In everything give thanks

It’s quite easy to give thanks for those good things we enjoy. When we like the giver, like the gift and when we feel like we deserve it.

It’s not so easy to give thanks for those good things disguised as work. It’s often years later before we can find the reasons to be thankful.

The Hebrew writer alludes to this truth; “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” [Heb 12:11]

Is it possible to follow the command of God to give thanks for everything, even the not so fun stuff?

To illustrate this point, indulge me in a little walk down my own memory pain, ur I mean lane.

Growing up the son of a 3rd generation sign maker and sole proprietor, my bother and I found ourselves many SATURDAYS and most of the SUMMERS at our father’s SHOP. From very early days, “tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother,” I can remember spending hours holding a paint can, paint thinner, and paint pallet as my father hand painted all types & sizes of advertisements. Over time and learning to read, I became spell check before such a thing ever existed. I could tell which letter dad was about to form just from the position of the brush. I would audibly grunt as the squirrel haired stick approached the surface; it was my respectful warning for him to check his spelling.

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” [Prov 10:5]

I HATED IT… sometimes. No kid wants to work it seems, and I was no different. But it wasn’t a choice. It was a matter of fact. It was as certain as a meal, or going to school. It was going to happen. Very early on I accepted my fate. I could go to the SHOP bitter or I could go to the SHOP & get better. Either way, I WAS GOING TO THE SHOP.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” [Prov 19:18]

I don’t know if it was the 3rd year or the 13th year, somewhere along the way it became an OPPORTUNITY to learn. The typical sign SHOP requires woodworking, painting, electrical and welding skills. It requires drawing, planning, organizing and socializing (sales). Over the years my older brother learned many of the fabrication skills while I, the younger, navigated toward the office, sales, and organizational skills. One day as dad left for a sales meeting, he shouted to a SHOP full of grown men, “Nobody answers the phone except Spencer!” I may have been 13 or 14 by then.  

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

As I reflect back on those dreaded days in the SHOP, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for them. Today I realize some of the lessons I’ve learned and the PERSON I’ve become because of those years. While at the moment there seemed to be no joy, but rather grief, many years later I am truly thankful for the time well spent.

While we can’t say what would have happened had my summers been spent under my own direction, we can make a fairly good guess they wouldn’t have been nearly as useful.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

Today, I am thankful to my dad as well as to my heavenly FATHER for those dreadful years well spent at the SHOP. Many of you have had similar experiences, or maybe even more painful ones. May we reflect on the good and be thankful.

It may be difficult to find the good in every memory, but we can at least be grateful for our survival, growth, and the lessons learned. May we find the ability to fulfil the command of God and “In every thing give thanks.”

— spencer

We Persuade Men.

Is it Wrong to Persuade? Some view our insistence in giving and requesting a “book, chapter, and verse” as being argumentative, or pushy. But is it really? Could it not just as easily be called persuasion?

God insisted David give Him a “thus saith the Lord” regarding the topic of building a temple; read 2Sam 7:1-7.

In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?”

It’s when we don’t give a “thus saith the Lord” that we’re actually just arguing opinions. Is it wrong to use persuasion?

We use it in just about every other are of our lives

  • People persuade when applying for work.
  • People persuade when looking for love.
  • People persuade kids to eat their vegetables.
  • People persuade to get our kids to do well in school.

We find persuasion used in scripture

  • Stephen used it. “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” (Acts 6:10)
  • Certainly, Peter used it; “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)
  • Naaman’s servants had to use it. They couldn’t command him to dip in the Jordan. “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2Kings 5:13)

What is Persuasion?

  • It’s Persistence. Someone once said they’re not convinced of Hell because believers aren’t very persistent in their warnings about it.
  • It’s continuing to study with a sinner (who is willing to study) until they understand the importance of the gospel. (Acts 17:11; cf. Mat 15:14)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the Love of the Lord and their response to His love. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the perils of ignoring the gospel. (Acts 24:25)
  • It’s showing them that it does matter what one believes. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • It’s helping them see the wisdom in choosing to obey the Lord. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the urgency in obeying the gospel. (Acts 16:30-34)
  • It is helping the sinner realize the frailty of life (Jas 4:14).
  • It is convincing the lost that there is a desperate need. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Persuasion is NOT.

  • Manipulation, which is using unfair or deceitful means to accomplish our own purpose. (2Cor 11:3-4)
  • It is not force or coercion. One convinced against their will is of the same opinion still. “… for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)
  • It is not steamrolling nor threatening another person into submission. (Acts 4:21; 19:34)
  • It is not badgering nor mocking another person. (Acts 17:32)
  • It is not arguing out of anger. (Acts 7:57)

Persuasion is just good old-fashioned evangelism from a fully convinced child of God who loves his family, friends, and neighbors enough to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.

How Many Animals were on Noah’s Ark?

Whenever the topic of Noah’s Ark comes up, mockers will attempt to destroy the Biblical narrative.

This is not limited to unbelievers, there are some that claim a belief in God that also deny the literal story of the ark, the flood & even the creation.

The True believer can stand confidently on the biblical narrative. Science & reasoning will bear out that the evidence points to a literal world-wide flood and with it the real possibility that Noah could carry out God’s command to rescue himself, his family and the animals.

The first objection fails to acknowledge that Noah wasn’t called to carry every single species of animal. The bible tells us that the ark only needed those animals that were air-breathing. “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” (Gen 7:22) This eliminates all marine animals logically reducing the number of land animals dramatically!!

Then they will use the logical fallacy of equivocation. The denier of the narrative will replace KINDS of animals with Species of animals. They will lump together every species of animal AND its variant, making it impossible for them to fit into the ark. The Bible clarifies that Noah need not carry every species; he only needed the KIND. “Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” (Gen 6:19-20; emphasis mine seb) “KIND” is not the same as species. Today’s scientific terms uses “family” or “genus” to categorize the animal kingdom. For example, dogs, wolves, foxes etc are all of the “CANINE” family. This significantly reduces the number of animals.

Science classifies all life into ‘families’ or Kinds. Science has catalogued the number of species to about 1.8 million. This number includes Plantae, Fungi, Protozoa, Chromista, Archaea, and Bacteria, which were not included with the command of “two of every kind.”  When you consider just the air-breathing KINDS, you come up with a number of about 6,700 animals!

This brings us the next subject, that of the size of the Ark. Was it large enough to house all of those animals, and their needs? When you consider the dimensions of the ark as revealed in scripture, using a cubit of 20.4 inches, you will find that the ark was INCREDIBLY huge. The ark was 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. An ark had a volume of about 1.88 million cubic feet. The ark of the bible has enough volume to hold a comparable volume of 450 semi-trailers. We have learned that there were significantly fewer animals housed in an INCREDIBLY larger ark than most realize.

On a side note; this discussion about the KINDS of animals gives us clarity to the NAMING of animals by Adam. The animals of Adam’s early days would have been the original ‘genus’ or class of animal. This would mean he could NAME them very rapidly. (cf. Gen 2:18-20). Science doesn’t really know how many KINDS originally existed at creation.     

While we’re talking about kinds let’s talk about DINOSAURS. That term only came about in 1841. Scientifically, DINOS are classified as Dinosauria. Dinosaurs include reptiles, a group that includes crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and snakes. Crocodiles are the closest living things to dinosaurs. Birds also fall under this family of animals!! So yes, DINOSAURS were on the ark. The specific KIND of DINO is unknown.

One final consideration is that of the SIZE of the animals. The antagonist will point to an adult elephant as proof that the ark was inadequate. What they fail to consider is that it was not necessary to carry only adult animals. Noah likely would have been sent SMALL juveniles. Additionally, the vast majority of animal kinds are very SMALL. The majority of animals in the world are about the SIZE of a beagle (13-16 inches tall & 20-25 inches long). To visualize this think about the size of a jumbo package of paper towels one could buy at Walmart!! This greatly reduces the space needed for the animals, and their needs. Noah could easily house all the required animals with room to spare.

The Christian can firmly stand with the word of God.

ht tp s://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/how-could-all-animals-fit-ark/

ht tp s://apologeticspress.org/was-the-ark-large-enough-for-all-of-the-animals-5704/

Are There Any Bereans Today?

Upon leaving a very difficult evangelism trip through Thessalonica, Luke tells a refreshing story of those he & Paul met in Berea [Acts 17:1-12].

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.”

When the word of the Lord was preached to them, they displayed some NOBLE characteristics we all would do well to emulate.

Are there any Bereans today?

Acts chapter 17 relates various reactions to the preaching of God’s word. Some mocked, others got angry even to the point of assault. The Bereans had a proper attitude toward hearing the message of the Gospel. Let’s consider some qualities that would make one NOBLE and ask ourselves if there are any Bereans today?

The Bereans were NOT going to be tossed about with every wind of doctrine NOR be deceived by empty words (cf. Eph 4:14; 5:6). How did they accomplish this? They “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” The Bereans were NOT gullible people to the extent that they would automatically accept anything taught them.  It’s interesting that Paul would write to the saints in Thessalonica about this very quality; “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1Thess 5:21; cf 1John 4:1). Are there any Bereans today with a mind to make a proper investigation?

The Bereans appear to be free of bias & preconceived ideas and OPEN to hear the message of the cross. “…in that they received the word with all readiness of mind…” People with prejudice don’t do this. Have you ever wondered how a person can claim to read the Bible yet miss the necessity of baptism? Perhaps it’s overlooked because of bias. Jesus encountered this type of problem with the religious of His day. “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt 13:15)

Bias is like the blinders on a horse, seeing nothing that might cause any discomfort. Condemnation before investigation is not what the Bereans practiced. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Prov 18:13) Bias is the opposite of the love of the truth. Paul gave this warning also to the Thessalonians; “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess 2:11-12) Are there any unbiased Bereans today?

The Bereans BELIEVED the truth. “Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” Hearing the truth is how faith & belief comes. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” and “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (Rom 10:17; John 20:31). Are there any Bereans today?

The Bereans LOOKED daily. This speaks to their tenacity & diligence. The scriptures in question of their day were the Old Testament Scriptures. These scriptures were written prior to the days of chapter and verse numbering which would have required considerable effort on their part to search. Undeterred, they searched daily! Are there any Bereans today that would have the energy to undertake this tedious endeavor? In a day when the Scriptures are so conveniently available on our phones, in apps, and when we have concordances and other types of helps to locate various passages. We should be teaming with Bereans!

Lastly, as they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” we make note of their attitude of EARNEST attention. An attitude that the writer of Hebrews said we “ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb 2:1). They had elevated the word of God to the importance it deserves as the word of God (John 17:17). We can’t help but note what Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thess 2:13; cf 2Tim 3:15-17)

Are there any Bereans today?

Starving Strays

Living in Borger has opened my eyes to the enormous problem of STRAY dogs.

Multiple times a week there are social media postings about them. Most often the STRAY is afraid of the one trying to help them.

Whenever a good Samaritan approaches to help the STRAY, it will often run away in fear even with an offer of food or water! There’s no recognition that this person is trying to help. They have no idea they need help.

This illustrates a spiritual problem with those who are wandering the shadows of death outside of Christ.

They do not recognize that the Lord is calling them to come to Him with the Bread of Life. They seem to have no concern that they are spiritually starving and astray.

Many are lost, starving, headed for trouble, and in need of His help and rescue. 

What do you know about STRAY sheep?

Jesus saw people as SHEEP without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Matt 9:36). Some look at these passages and note that Jesus fed them. Yes, He did, but He fed them the bread of Life. “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Stray sheep need to be fed the spiritual food of eternal life (cf. John 6:51, 68). Unfortunately, some will not take the spiritual food, but offer it any way.

On one occasion, Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem and shed TEARS over it, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41-44). Strays are in jeopardy. How do we feel about that? Does it move us to TEARS? Some of us want to get rid of the strays that wander onto our lawns. Let’s have compassion on the straying people.

Some stray intentionally. Peter refers to some who have gone astray as those who will “RECEIVE the REWARD of unrighteousness. “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2Pet 2:13-15). Jesus is no respecter of persons. He died even for the unlovable. (cf. Rom 5:6-10)

Anyone who is off the path of righteousness, regardless of the reason, is ASTRAY. “All we like sheep have gone ‘astray’; we have turned, everyone, to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus went to the cross to make our salvation possible because we have all gone astray. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Peter 2:24-25). We need to remember that we once were straying and someone reached out to us.

He invites all to come to Him for salvation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30). Being a stray may seem like freedom, but it’s actually bondage to sin. As counterintuitive as it may sound, submitting to the YOKE of Christ is freeing! “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16) Some of the straying want to be free to live how they want, but that’s a dangerous way to live away from the protection of the Good Shepherd. (cf. John 10:7-14)

As the Good Shepherd, He has set forth the rules of entry into His fold: Hear. Mat 7:24; Believe John 8:24; Repent Luke 13:3; Confess Mat 10:32; Baptized Mark 16:16; Faithfulness Mat 28:20. He is the door, the way, the truth, the life.

Jesus sees us in our sorrowful, starving, and straying condition. Without Him we are lost sheep, astray from His life saving blood. He is calling through the Gospel (cf. 2Th 2:14). He is offering us the bread of life (John 6:48). His is the door of the sheep, offering salvation (John 10:9). You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. Let Him comfort you with His staff & His rod (Psalm 23:4).

Those that will RESIST your progress

Stephen made this statement about the Jews of his day; “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:51)

This is an astounding claim, that some resist the Holy Ghost. As astounding as that is, we all can attest to this fact.

Not only are there those who resist the Holy Ghost, but there are those who try to resist YOU as you seek to obey Him.

The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem. Who are those who RESIST our progress?

People that will RESIST us seek to obey Christ.

First, there will be those who attempt to deceive us and rob us of our reward. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6; cf. Col 2:4,8,18)

Second, there will be those who will be mockers of our enlightenment in Christ. “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” (Acts 24:26; cf Acts 17:32)

The third kind of people who will resist us are the selfish & superficial people. They will often misquote Matt 7:1, “Judge not…” as they resist the commands of God against sin. This type of person appeals to stories & situations as they attempt to draw us away after their own lusts & desires.

The fourth type of person resists us accidentally. They may be hindering us inadvertently because they are living their lives free of concern for the moral principles of God. These have an affect on the world around us, vexing our spirits. (cf. 2Pet 2:7-8)

The fifth person is personal. It is us. Sometimes our biggest resistance is from our own Sowing & Reaping. We can sow sparingly, sow to the wind, sow to the flesh, sow spiritual things, sow iniquity and sow wickedness. (Gal 6:7-8; 2Cor 9:6; 1Cor 9:11; Hos 8:7; Prov 22:8; Job 4:8). We reap what we sow.

Lastly, there are those who, for whatever reason, are just trouble makers. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Rom 16:17) Some people are just mean; Meddlers, Egotistical, Accusers, and Negative.

Whoever it is, we can RESIST them & draw near to God. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

It’s Up to You

God gave you this day to do just as you would

You can throw it away – or do some good.

You can make someone happy, or make someone sad.

What have you done with the day that you had?

God gave it to you to do just as you would,

You could do what is wicked, or do what is good.

You can hand out a smile, or just give ’em a frown,

You can lift someone up, or push someone down.

You can lighten a load, or some progress impede.

You can look for a rose or just gather some weed.

What did you do with your beautiful day?

God gave it to you; did you throw it away?

Author unknown

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:35-40)

Does it MATTER what we Believe pt2

Part Two:

Part one in answering our question 3 points were made in the last article…

Now we will offer three more points as we answer the question…

Does it MATTER what one believes?

When someone tells you to “choose the church of your choice,” what they’re appealing to is YOUR wants & wishes and NOT GOD’S. This is not an appeal to authority of God; it is an appeal to THEIR BELLY. This is not my opinion; this is what the bible says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Phil 3:19)

Another way we usually see this is when people try to defend unscriptural practices. They often make an appeal to an emotional situation. Instead of looking for a ‘thus saith the Lord,’ they will give you a ‘thus saith my feelings.’ What they fail to realize is that they have made THEIR BELLY THEIR GOD. Feelings are subjective and can be deceived. Did you know that it’s not possible to know through just feelings if God is with you? “And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (Judge 16:20)

The way to know is by searching the scriptures. The Bereans were called NOBLE because they were Not Gullible (Eph 4:14; 5:6), had Opened their hearts while they Opened the scriptures (Prov 2:1-5), had Belief based on Looking through the scriptures daily (Rom 10:17), and this Earnest Endeavor made it possible for them to know the truth.

If it doesn’t MATTER, then all the little ‘g’ gods are EQUAL to the One Omnipotent God of heaven. Did you know that the bible says it’s possible to hear another Jesus, another gospel, by another spirit? Paul wrote warning us about a perverted gospel.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2Cor 11:4)

Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal 1:7)

None of these false teachers were trying to win you over by convincing you of doing some harm. Paul said that they appeared as “the ministers of righteousness.” Satan himself using the mask as “an angel of light.” (2Cor 11:13-15) If it’s possible to be deceived by a false gospel, spirit, or Jesus, then it DOES MATTER what one believes.

An extension of the last point, since it’s possible to follow a false Jesus, it must then be concluded that it’s possible to be RELIGIOUS and wrong.

Paul warned the Colossian Christians against false RELIGIOUS practices. “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.” (Col 2:23) “Will Worship” refers to self-developed RELIGIOUS practices. We see this all the time, people deciding on man made RELIGIOUS practices foreign to the scriptures.

This is nothing new, we can read about it in Leviticus 10. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

Nadab and Abihu had just been trained on what God wanted. They altered the pattern and were immediately struck. While God doesn’t demonstrate His disapproval in this way today, it doesn’t mean He is pleased with our altering of the pattern for New Testament practices.

CONCLUSION:

If it doesn’t MATTER what one believes than any and all beliefs, even one’s contrary to the others is ok.

  • Does it MATTER that one religion to deny Christ, while the other says that He is the way the truth and the life? (John 14:6)
  • Does it MATTER that the bible calls out sin, while man-made doctrine says it isn’t a sin? (1Cor 6:9-11)
  • Does it MATTER that the bible says “baptism doth also now save us,” while man says that baptism has nothing to do with salvation? (1Peter 3:21)
  • Does it MATTER that some will say we’re saved by faith alone when the bible says we’re not? (Jas 2:14-26)
  • Does it MATTER that some say you can never lose your salvation when the bible says you can? (Gal 5:4; Heb 2:1-3)

It does MATTER what we believe. Your eternal soul is at stake.

Does it MATTER what one Believes?

Does it MATTER what we Believe? part one.

Toward the end of nearly every discussion about the divisive state of the religious world, one will usually say something like this…

“You can’t tell me my sweet grandma (could be neighbor, friend or relative), who never went to church (or did go to a denomination ‘religiously’), who was kind to people and animals, who never said a bad word or did a bad thing, who helped anyone that asked, is lost. She was so very sincere in what she believed.”

Instead of approaching the idea of whether sincerity saves, let’s ask the question:

Does it MATTER what one believes?

Usually in these discussions we can agree that certain very wicked people are lost (the Hitlers and the pedophiles of the world). Are the kind and the sincere who didn’t follow the bible totally saved because of their sincerity and goodness?

We’ll set aside the fact that those who say this are suggesting a ‘works based’ salvation, which they would normally condemn. We will just look at the Bible and ask, does it MATTER?

Does it MATTER what we believe?

Most would agree that we ought to obey GOD rather than MAN. (Acts 5:29). Jesus was critical of those that created doctrines contrary to the doctrine of God.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:7-8a)

Usually, they will agree with this point that you have to believe in God, in Christ and in the Bible. But when it comes to saying that the non-Christian religious people are lost, they stop short saying; “I’m not the judge.” This is the fallacy of equivocation. We’re not judging their hearts, we’re making righteous judgment with the Word of God. (cf. Mat 7:1-2)

Paul had ‘judged’ that the Jews of his day were not saved; “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom 10:1-2). He had discerned from the Truth of God’s word that they had not obeyed the gospel and therefore were not saved.

Which brings us to our next point about “does it MATTER,” does your belief AGREE with the Doctrine of Christ?

In both Old and the New Testaments, one had to have a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for their beliefs and actions. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) When King David desired to build a Permanent Temple for God, he was prohibited because he didn’t have a command from God, there was no scriptural command to do this good thing. Therefore, it was a wrong thing. (2Sam 7:1-7)

Here’s the point, God’s word is Objective Truth. It is transparent, researchable, universal to all, for the thinking person, and it is heavenly (cf. James 3:17). Compare the objective Word of God to the subjective, shifting sand of a person’s heart. (Mat 7:24-29) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14)

David appealed to the subjective standard of his feelings. He was pointed toward the OBJECTIVE, fixed standard of God’s Word. We’re told not to go beyond what is written (2Cor 4:13), speak as the oracles of God (1Pet 4:11), the commandments of the Lord (1Cor 14:37), the inspired Scriptures (2Tim 3:16-17), using the words chosen by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:9-13), and not to add to nor take away from the Word (Rev 22:18-19).

Then, in this 3rd point, when we have an objective standard, called the TRUTH (John 17:17), we have an ability to search the scripture to find out if what we feel is true (Acts 17:11).

Did you know it’s possible to feel secure and not know the Lord has departed from you? (Judges 16:20) Did you know it’s possible to believe a lie? (1Kings 13:18; cf. 2Thess 2:9-12)

By reading & studying God’s word, we can Know the truth and be set free from the bondage of lies, sin, and the corruption of this life. (John 8:32; 12:48; cf. James 1:25; 2:12)

WALK as other gentiles

Paul wrote in Ephesians four:

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

This is one of the 7 WALKS found in Ephesians. Let’s break down this WALK of the other Gentiles to find what we may learn.

THE FUTILE WALK. Eph 4:17-19

The first thing that jumps out is verse 17, WALKING in the VANITY of their minds. This word vanity refers to our modern word ‘FUTILITY.’ Futile means; incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful; trifling; frivolous; unimportant. Once you see that, you can immediately recognize this problem with so many of us. We focus on the minors, ignoring the majors. We know more about the celebrities of pop culture than we do of the heroes of faith (cf. Heb 11). Keeping up with the Kardashians will not help any go to heaven.

In one sense, everything is trivial when compared to an eternity in Heaven or Hell. If we elevate any activity above serving the Lord, it is WALKING IN FUTILITY. Politics, Pop Culture or even your Papa can become vanity when we view them as our savior.  Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37). Paul wrote, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)

The next glaring condition is, “being ALIENATED from the life of God.” Paul’s theme in the opening chapters of Ephesians are about ALIENS being reconciled to God. “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” He finishes by saying, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13) being ALIENATED from God is a hopeless existence and to be greatly avoided.

Next, Paul describes the walk of the other gentiles as giving themselves over to “LASCIVIOUSNESS, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (4:19). This describes LEWD behavior coupled with greediness. Greed is exemplifying self.

Paul will write to the Galatians about the lust of the flesh, one of which is ‘selfish ambitions’ (emulations kjv). Look at the other lists in Romans 1:20-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; 2Timothy 3:1-9 et al. LEWD & GREED together opens the door to all kinds of debauchery in hedonism.

Lastly, intermixed with all of the above is that their understanding is darkened. Their KNOWLEDGE of God, His Love, His Promises, His Sacrifice is as blindness of the heart. He also calls it ‘ignorance.’ It’s one thing to be ignorant, this text suggests ignorance because they don’t want to know. Someone who will not see has no advantage over the one that cannot see.

The most common problem I notice when talking to folks is the complete lack of interest in the reading of God’s word. This among those who claim to love the Lord. They often refer to what they think the bible says, what their pastor said, what they think they know, but seldom do they actually know. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

The bible says this about the Word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

6 Point Spiritual Check-Up

Point Spiritual Check Up.

The New Testament has more than a few passages about performing a Spiritual CHECK-UP to avoid becoming spiritually sick, or even dying spiritually.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;” 2Cor 13:5

But let a man examine himself.” 1Cor 11:28

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” 1Co 11:30

Here are 6 areas from scripture that the Growing Christian CHECKS in their Spiritual life.

“Say AHH.” One of the first thing a doctor checks is your throat & mouth. Spiritually speaking, we are to check our own mouth and our CONVERSATIONS. We need check the words that we use with others.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

[Jas 3:12; cf. Col 4:6]

Another thing he checks is you HEIGHT. Jesus refers to one’s height when discussing worry & anxiety. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? [Matt 6:27]

None of us can change our height by worry, neither can we change our situation with it. We are to be active in our seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. [cf. Eph 3:18]

The EYES will also be examined. How are the EYES of your understanding?

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” [Eph 1:18; cf. 2Peter 1:9; 1John 2:9,11]

Our WEIGHT will also be measured. God WEIGHS us spiritually in His balance. [cf. Prov 16:2; cr. Dan 5:27; 1Sam 2:3; Job 31:6]

In another sense, weight is a metaphor for the COMPLICATIONS & Distractions of life.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every WEIGHT, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” [Heb 12:1]

Every check up includes a checking of the Heart. The Proverbs writer said,

KEEP thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Prov 4:23; emph mine seb. cf. Mt 12:34; Mr 7:21]

 We need to KEEP our hearts. We cannot KEEP it from God. “Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men,” [Acts 1:24]

Lastly, an examination will include taking our Temperature. Spiritually speaking, this is like checking our SPIRIT or our zeal.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:15-16; cf. Titus 2:14; 3:8]

This article was written to help us take a tangible look at our spiritual lives. Our Eternal Lives are on the line. We must avoid becoming spiritually sick, or worse, spiritually dead!!

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” [1Cor 11:30]