Remembering Who & Whose you are

This is advice given by many a parent to their child as they send them out into the world. It’s good advice which every Christian ought to practice for themselves.

Reminding ourselves of our past is a good exercise, and often painful, that can aid us in our current walk in the Lord. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul did it for the saints. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” [1Cor 6:9-11] This reminder was meant to admonish the brethren that their current attitudes could be changed for the better by a reminder of who they used to be and who & whose they are now. He went on to say, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [v19-20] Remembering who & whose we are can continue to help modern day Christians in 3 ways…

REMEMBERING OUR PAST: By reminding ourselves of what manner of person we once were, that we’ve been freed from the bondage of sin through the blood of Christ, can help us to refocus ourselves to the hope of heaven. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” [Eph 2:5; cr. 1Co 7:23; Ga 3:13]

REMEMBERING OUR HELPERS: No one is an island unto ourselves [Rom 14:7]. We’ve all been aided in some way. The Holy Spirit tells us that none of us heard the gospel without a preacher; “…and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:14b]. It is a very good exercise to make a list of those helpers in your life. I keep a running list of folks who have taught me lessons by their example or through their time. Those who have lifted me up when I was down, both emotionally & financially. Those who have motivated & inspired me to be more than I was. Who taught you the gospel? Who helped you to become a better Christian? Whose example do you wish to emulate? [cr. Phil 3:17] By making this list you will become more grateful and much more aware of influencers currently in your life. More importantly, it will make you more aware of those you can help.

REMEMBER HOW FAR YOU’VE COME: The third way remembering our past can help is by showing us how much we’ve grown. Paul reminded Timothy of this, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:5-7]. This reminder was to inspire Timothy to use all his gifts for the furtherance of the gospel. We can do this. Service to our King increases by using our growth.

Some might argue that Paul also told us to forget those things that are behind [Phil 3:13]. This is not a contradiction, because in the context of his statement he listed some of the things he had done, including persecuting the church [v6]. What he means by this is that as we remind ourselves of our past that we ought not to let it paralyze us from pushing forward or to think we’ve already achieved something.

We all need to remember that success in this life is not the end of things. For the Christian, success is serving God His way so that all may come to the knowledge of His dear Son and be able to go to heaven when He returns. [Eph 4:13; cr. 2Pet 3:9]

One final reminder. We need the reminder that we can become disqualified. Jude wrote, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” [Jude 1:5]. Why do WE need this reminder? Because it’s possible to fall away today.

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STAYING IN STEP

Never have I ever seen a caterpillar metamorphose into a butterfly except through some very specific steps. Before we can have a butterfly, there must be 4 distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa then adult. Each phase has different and necessary purposes. There is no way for the butterfly to skip a step, nor to take the steps out of order. People are the same regarding physical things. First gestation, childhood, teen then adulthood. Did you know that there are steps and order for spiritual things, namely, Salvation?

God instructs us to look at nature because it shows His handiwork and it can teach us some spiritual lessons. [cr. Rom 1:20; Pslm 19:1; Prov 6:6]. The example of stages in nature can teach us very powerful lessons about the stages of Salvation.

Although the modern religious world rejects any plan of salvation that has man doing anything, this doesn’t negate scripture that says there is a part man must do and, in God ordained order. “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” [Acts 9:6] (emp seb) That being said, and proved, what are the steps for salvation and must they be completed in order?

Romans 10 lays out that there is an order (steps) for one to follow. In verses 13-14, Paul shows that the beginning steps leading to salvation are HEARING, BELIEVING & CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:13-14] (emp seb)

He goes onto write that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. This shows that HEARING, BELIEVING & CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be learned through the study of the Word of God, namely, the New Testament. But, is this all that the New Testament has to say on this subject? CERTAINLY NOT!

In the same chapter in verse 10 Paul wrote, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (emp seb) So CONFESSION is also essential to salvation, but is this all that there is? A problem many folks have is that they stop at one passage without considering all that God has revealed about a subject. This is how & why we have thousands of denominations today. Let’s continue our search.

Thus far we have learned that salvation begins with…HEARING the word of God through the scriptures, BELIEVING this word, CONFESSING and CALLING on the name of the Lord. (there must be a distinction between CONFESSION & CALLING). To answer this question we go back to where we began this article by noting what Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was told to do by Jesus. We refer to his own retelling of the story in Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” We learn that water BAPTISM is synonymous with “CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD” and that it precedes salvation.

Jesus said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:3] Clearly, He’s speaking about salvation. After His death, burial & resurrection, but before His ascension He also said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:16] (emp seb) This verse also shows the necessity of not skipping the steps and doing them in order and for their intended purpose.

Putting this all together we find only these steps for salvation in this order…
1) Hear & Learn – Rom. 10:17; John 6:45; 17:3
2) Believe – John 6:29; 8:24
3) Repent – Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 17:30
4) Confess the Lord – Matt. 10:32-33
5) Be Baptized – Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27; 1Pet. 3:21

Failure to follow the steps in their proper order and for their intended purpose is to fight against the very will of God [Acts 5:39]. There is much more on this subject, but none of it contradicts what has been said thus far.

Another thing we find is this saying, also from Jesus, “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” [Rev 2:10b]. From this, along with passages like Mat 28:20; Acts 2:42; 2Tim 3:14-17, we learn that continued faithfulness is what those who have obeyed the gospel will continue to do. A person that is practicing faithfulness without having “obeyed the gospel” is practicing a vain religion. There are far too many people living in this false hope.

GONE WITH THE WIND

I’ve never heard of a ‘BOMB CYCLONE’ until last week. In case you missed it, the panhandle of Texas (along with other areas) experienced winds gusting over 75 mph. That kind of wind tosses a lot of things around and not a few people. Videos show roofs being blown off and semi-trucks toppling.

Let’s use this occasion of high winds to talk about the high winds of denominational doctrine. The Holy Spirit warns about this through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

“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]

This is brilliant imagery, especially considering last week’s winds and the damage it caused. Upon examination of this verse we come to a few conclusions

  • There is a true doctrine. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [Titus 1:9; 2:1, 10; Heb 6:1; 2John 1:9]
  • The negative doctrines are from men. [cr doctrines of men; Rom 16:17; Col 2:22; 1Tim 1:3, 10; Heb 13:9; 2John 1:10; Rev 2:14, 15,24 and doctrines of devils 1Tim 4:1]
  • These men use sleight (tactic used in gambling)
  • These men use cunning craftiness (trickery). The same word describing Satan; “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” [2Cor 11:3]
  • These men use deceit (lies). It’s called error in 1John 4:6 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
  • These men are lying in wait, which is also said of thieves who hide in dark places to attack an innocent. [Proverbs 1:11]
  • The persons unable to distinguish between the doctrine of Christ and the doctrines of men are children, immature.
  • The doctrines of men are varied and often opposite of one another.
  • The child caught up in the wind is tossed and carried away by the false teaching. We’re expected to mature in spiritual understanding. “Brethren, be not children in understanding:” [1Cor 14:20a]

Paul continues this thought in chapter 5: “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]. Just as the winds that tore through the panhandle, so too the winds of doctrine can tear through the church doing terrible damage. Unlike the physical damage of a wind, this is spiritual damage that tosses people into disobedience.

There is another way that wind is used for a SPIRITUAL WARNING, it’s our faith.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” [James 1:6]

James continues in this context and says that the one wavering in faith should not expect anything from God. Additionally, he calls the one with a wavering faith an unstable person. This smacks in the face of the admonition of the Christian to…

  • Stand Fast: “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” [1Thess 3:8]
  • Stand perfect & complete: “…that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” [Col 4:12]

It is my firm belief that the most damaging wind of doctrine is the utterly contemptible doctrine of ecumenism (the promoting of unity among denominations without unity of doctrine). An idea our Lord never promoted. He demands unity in His teaching. [1Cor 1:10]

5 Times People Think about God

There’s a song in our hymnal called, “You never mentioned Him to me.” It’s a very sobering song that asks you to think about the judgment day when you and everyone you know are present before the Lord [Mat 25:32]. Imagine on that day that you catch a glimpse of a loved one who is hearing, “depart from me…” [Mat 7:21-23] and they look over at you mouthing the words, “why didn’t you warn me?” I don’t know if we’ll be looking at one another or if when we all bow [Rom 14:11] our eyes will be averted. All I know is that there’s great pain to hear of a loved one who passes from this life outside of Christ.

It seems these days that very few folks are thinking about God. This makes it very difficult to mention Him to them. I have noticed, however, that there are a few moments in a person’s life that they are more open to hearing things about Christ. Moments of change in their life. While anytime is a good time to mention Jesus, I’ve discovered 5 times when folks may be more open to hearing of the Love of Christ.

DEATH: Long ago I met an aged lady who began her journey to Christ upon the death of her firstborn child. She sought the counsel of her denomination for answers, but none were found. She pressed on, seeking the truth, until she met a gospel preacher who showed her in scripture the safe condition of her child. In that search she learned about Bible authority verses the false words of men.

“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” [Ecc 7:2].

MARRIAGE ISSUES: Whether it’s getting married or trying to stay married, couples will be open to godly strategies for their marriage. Many times, it will be the wife that will seek God’s advice first. Peter offers her this advice: “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” [1Pet 3:1-6] He continues with advice for the husband, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge…” [v7a]

ILLNESS or INJURY: God expended a lot of ink about the sick. We’re to visit the sick [Mat 25:36; Jas 5:14]. When it’s a particularly nasty illness, some treat it as a near death experience and begin to ponder their eternity. We can be their for them with a meal or a comforting voice.

CHILDREN: Kids can be a challenge in these times. (I suppose every generation of parents said something similar) As Christians, we can be an example to our friends & neighbors as we raise our children and especially when we’re practicing godly discipline. “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:” [Heb 12:9] You would be amazed by the positive responses from folks as they watch you train your wild child.

MAJOR CHANGES: This last category of life events involve non-health related but dramatic changes in a person’s life. It could be moving, a new job, or some other occasion that draws folks together. This is a great time to be the neighbor that Jesus described when asked the question, “who is my neighbor?” [Luke 10:29-37]. One of the most powerfully connecting things one family can do for another is to help them move or to help in picking up the pieces after a storm.

This only touches the tip of the iceberg of the ways you can be ready to preach Christ. One final way is in how you manage your own rough patch. This is the context of 1Pet 3:15;

“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:”

The way in which we react to the struggles in our lives has a very powerful impact on others. Our hope on display is what draws our friends & neighbors to ask why. A perfect time to tell them about Christ.

We must prepare ourselves to have mercy, compassion & grace for these moments.

Never Growing Weary

Years ago, four of us hiked the Brooks-Range in search of Dall Sheep in Alaska. For 3 days under the midnight sun, we hiked the mountain sides with full packs loaded with supplies nearly has heavy as my 130# self. It was excruciating yet exhilarating all at the same time. I had little experience with that level of exhaustion that came partly from the exertion and partly from the altitude. Each night as we bedded down from our 16-18-hour exercise, we looked forward to what we might find on the next. It’s a memory that remains vivid some 34 years later.

Have you ever noticed that there are different kinds of tired? There’s the kind of tired that comes when you hate what you’re doing, and the kind of tired that fulfills you when you’re doing something you love. There’s some sort of psychological cause behind the fact that a person will take himself to the breaking point when he is engaged in the activities he loves (hiking the mountains of Alaska) and is exhausted with much less effort in the thing he despises (splitting logs for the wood stove at home, a chore I wish to forget). We need no more illustrations for every person can see this upon examination of his own life.

The Holy Spirit knows this about us, that we can endure great hardships where faith, hope and love abide. He inspired Paul to write in Galatians 6:9:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

When we are directing our physical bodies toward the hope that we love, the joy of this gives the body energy to make the work seem light. In our love for Jesus we can experience the feeling He described in Matthew 11:30;

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Think hard about this principle, for it will be profitable to you. Every activity with which we engage our physical bodies that is out of force, fear or necessity and does not arise out of love and service is immediately met with resistance from within and produces loss of energy resulting in a tired body and mind.

Seldom do we complain of fatigue about long nights spent in play but be asked to work night shift and suddenly the head can’t wait to hit the pillow. What do we learn from this? That one will endure any hardship if he loves the reason that he does the work. Money doesn’t give endurance, the real pay comes out of the love to serve our Savior, Christ Jesus. Force can win for a while, but love will give us the strength to endure. And love Him we must, for without it we shall miss the peace and joy that comes from above.

God gives us plenty of reminders, in His word, that we can endure hardships, face persecutions and afflictions that come from living an obedient life in Christ. For He is with us and has provided us a hope, a reward in Heaven. [cr Heb 11:6]

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mt 24:13]

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58]

Christ doesn’t expect us to endure anything He Himself hasn’t already done. He led the way through the example of His own suffering for our sake; “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” [Heb 12:3]

We can do it, endure this life with unlimited energy, when we continually remind ourselves of our primary love and service to our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Rewarder Christ Jesus.

be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” [Rev 2:10b]

New Testament Christianity

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” [Galatians 5:4]

This passage in Galatians is a warning for Christians that keeping any part of the Law of Moses will take you out of the grace of Christ. Some try to reinterpret it as a faith only passage. Not so. The followers of Christ are to be command keepers [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46] of His New Covenant.

There is a reason why the churches of Christ do what they do (a Capella singing, simple worship, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper). We recognize Christ as our Head [Col 1:18], He has all authority [Mat 28:18] and those that love Him will keep HIS commandments [John 14:15]. God the Father said this, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” [Mark 9:7] This means that we listen to Jesus, not Moses, and especially not any man nor man made religion.

Jesus promised to build His church [Mat 16:18], and that this church [which is His kingdom Col 1:13] will begin within the lifetime of those that heard him [Mark 9:1]. On the first Pentecost after His resurrection, [Acts 2:1–47] the church began. No one spoke of it being in existence before that day, and thereafter it’s spoken of as being in existence.

The guiding rules of faith and practices are found in the covenant from Jesus, as delivered by the Holy Spirit [John 16:13; Eph 3:1-4] and not the Law of Moses from Mt. Sinai.

We need to pay attention to what The Holy Spirit reveals in the New Testament about the change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

• Hear Jesus, not Moses [Mat 17:5; Mark 9:7].
• Preach the gospel [Mat 28:18–20].
• The Word of Christ Judges [John 12:48].
• Dead to the Law of Moses [Romans 7:1–7].
• “Christ is the end of the law” [Romans 10:4].
• “Engraven in stones…done away” [2Cor 3:7–14].
• Broken down the wall [Eph 2:14].
• Nailing it to His cross [Col 2:14].
• A Priesthood change required a Law change [Hebrews 7:12; 9:11].
• He is the mediator of the new testament [Hebrews 9:16–17].
• He (Jesus) taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [Hebrews 10:9].

No longer does man offer animals to atone for sin. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4] Jesus shed His blood “once for all” and has “sat down on the right hand of God.” [Heb 10:12]

No longer does man keep the Passover, abstain from certain foods nor keep certain days [Col 2:14-17]. No longer do we need a special group of priests, for those added to the church are now a ‘royal priesthood’ [1Pet 2:9]. This new Law of Christ doesn’t require it, and to revert to it is to sin against the One who shed His blood, ‘ye have fallen from Grace.’

In the New Testament, no longer do we burn incense, build temples (we are the temple Eph 2:21), dance or play instruments. Did God leave New Testament worship up for us to decide? No, God tells us what He wants, and we do it [Mat 28:20]. We are given unleavened bread, fruit of the vine, prayers, vocal singing, giving & teaching.

The Old Testament is for our learning, not for New Testament law. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” [Rom 15:4]. We should read the Old Testament to learn about many things, some of which is how God communicates with and how He instructs man. However, to go back to the Law of Moses to bring forward any practice (musical instruments, clergy / laity, feasts) will remove you from the grace of Christ and obligate you to do it all. You will have fallen from Grace.

We here at the Franklin & Juniper church of Christ practice New Testament Christianity with the Bible as our creed book. We Welcome you to come find out what the Bible says.

THROWING OUT THE TRUTH WITH THE BATHWATER

Most of you understand the expression, “THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER” because you lived it. Back in the days of old, before the days of indoor plumbing, the family would take their baths in a large metal wash tub. After everyone was done, the last usually being the youngest, the bathwater was tossed out into the yard.

The idiom reminds us not to discard the precious as we attempt to rid ourselves of the despised.

I bring this to your attention because there is a movement among many to “toss out the bathwater” of baptism.

They’re TOSSING out the TRUTH of salvation as they seek to rid themselves of the baptismal waters. In their zeal to remove the ‘bathwater’ they have missed the simple truth about the Gospel.

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. [Mat 23:24]

Those who are now working to rid the church of the ‘bathwater’ are repeating the mistakes of those in the past and tossing out the precious truth about salvation & baptism.

One fellow said that the baptism spoken of in Acts 2:38 is ‘spiritual immersion.’ What he’s done is thrown out SALVATION with the baptism water. Look at 1Peter 3:21; what is being taught?

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” [1Peter 3:21]

The Apostle Peter makes a specific reference to water when he says, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.” Why would he bring up ‘the filth of the flesh’ unless saving baptism involves water? If salvation was ‘faith only’ then this addition is completely pointless. He brought it up because he was talking about WATER BAPTISM. He was teaching us not to confuse the water baptism obeyed through faith with a physical cleansing. WATER BAPTISM, submitted through faith, provides a SPIRITUAL CLEANSING.

Paul was told, “arise, and be baptized, and WASH AWAY THY SINS, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16] Upon hearing the preaching of Jesus by Phillip, the Ethiopian Eunuch asked, “See, here is WATER; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” [Acts 8:36] (emphasis mine, seb) These verses harmonize BECAUSE they are teaching WATER BAPTISM. They make no sense if salvation occurs BEFORE water baptism.

No one is teaching a ‘works’ salvation, for no one, submitting to the simple command of God in Christ, is able to do anything of themselves while under the water. Christ is doing the spiritual cleansing [Rev 1:5]. Christ is doing the saving [Matt 1:21]. Christ is adding to the church those that are being saved [Acts 2:47].

If you believe

  • You were saved before you were water baptized,
  • That baptism is not immersion in water,
  • That baptism doesn’t save you,
  • Were baptized in or into a denomination,
  • You were saved by being baptized as a baby,

Then you are guilty of ‘THROWING OUT THE TRUTH WITH THE BATHWATER’ and remain in your sin.

Saving Baptism in the bible is

  • Commanded by Christ, Matt 28:19; Mark 16:16
  • For the remission of sins, Acts 2:38; Mat 26:28
  • What washes away sin, Acts 22:16
  • Death to sin, Romans 6:1-4
  • A Burial, Colossians 2:12
  • Immersion in water, 1Peter 3:21; Acts 8:36
  • What saves you, by faith, 1Peter 3:21; Heb 11:7
  • Taught by Peter, Paul, & others Acts 2:38; 19:5; 22:16;
  • The Putting on of Christ, Galatians 3:27
  • AFTER Hearing, Believing, Repenting & Confessing, Mark 16:15, 16

3 Ways the Lost RID themselves of Christ.

If you haven’t noticed, many of these articles are written for 2 purposes. First, to strengthen the Christian in their hope of salvation. Second, to empower the Christian with information that could be used to reach the lost. The titles are designed to evoke some emotion that makes someone want to see what it’s about.

Today’s article does both because we know the lost world needs Christ, and it’s possible for the Christian to drift away [Heb 2:2-3].

HOW DOES THE LOST RID THEMSELVES OF CHRIST?

Whether a person does it intentionally or by neglect, the results are the same, they’re lost. So, here’s what scripture tells us how a person RIDs himself of Christ.

REJECTING CHRIST:

One of the ways to get Christ out of your life is to reject Him, reject His commands and totally reject His will for your life. This is what the Jews did during His personal ministry. “And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:” [Mark 12:10].

Jesus warned, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” [John 12:48]

The result of rejecting Christ is found in the example of Esau, “For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected:” [Heb 12:17] The same fate awaits those who reject Christ, that is, to be rejected by God.

IGNORING CHRIST:

Probably the most common way to RID yourself of Christ is to IGNORE Him. We see this in most folks as they take zero consideration for their eternity. These may say they believe in God & Christ, may even attend a church service somewhere, but they make no effort to know what His will is about godly living, worship or even His commands about baptism.

Paul faced this attitude when he spoke with Agrippa. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” [Acts 26:28] To ignore Christ is just as fatal as to reject Him.

Our Lord spoke about those who ignored His commands when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” [Mat 7:21]

Some say that doctrine is not important. But the Holy Spirit says that there is a ‘sound doctrine’ which means that some would be following unsound doctrine ignoring the Doctrine of Christ. [2Tim 4:3; 2John 1:9]

DELAYING OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST:

The last one will RID Christ from your life just as effectively even though the person in this position may say they want to obey the Gospel. Saying you want to do something has zero effect on one’s salvation. Christ said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]

There is something you must do. Saul (later called Paul) knew this, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Jesus then sent him to a Christian to tell him what to do. Nobody accesses salvation without actively doing what the Lord requires. The Jailor, upon hearing about Jesus, obeyed the gospel “the same hour of the night’ without delay. [Acts 16:33]

Don’t be like Felix; “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” [Acts 24:25] He delayed, and we have no idea if he ever responded to the gospel. How sad.

All 3 of these can be applied to those outside of Christ as well as those who are in Christ. You see, we can lose our salvation when we REJECT, IGNORE or DELAY in doing the commands of the Lord. Please, Salvation has appeared to all men [Titus 2:11], don’t RID yourselves of that Grace.

What comes first Water or Salvation?

People in the denominational world want to rid water from God’s plan of salvation. Oh, they’ll say it’s important, one false teacher even said, “Baptism is not essential to salvation, but you aren’t saved if you refuse it.” That’s confusing. When you show them the simple instructions of the Master, (Mark 16:16) they still can’t see it. So, let’s take a different approach by asking, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION?

When you open your Bible, you won’t go far before you come to THE STORY OF NOAH’S ARK (Genesis 6-8). A novice could answer the question, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION?

Noah was commanded to build an ark. He moved with Godly fear and built the ark, according to the pattern (Heb 11:7). He entered the ark with his family. God closed the only door. It rained. The ark rose above the water. Everyone outside of the ark died. The ark landed on Ararat. Noah & his family were saved. He Heard God’s instructions, Believed, Obeyed, WATER.

A LITTLE FURTHER ALONG and you’ll read of the Israelites in Egyptian bondage (Exodus 1-14). Once again, a casual reading reveals a similar story. Moses heard God’s instructions. He believed. They obeyed God’s instruction. They found themselves by the red sea with Pharaoh’s army in pursuit. They walked on dry ground surrounded by WATER. They were free on the other side of the water, while Pharaoh’s army drowned.

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (1Cor 10:2)

KEEP READING and you’ll come to the story of a man named Naaman who had leprosy (2King 5:1-14). He HEARD about a cure and BELIEVED it was true, so much that he brought great wealth to pay for it. However, those weren’t the instructions. The instructions were to dip seven times in the Jordan river. He became angry and wanted a modification to the instruction. That wasn’t in the message either. So, after a little reasoning with his servant, humbly he went to the WATER in obedience. Then, and only then did he receive the cure.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT we read of a man born blind, (John 9:1-7). This story has some amazing similarities to the others. He HEARD some instructions. BELIEVING them, he went in faithful OBEDIENCE to the pool of Siloam. WATER was the dividing line between blindness and sight.

WITH ALL THESE ACCOUNTS before us, we ask again, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION? The answer is clear…WATER. God desired water to be the dividing line between the Fully convinced believer and Salvation.

NOW, AS WE LOOK AT His command for salvation under the New Covenant, what do we find?

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

(Acts 22:16)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1Peter 3:21)

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

(Acts 8:12)

THIS IS THE PATTERN of the New Covenant. Jesus commanded baptism, the Apostles taught it and believers obeyed it prior to their salvation. The question now becomes; do you love Jesus enough to do what He says? (Luke 6:46; John 14:15) Or will you follow the pattern of the Pharisees? “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” (Luke 7:30)

For further study there are additional scriptures on the (here).

WHY MEMORIZE VERSES? Part 2

Last week we looked at 4 of 8 reasons to begin a Bible Memorization Plan. To recap here are the first 4

1: DEFENSE FROM SIN.

2: HELP IN TIME OF NEED.

3: AS A BIBLE STUDY AID.

4: EVANGELISM.

Today we will look at 4 more reasons to commit to bible verse memory.

5: TO LIVE SOBERLY & RIGHTEOUSLY. God’s word contains the instruction for Purity, Holiness and Godliness. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” [Titus 2:12] For us to live the best life we can that glorifies God, we need to know what He expects. Peter reminds us of God’s word when he wrote; “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1Pet 1:16]

6: TO LIVE A JOYFUL LIFE. God’s word reveals so much about human nature and gives us hope that we can do better. In Proverbs we read; “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.” [10:28]. That HOPE exudes from us during times of trial, drawing others to ask; “of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Pet 3:15b] Another proverb says; “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:” [17:22]. Not many of us have faced such a difficult life as Paul, but he could still say; “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” [Phil 4:4]. We can find delight in the study of God’s word; “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” [Psalm 1:2]

7: TO RIGHTLY ENCOURAGE BRETHREN IN THEIR TIME OF NEED. Many times, we don’t have the words when one of our loved ones is facing tragedy & loss, but that doesn’t prevent us from speaking. Oftentimes we say the wrong thing, or worse, say something unscriptural. This should not be. We can encourage others much better with sound words from God’s book. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” [Heb 13:5]. There are words in scripture that, “…comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” [1Thess 5:11] The entirety of scripture can bring comfort; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” [Rom 15:4]

I’ve saved the best for last…

8: JESUS DID. I saved this one for last so that it remains foremost in your mind. Jesus quoted nearly 200 verses from the Old Testament. He quoted God’s word when He faced Satan in the wilderness. He quoted scripture as He taught. He quoted scripture as He faced those who tested Him. Over and over He quotes scripture. Having been raised in a Jewish home, memorizing scripture would have been a part of His upbringing, “And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” [Deut 6:4-9] Why wouldn’t you follow His example?

WHERE SHOULD YOU BEGIN?

In the last article I suggested you begin with those verses on God’s plan of Salvation. Another helpful set of scriptures to memorize would be those that answer the critics. Paul wrote; “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” [Col 4:6] this can only be accomplished by knowing what some of the challenges are and how to answer them.

  • What about the Thief on the Cross?
    • Luke 23:43; Col 2:14
  • Salvation by Faith Only?
    • James 2:24
  • The bible doesn’t say we can’t have instruments in worship.
    • Col 3:16-17
  • We can have fellowship halls to eat and drink in.
    • Rom 14:17; 1Cor 11:22

Brethren, the scripture is a treasure trove containing the wishes of God for us in how we are to live, how we are to love and how we are to get to heaven. But it must be mined, learned and written on our hearts.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. [Psalm 37:31]