The COMFORT of the scriptures

Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach  us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently  for God's promises to be fulfilled. |
…through COMFORT of the scriptures we might have hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.[Romans 15:4]

Read that again; “…through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.” Did you catch it? Paul was referring to the Old Testament scriptures, and that those scriptures can give us comfort and hope.

I know many that find the Old Testament unpalatable, being too disgusting and violent. While it’s true that the OT is full of those things, the Holy Spirit has revealed that through them we may have COMFORT and HOPE.

The new year is upon us. Let’s renew our efforts to read for COMFORT and HOPE.  

7 ways we may find…

COMFORT and hope in the OT Scriptures.

The first thing we can notice is that CHRIST is in the Old Testament. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Jesus taught of Himself to those on the road to Emmaus, and they said, “Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?” [John 5:39; Luke 24:13-27,32]

Paul wrote in two of his letters saying the scriptures were written for OUR Learning and OUR admonition upon whom the end of the age are come. We have a huge advantage in that we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11]

In the letter to the Corinthians he wrote about those God brought out of Egypt, “Howbeit with MOST of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. We always learn by others example or experiences. The Old Testament scriptures reveal both good and negative examples. It is foolish to try to learn from just your own mistakes. You may never recover! [1Cor 10:1-13]

A major lesson the entire world needed from the very first day of man in the Garden until now is to learn the FEAR of the Lord. Every generation, every person must learn this. The Old Testament teaches this lesson over and over through the example of those that disobeyed God. “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.” Some dislike this idea of the FEAR of the Lord, but they misunderstand. If you’re in Christ through faithful baptism, you will have a reverential fear. But if not, you ought to have a terror type fear. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” [Job 28:28; 2Cor 5:11; cr Prov 1:7; Ecc 12:13; Mat 10:28]

Another lesson is that the OLD Covenant was hard, really hard. By reading Leviticus & Deuteronomy (reading through Romans & Hebrews also) we can see that the Law of Moses went well beyond the 10 Commandments. The Jewish traditions teach that there are about 613 commandments. But now we are under the Liberty of Christ. “A better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.” We are no longer under the bondage of the OLD testament system that couldn’t remove sins, but left a reminder of sin year by year. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” [Heb 8:6; Gal 2:4; 4:3, 9, 24, 25; 5:1]

The Law of Moses has been REMOVED & REPLACED by the Love and Blood of Christ on that cross. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments. We now live under grace through the doctrine of Christ. [Col 2:12-14; Eph 2:15; 2John 1:9]

Finally, we can use both the Old and the New Testament scriptures to TEST the spirits. The Bereans were “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” Who’s teaching where they testing? It was the Apostle Paul’s delivered to him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, AND THEY ARE CALLED MORE NOBLE! [Acts 17:11; Eph 3:3-4; cr. 1Thess 5:21; 1John 4:1-4; Deut 13:1-11; 18:20-22]

We need not abhor the OT scriptures for in them is COMFORT and HOPE.

Objections pt4

Objection! | Know Your Meme

 

OBJECTIONS to the GOSPEL pt4.

We need not view all challenges & objections to the truth as a bad thing. Some folks are just trying to work through the differences from what they’ve been falsely taught.

For the most part it is a necessary step in presenting the gospel. Challenges and objections are necessary to help a person to learn how to study and determine scriptural authority.

It can be viewed as a sign that a person is interested. It can also be a sign of someone who is rejecting the gospel.

As long as they’re asking questions, we can be prepared to answer them. [Col 4:6; 1Peter 3:15].

 

OBJECTIONS #7; I THINK.

This is a subtle objection that I find myself saying. The phrase “I Think” needs to be replaced with “God’s word says.” We live in a world that has embraced the idea of ‘my truth, your truth’ as if everyone has their own version of what is true. We need to have discussions about what does the Bible say?

Naaman is a great illustration for this very point. [2Kings 5:1-14] He had leprosy, learned of the cure and was told by ‘then man of God’ what he had to do to be cured. His first words? I THOUGHT… He thought the cure should look different, be more dramatic or at least be more comfortable. [v11] What we want things to be, doesn’t change the way things are. We need to obey the cure God commands.

For some they think the way to go is through TRADITIONS of their family or culture. Jesus pointed out that the religious leaders were laying aside the commands of God for their TRADITIONS. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” [Mark 7:9]

Others thing that their HEART will lead them to the truth, that they can feel they’re saved. Experience tells us this is no way to go. Emotion neither proves nor disproves anything. It’s possible to believe a lie, [2Thess 2:11-12; cf. Gen 37:30-35]

God’s word says through the Apostle Paul, IF ANYONE preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [Gal 1:6-10] We need to check out everyone, especially our own selves. Search the scriptures [Acts 17:11; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17].

This touches on the real problem. More and more people, even among believers, just do NOT KNOW the Scriptures. Jesus pointed this out to the Sadducees in Mat 22:26; “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” God said it this way, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,” [Hosea 4:6]

The last part of this objection comes in the form of an appeal to what our KIN folk have done. Very similar to tradition, but this takes it further by adding an emotional spin to it. “I go to the church my grandparents used to go. I even sit in their pew.”

What if your parents, grandparents were wrong? Are you going to allow yourself to be lost because they got it wrong? Here’s a question to ask yourself, What do your grandparents want for you now that they have sight? [cf. Luke 16:27-28] No parent or grandparent wants their children to repeat their mistakes.

Jesus gave a very difficult saying, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” [Mat 10:34-38]. This is not a physical sword, rather it’s a spiritual sword. [cf. Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12]

The solution to I THINK is to ask;

  • What does the BIBLE SAY?
  • What does GOD SAY? (I repeat myself)
  • What does JESUS SAY? (I repeat, repeat myself)

This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

[Mark 9:7; cr. Heb 1:1-2]

 

–Spencer

Under the Influence

As the New Year fast approaches, I know that many will be celebrating the new year, often while drinking adult alcoholic beverages. You’ve heard about driving under the influence? That is when a person decides to drink alcohol unto intoxication, or imbibing in some other mind altering drug, and then decides to get behind the wheel of their vehicle. In a recent news story, a woman driving while under the influence, ran a red light plowing through a crosswalk, killing 3 people including a child and his mother.

Here in Borger, Texas, it’s listed as DWI; Driving While Intoxicated. According to the Texas DoT website, a first offense DWI charge can get you; “A fine of up to $2,000, Three days to 180 days in jail, Loss of driver license up to a year and an Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license.”

Just the first offense penalty would be enough for me to avoid DWI. When you consider the human costs with the possibility of causing someone’s death or even my own, then without a doubt I would never drive under the influence of alcohol.

But that is the secular human side of me. As a Christian, I abstain from alcohol use. I don’t drink. As I pondered this thing called DUI or being under the influence, I was reminded of a passage I had recently studied in Ephesians;

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” — Eph 5:18

            This verse instructs us to NOT get drunk, but rather to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some would suppose that we should be under the control of the Holy Spirit, losing our own control and free will. But this just doesn’t fit with the rest of the scriptures. Paul had just written in Chapter 3 of the same book:

“…if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,  4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),”– Eph 3:2-4

            When you consider these verses from the same letter together, what you will see is that we need to read and to study our Bibles, allowing those teachings to influence us. To “BE FILLED” with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the Helper promised by Christ;

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”– Joh 16:13

We have the Bible, the scriptures, because holy men of God were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down the things of God. [2Pet 1:20-21] It’s through the study of the scriptures that we can know the will of God for our lives, to know how to live on this earth and how to get to heaven.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”– 2Ti 3:16

            Jesus charged the Apostles to teach the people “all things that I have commanded you,” and this they did as they traveled, speaking to people, and also as they, with others, wrote these commands down for us today.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. — Mt 28:19

Knowing all of this, let us not be drunk with alcohol or drugs, rather, let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by studying our Bibles, learning what is the will of the Lord.