Are There Any Bereans Today?

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

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

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

Are there any Bereans today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are there any Bereans today?

Does it MATTER what one Believes?

Does it MATTER what we Believe? part one.

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

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

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

Does it MATTER what one believes?

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

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

Does it MATTER what we believe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is that to thee? follow thou me.

After the resurrection of Jesus, He spoke with Peter while having breakfast by the sea (John 21:15-22). There are a few lessons from this text, but I’d like to focus on Peter’s response to the knowledge that he will die for Christ & His Cause.

After Jesus describes the type of love sacrifice that Peter will face, Peter turns toward John and asks, “what shall this man do?”

Jesus, ever succinct and direct, answers, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”

It is this powerful lesson that will be the focus of this article. Before we can learn the lesson, we must understand the root of Peter’s question.

Peter had heard that he will live the remainder of his life in sacrificial service to Christ, the end of which will be a martyr’s death. “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.”

This would be very serious news to receive. The closest example I could give you is one from my own experience. After two years of cancer treatment for my mom, we were in her doctor’s office when we heard something to the effect, “There’s nothing more we can do. Go home, we’ll try to make you comfortable, and enjoy your family in whatever time you have left.” How devastating that must have sounded to her.

Perhaps this gives us just a glimpse at how this might have sounded to Peter at this point in his life. Peter would learn more from Jesus after this, but this stands as a reminder to every Christian, we who love Christ will face persecution, and trouble in this life. [2Tim 3:12].

So, what are we to do with this information, knowing that life as a Christian won’t always be easy? Can we still be happy? Can we find any joy? The answer is yes, we can be HAPPY & JOYFUL, the question then becomes HOW? For that answer we turn to the words of our Lord, FOLLOW ME.

FOLLOW ME.

The beginning of following anyone is to have FAITH. Nobody will follow anyone if they can’t trust that they are worthy to be followed, and able to fulfill what they have promised. Christ is both worthy and able. Just one text of many will prove this point; Christ is spoken of as the Creator [John 1:1-4; Col 1:17-18]. Jesus told His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” [John 14:1-3]. Another powerful verse to help with our FAITH in Christ is, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” [Heb 2:18]

Second, we can only follow Him if we OBEY Him. Jesus is the Captain of our Salvation, but too many treat Him like they’re the captain and He a buck Private. [cf. Heb 2:10] Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15; 1John 5:3]

Next, we notice that in that breakfast by the sea, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” We should ask ourselves this same question. The word for love is ‘agape’ which is the all-in sacrificial love. To follow Jesus is to LOVE whom He loves. We must LOVE God [Mat 22:37], Christ [John 14:15], The Holy Spirit [Rom 15:30], the brethren [1Peter 1:22], yourself & your family [Eph 5:28-29], and also your Enemies [Luke 6:27].

Fourth, Christ told us to come to Him and, “Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN of me;” [Matt 11:29]. It is amazing to me how much people say that want to follow Jesus, but spend so little time trying to LEARN of Him. He expects us to be the LIGHT of the world, but how can we without LEARNING of Him, without reading His word? [Mat 5:14; cf. Psalm 119:105; Pro 6:23]

Fifth, whether young or Old, as we have OPPORTUNITY let us do good to all men, especially the household of faith [Gal 6:10]. Sometimes folks don’t want us to do good toward them. That’s ok. Paul wrote, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” [Rom 12:18; cf. Mat 15:14; 1Cor 14:38; 1Tim 6:18]

Lastly, and just as importantly, Following Christ involves WALKING. John was present at the breakfast by the sea and he wrote, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to WALK, even as he walked.” [1John 2:6]. Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” [1Peter 2:21; cf. 1Pet 3:13; 2Peter 1:16].

Putting all this together, we know that life is full of disappointments, trouble, and trials. Much of this will come through the hands of people. However, the scriptures teach us that we can have JOY & HAPPINESS despite this world’s troubles. [James 1:2; Mt 5:12; Ac 5:41]. Peter wrote, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” [1Pet 4:13; 1:6; 4:16]

Peter was told at the beginning that he would give his life to Christ. Peter wanted to know, if I’m going to suffer, what going to happen to the others? Christ told him that whatever happens to others has no bearing on what Peter does, “YOU FOLLOW ME.” He understood the lesson.

Whatever it is that others are doing, or not doing, what they’re getting, or not getting, how much fun they’re having, or how much they suffer, these have nothing to do with what YOU & I are to do.

As I read again John 21:22, when Jesus commands Peter, I also hear…

Spencer, YOU FOLLOW ME.”

From the mouth of Babes

“When it’s thundering, that’s just God bowling.”

“When it’s lightening, that’s God taking pictures.”

“When it’s raining, that’s God crying.”

Perhaps many of us have heard these as children from our parents trying to comfort us. While their intentions were good, the doors were opened for more errors.

I remember hearing a little girl refer to spirits, witches, demons, devils & ghosts to explain sickness, troubles and strange events in her young life. She said, “that’s what my mom told me.”

And this mom is a church goer!!

This little person continued to describe other things she was taught from her parents. “The devil has horns, a red face and a long tale.” Truly sad.

You think that these lies will leave the heart of an imaginative child and not follow them into adulthood? Nay, Nay. An acquaintance of mine spoke about the loss of an adult son; “he had demons.” They weren’t speaking figuratively. Truly sad.

These lies continue to be taught through movies, songs, and YouTube videos. All of which our children are given unfettered and unsupervised access without giving them access to the truth, God’s word.

These stories illustrate a problem we have, people know more that isn’t so than they know about the comfort from the truth. They don’t know the truth, because they are too busy to read it.

A LITTLE MAID.

In second Kings, we hear of a little maid who offers comforting hope to the man that had stolen her from her home in Israel [2King 5:1-4]. What can we learn from a little girl, a little MAID?

The story begins with the description of a MIGHTY MAN of Valor that had stolen a little maid during a raid on Israel. He is not a friend; he is an enemy to the little maid. However, he had a problem, he was a leper.

Rather than withhold from her enemy the hope of a cure, she ADVISED her mistress, Naaman’s wife, who then told Naaman. Naaman believed and was willing to go to the land from which he stole, and went to the land for help! This all began because of the faith of a little maid. This speaks volumes about her more than it does of the others.

What was it about her that she was willing to tell of a cure to her enemy? Perhaps it was the teaching about love for an enemy… “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” [Lev 19:18; cf. Mat 22:35-39] This command is connected to Loving God Himself! When a person has love for their enemy, the desire for vengeance will evaporate. Love changes our actions toward another, even toward an enemy.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]

What Advice did she give her captor?

IF ONLY my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She told of a cure, not half-truths or falsehoods. She told of actual hope, not the mythological fairy tales we tell children to give them false hope. AND THEY BELIEVED HER.

We have to turn to hear Jesus to complete the story

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:27] Did you catch it? She told them of a cure that She DID NOT HERSELF SEE!! She knew it because of her faith in God, her trust in the Almighty. She had more faith than the king of Israel [2King 5:7]. Jesus uses her example to illustrate Himself being rejected by his own people.

What’s the moral to the story? Children can learn the truth and be comforted by it during their time of need. They don’t need to be told myths. They can handle the truth. The truth will make them free from fear [John 8:32]. And not only that, they can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and share their faith with others in their time of need.

All MUST Obey the Gospel

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 1

All MUST obey the Gospel.

The first and foremost truth that will answer many objections is the fact that everyone MUST obey the gospel to be saved.

This is easily shown by looking at the New Testament Scriptures.

2Thess 1:8 …rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:

Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

see also; Rom 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; [emph mine seb]

Denominational people will come to you saying

  • “Baptism is not essential to salvation.”
  • “No works of man can save you.”
  • “Ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved.”
  • “What about the thief on the cross?”
  • “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

They will especially appeal to emotionalism

  • “Do you mean to tell me my mother, that godly woman, who was a (insert denomination here) all her life is lost?”
  • “What if you’re on the way to be baptized and you die?”

They may even quote a few scriptures out of context

  • Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
  • Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  • John 3:16 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.

I believe all these passages, and I hope you do as well. However, I believe them in their context as well as in context with everything else Jesus said about salvation including baptism.

WHAT SAVES US?

Let’s answer one of the main objections to baptism. It is stated this way; “No work of man or from God can save you. If you get baptized, you’re working for & trying to earn your salvation.”

Colossians 2:11-14.

When you’re accused of salvation by ‘WORKS’ reply, “Yes, but it’s not me doing the work. Let’s look at Col 2:11-14.”

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

“…the working of God,” [ASV]

First, It’s God who is WORKING when we are baptized. It is God’s work, [Isa 29:14; Hab 1:5; Acts 13:41]

“…raised with him through faith…”

Obedience to God’s command is never considered earning anything. He’s working through OUR faith, our trust in His working. Our obedience is part of faith. James wrote, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [Jas 2:17]

wherein also ye are risen with Him…”

When we are baptized, we are being buried as dead sinners, then God’s working allows us to be RAISED with Christ being made alive, being forgiven of all our trespasses. [v13; Rom 6:3-4]

“…he make alive together with him;” [v13]

This scripture lets us KNOW what we’re doing in baptism, understanding that it is God working through our faith. It is not a blind faith, nor just a feeling. We may KNOW that we have eternal life. [2Tim 1:12; 1Jo 5:13]

“…having forgiven us all our trespasses;” [v13]

Lastly, because it’s God WORKING through OUR faith and that we are being RAISED with Christ, KNOWING we’ve obeyed the commands of God, we can be certain that we’ve worked out our SALVATION with fear and trembling. [Php 2:12; Acts 2:40] “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

PUT ON

Ruth's Gleanings

 

Many of us are sheltering in place and avoiding going out except for those things that are necessary due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

For those who are shut in, they may be lounging around, not knowing what to do with the abundance of time. Let me first warn us all, let’s not waste time. It’s one thing we can never get back.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” [Eph 5:16]

The next thing we all ought to do is PUT ON some things. Of course, get out of your PJ’s and put on some clothes. There are some other things we can PUT ON that may help us during this time of confinement.

First, PUT ON Prayer. First thing in the morning pause and pray. If you make a list for everything and everyone you could pray for you’ll understand better how to fulfill 1Thess 5:17; “Pray without ceasing.”

Next let us UNDERTAKE A ROUTINE. A routine will help you to ward off cabin fever. Undertaking a routine will help you make the best use of your time, not allowing it to escape from you. Time passes way too quickly to allow it to be wasted.

Then, Take Time each day to talk & teach your family about God, His word and His Son. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” [Deut 6:7]

ORGANIZE your day and your week. If you’re working or schooling from home, an ORGANIZED plan will keep you on track.

This plan will be NEEDFUL for your success at work, your sanity and your salvation. It’s when we don’t walk circumspectly [Eph 5:15] that we fall into sin.

That’s the physical plan, now let’s look at the Spiritual things we should PUT ON.

The best was to describe this is just by reading from God’s word.

COLOSSIANS 3:12-15

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

14 But above all these things PUT ON love, which is the bond of perfection.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

ROMANS 13:11-14

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us PUT ON the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

14 But PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

If you’re not a Christian, what are you waiting for? The day is far spent. Put on Christ through obedience to the Gospel and be baptized for the remission of sins.

If you’re a Christian, what are you waiting for? Put on the armor of light and let the world know you are a Hopeful, Happy child of God.

 

–Spencer

A New Year Examination

Image result for magnifying glass examine self

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

[2Corinthians 13:5]

It’s 2020, let the vision jokes, puns & metaphors begin. All joking aside, a new year is a threshold we cross that inspires many of us to examine how well we’re doing.

Paul wrote about self-examination. It’s a great practice, not just for the new year, but with each new day.

New years resolutions are self-examinations of how we’re doing regarding the outward man. Paul is urging self-examination of the inward.

What does a spiritual examination look like? How do we do it? What do we look for? Paul specifically states, “whether ye be in the faith.” Let’s look to the scriptures for God’s answer to this important question. Since we’re to ‘PROVE’ ourselves, there must then be things we (& others) can see regarding our faith.

5 Things to examine about our FAITH. This is just my list; you search the scriptures to find what else God says on the matter.

FIDELITY: How loyal are we toward God, His church, His doctrine [2John 9]? Do we believe in the ONE church as spoken of in Eph 4:4? Do we attend as we ought [Heb 10:25-26]? Are we giving with regularity and purpose in our hearts [1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 9:6]?

 

APTITUDE: How good are you at handling aright the word of God? Do we study as we ought [2Tim 2:15]? Are we able to teach it [Heb 5:12]? It’s called a sword; can we wield it properly & accurately with love [Eph 6:17; 4:15]?

Do you cry out for the study of God’s word as a newborn baby cries for her milk?

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5; 1Peter 2:2]

INFLUENCE: How well am I at leading others to good works?

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,” [Titus 2:7] How well do I do at edification of the saints?

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

[Eph 4:12]

TELLING the Good News: Jesus told the man released of the legion to, “tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,” how well are we doing? [Mark 5:19]

Are we looking at the field that is “white unto harvest?” [John 4:35] Are we looking for that honest, seeking heart?

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” [Mark 4:20]

Do people see us as people of hope, in the midst of struggles, that want to ask us about that hope?

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:” [1Peter 3:15]

Or do they only hear about how bad people are, how bad life is and how bad we have it in life?

HOPE: Let’s examine our own hope of salvation. Are we living in fear & doubt? Are we uncertain of our salvation? Do we believe that we can be saved?

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]

Too many are doubting and this doubt leads to apathy and a negative influence on the rest of us. If we’re in doubt about our salvation then examining of self is in order. We can take the necessary steps of repentance. We have the assurance from God that He will forgive the Christian that will confess her sins. [1John 1:9]

Paul finishes by assuring us, “But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” [vs6] May we each discover an ever-growing faith within us.

 

—Spencer

Why Would God Say NO to Our Prayer?

The world misunderstands how prayer works, and the mockers use those errors to attack the church. We must understand it otherwise we may fall into temptation and lose our faith.

Here are just a few of the misunderstandings about prayer:

  • When bad things happen in the world, mockers attack when someone says, “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
  • When a prayer is not answered, the weak in faith and those that don’t understand, get angry with God and fall away. One fellow said, “Me and God aren’t on speaking terms.”
  • When God says no, some doubt their own faith and become disillusioned about the effectiveness of prayer.
  • Others fall into atheism when God doesn’t give them what they ask for in their prayer. Perhaps a sick child passes away despite the ongoing prayers. David teaches us a better way. [2Sam 12:16-23].
  • Some get weaker. Paul was told no in 2Corinthians 12:7-10, but he became stronger. We can too, once we learn why God might say no to our prayer.

 

WHY WOULD GOD SAY NO?

AGAINST HIS WILL. Let’s face the facts, some of our prayers are not according to His will. We don’t know what He wants because we don’t read His word and we ask for things God has never promised to give. It’s incumbent upon us to know what He wants.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

[1John 5:14]

 

 

MISUNDERSTAND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. God looks to those in Christ as His children and is training us as a Father does with a child. Would you give your young child everything he may wish? Certainly not, and God won’t either, because He loves us too much to give us something for which we are too immature to handle.

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” [Hebrews 12:9-11]

 

 

INDECISIVE PRAYER.  Our prayers are duplicitous, or in opposition with other prayers. We shouldn’t expect anything if we’re praying against ourselves or if we doubt that God can answer. Some even begin their prayer with, “God, if you’re there…”

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” [James 1:6-8]

 

 

SELFISH PRAYER. For some, prayer is nothing more than having a genie in a bottle. You see something you want so you pray for it, as if God is just sitting on His throne granting wishes.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” [James 4:3]

 

 

SINNER PRAYER. This is not the prayer of the sinner asking God for enlightenment as Cornelius did [Acts 10:1-2]. Which, when he heard the word of God, he obeyed the gospel in Baptism. No, I’m referring to the prayer of an unrepentant sinner. If you’re asking God for some blessing while you’re disobedient to His word, living in an unsaved condition, don’t expect a single thing from Him. It’s a worthless prayer because God has said that He doesn’t heed the prayer of the sinner.

When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,” [Isaiah 1:15-16]

 There are many more such examples of God promising a NO to those who continue in sin. [Joh 9:31; Job 27:9; 35:12; Ps 18:41; 34:15; 66:18; Pr 1:28; 15:29; 28:9; Isa 1:15; Jer 11:11; 14:12; Eze 8:18; Mic 3:4; Zec 7:13; Joh 21:25]

 

 

CONCLUSION: You see, we ask and do not have because we ask AMISS [James 4:3]. It’s proven that we can pray in vain error. When we ask AMISS, don’t expect anything from God.

For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;” [James 1:7]

My prayer is that you come to a full understanding about prayer so that you can have the confidence that your petitions to God are heard according to His will.

—Spencer

HE IS ABLE TO DELIVER THEE

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An enormous golden statue was raised up in the land of Babylon, and King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that all the people should worship the image upon hearing the sounds of the “cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” [Dan 3:5-6]

At least 3 captive Jewish men ignored the command and were set to face the furnace for their faith. They were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their Israelite names), better known as, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego [Daniel 3:12]. Faithful men who refused to bow down to any image or person except God.

What’s interesting to me about this whole event are the words spoken by these young men as they faced the fiery furnace being given the chance to worship the image & live or stand fast & die.

O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” [Daniel 3:16-18]

Here’s a summary of what they were saying…

  • We have no need to give you a new answer
  • Our God whom we serve
  • Is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us
  • But if not, (if God doesn’t deliver them)
  • Know this, we WILL NOT serve false gods, nor worship the golden image.

This is a remarkable response from these 3 young men to an all-powerful King. They understood that all Nebuchadnezzar could do was kill their body, but not their souls. [cf. Mt 10:28] In other words, never let fear override your faith.

There are 5 lessons we can learn from this simple example:

  • There is no amount of pain on earth sufficient enough to match the severity of hell.
  • There is no amount of worldly pleasure great enough to surpass the joy of heaven.
  • God is able to deliver us & reward us in this life, but if He doesn’t, don’t miss heaven over it.
  • Standing firm in your faith is going to make someone very angry, stand firm anyway.
  • Standing firm for your faith may change someone’s mind.

After they were thrown into the furnace with haste, God did deliver them, and Nebuchadnezzar became a changed man. Let’s read what happened. [Daniel 3:26-28]

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”

Today we face different challenges to our faith. However, the lessons of these faithful 3 can help us. Peter wrote about the suffering that Christians face and how we ought to respond.

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]

You see, people see the confidence in our hope during the persecutions of Godly living and want to know why.

 

–spencer

Declaration of an ATHEIST

When you meet an Atheist, you’ve met a person with a serious problem. Atheism is declaring that there is no God. For this to be an honest statement, one must first have complete knowledge of LIFE, the UNIVERSE & EVERYTHING. If you don’t know everything, perhaps God is in that missing knowledge.

Here are a few questions for the Atheist…

  • What happened at the beginning of everything? Were you there?
  • Do you know everything about the bottom of the ocean?
  • Do you know everything about what happens to the soul at death?
  • Do you know everything about deep space?
  • Can you explain how we have consciousness?

These are only a few of the 72 questions God asks in Job 38-41. Several of the questions have multiple parts. Man is still searching for the answers to these questions and more. Yet, the atheist declares with certainty, “THERE IS NO GOD!” That’s arrogance.

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

Psalm 53:1

Pride is at the center of atheism. I’m not impugning anyone’s motives, God is, for He knows the motives of us all. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” [Psalm 10:4; cr Heb 4:12]

Atheism searches for answers without a Divine source, but it’s an exercise in futility. Every time they introduce a theory stating a natural beginning, the question remains, “who / what created that?” Ad infinitum. Whereas the Christian doesn’t have this dilemma. We believe in a self-existent God who has always been and will always be. It’s the more logical conclusion.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

[Rev 1:8]

Above is a ‘DECLARATION of an ATHEIST’ for the next time you meet someone claiming to be one. The intent is not to mock, rather to help them see the futility of atheism and to encourage looking at the possibility there is a God.

 

–spencer