Be That Christian Who…

Knows that the New Testament is the sole source of authority for life and godliness. Why the New Testament?  The Old Testament, while inspired and profitable (cf. Romans 15:4), was the Law of God for Jews at Mt. Horeb (Sinai, cf. Deuteronomy 5:1-5), until the cross of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 9:15-17.  It was fulfilled by Jesus and superseded by “the gospel of the kingdom,” Luke 16:16, the New Testament.  Furthermore, what you or I think or feel or believe doesn’t cut it either- what God has said in the New Testament is vital.  The “word of His grace” is that “which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified,” Acts 20:32.  Be that Christian who knows this.  And...

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“By Faith Moses…”

Hebrews 11 not only defines faith (see vv.1,6), example after example is given to illustrate it.  In each of these examples, faith produces obedient action.  That is, faith caused those cited to act in accordance with God’s commands and expectations.  Action that is taken from any other motivation cannot be of faith, because Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  However, the decision to live by faith usually requires some additional choices along the way…

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Applying and Abusing God’s Grace

The grace of God is generally defined as unmerited favor.  While this probably is an overly simplified characterization, it is, nonetheless, adequate for our purposes here.  But even with this basic definition, we understand God’s grace to be phenomenal in its nature, magnanimous in its scope, and overwhelming in its effect.  Is it any wonder Christians so enthusiastically embrace it, so completely depend upon it, and so universally sing its praises?  After all, it is amazing, wonderful, greater than our sin, and reaches even me!  However, these things don’t always prevent us from trying to misapply it, or from abusing it…

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What Will You Give Up for Heaven?

Modern religion seeks to attract people with a “come as you are” approach, which is correct- Jesus invited and welcomed everyone to come to Him too, Matthew 9:10-13.  The problem is not with the “come as you are” invitation, it is with the “stay as you are” allowance and acceptance.  Christianity is supposed to change people, rather than allow them to remain as they are and make them feel good about living sinful lives.  Think about it…

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Spiritual Buffets

I enjoy eating, and if it isn’t immodest to say so, I’m good at it!  But I don’t like (and consequently don’t eat) some foods- regardless of how beneficial they might be for me.  I love buffets.  They provide me the opportunity to get as much as I want of what I want- typically the meat dishes, and I don’t have to put anything on my plate (OK, “plates”!) of what I don’t like or want at the time- usually the vegetables or desserts.  What a deal!  Apparently, other folks appreciate buffets also, given their popularity.  And why not?  Everyone gets what they want, and as much of it as they want.  There’s a great variety of different meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts, and plenty of each!  So, what’s the down side to that?  Well, for one thing, buffets allow, if not encourage, us to: 1) easily avoid foods we should be eating in favor of those we prefer; and, 2) eat way more than is good for us of foods that we shouldn’t be eating except in moderation.  So….

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The Four P’s of New Testament Baptism

After Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, and spent forty days instructing His apostles, and just before He ascended back into heaven, He gave them this charge, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned,” Mark 16:15-16.  With this simple commission, they were sent forth and the world was forever changed.   The formula for salvation is put forth in its simplest terms: Belief + Baptism = Salvation.  However, although few argue for salvation without faith, many seem to doubt or understand the importance of baptism.  Let’s use the divine commentary of other NT passages to see if we can provide some clarity to half of what Jesus said produced salvation.  For the sake of simplicity and hopefully help us remember the prerequisites and purpose of baptism, let’s use four P’s…

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Speaking Where, When, and How the Bible Speaks

The first part of 1Peter 4:11 reads, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God…”  Though the preceding verse and the rest of this one focuses on stewardship- employing the special gift(s) given by God to be used to the benefit of others and to His glory, the portion quoted emphasizes the need for authority in our speech…

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Heterosexual “Christian” Hypocrisy regarding Homosexuality

We Christians often bristle or are dismissive of the charge of “hypocrisy” without really considering that it might actually be accurate.  To be sure, it is frequently falsely levied as the last (or first) resort for those who have no other legitimate defense for their sinful practices.  And let’s be clear, there is no scriptural defense for homosexuality, as 1Corinthians 6:9 clearly indicates.  But these things notwithstanding, Christians are being hypocritical regarding homosexuality by…

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We Seem to Have It Backwards

In mechanics, carpentry, and other kinds of work, sometimes you can install a part or piece 180 degrees out- and thus exactly backwards, and it will still fit, but obviously won’t work.  This ISN’T a problem particular to physical construction or repair.  Sometimes, we can get things exactly backwards in spiritual matters also.  For instance…

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Growing “Weeds” instead of “Fruit”

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to grow weeds and other worthless or undesirable plants?  Basically, just do nothing more than refuse to pull them up, chop them off, or poison them, and you’ll have a fantastic crop in no time at all without any cultivating, watering, fertilizing, or real effort.  Just leave them alone and they’ll take care of the rest!  But by contrast, seemingly the most desirable plants- whether flower, fruit, vegetable, or even grass, are often the most difficult to grow.  They require proper soil tilling and preparation, careful planting, optimum amounts of water, nutrients, and sunshine, and freedom from the competition of or destruction by the undesirables (weeds as well as insect and animal pests).  And, these things must be done over a sometimes-lengthy period of time just to grow the desirable plants to maturity and productivity. Here, yet again, the spiritual mirrors the physical…

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Daily Verse

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

- 2 Timothy 1:13-14

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