How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?
22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.
The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!
I once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.
Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account.
Then there are those who cut and paste the Bible with other religious ideas. They take what they like from Christianity, add a little Eastern religion, and toss in some mysticism. Or they say they’re Christians but add other books or some so-called higher knowledge. Still others deny the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the reality of the Trinity. Continue reading →
Do you know someone who used to come to church, but somewhere along the line they became disillusioned or angry at God? Maybe He didn’t answer their prayers or work the way they thought He should. Maybe that’s you!
Also read about prayer, obedience, godly friends, requirements for church leadership and the importance of good doctrine.
In this chapter Paul lists the characteristics we should look for in a man’s life before considering him for leadership in the church. The first list is for elders, pastors, bishops or overseers. The words are used interchangeably.
The second list is for deacons. Deacons serve in various other areas of the church, under the leadership of the pastors and elders. Both are extremely important. Paul emphasizes the fact that we should not be quick to put people in leadership positions (“not a novice” v. 6), but should wait to see the fruit of the Spirit manifested in their lives over a period of time. Placing someone in leadership before they are spiritually mature enough to handle it can lead to pride and a fall (v. 6-7).
Verse 15 says that the church is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth.” The church is to support and teach the truth.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine (teaching us what is right), for reproof (showing us when we’re wrong), for correction (teaching us how to get it right), and for instruction in righteousness (helping us live a godly lifestyle) (2 Tim. 3.16-17).
Good doctrine helps us see the tests and trials of life through the lens of Scripture. Good doctrine helps us know God for who He is, not as a God of our own making. Good doctrine grows our faith and trust in Him and prevents disappointment when He doesn’t work the way we think He should.
Bad doctrine on the other hand can lead us into all kinds of error, including a false assurance of salvation (Matt. 7.21-23).
One of the most widespread and pernicious is the faith and prosperity teaching. If you’ve been taught there’s a miracle in your mouth; that God wants you rich; that if you have enough faith or enough hands laid on you, you’ll be healed; or that your problem is a demon of lust, alcohol, or pornography … yet … after declaring “I’m healed” you’re not; after giving to get a promised reward, you’re still broke; or the lust, desire for alcohol, and pull of pornography is still there …, many become disappointed and walk away from God, even shake their fist at Him, because they believe they did their part and He failed to keep His end of the bargain. Continue reading →
“You’re not my dad!” “I don’t have to listen to you!” “You can’t tell me what to do!” I wonder how many times those statements have been made in step-families.
Or how about these, “They’re your kids, you deal with it!” or “They’re my kids, I’ll handle it!”
How does God expect us to handle these issues? Should the step-parent back off and let the biological parent deal with his or her children? Should we get into a power struggle and make sure the child knows who’s boss? Are children the sole responsibility of their natural parents?
Today we’ll talk about the challenges step-parents face concerning their involvement and authority in their step-children’s lives.
“You’re not my dad!”
When a child or teenager makes this statement, the implication is, you have no authority in my life.
And when a step-parent says to his or her spouse, “It’s your problem,” he or she is saying I’ve got no responsibility in this. When the parent says, “Let me deal with it my way,” he or she is saying, “It’s not your place.”
But, is any of that true? Does God’s blueprint for marriage change simply because a couple has been married previously?
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).
When a man and woman marry, they become one flesh. What she has is his and what he has is hers and not just material things. They are to serve God and do life together (Gen. 2.15-18). And that’s a good thing! In fact, it’s the reason many choose to remarry.
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up (Eccl. 4.9-10).
But it means that neither of them can abdicate responsibility when the going gets tough. The commands given to parents is for both of them.
Ephesians 6.4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
And Colossians 3.21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
Notice that while because of the one flesh relationship those commands are for both of them, God spoke directly to fathers. Many husbands believe parenting is primarily their wife’s responsibility, but God says dads and step-dads have the ultimate responsibility (Eph. 5.23) and God will hold them accountable just as He did with Adam in the garden (Gen. 3.11).
“But the kids hate me!”
I know some of you are thinking, how is that possible when the kids seem to hate me for marrying their mom or dad. And sometimes the other biological parent appears to be doing everything he or she can to undermine your relationship with the children.
It may be true that God has allowed you to be in a difficult situation, but He promises to give you the grace and wisdom to deal with it.
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in allpoints tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4).
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4.13).
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (Jas. 1).
We can count it all joy, not that we’re happy for the problems, but we can be joyful because we understand that God is using it to strengthen and mature us. And when we need wisdom in the midst of it, we can ask and receive it.
When was the last time you went to God in prayer before responding to a challenge to your authority? When was the last time you asked God to give you compassion for that rebellious son or daughter and for wisdom to reach his or her heart? Continue reading →
“If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” We’ve all heard that saying, but this time it came from a sister in Christ sitting in my counseling office. As we continued to talk about the role of women, this time about submission, she said, “I’m an educated woman! Why should I submit to him?” Since then I’ve heard even worse, but I’ve never forgotten how saddened I was by her statement and the awareness of how much feminism had infiltrated the church of the Living God.
But the truth is, many of us, though we want to live godly lives, chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on women or passages on modesty or authority. We’re too often tempted to think, “That’s not fair!” or question why God would give us certain commands. So how are we to understand these things?
9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
I once overheard a conversation between two women at church discussing their Sunday school lesson on the role of the wife and submission. One of them said about their teacher, “I think he actually believes that stuff!”
Ladies, even though we might laugh about a conversation like that, we often struggle to understand and accept God’s Word in some of these areas. We’re a little like the king and the princes Jeremiah encountered (see our O.T. reading). Sometimes we don’t want to believe or accept God’s Word as being true or fair. We would rather lock up the prophet (Jer. 32.2) or cut that part of the scroll off and throw it into the fire (Jer. 36.20-26), at least in practice.
So how can we begin to understand, and more importantly embrace, a passage like this? I believe we need to start with some basic truths about God, His Word, and His character.
Jeremiah 29.11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Psalm 119.68 says, speaking of God, “You are good, and do good …”
And Galatians 3.28-29 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
But we must also realize that God is God! He is the all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful Creator of the Universe and everything in it, including us, and He gets to make the rules!
But if He is good—all the time—and if He loves us and calls us heirs along with men, (so much so that He tells our husbands in 1 Peter 3.7 that their prayers will be hindered if they don’t treat us as such), what does this passage mean?
First, God said to all of us, men and women, to be sure that everything we do points to Him and gives Him glory.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (2 Cor. 10.31).
Modesty, Gold & Braided Hair
So let’s break down our 1 Timothy passage, beginning with “that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” The word “adorn” here means to arrange. So, we should arrange ourselves so that our clothing and manner is modest and respectful. That doesn’t mean we must look drab or unattractive.
“… not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” In the time period in which Paul was writing women would weave gold and other jewelry into their hair in order to attract attention to themselves. Others would wear expensive clothing to show off their wealth. It wasn’t the specific hairstyle or the fact that the clothing was expensive, it was the attitude of the heart Paul was addressing.
Today we might say, “… not with tattoos or designer clothing …” Again, not legalistically saying tattoos or designer clothing are sinful, but what is the attitude of the heart? Where is the tattoo and to what is it designed to draw attention? Continue reading →
Chapter 30 contains one of the most descriptive pictures of the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel, followed by God’s amazing promise. It’s also a picture of our spiritual condition apart from Christ and the redemption He purchased for us at the cross. Think about each phrase as you reread it: Continue reading →
Jesus called Satan the father of lies and He warned the religious leaders of His day that they were listening to the wrong voice. In the garden Satan sold Eve a bill of goods and in Jeremiah’s day, he spoke through false prophets who told the people that the consequences of their sin wouldn’t be so bad. False teachers and false prophets are saying much the same thing today. Others may propagate lies because they are misinformed and listening to the wrong voice.
In the garden the serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die!” In other words, your disobedience won’t result in painful consequences.
As if to make His point that the devil is a liar, God recorded pages and pages of genealogy and after each name it says, “… and he died and was buried with his fathers.”
In Jeremiah’s day, false prophets told the people that the consequences of their sin wouldn’t be so bad, but it too, was a lie.
Today, the false prophets may not look as obvious, but they’re out there. They’re preachers and teachers. They’re counselors, psychologists and therapists. They’re teachers and university professors. They’re politicians and judges and activists and Planned Parenthood employees.
They Prophesy Falsely …
They prophesy falsely when they say, “The Bible isn’t all true. It’s just a book of myths.”
But God says:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1.20-21).
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3.16).
Or, when they say “Jesus was a good man, but not God.”
But Jesus said “I and My Father are one (Jn. 10.30).”
He can’t be both a good man and a liar.
Or, “Jesus loves everyone just the way you are. There’s no need to change.”
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mk. 1.15).
They prophesy falsely every time they say to an unrepentant sinner, “You don’t need to feel guilty. You need to do what’s right for you.”
Guilt is not always a bad thing. Apart from Christ we’re all guilty, so guilty that the only remedy was for Jesus to die in our place! Often the guilt and consequences are the very things God uses to draw people to Himself.
2 Corinthians 7.9-10 says:
9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
They prophesy falsely every time they say to a young woman, “You won’t suffer any problems as a result of this abortion.”
But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good (Rom. 2.8-10).
Or “Just accept who you are. You were born that way.”
We were all born sinners though we’re inclined to sin in different ways, but that’s precisely why we need a Savior.
And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2 Cor. 5.15).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Cor. 5.17).
Or when they question God by asking, “What kind of a God let’s all these bad things happen?” As if God is obligated to bless a people who have denied His right to rule them!
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2.10).
Or, even, when they say, “Just ask Jesus into your heart” without talking about the need to repent and turn away from sin.
Joel 2.12 says, “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
And Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk. 26.20).
And Acts 26.20 says, “… and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.”
It’s not that it’s wrong to pray a prayer of salvation, but it isn’t a “magic formula.” Each person needs to first understand and accept the gospel: that Jesus died for guilty sinners, that He rose from the dead so that we can have new life, and that He is Lord not just Savior (Rom. 10.9-10).
The acceptance of that truth may be expressed in a prayer. It may happen in a church pew, at an altar, in a home, an alley, or a hospital bed. It may happen as the Word is preached, as the gospel is shared one on one, or as the Spirit of God brings gospel truth to remembrance. It may look very different from one life to the next, but in some way an understanding of our inability to redeem ourselves (Rom. 3.10-12, 23, 6.23), that Christ died the death we deserved (Rom. 5.8), and that He offers us salvation as a free gift (Rom. 6.23; Eph. 2.8-9) must come alive.
If you’re reading this and that truth is coming alive in your heart, talk to God. No fancy words are required. Admit you’re a sinner and ask Him to forgive you, accept what He did for you and ask for His help to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. It’s that simple.
Here in chapter 2 Paul begins talking about some of the events that will take place leading up to the “Day of the Lord.” He speaks of a “falling away,” “the man of sin,” and “the son of perdition.”
About this man of sin he says:
He “… opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (v. 4).
And, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (vv. 9-10).
Once the church has been raptured, a man will come to power. He will look to many to be a savior. He’ll appear to be a man of peace, but he will be an impostor. He is sometimes called the anti-Christ. He is not the devil himself, but he will be controlled by the devil.
The rapture will be followed by a seven-year period called “the Tribulation.” During the first 3 ½ years anti-Christ will keep up much of his charade as he consolidates his power, but mid-way through the Tribulation, he will go into the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem and set himself up to be worshiped, as Paul said “he sits as God in the temple of God.”
Daniel called this the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11-12) and Jesus used the same phrase in talking about the events of the last days (Matt. 24.15; Mk. 13.14). This will set in motion the events leading up to the 2nd Coming of Christ—the “Day of the Lord.”
While it’s clear that no one knows the day or the time, it’s probably much closer than many want to believe! In the meantime, we need to be praying and interceding for our nation just as Daniel did for his. Pray for the repentance of our people and godly wisdom for our leaders.
And be part of His faithful remnant. Seek to be on God’s side concerning the issues that matter to Him. One way is to stand up for the lives of the thousands and thousands of babies who are being murdered legally in this country and around the world. Otherwise, their blood is on our hands.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
Even if we are not directly involved in the abortion industry (and it is an industry, producing a great deal of wealth for those participating), we cannot look the other way. We are our brothers’ keepers. Will we stand with God when their blood is crying out to Him?
A note to anyone who has had an abortion or is contemplating one:
Are there some sins so unforgivable that there is no hope? What does the Bible say? What if I can’t forgive myself? What if I was a Christian when I had an abortion?
First, if you’re reading this and are contemplating an abortion. Please go to a godly friend, a pastor or Christian Pregnancy Help Center. No matter what your situation, there is help. God loves you and your baby and He doesn’t want you to do something you’ll regret for the rest of your life. If you don’t know where to go or who to talk to, leave me your name and number or email in the comments section. I WILL NOT publish your comment, but I will contact you and help you find the support you need.
But, if you have had an abortion in the past don’t run from God, turn to Him. No where in the Bible does it say we must forgive ourselves. Instead, we must be willing to humble ourselves, confess our sin to God, and accept His gracious gift of forgiveness.
Every one of us has committed sins against God and all sin is deserving of death (Rom. 3.23, 6.23), but the good news of the gospel is that Jesus died for guilty sinners LIKE ME and YOU! Go and read John 3.16. Then open your bible to the book of Romans.
There is forgiveness for an abortion! But you must go to God and admit your sin. Admit that you know you deserve to die (Rom. 6.23). Read Romans 3.23, 6.23, 5.8, 10.9-10, 13). Tell Him that you believe what Jesus did for you. He lived a sinless life and then willingly died in your place. Then call out to Him! Ask for His forgiveness. Surrender your life completely to Him and ask Him to help you live for Him (2 Cor. 5.15).
What if you were already a Christian when you had an abortion? Is there forgiveness available to you? Being a Christian isn’t a license to sin and we can’t sin with our fingers crossed behind our backs and then use His grace like a “get-out-of-jail-card,” but if you are sincerely repentant for what you did, He will forgive you (1 Jn. 1.9)!
“A continual dripping … and a contentious woman are alike …”
Ladies, we need to understand what God is saying here about the power of our words and attitudes.
None of us lives in a perfect world. We have spouses and children, bosses and co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors who are imperfect. But we can choose how we’ll respond.
Will we be the women Peter encouraged us to be?
¹ In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over2 by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Pet. 3.1-4 NLT).
Will we choose to live the kind of lives that win others even without words (v. 1)? And when we do speak, will they be impacted by the purity and reverence of our lives (v. 2) or will they see a harsh, prideful heart?
Proverbs has a lot to say about the power of our words:
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. (Prov. 15.1-2 NLT).
Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything (Prov. 13.3 NLT).
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing (12.18 NLT).
He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit (Prov. 17.27 NKJV).
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Prov. 16.24 NLT).
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences (Prov. 18.21 NLT).
And what about our attitudes? As Peter reminded us in the passage we just read (v. 1), we communicate even when we’re not speaking.
Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance (Prov. 21.24 NLT).
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16.18).
Ladies, how do we want our husbands and others to think of us? We have a choice. But if we want to reflect a godly attitude, if we want kind words to fill our mouths, we’ve got to start with our hearts. Jesus said:
“It is what comes from inside that defiles you.For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (Mk. 7.20-22).
What are you putting into your heart? God’s truth or worldly ideas?
On what do you meditate? On slights and hurts, things you wish you had, on all your husbands faults? Or do you cultivate gratitude, contentment, forgiveness, and grace?
As I read chapter 23, verses 5 & 6, I was reminded of Genesis 3 where right in the middle of pronouncing the curse that would come on Adam and Eve as a result of their sin, God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3.15). Right there in the garden, God gave them, and us, a glimpse of His plan to restore His creation to right standing with Him.
And here in Jeremiah 23, as He is pronouncing the consequences of Judah’s repeated disobedience, He promises to bring them back:
5 “ Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“ That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Another reminder of the coming of the promised Messiah—what a good and awesome God we serve! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8) and that was the Father’s plan from the beginning.
Do you believe Jesus is coming back soon? Does your life reflect that belief? How should you live in light of that truth?
The alternative is to live like the people in Jeremiah’s time who needed God’s rod of judgment, as we will see in our Old Testament reading. As we dig deeper into Psalm 119, we will see how knowing and contemplating God’s Word can help us steer clear of sin and grow in our understanding of God and His will.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
Jesus is coming back both for His church and to judge the whole earth. He is coming “like a thief in the night,” but as believers, who know His Word, we shouldn’t be caught off guard. Instead, we should live every day like we believe Jesus is coming back soon:
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
The remainder of the chapter spells out some ways we are to do that:
1. By respecting our pastors and elders and submitting to their authority (v. 12).
Hebrews 13.17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Incidentally, October is “Pastor’s Appreciation Month.” Is there some way you could show appreciation to your Pastor? A meal? A card? A word of encouragement?
2. By being faithful in our relationships to our brothers and sisters in Christ (v.14).
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
Sometimes we need to encourage one another. Other times we need to gently rebuke one another.
3. By not returning evil for evil, but by giving a blessing instead (v. 15). Romans 12:
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VengeanceisMine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
4. By rejoicing in the blessings of God and being thankful (vvs. 16, 18).
Some time has passed and the Jews have failed to heed God’s warnings through Jeremiah, but now the invaders are approaching. Skirmishes are already being fought outside the city, and the people will soon be driven back into the city itself.
Now that things are desperate, the King sends a messenger to Jeremiah asking him to intercede for them. God answers by telling them that they are not just fighting the Babylonians, but they have made themselves enemies of God Himself!
Many of us go through times in our lives, too, where we reject God’s truth, then when we get into trouble we cry out, “Oh God, help me! If You get me out of this mess, I’ll never do it again!” Continue reading →
Imagine your family sitting around the dinner table one night and there is a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Levi,” whose funeral you had attended a few years before? And imagine what it will it be like a few seconds after the Rapture of the Church? What do those two scenarios have to do with each other?
Verses 15-18 speak of what is called the Rapture of the Church.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive andremain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The word “rapture” means to be “caught up.” Paul said those who have died in Christ will rise first. So when Christ returns for His church, the bodies of believers who died previously, whose spirits are already in heaven, will be resurrected and changed. And those of us who are alive will be caught up and our bodies will be changed, as well.
There was a foretaste of this event right after Christ’s death in Matthew 27:
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So even though these resurrected believers would die again, it was a preview of what is to come in the future.
Can you just imagine what it must have been like—the family is sitting around having dinner and there’s a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Levi or Cousin Benjamin” who had died a few years before!
Now imagine what it will be like when the Rapture happens. The graves of the dead believers will be opened, but this time they’ll be gone, along with believers who were alive at the time of the Rapture!
I would imagine there will be more than a few family members who had rejected what their husbands and wives and mommas and brothers were telling them, who fall to their knees and cry out to God. It won’t be too late for them to be saved, but it will be too late for them to escape the Tribulation, seven years of famine, disease, earthquakes, disasters, and persecution the likes of which the world has never seen. We’ll talk more about this when we get to the book of Revelation.
Let’s pray and stand up for the truth now while there is still time for those who may listen.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is an acrostic psalm. As it was written in the original Hebrew, it contains a literary device to drive home the truths contained in it—something like what we do when we say “A is for apple; B is for ball; … or when we use an acronym to help us remember the name of an organization.
While it’s long, it contains some of the greatest truths about God and His Word, beginning with verses 1-2: Continue reading →