Monday, January 31, 2011

Truth Is

Truth Is
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

As one sits and watches “Sound FX” on the NFL network and discovers what these players are thinking as they play the game, one must wonder what people are thinking when they make decisions in life. What goes through the mind when they make the decisions that will impact their future? Are they basing their decisions on what will bring blessings in the eternal afterlife? These are important questions to the one who is concerned about where they will spend eternity.

When God revealed His word as truth (John 17:17), He ruled out any opinions man might have of that truth. What man thinks cannot take precedence over the words He spoke. Man’s opinion has no effect on what God’s grace reveals to us. When we hear the words of truth, we must think in accordance with what God’s love is trying to open our minds to receive. Only truth can set us free from the judgment that will put our souls into eternal condemnation (John 8:32). As good as man’s ideas are, when it comes to truth our minds are too limited: “I know, O LORD, that a man's way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

It is beyond understanding when a man thinks he has the capability to out rule God’s commands. Only God can tell us what we must do to live in a covenant relationship with Him. A girl’s friends can live in a relationship with her, but only her husband can live in a marriage or covenant relationship with her. The church lives in a covenant relationship with God because they have accepted His terms of that covenant. They do not try to put their “I think so” in place of God’s “I say so.” The world may have some kind of relationship with God, but a covenant relationship can only take place when we accept the boundaries of this covenant.

There is no telling what a person is thinking when they accept false doctrine. The Bible is the source of truth and it is accessible to all for finding and applying truth (Acts 17:11). It seems like history has a way of repeating itself. Israel did well when they walked in the Lord’s truth, but found their way to trouble when they chose not to heed God: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21). Woe is the result of disregarding truth.

When God says “repent and be baptized… for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38) and then says it again and again, what is a person thinking when he or she tries to come up with another plan for His salvation. The Hebrew writer reminds us Who knows about salvation: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). We will do well to close our minds to fleshly wisdom and open our hearts to the grace of God that has appeared to bring His teaching (Titus 2:11-14). Let’s stop the madness that runs rampant through the hearts and minds of the generation in which we live. Let us be the example of someone who does not heed his own mind, but searches the Scriptures to know what truth is and how we can accomplish the will of God through our understanding of His truth. Truth is God’s way of life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lasting Impression

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Our family has traveled to many different destinations. We have seen great sights and amazing wonders that God’s hand has left for us to view. Places such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Hoover Dam have left an impression on us that will last throughout our days on this earth. But the question haunts this mind is, did we leave an impression on those places we have visited? Are the places we visited different in any way since our arrival and departure?

The spiritual side of this question digs deep into the hearts of the saved. When people visit our congregations, what kind of impression do we leave on them? In our places of worship, visitors come as God’s way of opening a door for His Light to shine. He gives us an opportunity to reveal Christ to each soul. And in some instances, He has given us an opportunity to grow numerically. Are we sure that we treated these visitors in a way that will leave an impression of Christ? This is a very important question these days as we have seen the numbers of the Lord’s church on a steady decline. And possibly, this could be one reason why.

To leave the impression of Christ, we must know Christ. He never missed the opportunity to make someone feel loved. When we see the words, “feel loved,” please keep in mind that Jesus’ love is different than the love of the world. His love does great things for those He visits, but they are great things because they benefit the spiritual life of those He touches. When visitors come to our congregations, are we showing the love of Christ by meeting spiritual needs or are we showing them worldly love, just meeting physical wants?

If we are going to leave an impression on souls that visit our fellowship we must show compassion for their situation. Jesus showed compassion: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Many lost souls are simply looking for someone to take time to understand their situation and not condemn their hearts. Some people are truly dealing with their circumstances the best way they know how. The church must try to understand their dilemma and let them know that the Lord’s church is there for them to lead them to a better way of life (John 10:10).

Another way we can leave the impression of Christ is to teach them the truth. Jesus spent His time teaching truth to make disciples: “And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22). God desired a relationship through a covenant established through His Son and Jesus took every opportunity presented to Him to teach the truth about His Father’s desire to set them free (John 8:32). Many souls are lost because no one has taken the time to share the truth about Christ and His love for them. When He died the church was established to continue this mission of sacrificial teaching.

The church has been established for this very purpose of seeking and saving “that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). The goal of the Lord’s church is not to lead them to the wood of the pew, but to lead them to the truth of Christ. This is the only way they will find salvation. This is the impression Jesus left on every soul He visited. He desired not only to add them to the pew of the church, but to add them to the kingdom of God. He made sure when every soul left His physical presence they were left with an eternal spiritual impression. Let the church reflect His Light.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Un-Deceived

The “Un” Deceived
“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).

How many people are sitting in a peaceful state without actually knowing the meaning of peace? God has sent peace to a world that has not accepted His offer because they are too busy striving for their own idea of peace. Sad part of this is that the world cannot know peace until they come to know God. Only His peace can bring the comfort of knowing that I am free from His wrath. Most people choose not to accept God’s peace because they have been deceived to believe they have already found peace, but they may be at peace with the world, but not with God.

Satan has a plan to confuse the people of the world. His plan is executed by placing doubt in gullible minds about what is truth. God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and He has made sure we can know this by establishing the things that are written. Hebrews 5:3-4 gives irrefutable evidences to this proclamation of faith. In verse 2, the writer shows us that angels spoke the “LOGOS” of God. This is a Greek word meaning “the reasoning” or the way God thinks. John described Jesus as the “Word,” revealing to us that Jesus came to unveil the Spirit of our Creator. And although this was prophesied, the Jewish leaders would not accept Him as truth. They thought they had found salvation in their own beliefs, which was proven wrong as Paul reminded the Jewish people that they had been “cut off” and needed to be grafted back into the olive tree (Romans 11:24). God established his truth through His powerful miracles, signs and wonders.

God has proven His word as truth, and in His word there are the keys to His peace (Matthew 16:19). His truth has opened the door to the “peace of God that goes beyond all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). The world does not know this peace because they have been deceived to think that knowing God is enough to bring them peace, even without change. They have been fooled to believe that God is forced to tolerate our habits of worldliness because He created us this way. But noting can be further from the truth. God’s word has called us to die to our old ways and be born again into a new life (Romans 6:1-4). This brings change motivated by love for God’s truth.

You don’t have to be among the deceived. You can be like the Bereans and be “more noble-minded” (Acts 17:11). You can search “the Scriptures daily” to make sure what you are being taught is true. God has given us a way out of ignorance by sending His grace to this ungodly world (Titus 2:11-13). If we will learn from Jesus, we can choose to accept the wisdom that comes from above (James 3:17) and deny the “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). We have the opportunity to “know the truth” (John 8:32) and “test every spirit” (1 John 4:1) to make sure we are enjoying true peace and not the pseudo-peace Satan uses to deceive the world.