Talk or Walk?

2 Timothy 1.5 describes a sincere faith. There are those who claim to be Christians and then there are those with a sincere faith.images

The difference between the talkers and the walkers of the faith is quite obvious.

Those who talk attend church but do little and give little toward the work of God which is the winning and discipling of the nations.

Those who work-out their faith live as Jesus did demonstrating a godly character while working at helping others see, experience and know God personally. Those with a sincere faith are attractive and cause people to want to become Christians.

Those who mainly talk about being a Christian without living a godly life are seen as religious hypocrites, often self-righteous, and no one to be emulated.

Those with a sincere faith seek to grow in their faith by reading the Scripture regularly, praying daily for more of God’s presence and to be more of God’s presence while helping meet the needs of people so that they too want to know Jesus as their Savior.

Having a sincere faith means focusing on the work of God which is the restoring of humanity to God through Jesus Christ.

A sincere faith is outward focused toward God and others, seeking the reconciliation of people to God; it is not self-seeking or defined by personal experience.

The Lord Jesus gave His life as a ransom for all and those with a sincere faith work in word and deed with God to rescue people from sin and death and restore them to life everlasting.

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Working with God

Matthew 28.19 commands go and make disciples.herald

The Christian religion is the story of God entering the world as a man beginning His life like any person, as a baby, then giving Himself as the perfect sacrifice, being punished for the disobedience of all humanity for all time so that God the Father could pardon all the evil of all people who come to Him for forgiveness in humility and repentance.

This story of God’s work and love for the world, God has commanded to be told by those who have believed it, accepted it, and live it.

God has not given this message to supernatural beings that might make some grand entrance into the homes of humanity. God has entrusted His story to people just as He came as a person to live the story.

It is amazing and awesome to think that God invites His people to participate with Him in His work of telling His story so that the entire world might believe and be restored to God through Jesus the Savior.

What a privilege the people of God have been given and what a responsibility to faithfully fulfill for it is no small thing to convince people that there is a God and that He loves them and will one day measure them by His standards revealed through the Scriptures and through His Son the Living Word of God.

Much of the world is still unconvinced that God exists in Jesus Christ or that they must be reconciled with Him through Jesus the Savior.

The people of God must embrace their noble work if they are to fulfill His purpose for them and for His work at Calvary to fully accomplish its purpose.

The harvest is plentiful but the workers remain few. Who will embrace God’s command to make disciples?

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To Whom Should we Give?

Matthew 25.40 reminds us as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine you did it for Me. images

In perhaps the most famous judgment teaching of God in Jesus, he warns those who fail to do good for others that they fail to do good for Him but those who help others have indeed helped Him. The ‘others’ specifically mentioned are those who are brothers of Jesus.

Who are the brothers of God? Those people who seek the Father and obey His commands are His brothers and sisters.

This is insightful for the discussion about giving to the poor in our world.

The first Church is described as meeting the needs of everyone in its congregation through the generous giving by each member. However their giving was not for the community at large but to the community within Christ.

A careful reading of the New Testament places the focus of Christian charity upon those who are in the Lord rather than everyone at large.

The Church was even quite specific in its dispersion of help for it required those who could work to work or receive nothing. Likewise only widows over 60 whose reputation for loving God and the Church were to be helped by the Church and not everyone who was a widow.

The church body today is caught-up in random acts of benevolence while failing to first concentrate upon its own and seemingly with few if any requirements for such charity.

In many ways the Church has become like the government without discernment enabling people to remain dependent rather than fostering independence.

The goal of our giving should not be to feel good about our gift but to see the recipient through hard times until they too become givers to the true needs of the saints.

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How Will We Live?

Daniel 9.13 observes we have not tried to pacify the LORD our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom from Your reliable moral standards. images

The prophet Daniel recognized Israel’s calamity was a direct result of their disobedience to God because they pursued other gods whose ways were not the ways of the One True God.

Arguably America is in a spiritual and moral decline. The reason for this decline is that we no longer believe the Bible, doubt the existence of God and therefore ignore His commands.

We now follow the instruction of the godless whose psychology and sociology is ruining our children, our character and our church.

We have made the media and higher education the prophets of our day ignoring the Bible and God’s eternal truths believing instead the book is too old and corrupt to be studied or applied.

The result is our own demise as we continue to experience personal and social calamity. Daniel prescribes the remedy which is quite simple but requires faith and then an act of the will.

The remedy is to seek God and apply His truths to our lives in every sphere we exist: economic, family and government.

If we would know the blessing of God then we must obey God which requires knowing God and applying His truths to our lives: those truths are found in the Bible.

We must stop listening to the secular media and the secular  higher learning institutions for how to live our lives for they present a lifestyle which is the polar opposite of the will of God.

America can return to its former moral and spiritual greatness but to do so it must return to God by returning to the Bible as the source of Truth and conduct for life.

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Being Accountable

2 Thessalonians 3:6 commands you to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life. images

When we read this scripture in our age of tolerance we find it to be harsh causing us to become cynical and most likely disobedient.

We are not too good at holding one another accountable for we ourselves do not wish to be held accountable by anyone.

This is the reason for this command from the Apostle to the Church. The goal is to reflect Christ as He is and those who claim to be Christian but refuse to work out their salvation were to be corrected, first privately then publicly.

The purpose of the Church is the glory of God Who is most glorified when His children live in obedience to His commands demonstrated most effectively by love for one another.

Like the modern view of parenting, love has come to mean without correction. Yet none of us who are parents can go a day without some correction of our little ones.

The Church too must regularly engage the poor behavior of its members if it is to truly honor God in the world.

Could it be the poor view the world has of our God is a result of our poor representation of Him to the world?

Like the athlete who won’t pull his weight or the soldier who won’t have the back of his comrade is the Christian who lives little like the Lord Jesus Christ into Whose image He is seeking to form His people.

The best coach is the one who most disciplines his players, the best sergeant is the one who most trains his men and the best Christian is the one who strives to model Christ in the world calling others to the same standard while humbly receiving correction when he too demonstrates short comings.

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The Process of our Salvation

2 Thessalonians 2.13 describes salvation through sanctification.images

The work of God in us is a process culminating into the full transformation of all of His children into the image of His First Born Son, the Lord Jesus. The work of God toward humanity has always been a process.

It began with the man Abraham, continued with Moses, reached its zenith with David then began anew with God Himself in Jesus and is now proclaimed through the Church. Salvation is not a one-time event that begins and ends on some particular day.

While there is a day of beginning the work continues until we are fully transformed into the image of Jesus.

There is a day when we marry but marriage is a life-long process if we will remain happy and faithful to the end. There is a day when we are born but raising children is a life-long process if we are to develop happy and healthy adults in this world.

There is a day we realize we must follow Jesus as our Savior and Lord and begin the life-long process of obedience to His will.

Those who walk this road of daily pursuit of Jesus and obedience to His commands are being sanctified or formed into the image of Jesus and are working-out their salvation which started the hour they first believed.

If we are not in process then we have no reason to believe we are truly saved.

We can believe anything but our consistent words and deeds reveal our true nature, our true love and our true commitments.

True salvation is a process of being transformed into the image of Jesus evidence of which should be increasingly more visible to us, to others and to God.

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Christianity Defined

1 Thessalonians 4.1 describes how you must live and please God.images

There is an expectation that God has about us after we have asked His forgiveness for our disobedience and have now committed ourselves to following Him.

God’s expectation is that we would live in such a way that His character and will would be clearly seen through our words and deeds and that the focus of our lives would be the Kingdom of God coming to earth as it is in heaven. God expects His people to live like Him and to join Him in His work of restoring the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

Paul defines living like God in this text as being holy and avoiding sexual immorality. Holiness is an obscure word to our modern ears but it means literally set apart for God’s use or in the case of God Himself, set apart as pure and undefiled, perfect in every way.

So too the people of God are no longer pursuing worldly ways like titles and treasures or various pleasures but instead are living examples of the life of Jesus who are thoroughly engaged in the work of God which is the seeking and saving of the lost.

Jesus is not our Savior simply to keep us from the wrath of God to come but He is our Lord Who engages us now for serving today His purposes which is all people everywhere coming to know Him personally and living like Him always.

This is what it means to call ourselves Christian; it goes far beyond belief in God and weekly attendance at Church.

Christianity is seeking God, obeying His commands while engaging His work for His glory both now and forevermore.

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God’s Goodness

I Kings 20.28 hopes you will know that I am the Lord. images

King Ahab of Israel was not a good man neither was he a lover of the God of Israel. Ahab furthered Israel’s rebellion against God by promoting and worshipping other gods that were not in fact gods at all but idols manufactured by men.

The One True God, the Creator of all people and He Who established Israel was not willing to be ignored.

God comes to Israel and through His prophets helps this wicked king in his time of need so that, just maybe, through his experience of God’s love and kindness, Ahab would truly believe in God, love Him and begin to obey His commands.

Not just once but repeatedly God humbled Himself trying to win Ahab’s heart by acts of kindness and mercy toward him. It is never recorded that Ahab repented, turned to the One True God, and loved Him.

How many deeds of kindness has God shown us while we have ignored Him and His ways? How many good things have occurred in our lives undeserved because God is good and seeks to win our hearts yet we remain cold to Him?

How much more must God do to demonstrate His love for us than what He has already done historically through Jesus and practically through the many blessings we have already received?

The Almighty could easily force His creation into homage and submission. God is love and while He is All-powerful He uses that power to humble Himself before people in order to win people to Himself through His kindness.

When will we turn to God and worship with our lives the One True God Who is good to us?

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Asset or Liability

Matthew 16.23 laments you are a stumbling block to Me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.images

An employee who shows up to work to do his own thing is usually short lived. An employer pays people to carry-out the company objectives.

An athlete who doesn’t place team before self is traded for someone who will make everyone better not just seek his own glory.

Military boot camp has as its objective the breakdown of the self in order to build one cohesive unit.

While we understand all of this we tend to not apply it toward the work of the Church. God too has a mission, an objective, a will, which is the reconciliation of the world to Himself through Jesus Christ.

His means for accomplishing this purpose very much includes obedience from His people working together in unity for it to be successful.

Self-centered living is an anathema to God, a stumbling block to His plan because people spend their time, talent and treasure on the stuff of this world rather than making every effort to see God’s Kingdom come upon the earth as it is in heaven.

We can measure our focus on God’s purposes by measuring our results toward winning people to God’s point of view and helping God’s people become more like Jesus.

God is looking to build His Empire both in breadth through more people coming to Him as God and in depth through more people looking like Him in their attitudes and actions.

When God lived with us in Jesus He even then lamented that the work was plentiful but the workers were few.

So whose interest are we giving our lives to, God’s or our own?

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Being Wise

Matthew 15.9 condemns teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. my images

There are many things being taught in the Church that contradict what is written in the Bible. Instead of being wise men choose to be learned and so become foolish in the eyes of God.

When the commands of God are replaced by the doctrines of men then both legalism and disobedience occurs.

Legalism develops as people focus upon pleasing people more than pleasing God. Disobedience develops as people ignore the will of God clearly commanded in the Scriptures to do what men approve.

Recent examples of these doctrines include the use of evolution to explain the ‘symbolic’ six days of creation. This doctrine of men causes people to doubt the clear writing in the Bible and so they put more faith in science than in Scripture.

True science knows macro-evolution is a myth and that something cannot come from nothing. The Bible clearly teaches God made all things in six literal days.

Wisdom comes from fearing the Lord but education comes from men.

It is politically incorrect to refute the homosexual lifestyle yet God includes this behavior among all the sins people do that will keep them from heaven unless they repent and begin to obey God.

Many preachers promote tolerance and acceptance of things God calls immoral which confuses people and blasphemes His Holy Name.

The remedy to legalism and disobedience is for ministers of the Church to preach literally and thoroughly the Scriptures.

The people of the Church must also read and study the Scriptures for themselves not depending upon others to inform them of the ways of God.

In this way all people will know the Lord and know what is pleasing in His sight and those who do His will, will be proven wise.

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