Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for September, 2017

Why Must Christians Be Tried?

In both the Old Testament and in the New Testament, believers have been told that God knows our hearts (1 Sam 16:7 f; Lk 16:15). He not only knows what we at thinking at this moment, but he also understands our inclinations and desires. God knows each of us better than we understand ourselves. He knows whether we have chosen to follow Him or to follow Satan.

Yet, If God already knows where we stand, then what is the purpose of the trials of life? Who is it that benefits from these tests?

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in out life. If God allowed us to go through our life without obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been.

We are the ones who benefit from the trials of life. We may claim a firm belief in Christ, our Savior. We may think we would follow Him no matter where the road may lead. However, until we have to stand with Him in the face of severe trials, we cannot be fully sure of ourselves.

Consider the testing of Abraham in Genesis 22 when he was told to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. The writer of Hebrews, in Hebrews 11, said that Abraham considered the command a death sentence for his son. As we read the chilling story, we realize that Abraham had every intention of carrying out God’s command. He took God’s commandment literally and not figuratively. He journeyed three days knowing he was about to kill his son. Abraham was sure Isaac was required to die, but he was sustained by his belief and hope that God could and/or would raise Isaac from the dead.

God knew the strength of Abraham’s faith before putting Abraham through this severe test. However, until Abraham raised the knife to plunge it into his son, would Abraham have understood if he could put his God before his son? Could we have understood the strength of faith that God requires of us if these events did not happen for us to read?

When God told the Israelites to enter the land of Canaan and take possession of it, He could have delivered it into their hands with no effort required on their part. If God wanted to, He could have sent a great plague through the land and destroyed the entire population of Canaan. The Israelites could have simply walked in and taken possession of the empty cities. There would have been no risks of battle, facing enemies fighting to protect their homes and families. However, God wanted each man’s faith to be tried, so he would know and appreciate where his new home came from. It could not have been easy for the Israelite soldiers to face larger armies with better equipped soldiers on their home turf. Even if they believed God’s promise of victory in the end, would there not have been some nagging doubt regarding if they would survive the next battle. Each could ask himself, “Will I be able to enjoy the promise land?”

If God just handed the land of Canaan over to the Israelites, they would not have known for sure how valuable the land was to them and their children. They could not have fully appreciated the care of the God on whom they had to rely.

Most of the religious world sees no necessity for the rite of baptism. After all, God already knows the condition of each man’s heart. When we say that we believe, is that not enough to prove our willingness to follow God? Yet, over and over we see that simple affirmation is not enough. Abraham had to act on his faith to show where he stood in the sight of God. Each Israelite soldier had to face the enemy troops to let it be known where he had placed his trust. We must act on our faith to perform what may seem to be an unnecessary act to receive our salvation.

Abraham could have declared his faith in God from every housetop, but if he had failed to sacrifice his son, he would have shown the world that his word was worthless. We too may declare our faith in Jesus Christ, but if we cannot perform the simple obedient act of baptism for the remission our sins, then we too will have failed the test.

The testing of our faith only begins with baptism. Each day, in many ways, Christians must face the daily battle of life and declare his faith in the Son of God by standing firm with Him, come what may. If an Israelite’s faith failed him in battle, he may have died from a mortal wound. If a Christian’s faith fails in his struggles with evil, he may die a spiritual death; losing the salvation of his soul.

When a Christian passes a test, he is made stronger. Even failure to stand rock solid in the faith can be a benefit, if he will only learn from his mistakes. Failures show a Christian his true condition, his need to rely on God, and the absolute need to grow strong in the faith. If a Christian will ask God for forgiveness and try again, then God will make him stand. In this way, the trials we face purify our lives as fire purifies gold by burning the contaminants out of the ore.

These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes, even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pet 1:7)

Trials are never easy or enjoyable. View them as opportunities to show where you stand. Learn from them where your weaknesses are, so you can shore up your defenses.

Do Not Deceive Yourself

In 1 Corinthians 3:18, Paul wrote, “Let no man deceive himself.” In other words, don’t cheat, deceive or beguile yourself. Don’t be snared or beguiled with false impressions.

Obviously it is tragic when someone is beguiled, ensnared and corrupted by the influence of an adversary. However, it is even worse to be self-deceived! James warns, “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jam 1:22).

To be self-deceived is to “reason amiss.” In 1 Corinthians 3:18, Paul indicates that those caught up in intellectual pride are especially susceptible to self-deception. Hence, even the most highly educated need to be humble enough to be teachable when it comes to God’s Word. The most learned need to be humble enough to obey the truths of God’s Word.

People who hear God’s Word and do not practice righteousness deceive themselves by making a false estimate of their standing before God. They may enjoy hearing the word preached, or they may read and think that they are serving the Lord, but in the void of their neglect of that word, their religion is vain.

Be not deceived! No one will be saved eternally just because he read the Bible a lot. Likewise, no one will be saved eternally just because he spent a lot of time in the church building. Be not deceived brethren! Only the obedient and the faithful (doers of the word) will inherit eternal life (Matt. 7:21-23).

Baptized for the Wrong Reasons

Under the banners of acceptance and “unity,” many in the Lord’s church have developed an open door policy with members of the denominational world. Many, by their own admission, have chosen not to “question” a person’s claim to salvation or even method of salvation when they leave a denomination to become a member of the Lord’s church. Some have even adopted this idea when it comes to denominational baptism. How can this be? Is it possible to be instructed under a false system and to be baptized for the wrong reasons and still be saved as a result? Can a person be taught incorrectly and baptized correctly?

While all of us might be quick with a response that is based on opinion and supposition, we should be careful in answering this question. Our caution in answering will allow us to consider what the Bible has to say on the matter. Does the Bible teach that a person can be taught wrong and baptized right?

First, it must be understood that baptism is not the only step in God’s plan to save mankind. Man’s response to God’s grace must begin in the mind. Man must realize that he is lost in sin, just like those on Pentecost realized their condition (Acts 2:37). Once a person realizes his spiritual condition, he must also understand that Christ (the only begotten Son of God) is the only source for relief of the burden of sin (Acts 4:12).

Consider for a moment the account of Philip and the eunuch as recorded in Acts 8:26-39. When the eunuch realized that he was lost, he inquired about baptism (Acts 8:36). Philip responded by saying, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). If baptism was the only step in the eunuch’s salvation, there would be no need for verse 37. However, Philip understood that unless the eunuch understood some things and was convicted of some things, then baptism would only get him wet.

The same is true in the case of the Jews in Acts 2. When those present asked the apostles what they needed to do in order to be saved, Peter’s response was two-fold. According to Acts 2:38, Peter told them to repent and be baptized. While baptism is an action that can be seen on the outside, repentance is a step in God’s plan for salvation that is primarily mental. When a person repents, he changes his mind based on what he knows about God, His Word, and His Plan for man’s salvation. Peter realized that unless these men and women were willing to make a decision to turn from Judaism, then being immersed in water would do them no good.

Peter and Philip realized that baptism was not the only step in God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. In fact, both of these men realized that baptism would only benefit those who were thinking correctly. It is for this reason that Peter and Philip took the time to verbally teach their audiences the Word of God. It is the Word that produces faith (Rom 10:17) and is an understanding of that Word that leads us to repentance (2 Cor 7:10) and then changes how we behave (2 Cor 7:11 f; Matt 3:8).

Perhaps the clearest example of this is found in Acts 19. As this chapter opens, Paul comes to Ephesus and realizes that some of the Ephesians had seemingly been baptized by Apollos after hearing his teaching. According to the latter portion of chapter 18, Apollos was teaching the baptism of John after the baptism of the great commission had become effective. John the Baptizer taught repentance and baptism looking to the coming of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom, the church. However, after Christ had come and died upon the cross for our sins, the apostles went forth teaching that Christ had come and was doing away with men’s sins as they believed in Him and were baptized for the remission of their sins. Apparently, those in Ephesus had been taught John’s baptism, which had already fulfilled its purpose on the other side of the cross. They no doubt were sincere in believing what they had been taught and being baptized with the baptism of John, a doctrine that was right, well and good on the other side of the cross. However, at the time it was taught to them it had already been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus and was outdated. Paul realized this when those in Ephesus had not even heard of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2) which took place on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus. Did Paul say to those twelve men, “Well, as long as you are comfortable with your baptism, we will accept it as well”? No, that was not Paul’s attitude whatsoever. In fact, notice what Acts 19:4-5 reveals that Paul did. He taught the truth on the matter, and then the men were baptized with the baptism of the great commission, having the right and corrected thinking about it. Could those men in Ephesus be taught wrong, John’s baptism, but be baptized right? Absolutely not!

Has the doctrine of God changed since Acts 19? Has God’s plan to save man been divinely altered since the days of Acts 2, 8, or 19? No, it has not. God still demands that for baptism to be scriptural and effective, the one who is being baptized must understand why he is being baptized. Incorrect thinking and understanding will lead to an incorrect baptism every time. May we never provide false hope to someone under the banners of “acceptance and unity.” May we always be willing to preach the unadulterated gospel of Christ, both in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2-5).

What Makes A Christian Strong

The emphasis men place on strength may not be the same God places on it. Paul said, “. . ..for when I am weak then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). Paul said he was strong when he was being persecuted and when he had infirmities and reproaches for Christ’s sake. Let’s take a look at other ways that as Christians we are strong:

When We Have Respect for the Authority of the Bible

Paul said, “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of ‘he Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). We are strong when we recognize that we must have Bible authority for all we do religiously.

When We Are Not Ashamed of the Gospel

We need more people who say as did Paul, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). We are strong when we want only the gospel preached and that in its fullness.

When We Practice What We Preach

We need the teachings of Paul to the Romans when he said, “You therefore which teach another, teach not yourself? . . . (Rom. 2:21). There is a great demand for the people of God to practice what we preach. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; . . .” (Gal. 2:20).

When We Are Filled with Zeal and Knowledge

Paul prayed that the Colossians might “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9). Couple zeal and knowledge in a child of God, and you have the ultimate strength a Christian can obtain.

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Cor 16:13). “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:10-11).

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace. The man who can help calm troubled waters when strife has been disturbing the church is a useful man. Some cause strife where peace had prevailed. This sowing of discord among brethren is one thing the Lord hates (Prov. 6:19). The preacher is almost always a part of the problem or a part of the solution in this matter of strife.

People who are by nature and disposition very disturbing elements in the Lord’s church can never see themselves as they really are. The believe strife is always the fault of others, and they are only caught up in the unhappy trouble. Evidently there may be many church members caught up in the results of the confusion even though they do not cause it. Those skilled in calming the storm are blessed of God.

When there was strife at Corinth long ago, there was with it carnality, immorality, irreverence, and childishness involved. This complicated problem called for the best of several personalities. Paul, Timothy, Titus, and others went to work at once because the church was and is important. Letters were written, trips were made in that day of slow travel, and evidently public and private efforts to set things right. Men with such concern would make things better rather than worse. They ran to the point of strife to help.

Sharp rebukes, teaching, warnings, and exhortation must have been used at Corinth (1 Cor. 3). The workers needed wisdom, patience, determination, and a strong conviction. These wonderful men who went to work to find ways of bringing back peace and soundness were no doubt slandered and abused. In Paul’s letters, he was forced to defend himself and his apostleship. This was distasteful to him. Those who were helped may have needed to repent, forgive, and stand firmly for the truth. Being a peacemaker is not an easy work.

Some preachers run from the problem to avoid the unpleasant repercussions. Others go to the church in distress to help. One who will face the problems and help must be one who “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). He needs the kindness and long suffering this chapter suggests, and he needs love for all the souls on all sides of all controversies. Truth needs to be preached effectively because it can free men of many ills. The whole truth is always needed.

Some preachers would not be interested at all in going to some place that is in distress. They might be willing to move there after others have things calm again. It is next to impossible for a small church with problems to find a man who will work with it. The devil can have his way there unless there are strong men of great faith and patience who can gradually turn things around. Many of the strongest congregations today were weak and in distress in the past.

The devil is not asleep. Divisions, factions, and heresies have come in the past; they can be found in the present in many places; and they will surely come in the future (1 Cor. 11:19). Israel’s history bears this out as well as experience and New Testament teaching (2 Tim. 3:12 ff; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; Matt. 24:11). Discord is one of the devil’s most effective tools. When trouble arises in a body of people, the cowards and weaklings drop out and are scattered. Souls are lost! Think of the stains that must be on the hands of those who are the occasions of stumbling.

False teachers often bring the division (Rom. 16:17, 18). Envy and jealousy often furnish the occasion of strife. The love of preeminence did not die when Diotrephes died and went to wait for the day of judgment. The love of money, the love for the praise of men, and worldliness may be centers of the problems. Selfishness and ignorance should bear their part of the blame.

Sometimes the deceitful workers appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-.15). In fact, in some cases, the leaders in the church (preachers and elders) are the ones who speak perverse things to draw away disciples (1 Tim 6:3-10). The very ones who should have pointed the way toward heaven use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16:17,18). Those blind leaders and blind followers go out because they are not of the flock (1 Jn 2:19). Even so, remember the Lord will not forget the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

The Beginning of Wisdom is The Fear of God

The attitude which one has toward the word of God is reflected in his obedience or disobedience. As young people mature, some consider the commandments of the lord as grievous and burdensome impositions on their lifestyle. They consider them as restrictions which are imposed on them by the church and which limit their sources of fun. Generally the young people who have this attitude will decide to indulge themselves in the “pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25), thus falling from grace.

Long before sin is committed, apostasy begins when one’s attitude toward the word of God deteriorates. In the book of Proverbs, the writer instructs us in developing the right attitude toward God and His word. He begins by saying, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. . . ” (Prov. 1:7). Those who have a healthy respect for God and His word lay the foundation on which every relationship in life can be built. He who has no fear of the Lord undermines every relationship in his life.

What Wisdom Will Do

The writer of Proverbs describes the right attitude toward and obedience to the word of God. This is called the course of wisdom. What wisdom will do for an individual certainly commends itself to any individual.

1. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness” (Prov. 3:17). The Devil deludes us into thinking that the way to joy and happiness is in sin and indulgence. He entices us saying, “You only go around once in life. Get all the gusto you can.” He makes us discontent when we see others indulging themselves in sin; we think that we are missing out on life’s pleasures. We need to remember that whatever pleasure sin brings is temporary (Heb. 11:24-25). Lasting joy is found in obedience to the word of God.

2. “All her paths are peace “ (Prov. 3:17). The way of disobedience brings sorrow and suffering (Prov. 1:29-33 cf; 2:22; 3:33; 5:22-23; etc.). For examples, see the suffering which follows a life of sexual immorality (STDs, AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, etc.) and drunkenness (Prov. 23:29-35). Those who order their lives in obedience to the word of God “shall dwell safely and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Prov. 1:33).

3. Wisdom will guide and lead us. “When you go, it shall lead you. . . . For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov. 6:22-23). In the words of the psalmist, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). The word of the Lord instructs me in how to conduct myself in the various relationships of life. God my Creator is also God my Guide. He leads and directs me through His Word.

4. It gives me safety. “Whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell safely” (Prov. 1:33). “He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of judgment and preserves the way of his saints” (Prov. 2:7-8; cf. 2:11; 3:23-26; 4:6,11-13; 6:22). By walking in God’s light, one avoids many pitfalls into which others fall. He protects me from harm and danger by leading me away from the temptations of sin.

5. It gives a long and prosperous life. “For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you” (Prov. 3:2; cf. 2:21; 3:16,18,22; 4:10-13; 8:18,35). One who walks in the commandments of God will avoid the things which shorten one’s lifespan (drunkenness, immorality, illegal drugs, etc.) and will not waste his substance on riotous living, causing his prosperity to increase. Truly one can enjoy life to its fullest degree by obeying the word of God. Abundant living is a life lived in obedience to God’s word, not in a life of sin.

6. It will keep a person from the wicked man and woman. The wicked man seeks to persuade the young man to depart from the paths of righteousness and walk in wickedness (Prov. 2:10-15). The wicked woman attempts to seduce the young man into licentious immorality (Prov. 2:16-19). The word of God warns of the dangers of each course of life, thus keeping those who would hear from these life threatening and soul damning evils.

7. It brings favor from the Lord. “So shall you find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:4; cf. Lk. 2:52). “For whoso finds me finds life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord” (Prov. 8:35). Walking in obedience to the will of God brings God’s favor. In addition to the temporal blessings of God, eternal life is given to those who persevere in obedience to God.

8. It brings us exaltation and honor. “The wise shall inherit glory. . . . Exalt her, and she shall promote you: she shall bring you to honor, when you embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace: and a crown of glory shall she deliver to you” (Prov. 3:35; 4:8-9). Wisdom will cause a man to be respected and honored.

9. It is an ornament of character. “My son, hear the instruction of you father, and forsake not the law of your mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about your neck” (Prov. 1:8-9). Even as gold chains about the neck are attractive and enhance the appearance of the one who wears them, so also those who meticulously follow the word of God manifest an ornament of character.

Rejection Of Wisdom Leads To Unavoidable Sorrow

In Proverbs 1:20-33, wisdom calls for men to follow her. Some turn a deaf ear to her, refusing to live in obedience to the word of God (1:24). The life of sin brings calamity, sorrow, and suffering. When these calamities come, the suffering sinner will call on God for help and deliverance. God responded, “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all of my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices” (Prov. 1:28-31).

Forgiveness of sins is always available to whoever will repent of them and obey the gospel. However, forgiveness of sins does not relieve one from suffering the temporal consequences of his sins. The drunk who has a wreck which paralyzes him and kills someone in another car can repent of his sins, be forgiven, and go to heaven when he dies. Nevertheless, he will live his life paralyzed and might even be sentenced to prison for his crime. All of his crying and pleading to God will not deliver him from the temporal consequences of his sin.

Many young people forget that sin has such horrible, temporal consequences. They resolve to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” thinking that they can repent, be forgiven, and go to heaven when they die. But they forget that sowing their wild oats leads to a harvest which they will regret. God Himself will not deliver a man from reaping the temporal harvest of his sin.

The Accessibility Of Wisdom

One does not have to be of superior intellect to know the right way of life. Wisdom is readily available to even the simple (Prov. 1:4). Far from being out of the reach of the common man, “Wisdom cries without; she utters her voice in the streets” (Prov. 1:21). However, men must seek her in order to find her.

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with you; so that you incline your ear unto wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yea, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasurers; then shall you understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:1-6).

Wisdom is readily available to the man who is looking for her. One must simply consult the word of God to find her. Young people of every generation face the danger of thinking that they know more than their fathers. Consequently, the wise man warned:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes. fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones” (Prov. 3:5-8).

The word of God must be sought out and exalted above our own uninspired thoughts. God surely knows more than any other what is best for us. Hence, His directions for life should outweigh those given by philosophers, doctors, psychologists, lawyers, or any other of this world’s “wise” men. Certainly they should be exalted above the immature ideas of a young man or woman who is inexperienced in life.

Conclusion: Understanding that respect and reverence for God is the foundation upon which every other relationship in life is built is fundamental. Truly, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. . . “ (Prov. 1:7). “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7).

One should not look upon the commandments of the Lord as heavy burdens to be borne. Rather, they should be esteemed as the inspired revelation from God which teaches man how to best live on earth in order to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous life, living life to its fullest. This is not to be misunderstood with a sinner’s life. The sinner enjoys life to its fullest living a riotous life. Like the owner’s manual which tells how to operate and maintain an automobile, the Bible instructs us in how to live a Christian’s life. A Christian’s life will be filled with learning God’s Word (Matt 11:29 f; 2 Pet 3:18), instructing God’s Word to others (2 Tim 2:2 f; 2 Tim 4:2-5), suffering persecutions for the cause of Christ (1 Pet 4:16 f; 2 Tim 3:12), and enduring until the end (Matt 10:22 f; Jam 1:12). Worldly wisdom teaches us that this is a loser’s life. God’s wisdom instructs this as a winner’s life and what he wins is life everlasting (Rev 2:10). What the sinner wins is this present life, but in the life to come, eternal damnation (2 Thess 1:7-9)!

Is Your Speech Seasoned With Salt?

The words that we choose to express ourselves are imperative. According to Matthew 12:32-37, we will give an account to God for every idle word that we speak. Let us make sure that we understand what kinds of words that God finds unacceptable.

Respect and Reverence for God

God is the creator of all. We exist solely because God decided to allow it. God is our Lord. Therefore, we ought to speak of Him respectfully. How would you speak and act before a world leader? Doesn’t God deserve even more respect than we give the leaders of a country?

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus gives his disciples a model prayer. He begins with “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Hallowed means to hold something as holy, sacred or revered. Under the Old Law, God told the Israelites not to take his name in vain (Deut 5:11). Taking God’s name in vain is to treat it as useless, a part of idle speech, or to ruin the respect of his name. The Hebrew word for vain comes from a word that means to rush over something or to be careless with it. In Leviticus 19:12, there is a warning not to profane the name of the Lord. To profane something is to pollute or defile it. Using God’s name as a cuss word is one way we can profane His name. A more subtle way we can profane God is by claiming to be a follower of God, but living in wickedness. The Israelites were guilty of this according to God in Ezekiel 36:22-23.

Cursing

Cursing is making light of something, bringing it into contempt, or giving it no respect. Evil or wicked talk is also referred to as cursing. Paul tells us in Romans 3:14 that those under sin have mouths full of cursing.

While people in the world look lightly on cursing, God does not. Under the Old Law, cursing one’s mother or father was punishable by death (Mk 7:10). Solomon warned about the hazard of cursing the king or a rich man (Eccl 10:20). Jesus never cursed. In fact, when Peter was trying to “prove” that he was not a follower of Jesus, he began to curse (Matt 26:73-74). Before cursing, Peter’s speech betrayed him. He wasn’t using curse words like those around him.

When we stub our toe and mutter words to the effect of condemning the object we hit to eternal punishment, we are cursing. We are treating a very serious matter lightly. Hell is a place of punishment for the wicked. As Christians, we spend our lives trying to keep ourselves and others out of Hell. Do we then causally condemn a chair to Hell because we foolishly struck our foot against it?

Inappropriate Talk

In 1 Timothy 1:9, Paul gives a list of those who are wicked. Included in that list is the profane. As we mentioned before, the definition of the word profane is to pollute or to wound. Christians ought not to speak like this. Paul defines in Ephesians 5:1-7 three categories of talking that is inappropriate for Christians:

  • Filthy talk — Talk that is obscene or shameful.
  • Foolish talk — Talk that is absurd, stupid, or dull.
  • Coarse jesting – Vulgar jokes.

Euphemisms

There is a broad category of words that the world views as a polite way to curse. They are referred to as euphemism. Some call it slang. A euphemism is substituting other words to make something sound better than it really is. For example, calling a garbage man a sanitation engineer is a euphemism. Now, a sanitation engineer sounds pretty good, but they do the same job as a garbage man. Euphemistic cursing is so common that most people use these words without realizing what they are really saying. Here are some examples:

Taking God’s Name in Vain:

Gosh, Golly, Goodness: Euphemisms for God

Gee, Gee-whiz: Euphemisms for Jesus

Cursing:

Darn: Euphemism for damn

Heck: Euphemism for hell

Dog gone it or Dag nab it: Euphemism for God damn it

Freaking or F-ing: Euphemisms for the F*** word.

SOB: Acronym for son of a B**** word

Inappropriate Talk:

This list is by no means complete but I am sure you understand the message. In fact, the use of euphemistic curse words is so common, I strongly urge you to look up every interjection you use before opening your mouth. See if the use of the word is something you will be willing to give an account of before the Lord on the Judgment Day.

Bridling the Tongue

A mature Christian has control over his tongue (Jam 1:26). However, it is not something that comes easily or quickly. In fact, it is probably the hardest task that a Christian must face (Jam 3:3-12). Let us each resolve to clean up our speech and season it properly, so we can appropriately speak to the world and not speak as the world (Col 4:6).

Do We Practice “Faith Only”?


That faith is the principle by which man is saved is a fact beyond dispute (Acts 15:7-9 cf; 26:15-18 ff; Gal. 3:26; Jn. 3:16; Rom. 3:30; 5:1). However, many in the religious world teach that a person is saved by “faith only.” To show this to be untrue all we need to do is turn to James 2:14-26. This deals the death blow and shows the fallacy of the false doctrine of faith only.

When we argue, debate, and discuss this point with denominational people, we use it with telling force. We make the proper application – “faith without works is dead”. I am afraid when members of the Lord’s church look in the mirror they will see we have missed the point in the every day living for the Lord. Let us notice!

Faith in the Lord’s Supper

The Bible teaches we are to observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (1 Cor. 11:26). “As often” here is explained in Acts 20:7. Since every week has a first day we conclude that we are to observe the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s day. My question then is, “Do you believe it?” Oh “Yes,” you say. But do you practice it? I am sure that most Christians believe it, and will argue for its observance, but many times their faith is void of action or works. IS THIS NOT FAITH ONLY?

Faith in Attending the Assembly of the Church

Even a casual reading of Hebrews 10:25 and following verses convinces one of the necessity of regular attendance and the grave danger of neglecting such assemblies. Deep down, most believe this to be so, but is your faith void of action or works? What about the person who believes in “not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together,” and then comes half of the time. IS THIS NOT FAITH ONLY?

What About Prayer

Do you have faith in prayer and in Him who hears our prayers? Do you pray regularly or “every now and then?” Do you pray in times of, trouble and distress ONLY? Do you blame God when you think your prayer is not answered? I fear many of our prayers are with FAITH ONLY-ALL FAITH AND NO ACTION.  Yes, prayer and work go together. They are the two hands of one person.

The Gospel as God’s Power to Save

Surely we believe that it is. Did not the Lord tell us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature?” Is our faith along this line faith only? How many really do get out and try to teach the Gospel to others? Many cry, “I don’t know how,” and when personal work classes are set up these same ones do not try to learn how. The word is God’s power to save, only to those who “believe” it, and this involves teaching (Matt. 28:19-20). Either they don’t believe it, or they are ashamed of it (Rom 1:16).

Loving Brethren and Doing Benevolent Work

The Bible teaches us to love our brethren. Do you do it? Do you treat them like you would like to be treated? Do you love them as Christ also loved you and gave himself for you? Do you seek their best interests. Do you feed hungry brethren? Do you clothe tattered brethren? Do you house homeless brethren? Do you aid sickly brethren? Or do you pass this responsibility to denominations or perhaps the government? How many times must I hear needy brethren say, “I was rejected by fellow brethren when I was in need, but a denomination came to my assistance”? Is your love genuine or is it by FAITH ONLY? We are quick to condemn denominations for their “faith only” doctrine, but what about us? That passage says “we walk by faith. . .” – This implies action-“WE WALK”-This cannot be done by faith only. People are not loved, fed, nor comforted by FAITH ONLY. That kind of faith is dead!

Conclusion: It is still true that “faith without works is dead” – this is the reason we have so many sick and “nigh unto death” Christians. Remember, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58).

The Heart Of Man Is Deceitful

Have you ever heard someone give this piece of advice, “Just trust your own heart and you can’t go wrong”? Much too often people do just that and make terrible choices in their life. Too many follow their heart into an an adulterous marriage. Too many trust their heart into lustful relationships that destroy their soul. Too many trust their heart with false doctrines, false religions, and false teachers which turn us from them from the truth of God. If we can’t trust our own heart, then who or what can we trust?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)

This verse explains how, even though the Almighty was fed up with Israel’s flagrant disregard for her covenant with him, she was able to convince herself that no harm would come her way. This profound text does more than that. It shows us how our own minds can work to rob us of God’s grace and send us careening blindly down the road that leads to spiritual death. Here is what it says:

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

Jeremiah had seen plenty of evidence to confirm the Lord’s pronouncement about this. The hardness and deceitfulness of the people’s heart in his time kept them from yielding to the Lord’s will. It kept them from turning from their sin, and it convinced them that all was well when certain death lay just over the horizon.

Today many folks try to look inward for their insights into life and even for their knowledge of God. Several of the religious traditions of our time tell us this is where genuine knowledge of God is to be found. The Bible is foursquare against this notion. Dependable knowledge about God or even of ourselves cannot be discovered by looking within. The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things. It is not a dependable guide in such matters. The heart is influenced by things like the deceitfulness of riches (Matt 13:22), the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13), the deceitfulness of lust (Eph 4:22). Scripture says that a deceitful witness speaks lies and not the truth (Prov 14:25). The human heart is such a witness. It cannot be trusted for spiritual guidance. Our guidance must come from outside of ourselves. That is where biblical revelation enters the picture. God’s revelation of himself and of his will for man in the Bible is essential precisely because of the deceitfulness of the heart. The word of God acts as a constant check against the cunning and devious ways of the heart.

The Heart Is Exceedingly Corrupt

This word means “morally degenerate, perverted, depraved.” The prophet had beheld the depravity of his own generation to the extent that he did not plead for mercy upon them, but only asked that he with his own eyes might see God’s judgment performed upon them: “Let me see your vengeance on them…” (Jer 20:12). In our day we have seen many mass murderers. These people illustrate how “exceedingly corrupt” the heart of man can become. That which is capable of such degeneracy, perversion and depravity, could never be viewed as a dependable source for human guidance. As the prophet elsewhere said: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer 10:23).

Who Can Know It?

The world we live in is filled with mysteries. There are so very many things which we do not understand and cannot comprehend. God’s word concludes this set of observations about the duplicity of the human heart with this question: “Who can know it?” Of course, it is immediately understood that God knows the heart (Jer 17:10), else he could not speak so authoritatively about the evils which lurk within it. As David advised his son, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. ” (1 Chron 28:9). The point is, that one cannot know what goes on within the mind of another man, nor if he permits himself to be deceived by his own ambitions, lusts and desires, can he even claim to comprehend his own mind. Thus, the Bible instructs us to “keep the heart with all diligence” (Prov 4:23).

In other words, stop trusting in your heart and start trusting in God’s Word for your spiritual guidance.

Sin Is No Laughing Matter

You would think that we would have learned something in the past 6,000 years that man has been here on planet earth. Evidently we are trying to forget or ignore that which Adam and Eve seemed almost to know by instinct just as soon as they had eaten of the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Moses tells us, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Gen. 3:7). Adam further, in explaining to God why he had hidden himself, said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). Surely, if their attitude was incorrect and their action warranted correction, this would have been the time for God to have set them straight about their sense of morality. Did God assure them that they had no need for clothing, no need for shame? No. Rather, Moses tells us, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Gen. 3:21).

Satan seeks to induce us to think less of the heinousness and gravity of sin by causing us to take it lightly — laugh about it. It’s really not so bad, he would have us think. That is where a great part of the world’s smuttiness, vulgarity, and lewd jokes come in. Adultery is just “hanky-panky,” if you laugh at it. We read about the “sot” who went into a bar “optimistically,” stayed a couple of hours and came out “misty-optically”, and we laugh. However, we do not laugh when we read in the newspaper that this same “sot” hit an innocent child with his automobile and left it dying in the street. More and more, the public is being exposed to films built around the theme of sodomy or homosexuality. We have been taught that gay and lesbians are as normal as heterosexuals. We are told homosexuals are born that way and should not be asked to change. Thus, society grants them the power or normality. They teach our schools, are elected to government positions, rear children, and are given in marriage. They even demand positions in the clergy. How funny is it to see our country being ruled by such perversion? Paul wrote of all such carnality and immorality, “they that practice such things are worthy of death” (Rom. 2:32).

Yes, many in our generation laugh at iniquity. They may laugh all the way to hell. Be assured that when they get to hell, all their laughing will stop, and it will never be heard again. The only thing heard in hell will be: “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42). No raucous laughter will be heard there, as is so often heard in dens of iniquity. John, by revelation tells us, “. . . the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night” (Rev. 14:11).

A lot of folk seem to think that sin is a laughing matter, but it truly is not. And neither is hell. Remember, “For the wages of sin is death”… (Rom 6:23).”

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