Tag Archives: Love One Another

Let’s Live To Please Jesus

Lifeway Research, one of our Southern Baptist Resources, released a mid-pandemic study May 2021 on the state of the Church in the United States. The study noted that prior to the pandemic “In 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 Protestant churches closed…” The information did not just come from the Southern Baptist denomination, but analyzed “congregational information from 34 denominations and groups representing 60% of U.S. Protestant churches to arrive at the church plant and closure numbers for 2019”. In 2014 there were more openings than closings of Churches, but in 2019 the trend reversed.

The American Church is experiencing a demise, though we live in a place of amazing freedoms. However the early Church GREW in a hostile Roman and Jewish world.

Christians were not only persecuted by the Roman Empire for the first 300 or so years that the Church started, but the Jewish religious authorities actively sought out and persecuted Christians as members of a cult. The term “Christian” was not a compliment. The Bible says:

Acts 11:26 … the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

An article in Relevant Magazine entitled “Where The ‘Christian’ Name Really Came From” notes:… Continue reading

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A Difficult Text For Wednesday Night

Turn with me in your Bibles to Galatians Chapter Six. Galatians is a book written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Galatia. The Church was largely composed of Gentile Believers, but had recently been visited by Christians with a Jewish background. These Jewish believers told the Galatians that they were not fully saved because they did not keep the festivals and the rituals (like circumcision) that they themselves did. The Apostle – himself a Jew – wrote to correct the error that the Christ following Jews were introducing.

When the Apostle Peter wrote of Paul’s writings, he said:

2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV) And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures…. Continue reading

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Loving Hands, Loving Lord

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit had not come on the Church at Samaria as of yet. You who are Bible Scholars know that the Holy Spirit comes on every believer at the moment of salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:3-7 … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The Holy Spirit gives life to the believer. The Holy Spirit also indwells the believer. The Apostle told Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy {Spirit} which dwelleth in us.

And told the Church at Rome:

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The Holy Spirit baptizes every believer at the moment of new birth. The Apostle wrote in:… Continue reading

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What Does Love Demand?

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

I’m sure you’ve all been in a room with someone on a telephone. Nearly everyone carries cell phones nowadays. It’s common today to be speaking with someone, their phone rings, and they put you on hold while they talk to the person on the other side of the phone line. That’s the best way to describe this chapter. The Apostle was visited by three men from Corinth, Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (Acts 16:17). These men were some of the first Gentiles saved as the Gospel was preached in the Roman Province of Achaia (Acts 16:15). Professor Daniel Balge (Martin Luther College) notes:

“We don’t know whether the(se) three Corinthians walked to Ephesus, a journey of about 900 miles, or spent a week or more crossing the Aegean Sea by ship. … But this we know: Out of love for Jesus they served God and people well in a humble, but vital, task. They reliably carried two letters and linked a pastor to his people. Thus in his letter Paul could speak timely words to urgent problems and timeless truth (in Corinth).”… Continue reading

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What’s Your Power Source, Part 3

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter four.

I have a workshop outside my home, one that I love to go and tinker in. I love woodworking. I love taking raw wood, and turning it into attractive and useful things. There’s a pleasure in working with your hands and your mind. Anyway, I have three basic types of tools in my shop.

• I have tools that require no external power source, things like chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, hand crank drills, hand saws, etc. These tools are ME powered. It takes MY energy to drive them, and they stop working when I myself get tired.
• I have tools that are battery operated. I love these things, because they have no power cord to get in my way. They run off of lithium batteries, which store a charge for a long time, and are able to deliver a lot of power to my tools. When the battery dies, that is, runs out of charge, it stops quickly. When this happens I have to put in another battery that is charged, or let this battery charge before I can continue my work.
• I have tools that are power cord operated. Though the cord limits my freedom of movement, the tool will keep on running as long as I have it plugged into the wall AND pay my electric bill.

What does any of this have to do with the Christian way of life? Our God has given us resources to enable us to live in this world, but empowered by His Kingdom. Sometimes we want to live out our lives in our own power. We use our strength, just as I use hand tools in my shop. Sometimes this is effective – but after a while we just run out of energy. The Lord said:… Continue reading

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Laborers Together With God

Matthew 18:2-4 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 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. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

No one enters the Kingdom of God full grown.

We humble ourselves as little children, and run into the arms of Jesus. We obediently follow Jesus, knowing that in His footsteps is where safety is. “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21 ESV). We are to stay close to Jesus, as a child might stay close to it’s mother while out in the harsh world. The Christian has a purpose greater than “going to Heaven”. Christians are to grow in their faith, becoming more like Jesus every day…. Continue reading

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We All Need This Exercise

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Our God Is Kind

Kindness matters. Our world is coarse and harsher today, I believe, because there is a lack of kindness among our leaders. The world is starving – and dying – for kindness.

Every creature under the glow of God’s sun is broken. The Scripture is adamant: “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We all mess up. No one has a reason to be holier than thou. No one need pretend they are perfect. We aren’t. We are all broken.

As we look at Jeremiah, not what God says of Himself. This is God speaking. Again, this is GOD SPEAKING. God tells us:… Continue reading

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Is That Really The Church?

Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 1. When we come to the Book of Corinthians, we see the Apostle Paul addressing a dysfunctional Church. Paul was very concerned about Corinth, because God used Paul to establish the Church there. In Acts chapter 18 we find out that Paul first went to the Jews.

Acts 18:4-6 (ESV) {Paul} reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Corinth was a very hard ministry for Paul. God actually came to Paul in a vision one night, saying …

Acts 18:9-11 (ESV) … “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

At one point Paul was taken before the tribunal or or court but the proconsul (think Prosecutor) Gallio refused to prosecute Paul. One convert to our faith that Paul had in Corinth was “Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue” (Acts 18:17), who was beaten for standing up for Christ and for Paul. I believe Sosthenes went on to be an elder or a pastor in the Church at Corinth. In verse 1 we see talking about this same Sosthenes…. Continue reading

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A Mighty Mite!

As the disciples left the Temple, a beautiful structure that was built by King Herod, they remarked on it’s fine construction. Jesus told them “there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down”. The Roman Empire would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem in April 14, 70 A.D., three days prior to the beginning of Passover. The Temple would be destroyed by Rome in August, 70 A.D.

I often wonder what happened to that poor widow that Jesus commended. Though her destiny is not revealed in Scripture, I know that my God is faithful. As a Good Shepherd, Jesus tended to her needs, and she rests in glory with Him in eternity.

I believe that God is separating the wheat from the tares in America today. If we deny Jesus, Jesus will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). If we sow corruption, we reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8). Those who are Christ’s sheep will, as Hebrews 3:12-14 notes, “share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end”. The Bible is very clear. Eternal life is certain for those with overcoming faith (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21). Genuine faith in Christ causes a person to fall in love with God. We love God with our ALL. And God indwells us, gently guiding the believer through the valleys of this life. Genuine faith is not here today, and gone tomorrow. The Christian delights to do God’s will. The Christian loves to worship God with other saints. Do you love Jesus? Do you know Him? Oh, I pray that you do! Run into Jesus’ arms this very day. Do not delay! Trust Him, and commit to loving Him with your all. May God the Holy Spirit convict you this very day!.. Continue reading

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The Royal Law

Today we are looking at the writings of James, the stepbrother of our Lord Jesus. People often get confused when they compare Jame’s writing to Paul’s writings. You need to understand that, though both Paul and James are Holy Spirit inspired writings, each Bible writer addressed different situations that was hindering the Church.

Strong Emphasis Here! The Apostle Paul wrote to Gentile Churches being attacked by Pharisees in his absence. The Pharisees were telling the Gentiles that we needed to be circumcised, to follow the Jewish Feasts, and the Jewish dietary restrictions. We are NOT under the Mosaic Codes that were shadows of the Coming Christ. We are NOT under Continue reading

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