After we give them food and needs, what do we teach our children. We teach them to WALK.
Teach them WISDOM, from your wins, losses, and the Word. Jas 3:17
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Teach them how to ACT toward others, in the workplace, and in the community. Eph 4:28; 6:5-6
Eph 6:5 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; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
Teach them and give them LOVE. Rom 5:8-10
Ro 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Most importantly, teach them to KNOW the Lord. Eph 6:4
Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
2Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ on Franklin & Juniper in Borger Texas.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
People talk a lot about what God wants for them, usually inaccurately. Paul wrote the above passage clearly stating at least one thing God wants for us to do, be GRATEFUL.
In these tumultuous times it’s sometimes difficult to find some reasons to be GRATEFUL. However, when we have a specific command, we need to figure out how to complete it.
If GRATEFUL we should, then GRATEFUL we could.
What follows in this article are just a few things from scripture for which we can give thanks. It need not be very hard, for God says, “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:3)
I’m grateful for God’s Grace. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” (Titus 2:11). “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:4-5).
I’m grateful for God’s Revealed word. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” 2Peter 1:3-4).
I’m grateful for Adoption. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:4-6).
I’m grateful for Trying times. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
I’m grateful for Everything that Everyone gets. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45).
I’m grateful for Faithful Brethren. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Phil 1:3-6)
I’m grateful for the ability to Understand God’s word, and to know wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
I’m grateful for the Love of God for me, you, and all. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:8-10). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1John 4:9-11).
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper in Borger Texas.
Living in the world without becoming part of this world is difficult. Yet, we need to live among them so we can reach them. Paul said,
“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1Cor 5:9-10).
He also wrote, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18).
here are 4 ways we can LIVE in the world peacefully:
LOVE Always. (Luke 6:27-36; cf; John 3:16; Rom 5:8-10)
be INDEBTED to them to love, which requires being grateful. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)
live VIRTUOUSLY among them. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1Tim 2:1-8; cf. 1Peter 3:1-6; 2Pet 1:5-10; Romans 12:14-21)
EXPECT less from people, Except Christ and Him crucified. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1Cor 1:2)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas.
“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?
Children have not always been treated very well. They have…
Been Sacrificed; 2Kings 17:31; Eze 16:20-21
Caused to pass through fire; 2Kings 16:3; Jer 32:35;
Sold for debt; 2Kings 4:1.
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.”
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.
Paul wrote to the Galatians warning about those that were troubling them over the GOSPEL. He called it
a different gospel
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.
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 is an evangelist in Borger Texas. He has labored with the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ for the last 8 years.
“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 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.