6 things Jesus TAUGHT in His last week

Jesus spent His time on earth teaching and preaching. From the very earliest days He was found in the Temple hearing and asking questions, and all that heard were amazed at His answers (Luke 2:46-47).

Throughout His ministry He is teaching. Even when He saw the 5,000 that followed Him, having compassion on them, He TAUGHT them.

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” (Mark 6:34)

Therefore, it should be no surprise that He was seen teaching even up to His last days on Earth.

During His last week He was in the Temple teaching amidst those who sought to take His life.

What was it that Jesus TAUGHT them that still has application for us today?

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt 21:12-13)

1) When Jesus TURNED over the money changers tables and cast out those that bought and sold in the TEMPLE, He is teaching us a lesson about proper authorized worship. In the New Testament age, the church is His TEMPLE (1Cor 6:19). We are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). There is a right way and a wrong way to worship. He TAUGHT that it’s possible to have vain worship (Mark 7:6-7). It would behoove us to learn what it is to properly worship Him in our lives, but also when we gather together as a church. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:17-34; Heb 10:24-25)

“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

(see Matt 21:23-27).

2) Jesus TAUGHT that there are only 2 sources of AUTHORITY; from above or from below. We must understand this lesson today. Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth (Matt 28:18). He is to have the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). He is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15). Therefore, we are to study His word to know what it is that He commands for how we are to speak and act (Col 3:17). (cf. 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10)

“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (see Matt 21:33-46)

3) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT a lesson that covers much of OT history and ultimately a lesson about UNITY with God. The record of the bible shows that God desires mankind to be UNITED with Him through His Son, and His word, but the world, and the children of Israel, would not. Today, we are UNIFIED through Christ into one body (Eph 4:3-6). We cannot expect any UNITY with God, any peace, unless we keep His commands. Many folks say there’s unity in diversity of doctrines. This contradicts the word. God is not an author of confusion. (1Cor 14:33; see Col 2:14; Heb 7:12; 9:16-22)

“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

(see Matt 22:1-14)

4) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT about the Kingdom of Heaven. Many are called, but few are chosen. Even those who respond to the call, if they don’t have the proper GARMENT, they will be rejected. The only way to understand this is by seeing what it is we are to put on and how. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). People claim we are to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Not so. We are to put on Christ in water baptism through faith. (see Acts 2:38; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21)

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” (see Matt 22:23-33)

5) In the challenge from the Sadducees, Jesus TAUGHT about the proper way to HANDLE the word of truth. It’s possible to make an error, be mistaken, and be lost because we don’t know the scriptures on how to be saved and how to live a godly life. (see 2Tim 2:15; 3:15-17)

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (see Matt 24)

6) Jesus was asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Since then, many have wrested this text to predict the end of the world when Jesus would return (1Thess 4:13-18). A careful reading will show what Jesus actually TAUGHT about the TIME of His return. Notice what He said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt 24:34). It’s very clear that much of what He said would occur within the lifetime of those who were hearing Him.

But of that day and hour…” The day of His return to Earth to gather the saints, to destroy the world, and to judge all nations, “…knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; see 2Peter 3:10; Dan 2:31-45).

Close) Jesus TAUGHT throughout His life even up to His last moments. It makes me think about myself and the myriad of loved ones who do not know God and have not obeyed the Gospel. Shall we try to teach them?

— spencer

Spencer has been preaching in Borger Texas since 2014.

Reminders in 2 Peter

Peter’s second letter is short but powerful. These three chapters contain the seeds for many a sermon on faith, obedience, heaven, and the impending destruction of the earth.

It could also be called a book of reminders. Note these verses…

• 1:12 I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance…

• 1:13 to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

• 1:15 after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

• 3:1 I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

Let us look at these reminders from the Apostle Peter through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The first reminders are in chapter one and are for us to “give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure” [1:10]. He goes on to say, “if you do these things you will never stumble.” What are the things Peter desired to bring into our remembrance?

There are seven things we are reminded to add to our Faith…

Virtue,

Knowledge,

Self-Control,

Perseverance,

Godliness,

Brotherly kindness

and Love.

If we do these things after becoming Christians, an entrance will be supplied to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [5-11]

The second set of reminders are in the second chapter are about False Teachers. These false teachers will SECRETLY bring in destructive heresies. [2:1]

“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.”

They will make MERCHANDISE of you, using DECEPTIVE words [v3]. They will SPEAK evil of the things they do not understand [v12]. They will ENTICE unstable souls [14]. They have FORSAKEN the right way [15]. They will speak GREAT SWELLING words of emptiness [18]. They ALLURE through the lusts of the flesh [18]. They will promise LIBERTY [19].

Peter says of these people, “For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” [21]. The examples of Scripture should remind us to beware and behave [4-11].

The third set of reminders are in chapter 3, “that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles:” [3:2]. What were some of these words of the holy prophets?

First: SCOFFERS will come in the last days [3]. These will be walking in their own lusts and saying, “where is the promise of His coming.” It seems to me that these scoffers may be among us just as the false teachers begin from us [2:1].

They willfully FORGET: [5] These scoffers willfully forget the lessons from the beginning. The lessons from Noah’s ark. That world perished by water; this one will perish with fire [7].

Do NOT FORGET this one thing: [8] that the timeline of God is not the timeline of men. Thankfully, it is not. God’s patient longsuffering is salvation [9, 15].

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;”

The DAY of the LORD: [10-13] will come as a thief. When He comes, the physical world will melt with a fervent heat. The hearts of men will melt with the realization of their error [11]. Those who are prepared through obedience to the gospel are looking for and forward to that wonderful Day [12-13].

He closes out this epistle as he opened it, with a call to DILIGENCE [14]. He refers to the letters from Paul, which have some things hard to understand, but not impossible to understand [Eph 3:3-4]. However, we must beware lest we fall. We already know this, Peter has just reminded them, and us [17].

The final reminder: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

— spencer

Spencer has labored with the church as an evangelist in Borger Texas since 2014.

the Character of JOSHUA

JOSHUA was one of only two people allowed to enter the promised land after their rebellion and the wilderness wandering.

In the final speech of Moses, he explains why Joshua & Caleb could enter the promised land.

Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD” (Num 32:12)

A study of the life of JOSHUA will show how he wholly followed the LORD and the effects of his faithfulness.

This great man had to suffer with the rebellious children of Israel during the wilderness wandering and had to wait 40 years to enter in.

His name means, “a savior; a deliverer” and is the same name associated with Jesus. He died when he was 110 years old.

Joshua is probably best known for the fall of JERICHO, his first battle after becoming the leader of Israel and crossing the Jordan (Josh 5-6:27). “And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Josh 6:3-5).

Joshua was faithful and OBEDIENT. Because of his own obedience to God, he is able to tell the whole nation to do the same in his final speech. “Therefore be ye very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Josh 23:6). Joshua did what was told him, (Ex 17:10).

His faithfulness and obedience made him an excellent SERVANT to Moses, to God & the People. “And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.” His most famous quote being, “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.” (Num 11:28; Ex 24:13; 32:17; Josh 1:1; 24:15).

Joshua was HEEDED by all the people during the beginning of his leadership, “And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go” (Josh 1:16), and they served the Lord during the days of the elders that outlived him. “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel” (Judges 2:7).

His whole life is an example of UNWAVERING Faith and Courage. It’s seen early after their exodus from Egypt in the battle with the Amalekites (Ex 17:8-16). It is seen as he serves Moses at Mount Sinai, “And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God,” (Ex 24:13; 32:17).

His UNWAVERING faith and courage are seen when he is chosen to spy out the land and his desire to go at once to take the land with Caleb. “And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not” (Num 14:6-10).

We also see a strong ALLEGIANCE & loyalty to Moses when they went up to Mt. Sinai while the others stayed beneath. “And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.” Moses when go on into the midst of the cloud that surrounded the mountain, (Exo 24:13-18).

He remained close to the mountain for the forty days while the others feared and erred. “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Exo 32:1-17).

He remained close to the tabernacle of meeting that Moses has set up to communicate with God on behalf of the people. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle” (Exo 33:11).

What does it mean that Joshua ‘wholly followed’ the LORD? What more can be said? Is there one verse that could describe the character of Joshua?

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might

(Deut 6:5; 10:12; 30:6; Matt 22:37)

— spencer

Spencer has been serving with the church of Christ in Borger Texas for 8 years.

the Life of Peter in 2 Periods

Peter’s life could be divided into two different periods of his life for the purpose of studying it…

Before Pentecost, with the pivotal point being found in John 21:15-19.

After Pentecost, which runs from Acts 2 through Acts 15.

A simplified outline of his life could be described in these few words.

He was…

A PASSIONATE and often impetuous man. He was an EYEWITNESS to the Life of Christ and heard God’s voice from Heaven. He was TESTED by Satan as seen in his denial of Christ.

Afterward he was EVANGELISTIC, even facing death for his preaching. He was a REPENTANT man as seen in his zeal to preach and his writings.

This bulletin will supplement our Sunday morning Bible study as we study the inspired letters of the Apostle Peter.

BEFORE PENTECOST.

And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona:” (John 1:42a)

We’re introduced to Peter at the SEA of Galilee (Matt 4:18). He is married as seen when Jesus heals his mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15). He was still fishing when he is called to be a constant companion of Jesus (Matt 4:19-20). It’s after this second calling that he forsakes all to follow Jesus. He verbalizes this after his call to be an Apostle. “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:28)

As he followed Christ, he was included in an INNER circle of 3 that witnessed certain key events, one of which is the transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-9; cf. 2Peter 1:17), where they hear the voice of God.

Because of his often impetuous and passionate personality, it was he that requested to MIRACULOUSLY walk on water with Jesus (Matt 14:28-31). It’s only when he takes his eyes off the Lord and looks at the storm that he begins to sink requiring the Lord to reach out to save. “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

It was Peter that took Jesus aside to rebuke Him and OBJECTED to His dying as the Lord was predicting (Matt 16:22). It was also Peter that OBJECTED to the washing of his feet by Jesus (John 13:8). “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.”

Then, at the lowest point of this period, he denied Jesus after His arrest saying, “I know NOT this man of whom ye speak.” (Matt 26:31-35; Mark 14:71; John 18:15-18; 25-27). What makes this especially difficult for Peter is that he and the Lord make direct eye contact upon his 3rd denial.

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61)

A pivotal point in this period of his life is his breakfast by the sea with Our Risen Lord (John 21:15-19). It’s here he learns that his life is about to change even more dramatically.

This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

AFTER PENTECOST.

thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (John 1:42b)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the COMPANY of the other eleven Apostles to deliver the first sermon in the New Testament age. They preached the gospel which is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. He commands the believers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:14-38).

Even though 3,000 souls were added to the church after that first sermon, the next day he is in the Temple continuing to EVANGELIZE. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Through their efforts the church continued to grow in the first days (Acts 4:1-4).

It was Peter who was given the assignment to PREACH to the gentiles (Acts 10). Being summoned to the house of Cornelius, he PREACHES the gospel to them, giving them the same command he gave to the Jews. It was the same command given him by the Lord. “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized” (Acts 10:47; cf. Mark 16:15-16)?

As bold as he was, Peter is not without fault as seen in a moment of HYPOCRISY when he separated himself from the gentiles when those of the circumcision came to Antioch (Gal 2:11-14). But Peter is a man of HUMILTY and repentance. Holding no grudges, he acknowledges Paul’s teaching in his second letter (2Peter 3:15-16).

Another part of Peter’s story in Acts is during the persecution of Herod. Herod had killed James, and had imprisoned Peter. He escapes through ANGELIC help. The danger doesn’t deter him in the least. He goes to encourage the brethren and continues to preach the Gospel (Acts 12)

One of the last times we hear of Peter in Acts is in Acts 15. It was through his SPEECH along with that of Paul, Barnabas, and James that the church rejoiced with comfort (Acts 15:7-11, 31) knowing that the gentiles, along with the Jews, may be saved through the blood of Christ.

I hope this summary of the life of Peter aids us in our study of his inspired letters.

— spencer

Spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin and Juniper church of Christ in Borger, Texas.

the BLIND that did not know

It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So.”

The origin of the above quote is unknown, being attributed by most to Mark Twain. Regardless of who came up with this quote, God teaches this principle in His divine word, and is being exemplified in peoples lives continually. What does this quote mean?

It means that there are some that are so confident in what they know, but do not know that what they know is false.

In other words, folks act on erroneous information as if it’s accurate. This gets them into trouble. They’re BLIND to the truth, believing a lie. (cf. 2Thess 2:10-12)

Samson is a clear example of this principle of being BLIND. “And she said, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free. But he knew not that Jehovah was departed from him

(Judges 16:20) (ASV) [emph mine seb].

What we learn from this passage, and others I’ll show you, is that it’s possible to know for certain a lie is true. Samson KNEW that the Lord was with him, but DID NOT KNOW that the Lord had departed from him.

To say it another way, it’s possible to be separated from God and not know (feel) it. Feelings are no evidence of salvation.

Here are 5 more examples from scripture of those that DID NOT KNOW the Lord was not with them, they’re BLIND.

BALAAM (Num 22:34). As Balaam went with Balak’s men against the will of God, he did not know that the Angel of the Lord stood in the way to slay him. But his donkey did. Upon seeing the Angel of the Lord Balaam said, “I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.” Lesson from Balaam; it’s possible to be headed toward death and not know it.

LAODICEA (Rev 3:17). In the letter to the church of the Laodiceans Jesus says, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” Lesson from the Laodiceans; It’s possible to be successful, content, and feel secure and not know that you’re actually not secure at all.

ISRAEL (Num 14:41-44). After God denies them entry into the promised land for their disobedience, they make an attempt to go in. Moments earlier it would have been a good idea, but God had already given a new command. Moses even warns them saying, “Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.” Lesson from the children of Israel; It’s possible to want to do what you think is “good,” be warned against it, ignore the command of God and lose.

NONE of God’s counsel (Prov 1:28-33). “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.” What is the lesson from this Proverb? We fail to be with God, even though we call on His name, when we ignore His instructions. This helps us understand Matthew 7:21-29.

DOOMED for Destruction. (2Thess 1:8-9); “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” People who claim to be agnostic or atheistic will not have “I didn’t know” as an excuse. God has revealed Himself and the gospel of His Son to all, but not all believe and obey (cf. Acts 14:17; 17:23-31). Lesson from this passage; Saying “I didn’t know” will be no excuse.

It’s possible to not know the Lord has departed from you.

How are we to KNOW if God is with us? How CAN we KNOW and have assurance of salvation? We have to read His revealed word, make an examination of what it says to do and obey it (James 1:22). The Apostle John wrote; “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:13; 1:1-2; cf. John 20:31; Eph 3:3-4; 2Tim 3:15-17)

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ that assembles in Borger Texas.

the Truth shall set you FREE, from what?

JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!

FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?

We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.

Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.

The Truth shall set us FREE from:

The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]

Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].

The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].

This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.

Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]

Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].

Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]

None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.

WE CAN BE SET FREE IF….

…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]

The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].

Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].

Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.

— spencer

Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.

If there had been more love…

…there would not be any division.” You’ve probably heard something like this before. Another way of saying this is, “Let’s unite over the things we have in common and not divide over our differences.”

They contend that love will prevent any division among us. I would agree, but not in the way that they use love.

If love for the truth is what is meant by “more love” then I’m all in. However, it is evident that not everyone will love and accept the truth on some matters of faith.

“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Thess. 2:10)

LOVE for the truth motivates the servants of the Lord to preach it and to exhort all to follow it (cf. 2Tim 4:2). Sadly, there are those who refuse to submit to the will of the Lord, and do not have the doctrine of Christ. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” (2John 1:9a)

When some say that love will prevent division, they are using their definition of love which OVERLOOKS practices that are not found in the doctrine of Christ. These will place the blame of division on those laboring to practice the truth rather on those who will not accept it. Paul wrote, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph 5:11). Love of the truth would have adherents practicing the divine pattern of the truth, rather than advocating an umbrella of love that ignores it.

Certainly, the truth is to be spoken in love. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:15). We have a responsibility to speak the truth in love. Perhaps, those who cry that love would prevent divisions, dwell on the manner of presentation. Every preacher ought to work on the manner of presenting the truth in love (1Cor 13), but what right does anyone have to reject the word of God based on the manner of presentation? Salvation comes through obeying the gospel of Christ, and any failure should be placed on the hearts of the hearers (cf. Luke 8:11-15; 2Thess 1:8).

All the love in the world is not going to result in some people accepting the truth whereby brethren can walk together in truth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) “So there was a division among the people because of him” (John 7:43).

VIOLATION of God’s word is to be blamed for division, not a lack of love. Are we prepared to say that a lack of love from Christ resulted in division? May it never be!!

Was there a lack of love on the part of John toward Diotrephes that caused division? No, it’s the following of EVIL that causes the division. It was the lack of love for the truth on the part of Diotrephes that caused the division. “but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (2John 9-11). [emph mine seb]

Yes, we need more love “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Phil 1:9; cf. 1Thess 3:12). May there be more love of the truth that we may walk together in unity of the Spirit and have fellowship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior. “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:4-6)

—spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

Walking Circumspectly as WISE

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,”

This verse in the Ephesian letter (5:15-17) tells the Christian to watch how they walk. We are told to be wise, and it tells us to, “understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

We can walk circumspectly, avoiding trouble, when we know the Will of the Lord. Earlier, in chapter 4:14, when we learn the will of the Lord we will no longer be, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness.”

Bible literacy is a vaccine against charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.

Unfortunately, too many in the world are walking circumspectly around the will of the Lord.

Many folks read much more about the bible than they do OF the Bible. They are circumventing the safety measures of God’s instructions for life and godliness. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2Pet 1:3)

Many manufacturers build into their machines certain safety measures to avoid being injured by its use. They include safety instructions so the user can avoid injury. However, people will CIRCUMVENT the safety measures for many reasons.

Are we walking CIRCUMSPECTLY to avoid trouble, or are we CIRCUMVENTING the truth so we can be free from responsibility toward God? The answer depends on you knowing the will of the Lord.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,”

Who is WISE? (cf Jas 3:13)

Paul told complimented Timothy for knowing the scriptures, the WORD of God, which makes one “wise unto salvation.” “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2Tim 3:15) God’s word is the Truth, and is the Wisdom from above. (Jas 3:17)

From there, Paul tells us that the scriptures give us “INSTRUCTION in Righteousness.” (2Tim. 3:16-17) It truly is wise to learn how to live that Pleases God. These Instructions include; doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and makes us thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Another aspect of being wise is doing good works. Consider James 3 again; “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” (v13; 1Peter 3:1-4; Jas 3:18; 1Pet 2:12). There are plenty of passages telling us to be doers of good things. These good things are only good as defined by God’s word. Consider those who will claim to have done good things, but are condemned because they’re actually workers of lawlessness. “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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt 7:22-23)

The above are three positive actions in answering “who is wise.” The source of Wisdom, the WORD, being INSTRUCTED by the Word, and SHEWING that wisdom through good works.  For the last point, we’ll look at a negative.

Who Isn’t Wise? Looking again at James; “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (v16) The opposite of being WISE is to have ENVY and strife. Our Lord was delivered to death because of envy. “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.” (Matt 27:18) That certainly is the opposite of being WISE. The patriarchs sold Joseph into slavery because of ENVY (Acts 7:9; Gen 37:4,11,28). Many first century Jews rejected the gospel because of ENVY. “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” (Acts 13:45; 17:5) Envy is listed among those sins that will find one turned over to a debased mind by God. (Rom 1:29; cf. 1Tim 6:4). Paul also had to deal with false brethren who, through envy and strife attempted to add to his chains (Phil 1:15).

Who is WISE? The one that reads the Word, is Instructed by it, Shews it, and puts away Envy & strife.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

the BREAD of Life

After miraculously feeding 5,000+ people, Jesus crosses the sea of Galilee, and those having eaten, follow Him.

Jesus, knowing what is in the heart of a person said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)

He then preaches to them where he says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 3:51)

Those hearing this statement were confused, so too many today. How are we to understand this statement about Jesus being the BREAD of life and the necessity of eating it? This is a figurative statement with a major lesson behind it. Here are 5 clues to help us understand its meaning and how to comply.

The first clue, Jesus said in verse 35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Two things are discovered; 1) whoever is to have the blessing of the Bread of Life must come to Him, and 2) they must BELIEVE on Him. In this same book of John, we learn that BELIEF comes from reading about Him. “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.” (John 20:31; cf. Rom 10:17) So, the first clue teaches us that to eat His flesh is a figure for reading His word.

Next, Jesus continues by comparing Himself to the manna that came down from heaven (6:31-34). He then says, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (38-39). From this we learn that He, as the Bread of Life, came down from heaven to RAISE up certain people. The Bread of Life is related to being RAISED up to heaven.

Related to this is the next clue found in verse 40. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (47,54) Speaking again about ‘belief,’ Jesus relates the raising up to those same people having EVERLASTING LIFE. Remember, Belief comes from reading about Jesus.

The fourth clue is found in verse 62. Many of the disciples began to murmur, wondering who could hear it. In response Jesus said, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” It’s interesting that He now speaks of ASCENDING into heaven after telling them He came down. This Bread of Life came down, like the manna, but this Bread will ASCEND back into heaven. In our time, we know what happens later. Jesus will ASCEND into heaven, but not before instructing the Apostles in Matt 28:19-20, where we read; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt 28:19-20). Once again, we see the repeated theme of teaching, learning, and obeying.

The commentary of scripture is telling us that the eating of the Bread of Life is related to learning, reading, and obeying the instructions from Jesus. In John 1 He is also called The Word.

However, some of the DISCIPLES turned. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. The last clue is found in Peter’s statement. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-68)

While they may not have fully appreciated the depth of Jesus’ words, Peter seems to recognize something. Eternal Life is related to the teaching of Jesus. He would fully understand later; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” (John 16:13). So, being a DISCIPLE, (a learner, i.e. pupil), is our fifth clue. It’s not enough to just believe, we must do.

Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is not literal. Neither is it related to the Lord’s Supper, which is not literal either. What it means is to be a Hearing, believing, obedient follower of Christ.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

What do you get when you Read the BIBLE?

We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, that gives us all the information and instruction we need for life and godliness.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Peter 1:21; cf 1:3-4)

We also believe that we can understand the Bible, and know & do the will of the Lord.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” [Eph 3:4]

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Col 3:17]

What we get when we read the BIBLE?

The Bible reveals an answer to this question.

First, The Bible says we may BELIEVE. “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.” [Jno. 20:30-31] Another word often associated with belief is Faith, which is of the same Greek origin. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, God’s inspired revealed word, we may BELIEVE.

How then can we Believe, or have Faith, without reading?

Second, The Bible says we will have INSTRUCTION in righteousness. “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.” [2Tim 3:16-17; cf. 2Peter 1:3-4]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, God has given us INSTRUCTIONS on how to live, grow, and how to get to heaven.

How then can we speak or act without reading?

Third, The Bible says that we can BE READY to give an answer, or a defense. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Pet 3:15]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, we can give an answer to any and all who ask us why we have hope.

How can we defend our hope (or our faith) without reading?

Fourth, The Bible says we will know LOVE because He first loved us. “We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:19; cr. Rom 5:6-10]. The Bible also says that we LOVE God by keeping His commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3; cr. Jno. 14:15]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that we don’t truly know LOVE or how to LOVE unless we read about the sacrifice of Christ as revealed in the word of God. We also conclude that part of LOVING God is to do His will.

How can we truly know or practice LOVE without reading?

Fifth, The Bible says that Jesus has the words of ETERNAL LIFE. “…thou hast the words of eternal life.” [Jno. 6:68b; Luke 24:27; 2Cor 2:9-12; Eph 3:3-4] Those words have been revealed through the inspired written word of God (Revealed to the Apostles, whom spoke it, then wrote it) [2Th 2:15; 3:14]. These words are researchable and reviewable (Acts 17:11) and have universal application to all.

We conclude from this evidence, and more, that we may only know how to have ETERNAL LIFE through reading (hearing) and obeying the word of God. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Heb 5:9].

How can you know we’re saved in hope without reading?

     — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.