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30
Nov

Why Aren’t We ALWAYS Thankful?

“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).

27
Nov

Mat. 7:13-14; 18:2-4

Big-headed people can’t fit through the narrow door

26
Nov

Where Are the Seventeen?

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IT WAS IN the early morning hours of September 8.

Eyewitnesses say that it was a stormy evening on Lake Michigan.

Nighttime navigation was always difficult in 1860, but especially so on this occasion.

Gale-force winds made the trip all the more perilous. Passengers were nervous and with good reason.

Around 2:30 AM, about twelve miles off the Illinois coast, the steamboat “Lady Elgin” was suddenly rammed by a large, wooden schooner.

The “Augusta” had been laboring under the tempest and collided with her on the port side, just aft of her paddlewheel.

Lady Elgin’s crew attempted to plug the hole in the hull with a mattress, but to no avail.

The breach simply could not be repaired and pounding waves quickly forced water into her oak-framed body.

Edward Spencer was on board the Lady Elgin when the accident occurred.

He was a student from nearby Northwestern University and decided to help.

Oblivious to the storm and its attendant dangers, Edward plunged into the icy waters and began rescuing fellow passengers.

There had been approximately 485 patrons on board (the ship was rated to carry only 300 people); about 380 of them drowned on that awful day.

Edward lived–and so did seventeen other people whom he had saved during the deluge.

However, the strain of the occasion exacted its toll on his young body.

The nerves in his legs had been irreparably damaged during the mishap, and doctors were forced to confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

On his 80th birthday, Edward’s friends and family gathered to celebrate.

Someone in his company asked him, “What is your most vivid memory about that tragic day?”

He replied, “Not one of the seventeen returned to thank me.”

I wonder which burden was more difficult for Edward to bear?

Was it the lifetime loss of movement in his legs, or was it the thoughtless negligence of those seventeen unnamed passengers whom he had snatched from that watery tomb long ago?

In Luke 17, Jesus came in contact with a group of men who were suffering with leprosy.

Their plight as well as their knowledge of the Lord’s power prompted them to cry for help.

Commenting on this incident, one author notes:

The law of Moses required those afflicted with the loathsome disease of leprosy to keep away from the rest of the people (Lev. 13:45-46). This is why they “stood afar off.” Because lepers could not associate with others, they usually congregated together for the sake of association; and, in this instance, there were ten of them. One of them was a Samaritan; the others were Jews. Ordinarily, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans; but, their common affliction had drawn them together. Leprosy is one of the most dreaded and terrible diseases known to man. It starts with sores; then, it eats away at bodily tissues until the body itself begins to be consumed. The nose, the lips disappear; fingers decay and fall off; joint after joint separates, eventually, the vital organs cease to function and death follows. Those who had leprosy were regarded as ceremonially unclean; they were required to live outside the city; and, had to cry out ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ at the approach of others. The lepers remained at a distance because they were forbidden to draw near to others–this being a sort of quarantine to keep from infecting more with the disease. The lepers heard of the Lord; they know of His powers to heal; and they pleaded with Him to “have mercy” on them. Their deep sense of need led them to beg for whatever ministration the Lord felt disposed to give them… Jesus heard the pitiful cries of these desperate men and was willing to help. He told them to go and show themselves to the priests… A person who was healed of leprosy was to show himself to the priest who made an offering for him and officially pronounced him clean (Lev. 14; Matt. 8:4). Though actually clean through the miraculous power of Christ, these lepers had to be made legally clean by compliance with the law of Moses in order to be allowed association with the people” (J. Noel Meridith, “Exhortations for Servants,” Luke: Fifth Annual Firm Foundation Lectureship, William S. Cline, ed., ’88, 414-415).

Ironically, despite the fact that Jesus had healed ten men, Scripture says that only the Samaritan came back and expressed his heartfelt gratitude. 

“Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks…” (vv. 15-16a).

I wonder what the Lord felt when that singular leper returned and said “thank you” (v.17)?

Then too, I wonder how the Lord feels today when we fail to express gratitude for the “healing” (Isaiah 6:9-10; 1 Peter 2:24) he has granted us?

He walked the lonely road to the cross.

He gave his life as a ransom on our behalf.

He made salvation possible to us all (Titus 2:11).

Are we saying “thank you” in return?

Could it be that we’ve lost sight of the enormity of what Jesus did for us nearly 2,000 years ago on the tree (Romans 5:15-18; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8)?

When the apostle Paul considered his deliverance from the consequences of sin (i.e., death–Romans 6:23) he exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)!

When we begin to recognize the sacrifice that was made on Calvary, we will stop thinking in terms of obligation and requirement.

Our motivation to follow Jesus won’t be prompted by command alone, but also out of an abiding gratitude that pours forth from our lives (James. 2:14-26).

Thankfulness will be translated into loving, lifelong devotion and submission.

Do you need to say “thank you” to Jesus?

Where are the seventeen? 

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18; cf. Philippians 4:6; Colossians 1:12; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2; Hebrews 13:15). 

21
Nov

Are You Wealthy?

contentment

WOULD YOU CONSIDER yourself rich, even wealthy?

No…?

Imagine doing the following, and you will get a glimpse of what life is like for more than a billion people in our world today:

  • Take out all of the furniture in your house except for one table and a couple of chairs.  Use your blankets for beds.

 

  • Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit.  Leave one pair of shoes.

 

  • Empty the pantry and refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, onions, and a dash of dried beans.

 

  • Dismantle the bathroom fixtures, shut off the running water, and remove all of the electrical wiring in your house.

 

  • Take away your house and move your family into the tool shed.  Place your house in a shantytown.

 

  • Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and books.

 

  • Leave only one radio for the entire shantytown.

 

  • Throw away your bank book, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies and leave the family a cash hoard of $10.

Now, what did you say a moment ago?  Are you rich?

Yes, to most people you and I are extremely wealthy.

That’s something to think about the next time we are tempted to complain about our circumstances.

The Bible says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have…” (Hebrews 13:5).

Think about it.

20
Nov

Mat. 16:24; Philippians 3:17-19

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19
Nov

Is the Son the Exact Same Person as the Father? #4

Jesus

#4 in a series

QUESTION:  “Is Jesus the same as God?  A friend at work claims that these are two different designations for the same person.  What do you think?”

ANSWER:  This is an important question.  Many sincere people are confused about this matter.  Let’s see what the Bible says:

Continued from last week:

  • Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.”  John 8:54
    • Question: According to this passage, Who was giving honor/glory (KJV) and Who was receiving honor/glory?
    • Yes or No: If the Son is the exact same person as the Father then Jesus was glorifying Himself.
    • Question: Since Jesus explicitly said that He wasn’t glorifying Himself, Who was glorifying Him?
    • Question: What does it say about Jesus’ integrity (i.e., sinlessness—Isa. 53:9; Mat. 27:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:22; 1 John 3:5) if He claimed that His Father honored Him, but actually He was only honoring Himself?
  • Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and toMy God and your God.’  John 20:17
    • Question: Who would be ascending—the Son or the Father?
    • Question: To Whom would Jesus be ascending?
    • Yes or No: Does the language of this passage imply a distinction between God the Father and God the Son?
    • Question: What are the implications about the Son of God if He told Mary that He was ascending to the Father, when He was actually only returning to Himself?
  • Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming backto you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”  John 14:28
    • Question: If the Son of God is the exact same person as the Father God as Oneness Pentecostals claim, how could Jesus say, “My Father is greater than I?”
    • Question: If the Father and Son are only one person and Jesus was just talking about Himself, how could He be greater than Himself?
    • Question/Illustration: If I told you that my father, when he was a young man, was GREATER than I am now as a young man, would you think I was only talking about one person?
  • And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46
    • Question: To Whom was Jesus referring when He cried out, “FATHER, into YOUR hands…?” (emphasis mine—mb).
    • Question: Was Jesus crying out to Himself?
    • Question: To Whom was Jesus committing His spirit?
    • Yes or No: If Jesus wasn’t crying out to anyone but Himself, didn’t He use deceptive language when He uttered these words?

No, God the Father and God the Son share the same essence, but they are not the same person.  See “Is God One or Three?” and “Is the Godhead Equal?”

15
Nov

What Will Be Your Legacy?

fatherson

WE BUILD OUR lives day by day, decision by decision.

Both the small and the large choices we make add to the mix as we build our legacy.

You might be tempted to say, “Wait a minute.  I’m not wealthy, so how can I leave a legacy?”

Our legacy is not just what is specified in our will. 

It is the moral influence that we have had on other people.

It is the trail through life that we have left behind us.

Don M. Aycock & Mark Sutton, “Building Your Legacy,” STILL GOD’S MAN, 358

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

14
Nov

Philippians 3:12-16

laps 2

12
Nov

Is the Son the Exact Same Person as the Father? #3

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#3 in a series

QUESTION:  “Is Jesus the same as God?  A friend at work claims that these are two different designations for the same person.  What do you think?”

ANSWER:  This is an important question.  Many sincere people are confused about this matter.  Let’s see what the Bible says:

If the Father and the Son is/are the exact same person, then Jesus—at the very least—employed deceptive (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Psa. 92:15; Mal. 3:6; Rom. 3:4; Titus 1:2; Jas. 1:17-18) language throughout the gospel accounts.  Note:

  • Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38
    • Yes or No: Did Jesus say He came to earth to do His own will (cf. 4:34)?

    • Question: Specifically Who sent Jesus from heaven (cf. 6:33, 38-39, 41, 42, 50, 51, 58)?
    • Yes or No: Does the text distinguish between the will of Jesus and the will of Him who sent Jesus?
    • Observation: If Jesus is the exact same person as God the Father in all respects, then Jesus a) sent Himself (a person can “go” himself, but he can’t “send” or commission himself—John 1:6, 22, 24; 17:18), and b) He actually lied and came from heaven to do His own will.
    • Question: What are the eternal implications, if in fact, Jesus came to do His own will and not the will of the Father?
  • Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them (i.e., sheep—mb, John 10:14-15) to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:29
    • Yes or No: Does the text distinguish between “My Father” and “Me”?
    • Question/Illustration: If I told you that my father has given me a set of new hand tools, would you think that I was only talking about one person or two?
    • Question: According to the passage, Who did the giving and Who did the receiving?
    • Observation: If Jesus is the exact same person as God the Father in all respects, then Jesus mentioned two persons in this passage, when He was really only talking about one person, and was therefore deceptive.
    • NOTE: In the very next verse (John 10:30), Jesus said, “I and My Father are one.”
      • Yes or No: Is Jesus saying that He and the Father are the exact same person?
      • Question: In the context of this chapter, in what sense are Jesus and the Father one?  (Answer:  The two are one in their care for, and protection of, the sheep).
      • Question: In what way(s) can two or more people be “one”?  (Answer:  They can be one in a) mind, attitude, and purpose:  24:3; Acts 4:32; 5:12; 8:6; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:8, and b) flesh—Gen. 2:24; 4:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:16).
  • Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9
    • Question: How many individuals or groups of individuals are mentioned in this verse?
    • Yes or No: Jesus tells us that He loved us as He loved Himself.
    • Question: According to this passage, Who loved Jesus?
7
Nov

1 Timothy 2:9-10

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