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.

1Peter, a Quick Start Guide

How nice would it be if every New Born baby came with an owner’s manual? Fortunately, the new mom can look to the older generation for help and advice on what to expect when they’re expecting. (Titus 2:3-4).

What about the New Born in Christ? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an operator’s manual for how to live as a New Creature in Christ?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Cor 5:17).

Well, there is one, and it’s available to all that will decide to open it and study it.

It’s called the Bible.

“But where do you start?” some may ask. Let me suggest to you

to begin with the book of 1st PETER. While every book of the Bible is important and instructive, this book could be described as a QUICK START guide to the New Christian’s walk. Let me point out a few things in each chapter.

The FIRST CHAPTER is a mini course on what it cost for us to become children of God. A good one-line summary could be;

We have a hope in the Promise of the resurrection. Christ Paid the Price for our Protection by the Power of God, through our Precious faith, with His own Precious blood.

Lesson ONE: You’re PRECIOUS; know Who & Who’s you are.

CHAPTER TWO, while using the illustration of a new born babe, Peter encourages us to follow the EXAMPLE of Christ in the way that He ENDURED suffering. This is part of what makes us different. Because we are in Christ, we are a “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (2Pet 2:9).

We are the living stones, being built up into a spiritual house. Therefore, we are to be different. When we ENDURE grief, suffering wrongfully, we are following the EXAMPLE of Christ as He also suffered wrongfully. He did not threaten, but committed himself to him that judges righteously (1Peter 2:23).

Lesson TWO: ENDURE to the end.

CHAPTER THREE teaches us how to live in more specific, perhaps less than ideal situations. Wives toward husbands, husbands toward wives, brethren toward brethren, and Christians who display hope amidst suffering. In the midst of this is this line; “For, He that would love life, And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips that they speak no guile: And let him turn away from evil, and do good; Let him seek peace, and pursue it.” (3:11-12 ASV).

Lesson THREE: TURN Away from evil and pursue peace.

In CHAPTER FOUR we learn this; We’ve spent ENOUGH of our past in lusts of the flesh, the END of all things is near, so be sober. ENTRUST your soul to a faithful Creator when you suffer for the name of Christ. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1Pet 4:7).

Lesson FOUR: The END is near, ENTRUST you soul to God.

Then we come to CHAPTER FIVE. This chapter instructs the members of the local congregation. First to the Elders who shall RECEIVE the crown of glory if they shepherd the flock of God. Then, he instructs the younger to submit to the elders. If not, he warns that God RESISTS the proud.

Continuing the instructions, we are told to RESIST the devil. We are not alone in our suffering among the brotherhood who also suffer and must RESIST.

Then the letter closes out with a promise to those who have endured the suffering. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1Peter 5:10).

Lesson FIVE: RESIST the devil, God will remember you.

This letter is a wonderful letter for the New Born in Christ. It’s also a wonderful reminder to the older children of God.

— spencer

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

GREAT THINGS He hath done

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” emph mine seb (Mark 5:19).

Jesus gave those instructions to the man he had just healed of the “legion” demon possession. This incredibly grateful man wanted to accompany Jesus wherever He would go. Jesus wouldn’t allow it, but gave him a personal mission, “tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee

This verse impresses me as a method of personal evangelism. Before we can apply it, we must know what GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for us.

Here’s my personal list.

The Lord has been very GRACEFUL in the giving of Himself as a sacrifice, and Propitiation for sin. (Eph 2:8-9)

He has shown me how to REJOICE in times of trial. (Jas 1:2-3)

He has left EVIDENCE of His goodness. (Acts 14:17)

He demonstrated AGAPE style Love. (Rom 5:6-10)

He has delivered to us God’s TRUTH. (John 17:17)

He has given me certain TALENTS by which I can provide for the needs of my family and for helping others. (Matt 25:15)

He has given me HOPE. (Heb 6:19)

He has given me access to INTERCESSORY prayer which is unavailable to those outside of Christ. (Rom 8:34; Heb 4:16)

He has taught me how to love my NEIGHBORS. (Matt 22:39)

He has given me every GOOD GIFT & perfect Gift. (Jas 1:17)

Lastly, but not least, He has provided for me SALVATION through obedience to the Gospel. (1Cor 15:1-4)

This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it does represent some of the GREAT THINGS He has done. I have another more private and personal list of GREAT THINGS the Lord has done.

What about you? Do you have a list? We sing the song, “Count your blessings,” do you know what some of them are?

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalm 139:17-18).

Perhaps you would like to make a note of the many GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for you?

______________  ______________  ______________

______________  ______________  ______________

______________  ______________  ______________

as little CHILDREN

Children have not always been treated very well. They have…

  1. Been Sacrificed; 2Kings 17:31; Eze 16:20-21
  2. Caused to pass through fire; 2Kings 16:3; Jer 32:35;
  3. Sold for debt; 2Kings 4:1.
  4. Eaten. 2King 6:28-29.

Even now children are used as pawns in failing relationships, in manipulating the news, and in politics. These things ought not be so.

What does the bible say about children? Better yet, what does Jesus say?

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matt 18:3)

Jesus uses the qualities of CHILREN as an illustration of those who desire to become CHILDREN of God. He makes it very clear, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” CONVERSION is the process of turning completely around. Comparing it to the CHILDREN, it speaks to our turning from trusting in our own abilities, and trusting fully in Christ, His sacrifice, His promises, His working through our faith. Without faith it’s impossible to please God.

Another quality of CHILDREN is seen in their HUNGER and their cries to be fed. Peter uses this quality to illustrate the need for the child of God to HUNGER for the word. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2).

One of the things we learn from Jesus as He uses CHILDREN for our understanding, is that children are INNOCENT. They do not have sin IMPUTED to them. Some claim that children are born wicked and totally depraved. Jesus didn’t see it this way. When asked about inherited sin, Jesus said it didn’t happen. (see John 9:2-3) When David’s son died in infancy, he desired to “go to him” (2Sam 12:23). Did David want to go to heaven or hell? Clearly, he knew that children are INNOCENT.

One quality every parent has experienced from children is their capacity to LOVE and our capacity to LOVE them sacrificially. Jesus uses that quality when He looked on with tears over Jerusalem (Matt 23:37). In Solomon’s day, he used this capacity for a mother’s LOVE for her child to determine the true mother of a child (1King 3:24-27)

Little children are especially unique in their ability to be DEVOTED to their parents regardless of their qualities. Consider Hebrews 12:4-11. We revere our earthly parents when they disciplined us (maybe not at the time). God wants this level of DEVOTION for His children.

Children are used to REPRESENT the NEW BIRTH of becoming a Christian. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This is very similar language He uses when He placed a child in their midst. The new birth REPRESENTS baptism in water (John 3:5; cr. Rom 6:3-4).

Then there’s the EXPECTATION of parents for the growth of the child. The New Testament writers make this comparison in Hebrews 5. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (5:12-6:2; cr. 1Cor 3:1; 13:11).

Lastly, while children desire to grow and mature, they know that they are unable to do many things for themselves. They recognize their NEED for help from their parents and are ready to ask without embarrassment. Oh, if this child of God could be better at this quality. Children can teach us so much about how to grow, mature, work, and try to do, while simultaneously knowing their complete NEED for the loving care of their parents for their basic needs. “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him” (Matt 7:9-11)?

Let us think on the words of Christ about the example of CHILDREN. Despite how the world sees children, let us see them through the eyes of our Lord and learn the lessons that He has taught us through them.

— spencer

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.

the GOSPEL is

Paul wrote to the Galatians warning about those that were troubling them over the GOSPEL. He called it

  • a different gospel
  • a perversion
  • an other gospel

He said that there is not another GOSPEL, and that the GOSPEL they heard originally was not from men, nor did it come from men. He said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8,9).

Very strong words with critical consequences. So critical that he says it twice!

Rather than list all the ways the Gospel can by perverted, let’s see what is the GOSPEL.

It stands to reason that since Paul warned of a perverted GOSPEL, that it can be known what is the pure GOSPEL.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

The GOSPEL literally means, “GOOD NEWS.” This Greek word for the GOSPEL is from the root word for evangelist. But it’s not enough to just be GOOD NEWS. The GOSPEL is GOOD NEWS from GOD. More than that, the GOSPEL is the GOOD NEWS about the GRACE of GOD. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

As one looks up every one of the 98 verses where the word is used, they would find that the GOSPEL is something to be OBEYED. If it is to be OBEYED, then there is something we must do. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17; cf. 2Thess 1:8).

As we look for those things we must do, we learn that a person must do these five things in order…

So, the GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, and is to be Obeyed, but for what reason? A search of the scriptures shows that the GOSPEL is for the SALVATION of mankind. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (1Cor 15:1-2; cf. 2Tim 1:10; Eph 1:13)

Continuing our research of the scriptures, two more ideas about the GOSPEL come to our attention. The GOSPEL is the “power of God unto salvation;” (Rom. 1:16), and that it is the Good News to be PREACHED by people by people. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) We have no other thing by which we shall reach people. We are limited to the Power of God through Preaching the Gospel.

Another important thing related to the GOSPEL of the GRACE of GOD, is that it is to be preached to EVERY CREATURE (Mark 16:15; cf Mark 13:10; 14:9). The GOOD NEWS of the GRACE of GOD regarding the SALVATION of man is not to be withheld from any person. To do so would be showing partiality and judging unrighteous judgment (cf. Matt 7:1-2).

The last thing one may notice in their study about the GOSPEL is that it is to be preached out of LOVE (Phil 1:15-17), and it is to be LIVED out for the remainder of our lives. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:” (Phil 1:27)

The GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, it is to be Obeyed so that we may be Saved, this Power message is to be Preached to Every creature out of Love, and it is be Lived out daily in the life of the those that have received its power.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist in Borger Texas. He has labored with the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ for the last 8 years.

the PARABLES of Jesus

Just about everyone knows that Jesus taught with parables. If you were to say the world parable, folks would automatically think of Jesus.

The PURPOSE of the parables is explained in scripture.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:” (Matt 13:10-14).

We will notice that parables were part of PROPHECY which contributed to identifying Jesus as the Christ. “I will open my mouth in a parable:” (Psalm 78:2)

We will also notice that parables ASSIST people in understanding the lessons from Christ. We can easily identify the example in the parable to discover His teaching.

If you’ll look at the list of the parables you notice that Christ uses REAL life scenarios to explain His teachings. (ie. a sower)

Parables will ALLOW the seekers to see, but the BLIND not to see. Christ never keeps life saving truth from anyone, but some just don’t want it, hence they’re BLIND.

The meaning of the word parable is; to LAY along side. (cf. W.E. Vines). “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” (Mark 4:30)

Another way to describe a parable is as an EXTENDED metaphor or simile. It’s not intended to be mysterious, concealing, nor prevent the truth seeker from understanding.

Ultimately, a parable is a SPIRITUAL lesson using an understood physical scenario. Jesus uses a known thing to explain SPIRITUAL things.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)

On the following page is a list of all the parables (I think). Luke carries the most parables. While many people categorize them in different ways, I’ve identified seven. Prayer Parables, Kingdom Parables, Forgiveness Parables, Christ Parables, Parables of the Lost, Readiness Parables, and Stewardship Parables.

I PRESS toward the goal

I PRESS toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14)

What do you do when you hit bottom? Despite the depth of the losses I’ve felt, I’m sure I haven’t experienced that. But there are some examples in scripture that can give us insight.

  • Joseph suffered the loss of all at the hands of his own brothers. (Gen 37:28).
  • A Little maid suffered the loss of all at the hands of a man stealer. (2Kings 5:1-2).
  • Jeremiah suffered the loss of all at the hands of his brethren, being dropped into the depths of a pit. (Jer 38:6)

Then there was the Apostle Paul who said,

“…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2Cor 11:23-27).

Read that again and really focus on each of those experiences. Try to see yourself in his place in stripes, prisons, deaths, beaten, stoned, shipwreck, in the deep, journeyings, perils (water, robbers, his own, heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, in the see, among false brethren), weariness, painfulness, watching, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold and nakedness.

It’s difficult for me to imagine. How did he find the strength to endure such hostility and loss? In the letter to the Philippians, we find a clue, “I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” In other words, he had a very large WHY. With a large enough WHY we can endure any HOW. There’s no bigger WHY than being in heaven with Christ.

Paul endured because of his WHY and with his HOW. We can PRESS just as he did.

To understand how, we need to learn about the word PRESS. From Strong’s we learn that the word press means; “to pursue (literally or figuratively); by implication, to persecute:–ensue, follow (after), given to, (suffer) persecute(-ion), press forward.” Did you see it? The word for press is also translated as “PERSECUTE.” (cf. Phil 3:6). Does that give you a better picture as to how Paul could endure? He Pressed, PERSECUTED toward the mark. Think of it as a full court PRESS as in basketball. Paul transferred his prior PERSECUTION of the church into a PERSECUTION to reach heaven.

He said it this way to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2Tim. 4:7)

In his letter to the Corinthians, he makes another illustration. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1Cor 9:24). He compares it to a RUNNER in a RACE for a prize that only one receives. Not that only one person can go to heaven, but that we should have the attitude of the RUNNER where only one may win.

Paul also EXERCISED himself unto godliness. “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” (1Tim. 4:7; cf. 1Tim 4:8). This word carries the meaning, ‘to train’ oneself. We are in constant training for godliness.

In another similar illustration Paul says, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1Cor. 9:25). The one that will PRESS toward the mark can be compared to one that STRIVES for mastery. Mastery of what? Mastery of being a faithful Christian. (cf. 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17)

Along those same lines, he kept his body in SUBJECTION. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1Cor 9:27; cf. 7:1-9). His meaning is to practice self-control over the lust of the flesh so as not to be ineligible for heaven.

Much is said in the secular world about goal setting. Our ultimate goal should be in going to heaven where Christ sits. We can do that by keeping our eyes and affections above (Col. 3:1-2). We also PRESS toward the mark. We can either give up or give it all.

— spencer

spencer is a gospel preacher located in Borger Texas where he has worked with the church on Franklin & Juniper St. since 2014.

GO into all the world

A Message for the World.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

There is a MESSAGE for the world. It’s an important message. Dare I say, it’s a vital message to the survival of the soul? It’s the Gospel.

But who shall take this message to the world? According to the bible, we will, the church. It began with the chosen Apostles, and then was extended to us.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim 2:2)

The Creator of the universe has entrusted us with this vital message. Are we up to the task?

Normal is not up to the task. We’re all familiar with the average man and his hesitancy to perform a task. When given such an assignment, will the regular person say, “Here am I; send me?” No, they will rather ask one or more of these questions:

  • When should I start?
  • Where do I go?
  • Who is the world?
  • Is that my job?
  • Do you mean right now?

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”

(Prov 10:26)

The Lord wants laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

We are the laborers, each of us have been ‘hired’ for this important taks. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” (Matt 20:1-16; cf Matt 25:24-30)

Now back to the command; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt 28:19) Let us GO. The rest of this article we’ll look at the two qualities we need when we GO into all the world.

Firstly, we need ourselves to be changed people. Before we can present the Gospel to anyone, we must first be partakers of that gospel. Without GODLINESS it will be near impossible to convince anyone of the good news. You cannot teach the gospel just through a godly life, but it’s impossible without it.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Peter 2:12; 3:16)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil 2:15)

Many folks have rejected the gospel, the church, and pure religion, simply on the basis of the hypocrisy of its members. Let us GO in all GODLINESS. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim 6:11; cf 2Pet 1:1-10)

The second part of this simple command is to be of ONE mind with Christ in all that we do. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;” (Eph 6:5).

Going into the world to preach does not require a vow of poverty nor for us to quit working (cf. Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10; 1Tim 5:8). Living godly lives in our work, our home, and our community gives us opportunity to meet folks and to shine our lights. From there we must have ONE mind with Christ, which is to share the life saving Gospel message. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10).

We as individuals may not reach them all, but all that we meet may be reached, and if all of us reach then some may be saved. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22b) Go. You need not go very far. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)

— 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.

let the PEACE of God rule

Rejoice in the Lord Always and again I say, Rejoice.” (Php 4:4)

Considering the state of our world this seems like an impossible task. One thing we forget however, is that those words were penned while Paul was in a Roman prison.

Every generation has to figure out how to complete this command in themselves despite the ‘troubles’ of their times. We’re no different.

Since the fall of man, we have all had to deal with the troubles that come from a broken sin filled world.

Despite this can we still find a way to REJOICE? Yes. If there is a command, then it’s within our ability to obey. But how?

How do we rejoice in the midst of turmoil? Can we rejoice when there is no peace in the world? We forget that there is no true peace if we’re not at peace with God. When we find peace with God, we can also see how to rejoice.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Col 3:15)

This verse comes in the midst of a list of instructions; it must then be true then, that when we follow these instructions, we might have that peace of God.

Going to the beginning of the chapter we find the first step. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1-4). Before we can have peace from God, we need to seek and to set our affections above. From this verse and others, we learn that the child of God is to PURSUE righteousness, the things from above (cf. Jas 3:17; 1Tim 6:11; 2Tim 2:22; 1Pet 3:11).

The child of God is then to, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5-9). EVIL is to be put off of the child of God. How can any of us expect peace when we continue to participate in the earthly, carnal, sensual, evil of this world? “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” We used to live this way, but now we are to live differently (cf. 1Cor 6:9-11).

Removing bad habits is not enough, we must replace what we have put off. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:12). We are to put on, ADORN ourselves with the new man. In obeying the gospel through faithful baptism, we are raised up to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-4). Failure to do this is why we often return to our old ways. It’s not enough to remove evil. We must replace it with good.

But we still have a little further to go. The elect of God is expected to go beyond just outer actions, we must engage our hearts. “And above all these things put on CHARITY [love], which is the bond of perfectness” (Col 3:14). Without love we are nothing (1Cor 13:1-3). Love is very powerful. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1John 4:18).

There is just one more thing in this list. Love is more than an emotion. It’s obedience to God. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:” (1John 5:3). We see this instruction in our passage. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col 3:15-17).

We must let the peace of God dwell in our hearts, and this is accomplished when we let the word of Christ dwell there also. The last line in this section explains what this means. “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.” “Whatsoever, do, word, deed, do all?” This covers EVERYTHING. The entirety of our lives is to be focused on serving God. A fitting bookend to the beginning where we were told to “set our affections on things above.”

Do we want peace? Do you want rejoicing? It’s possible. When we Pursue those things above, put off Evil, Adorn ourselves with the new, have Charity in our hearts, and let the word of God permeate the Entirety of our lives, then we can rejoice. We rejoice not because life is easier. We rejoice because we know we have hope of an eternal home in heaven where Christ sits.

— 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 to learn more about what the bible says on life and godliness, then let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.