phone Psalm 51

You are facing danger, phone Psalm 91

People have failed you, phone Psalm 27

It feels as though God is far from you, phone Psalm 139

Your faith needs stimulation, phone Hebrews 11

You are alone and scared, phone Psalm 23

You are worried, phone Matthew 8:19-34

You are hurt and critical, phone 1 Corinthians 13

You wonder about Christianity, phone 2 Corinthians 5:15-18

You feel like an outcast, phone Romans 8:31-39

You are seeking peace, phone Matthew 11:25-30

It feels as if the world is bigger than God, phone Psalm 90

You need Christ like insurance, phone Romans 8:1-30

You are leaving home for a trip, phone  Psalm 121

You are praying for yourself, phone Psalm 87

You require courage for a task, phone Joshua 1

Inflation’s and investments are hogging your thoughts, phone Mark 10:17-31

You are depressive, phone Psalm 27

Your bank account is empty, phone Psalm 37

You lose faith in mankind, phone 1 Corinthians 13

It looks like people are unfriendly, phone John 15

You are losing hope, phone Psalm 126

You feel the world is small compared to you, phone Psalm 19

You want to carry fruit, phone John 15

Paul’s secret for happiness, phone Colossians 3:12-17

With big opportunity/ discovery, phone Isaiah 55

To get along with other people, phone Romans 12

 

 

ALTERNATE NUMBERS

 

For dealing with fear, call Psalm 47

For security, call Psalm 121:3

For assurance, call Mark 8:35

For reassurance, call Psalm 145:18

 

 

ALL THESE NUMBERS MAY BE PHONED DIRECTLY.

NO OPERATOR ASSISTANCE IS NECESSARY.

ALL LINES TO HEAVEN ARE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY.

FEED YOUR FAITH, AND DOUBT WILL STARVE TO DEATH

 

 

 

 

 


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Asleep?

Death is a mystery to almost everyone on earth.

 

It is a phenomenon created by God, at which time, when a person ceases to “live”, as we call it, the spirit leaves the physical body, leaving it lifeless and unable to function as before.

 

We need to understand some things before we proceed with this study.

 

1: The word DEATH literally means SEPARATION.

 

          a. The physical is separated from the spiritual

 

          b. The two entities have ceased to co-exist as one unit.

 

2: We only know what God’s Word reveals to us on this matter, and, if we will

listen closely, we can determine some very important information on our

topic.

 

We see that Jesus knew and understood about death while He walked with His disciples –

 

 … He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” {12} Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ {13} However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. {14} Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’”

John 11:11-14. 

 

Later, Jesus will tell a true story, revealing some information for all readers –

 

In Luke 16:19-31, we read the story of “The Rich Man & Lazarus”.

[Not the same Lazarus as in John 11.]

 

We also learn, from two certain passages in the O.T. that DEATH is, indeed a REST –

 

1 Sam. 28:13-15.

And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”{14}  So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. {15}  Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” ...”

1 Kings 1:20, 21.

“And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. {21}  Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders.”

 

1 Kings 2:10. 

“David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David.”

 

1 Kings 11:43. 

Then Solomon rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.”

 

1 Kings 14:31. 

So Rehoboam rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. ...”

 

There are still many other O.T. passages which give this very same picture of people who went to their graves and were buried.

 

There are several N.T. passage which help us better understand about this –

 

At the crucifixion of Jesus, in –

 

Matt. 27:52. 

and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.”

 

As Stephen was being stoned to death, in –

 

Acts 7:60. 

Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

 

The apostle Paul, as he spoke in the Synagogue, in –

 

Acts 13:36. 

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.”


Paul had something to say to the Christians in Corinth –

 

1 Cor. 15:6. 

After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.”

 

1 Cor. 15:18. 

Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”

 

1 Cor. 15:20. 

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

 

1 Thess. 4:13,14. 

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. {14} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

 

He also had something to say to the Christians in Thessalonica –

 

1 Thess. 4:15. 

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.”

The apostle Peter said this –

 

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), {2} that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, {3} knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, {4}  and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Pet. 3:1-4. 

 

So, why do Christians view death as something to dread?

 

The late Brother Batsell Barrett Baxter once wrote –

 

A Christian should no more fear death than a tree fears winter.”

 

You see, like a tree which looses it’s leaves in the winter when the sap goes deep into the root system underground and will come back to life in the Spring, Christians will, at the Great Resurrection “Come to Life” in the presence of God where eternity will never separate us from Him.

 

Another facet of “Death” which poses a mystery to many, is the “Second Death”.

 

Here, also, God’s Word tells us about that, as well, in –

 

Rev. 2:11. 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He

who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’”

 

Rev. 20:6. 

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

 

Rev. 20:14. 

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second

death.”

 

Rev. 21:8. 

But the 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.”

 

Jesus spoke of this place when He spoke about this life and the hereafter –

 

Mark 9:43,44. 

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched; {44}  where Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.”

 

He also alluded to this place in His parable of “The Wheat & The Tares” –

 

Matt. 13:30. 

Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”


Either way we look at it, DEATH is not the END, but actually the BEGINNING, and there is surely a place to shun at any and all costs.

 

Our own eternal destiny lies within our own hands in making preparation for that eternal abode right now, while we are still alive and have opportunity.

 

Death should no more be feared by Christians than a tree dreads winter, because, in the Spring, it will regain it’s life and sprout new growth, just as Christians will regain their lives in the spiritual world and be with and serve the living God eternally.


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Redeeming the Time

Welcome back this week.  It is truly a humble pleasure to be able to write for all of you and give you some thoughts from God’s Word.  And I want to thank you for taking the time out of your week to wisely spend it here today. 

The following is taken from a Wednesday night devotional a few weeks ago on February 25th.  A few items have been readded that were removed from the devotional due to time constraints, so even if you heard it then, you may still get something new out of it.

Yes, it’s that time again - Spring is near and Baseball season is back.  Mike A. did a great job last week presenting a baseball story about Bob Brenly and his ups and downs.  How baseball is a game of second chances and redemption.  I’m not going to tell another baseball story today, however, just like the big leaguers are going through focusing on their fundamentals now in spring training, I want us to focus on some fundamentals today.  Players and coaches all know the importance of sound fundamentals to reach their goal of winning the World Series.  We all need to be fundamentally sound as well.  I may not say anything you don’t already know, but I pray that these few minutes will be profitable to each one of you in some way.

Today, I’d like you to reflect on the gift of Time.  In the KJV, Ephesians 5:15 reads “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” and then verse 16 “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  With the little time we have today, I’d like to hit a few high points in this last verse.  Listen closely again to verse 16.  The KJV translates the Greek literally here, as “Redeeming the time”.  The NIV translates the same phrase as “Making the most of every opportunity”.  The Greek word exagorazomenoi translated redeeming in the KJV is a compound word that combines ek(ex) “out of” with agora.  The Agora was a public place where people gathered.  At times, they even held trials there where it was possible that you could be plucked as a juror if you were nearby.  Later, at the time of Paul’s writing, the Agora was known as the market place - a place to buy and sell, including slaves.   Its connection to the buying of slaves is how this word can be translated “redeeming”.  Therefore, the word in the New Testament basically means “out of the marketplace” or “to purchase out of the marketplace”.  Paul is the only New Testament writer to use this word in connection with time.  He uses it here in Ephesians 5:16 and also in Colossians 4:5.  The Colossians verse reads, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” You can see it is used in the same way and basically means making the most of every opportunity.  (Note for you Septuagint gurus - this word is also combined with time and used in Daniel 2:8 where the magicians and astrologers are trying to buy, or gain, time from the King in order to interpret his dream and avoid his threat of death if they failed.)

Our time is precious.  It is extremely precious.  It is probably obvious, but here are four major reasons why our time is precious. 

Counting down backwards:

4. Once time is past, it can not be recovered.

3. We are uncertain of its continuance.

2. Our time is very short - it is scarce - there never seems to be enough of it.  And, most importantly,

1. Our eternity depends on how we use it.

So, paraphrased in verse 16, Paul basically says ‘Buy up that time out of the marketplace and make it yours.’  It sounds a lot like Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-20 of laying up treasures for heaven - because our eternity depends upon it.

Note that Paul does not use any of these 4 specific reasons in verse 16, but he says we should redeem the time - Why?, “Because the days are evil.”  Obviously, the days aren’t evil.  It is referring to what happens during those days if we don’t redeem the time.  The word here is the same Greek word used in the Lord’s prayer when Jesus asks God to protect us from the evil one.  So don’t take this phrase lightly.  Paul is basically saying that if you don’t make wise choices, then the evil one will have won.  We don’t have time to delve into this aspect, but I believe it ties in with what Jeff has been talking about on Sundays in First John and the worldly system run by Satan that opposes Christ.  I’ll let you consider that on your own.

“Redeeming the time” - this theme is so prevalent in the Bible.

Remember the rich man in Luke 12 who built up huge barns to store his wealth.  God said to him “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Or remember the Prodigal son (in Luke 15) he was the epitome of one who wasted his time.

As you read the Bible to get your Grapes this year, you are sure to see how often this theme is presented in Jesus’ parables and stories.  In the stories of The Rich Man & Lazarus, the wise & foolish builders where one built on the rock and the other the sand, the parables of the talents and the 10 virgins, just to name a few more.

Paul also uses this word for Redeeming two other times, in Galations 3:13 and 4:4.  These two verses are in reference to Jesus and his redeeming us from the curse of the law.  Galations 4:4 reads, ”But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”  This Greek word often referred to the purchase of a slave out of the market place.  I think here in Galations, Paul is trying to emphasize that we are no longer slaves and have been purchased with the blood of Christ.

Finally, as we finish up, here are three quick areas to focus on to help you with improving your time.  I’m using the acronym son, S-O-N, to help you remember these three things.

S - Spiritual time: Ephesians 5:18-21 follows with Paul describing how we should be filled with spiritual things such as singing, praying and submitting to God.   It should come as no surprise, as we know Jesus spent much of his time in solitude and in prayer to his Father.

O - Opportunities: Look for opportunities, make the most of your time.  Ephesians 5:17 says to Understand what the Lord’s will is.  Study, pray, meet with the saints.  These will help you to make wise choices of your time.  S - Spiritual time; O - Opportunities and

N - N stands for Now.  There is no time like the present. 

If any of you have delayed or are just hesitant to make a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, my dear brother or sister, Now is the time to act.  If you have a need to ask God for forgiveness or to make better use of your time, or if you believe, and want to repent, confess and be buried in baptism, to be redeemed by Jesus’ precious blood and be God’s child forever - for all eternity, then please do not wait another moment.  Buy up the time - today!

Song #544 - “Redeemed”

Redeemed how I love to pro-claim it!  Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed thro’ His in-fi-nite mer-cy, His child, and for-ev-er, I am.
Re-deemed, re-deemed, Re-deemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Re-deemed, re-deemed, His child, and for-ev-er, I am.


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Are you a member of the “IN” crowd?

Are you among those who are INdifferent? Are you lukewarm toward living a Christian life?

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

-Rev.3:16, 17




Let us rather be INvolved.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

-Eph. 4:15, 16




Maybe you are among those who are INsincere? (Or hypocritical)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

-Matt. 23:27, 28




I would rather be among those who haveINtegrity.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

-Titus 2:7, 8




Are you INconsistent?

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

-Rom.2:21-23




Let’s show INitiative instead.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

-Rom. 12:9,10




Are you INdefinite?( unwilling to take a stand)

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;

-John 12:42




Let’s rather seek to INspire others by standing up for what we believe in.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

-I Cor.16:13




Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

-Jude 3




Are you INdiscreet (unwise)?

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”

-Matt.25:24-27




Let’s be INtelligent (Or wise).

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

-II Pet.1:5-10




Are you INflated?

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

-Prov. 16:18




Let’s strive to maintain our confidence, not in ourselves and our abilities, but IN Christ Jesus because without Him, we have no hope of being saved at all.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

-Rom. 12:3




The choice is yours as to which “IN” crowd you will be a part of and that choice can effect where you spend eternity. Choose the way of Christ.