Category: Encouragement

One Ought To Know

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  1. That God exists (Romans 1:19-21).
  2. That the universe and everything in it is God’s creation (Genesis 1-2).
  3. That the highest of God’s creation is mankind (Psalm 8).
  4. That God is love and that God loves mankind (1 John 4:16, John 3:16).
  5. That God is a holy and righteous God (1 Peter 1:16).
  6. That all men have sinned (offensive errors in our relationship with God) and fallen short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).
  7. That these sins separate man from God (Isaiah 59:2).
  8. That to die in sin means eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
  9. That without God, man is helpless to do anything for himself to redeem himself (buy himself back) from the penalty of his sins (Psalm 49:7).
  10. That God’s righteousness and holiness demands a penalty for sin (Revelation 14:10).
  11. That God has sent his Son to pay the penalty for man’s sins (2 Corinthians 4:21).
  12. That God’s Son has redeemed mankind from their sins (1 Peter 1:18).
  13. That God’s Son is Jesus of Nazareth who is also the Christ/Messiah/Anointed one (John 20:30,31).
  14. That Jesus lived on the earth as a man and was tempted like men but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
  15. That Jesus taught man and left man an example of what he must do to be pleasing to God (John 8:31,32, John 13:15, 1 Peter 2:21).
  16. That Jesus can be the perfect sacrifice for sins because he lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:28).
  17. That Jesus gave his blood a sacrifice for the sins of man (Matthew 26:28).
  18. That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).
  19. That Jesus gave His plan for man’s salvation to His servants the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15,16, Luke 24:46-49).
  20. That Jesus ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the throne of God and rule as King (Acts 2:30-36).
  21. That Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to further teach and instruct men concerning the kingdom and their need to be saved (Acts 2:14-21).
  22. That the Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into ALL truth (John 16:13).
  23. That those who believed and obeyed the message of salvation would be saved and added to the church, Jesus’ kingdom (Acts 2:37-47).
  24. That to be saved one must hear the gospel message, believe that Jesus is God’s son, repent of sins, confess Jesus as Lord and be baptized for the remission of sins (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:30, Romans 10:10, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16).
  25. That when one does such he is added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47).
  26. That the church would be the place of the saved (Ephesians 5:23).
  27. That the individuals in the church are Christians (Acts 11:26).
  28. That the Christian is expected to live a life that is holy to God and not to corrupt it with the evil influences of the world (1 Peter 1:15,16, 1 John 2:15-17).
  29. That the Christian that sins willfully will no longer have forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:26) and that if he turns back to the world he will be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22).
  30. That Christians are the people of God (1 Peter 2:9).
  31. That the church belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23-25).
  32. That it is only through our belonging to Christ in the church that we can worship God acceptably (1 Peter 2:9).
  33. That we must allow God to tell us how to worship Him (John 4:24).
  34. That God has told us through the Holy Spirit inspired apostles how to worship Him (Acts 2:42).
  35. That the praise in worship that Christians offer consists of “fruit of lips” (Hebrews 13:15).
  36. That we worship God by remembering every Sunday the death of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
  37. That we worship God by singing praises (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
  38. That we worship God by studying His word (Acts 2:42).
  39. That we worship God when we pray (1 Timothy 2:1).
  40. That we worship God when we give (2 Corinthians 8-9).
  41. That the church has a work to do, make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
  42. That the church has been given instruction on how to do this work (Colossians 1:10).
  43. That the Bible contains all the information that the church needs to do this work (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16,17).
  44. That we must study the Bible in order to do this work and be approved before God (2 Timothy 2:15).
  45. That the church has been organized by her head, Jesus (Ephesians 1:22), in an efficient way to accomplish this work.
  46. That there was a temporary organization to initially build the church and that there is a permanent organization for the ongoing activities of the church (Ephesians 4:7-16).
  47. That part of the temporary organization of the church were men directly inspired by God, apostles, prophets, and others inspired to do other things (Ephesians 4:11,12, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
  48. That they completed their work and left a perfect pattern (seed) for all additional churches to follow (2 Timothy 2:2).
  49. That when this pattern (seed) is followed, we will have what they intended for us to have (2 Timothy 1:13, Luke 8:11, 1 Peter 1:23).
  50. That the permanent organization for the church is left in this pattern (1 Timothy 3:15).
  51. That this permanent organization consists of elders and deacons in each congregation (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9).

Precious In His Sight

Donnie Bates

The things that afflict us in this life are all serious, especially if you’re the one suffering. And of course, those things that afflict me seem more serious than those things that afflict someone else. Still, we all recognize that there are some afflictions that we feel more acutely.

I don’t suppose anything hurts as much as the loss of a loved one. Other installments of Barnabas’ Notes have addressed many passages of Scripture that offer comfort to those who have experienced such heartbreak. One such passage is even written for the express purpose of comforting those who have lost a family member or other loved one. 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

For those who are faithful Christians there is the promise that the dead in Christ are safe, will be raised again and will be with their faithful loved ones and Jesus for eternity. This has to be the ultimate in words of comfort. In our pain and suffering through grief, it helps to know that God is there and considers the death of His saints as precious. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. Psalm 116:15. At the same time, consider that those who are suffering affliction (whether from the death of a loved one or from some other source) are also considered precious in God’s sight. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be precious in His sight; Psalm 72:14.

King David was someone precious in the sight of God. In 1 Samuel 13:14 we find that David was a man after God’s own heart. God loved Him very much. When David’s first baby with Bathsheba was born, the child was stricken. The baby suffered for a week and David suffered right along with it. On the seventh day, the child died and as grieved as David was, he determined to live his life in such a way that he would see that child again, 2 Samuel 12:23. God comforted these grieving parents. He will comfort us today.

I’ve said many times that I hope and pray that the words of these notes will bring some measure of comfort and encouragement to those so in need of it. However, the greatest comfort may come simply in the realization that God is watching, that He cares, that He weeps with us, and that He promises to give us the strength to survive. If these words serve to give His comfort to you, I am happy to be a part of that comforting process, but we must understand that He is the Ultimate Source of the comfort we receive.

God takes care of His precious ones. He loves us and gives us all we need to overcome whatever the affliction, even when death comes to our families. Even through our pain and our tears, we can feel better, knowing that God weeps, too. He makes life worth living. He makes it worthwhile to continue on, even when we don’t feel like we ever could. I hope you know today that He loves you and that I do, too.

God bless you and have a great week!

Do You Know You Will Go To Heaven?

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Heaven or HellA Christian lady phoned to ask if it was right for her to tell others that she knew she was going to heaven. She had begun to doubt it was right for her to say this to others because they might think she was bragging.

What Can We Know?

Does the Bible teach that we can know we are going to heaven? If so, what passage can be quoted to prove we can know? We may not be able to know we are going to heaven, but we can know we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

How Can We Know?

The purpose of what John wrote, was so we can “know” we have eternal life. Our knowledge that we have eternal life is not based on emotions, a special testimony of the Holy Spirit, or an inner feeling. We can “know” based on what is written, for John wrote so that we may “know” we have eternal life

Preceding verse 13, John stated, “And this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He whow has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God, does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). God gave testimony through the miracles He performed through Jesus (John 8:18; John 10:25; Acts 2:22), that through our believing in Him, based on what has been written concerning Jesus, we can “know” we have eternal life (John 20:30-31).

Eternal Life In Jesus

Our assurance of eternal life is because we can share the eternal life that is in Jesus. We can “know” we have eternal if we are “in Him”; the source of eternal life. Our entry into Jesus takes place through our faith and repentance when we are baptized “into Christ” (Romans 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Our having eternal life is dependent on our being “in Jesus” in whom is eternal life.

After we are baptized, we can “know” we are in Jesus if we keep His word (1 John 2:4-5). We can “know” we are in Jesus and have eternal life if we perfect our love for God by keeping His word and continuing in what was taught in the beginning years of Christianity (1 John 2:24-25).

Can We Lose Eternal Life?

As long as we are “in Jesus,” we will have the eternal life that is in Him. Our continuing to have eternal life, is dependent on our remaining “in Jesus.” Eternal life is not ours as a matter of a personal possession, but because of a relationship with Jesus. This can be compared with an electric current. As long as a cord is plugged into a live wall plug, the cord will have an electric current, but if it is unplugged, it will no longer have the live current available from the wall plug. After we are baptized into Jesus, as long as we remain in Jesus by keeping His word, we can “know” we are in Him and have the eternal life that is in Him.

If we fail to retain our relationship with Jesus, we will lose the eternal life that is in Him. Jesus taught this in His parable of the vine and branches. A branch will have life as long as it is in a vine, but if that relationship is severed, the branch will wither because it will no longer receive the life that is in the vine (John 15:6). As long as we are “in Jesus,” we will have the life that is “in Jesus.” Thus, we can “know” that we have eternal life.

What About Heaven?

If we could be sure we would remain “in Christ” until we die, we would “know” for certain we will go to heaven. Paul had to control the passions of his body to be sure he would not be cast away (1 Corinthians 9:27), and he wrote that those who think they stand, are to take heed lest they fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Peter assures us that if we develop the Christian virtues, we will never fall but will enter the everlasting kingdom (2 Peter 1:5-11).

Conclusion:

Since no one can be sure he will always remain “in Christ” until death (Revelation 2:10), he cannot be absolutely certain he will go to heaven, but if we are “in Christ” as obedient followers, we can “know” that we have eternal life. As long as we continue to remain “in Jesus”, we are assured that heaven will be our eternal destiny.

If we, like Paul, fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the course, then we can say with the apostle in the hour of our departure from this world to a new and better world, “Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day” (2 Timothy 4:8 ESV).

http://gewatkins.net/know-will-go-heaven/

How Big Is Your God?

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How Big Is Your GodFor some religious folks, God remains a jealous, vengeful and capricious power, playing favorites instead of how the Bible portrays Him — a loving and impartial Ruler who has the right to demand justice and righteousness (Romans 2:1-11; cf. Acts 17:22-31).

The Bible also portrays God as the God who gives and demands love from His people, just like a father does from his children (Matthew 6:24-34; Matthew 22:34-40; Hebrews 12:5-11).

The Bible teaches that the Lord remains the same, unchanging since the beginning of time (Numbers 23:19 ESV; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). It is only man’s concept of God that changes.

How we think of God, makes a difference in our behavior (note the contrast of attitude between Genesis 39:7-10 and Acts 5:1-11). The individual whose God is too small, will be inadequate to address the demands of life. A God that is small enough for our understanding, is not large enough to meet our needs.

Even if we diligenty search all of our lives, we will never know all there is know about God (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17; Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33-36). However, it is entirely possible and desirable for us to keep on spiritually growing in our knowledge and love of God (1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Peter 3:18), worshiping the God that is big enough to handle all our exigencies (Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 5:6-7).

http://gewatkins.net/big-god/

An OPEN Approach

 by Chuck Northrop

In almost any task, its success or accomplishment is determined by one’s approach. If a person is

unwilling, then the task will probably not be completed, or if it is, it will likely be poorly done. If

a person has an “I can’t” attitude, the task will be prone to failure. And if a person has a closed

mind, then the task will cultivate stagnation. But, if approached properly, great accomplishments

can be made. It’s all in the approach. So, it is with Bible study. The proper results of Bible Study

can only be accomplished if there are some things that are opened.

OPEN BIBLE

First, there must be an OPEN BIBLE. For real Bible study to occur, the Bible must be opened

and studied. David wrote, “The entrance [opening, ASV] of thy words giveth light; it giveth

understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). In Acts 8:26-40, we read of the conversion of

the eunuch of Ethiopia. God had sent Philip the evangelist to “the way that goeth down from

Jerusalem unto Gaza.” As the eunuch journeyed, he was reading Isaiah 53. At the Spirit’s urging,

Philip came up to the chariot and asked, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” And the

eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” He desired Philip to give him

spiritual instruction. So, “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached

unto him Jesus.” Instruction was accomplished because the Bible was opened.

Notice also the nobility of the Bereans. Luke said, “These were more noble than those in

Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the

scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). In part, they were noble because the

Book of books was opened. They searched the scriptures daily! They examined what they were

being taught by comparing it to the word of God. And when the teaching proved to be scriptural,

they readily accepted it.

Philip, the eunuch, and the Bereans illustrate the need of an open Bible. Paul’s admonition of 2

Timothy 2:15 helps us to make the application. Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto

God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The purpose

of handling accurately the word of truth is so that we can be approved of God and an unashamed

workman.

OPEN MIND

Not only must there be an OPEN BIBLE, we must also have an OPEN MIND. A person who

has closed their mind to honest evaluation and/or to the word of God are hopelessly lost.

Evaluation of one’s self and one’s beliefs is of absolute necessity. To Timothy, Paul wrote, “Take

heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save

thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Open mindedness is the opposite of prejudice. Prejudice comes in many forms. Prejudice can be

based upon race, economics, religion, and a host of other things. Prejudice means to pre-judge or

judge before full examination. Though the word “prejudice” is not used in Scripture, it is clearly

condemned. Peter wrote, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). A part of God’s holiness is

the fact that He “is no respecter of persons” (Acts 17:34). God is not prejudice. Thus, we should

not be prejudice whether we are speaking of individuals or otherwise. Rather than going to God’s

word to prove what we already believe, let us go to God’s word to see what God teaches and

accept the truth thereof.

Sometimes a person’s beliefs are based upon the conviction of others such as parents or

grandparents. This, too, is the opposite of an open mind. Though we must love and respect our

parents, we must have our own convictions. Judgment will be based upon what we have done in

our bodies (2 Corinthians 5:10). It will not be based upon our parent’s or any other person’s

conviction whether right or wrong.

Sadly, it is the case that some people base their beliefs upon their own desires. They desire an

adulterous union or some such like thing, and, thus, they decide such is not wrong. In this way,

they justify themselves. Honest people, however, will approach God’s word with an open mind

looking to God for His directions as revealed in His word. This was the attitude of the noble

Bereans, and it should be our attitude as well.

OPEN HEART

Not only must there be an OPEN BIBLE and an OPEN MIND, we must also have an OPEN

HEART. Jesus said, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,

and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). This passage shows that there is

some basic difference between the mind and heart. The mind is the seat of the intelligence

whereas the heart is the seat of the emotions. Acceptance and obedience of the gospel is more

than just intellectual. It is also a matter of emotions. One can intellectually understand and accept

a certain teaching, but not obey it because of some emotional conflict. Thus, holy scripture must

be approached with an open heart.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew

5:8). Pure means that the heart is without defilement or hypocrisy. Before one will accept God’s

truth on any given subject, the heart of that individual must be pure   desiring to do God’s will

rather than his or her own will. For this reason, David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O

God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). This does not mean that we are passive

in this, and that God somehow does something to change our hearts. We are responsible to make

heart changes. James says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands,

ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).

“An evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12) is the opposite of an open heart. It will lead us away

from the living God, and it is “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Instead of

an evil heart of unbelief, let us open our hearts to God and His word, and let us be so pricked in

the heart that we obey the will of God. Appealing to the heart, the emotions, Peter “with many

other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation”

(Acts 2:40).

Copyritght  1998

http://www.39thstreetchurchofchrist.org/anopenapproach.html