Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Same Mind

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  1 Corinthians 1:10 

This verse starts with Paul pleading, which translates the Greek verb parakaleo  meaning: “to call someone alongside you”.  This heartfelt invitation is for the Corinthians to join Paul in Christians Unity.  The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the basis and reason for our unity.  Unity means believers are saying the same thing, - that is agreeing about what we believe.  The local church is to lack division and be perfectly joined in mind and judgment – our thinking and viewpoints.

But how can we ever hope to say the same thing?  To think the same way?

In Romans 12:2 Paul urges: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

As believers and churches spiritually grow, we will cease to cherish our own viewpoints and opinions and grow in our agreement and submission to the Word of God – it is in the STUDY of scripture that we will find unity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Body Stewards

God created Adam differently from the rest of the world which He spoke into existence.  Genesis 2:7 tells us:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

God shaped Adam’s body, and breathed life into him and man became a living being.  “Living being” here translates the word nephesh and is often translated soul.  This special method of Creation is a key explanation of what it means to be made in the image of God.  Man is made up of a Spirit for God consciousness, a Soul for self-consciousness and a body for world consciousness.  This body is the first stewardship given to humanity and it is a special gift indeed, representing a significant part of God’s plan for our lives.   

Being good stewards of our bodies in terms of diet, exercise and rest, honors the One Who made us and can dramatically increase our opportunities for ministry as we go through our time on this planet.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Wise-minded Christian

Paul gives Christians encouragement and direction in Romans 12:3:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

When we understand how great our need, and the lengths to which Jesus went to save us, there is nothing left for the believer but to be humble.  Arrogance is simply ridiculous in the life of any follower of Jesus Christ.  In contrast to this, believers are exhorted to think soberly.  Sober thinking in English has come to be associated with not abusing alcohol, but the word Paul used here means more than that.

The Greek word sōphroneō combines the word for wisdom and the word for thinking, or mindset.  The idea is not to be foolish, but rather wise minded in all things.  This wise-mindedness is only available by living in light of our grace given position in Jesus Christ.  While pride will cause us to dare to be stupid, the grace of God gives us humility and wisdom.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top priorities!

Acts 2:42 gives a picture of the early church as follows:

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

These are the priorities of the church in its very first days on earth.  Their pursuit of these things was continual and steadfast – not casual or flippant.  First, they were hearing and applying the apostle’s doctrine or teaching.  These teachings were later written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and preserved in our New Testament.  Second, they were dedicated to fellowship.  The Greek word used here is koinonia and means a vital fellowship based upon something shared – in this case their shared relationship to Jesus Christ.  Third, the “breaking of bread” may mean that they shared meals together, but more likely that they were regularly observing the Lord’s Supper together, as He commanded.  Remembering His death and declaring it until He returns.  Finally, they were dedicated to prayer.  Laying their prayers before the Lord together was a regular habit early church.

These four signs of a healthy church have not changed in 2,000 years.  May every local church be characterized by good Bible Teaching, fellowship around Jesus Christ, The celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and an active corporate prayer life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Perfect Picture

Cameras keep getting better and better and now most people have many crystal-clear images of different moments of their lives.  A clear picture makes a big difference!  Why else would we spend so much time creating and acquiring better televisions, monitors and cameras?

The book of Hebrews opens: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…

God reveals Himself to us through nature, through human conscience, and through the Biblical account – but His clearest picture He gave us was in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

If you want a great picture you may need to buy a better camera – but if you want a clear picture of God you need only look to the person of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

God's "Much More" Kind of Love

Romans 5 solidifies and explains God’s message of salvation.  We are told that God, motivated by love, seeing our helpless situation, paid our penalty in Christ.  But Romans 5 doesn’t stop with the believer’s salvation – we are said now to be in the “much more” care of God.  Five statements tell us that there is so much more to God’s salvation than an escape from our due punishment.

       Romans 5:9 - Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

Romans 5:9 tells us that not only are we forgiven we are sure to be saved from God’s wrath that is to come upon the world.

       Romans 5:10 - For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 5:10 makes it clear that Christ’s death reconciled us to God and Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our salvation’s future consummation.

       Romans 5:15 - But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Romans 5:15 tells us that God’s grace of salvation in Christ is more powerful to save than Adam’s sin was to condemn.

       Romans 5:17 - For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17 promises that every believer in Christ, far more than just being saved, WILL reign with Him, by His grace.

       Romans 5:20 - The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more...

And Romans 5:20 tells us that where sin abounds, grace “much more” abounds – literally – Grace “super abounds” to break the power of sin in the believer’s life with God’s grace and forgiveness.

May we each live in an ever-growing understanding of this “much more” care of God for us.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

In the ancient world the seal was of great importance.  When making a seal - a special ring would be used to make an impression on melted wax.  When a thing was sealed it provided:

1- Identification of the Authority of he who left the mark
2 - It showed Possession of the thing or document which was sealed
3 - A seal also authenticated the contents as being genuine.
4 - Protection was also clear as the improper breaking of the seal meant incurring the full legal wrath of the one whose seal was broken

Two seals in scripture are worth noticing:
First, Pilate had Jesus Tomb Sealed to keep Jesus body in the Grave – this Seal was broken based upon the Higher authority of God almighty.

Second: in the Revelation 5 John weeps because no one is able to open the 7-sealed scroll which contains the plan of God.  Jesus then takes the scene and is, alone, qualified to open that which God has sealed.

This gives great insight to Ephesians 1:13 which tells us:

In Him (Jesus) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…