Words From Keith and Debbie Crews

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?  (Amos 3:3)

Unity is very important in a relationship.  In the marriage relationship a husband and wife are to be one flesh (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6).  Can you imagine your body working without unity among its parts?  It is described as an “intricate unity” in Job 10:8.  Can you imagine deity without unity?  We are told to “keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:3).  There is one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one body, one hope, one faith, and one baptism (Eph 4:4-6).  The religious world is divided.  We are not agreed.  There are many bodies, many faiths, and many baptisms in the divided religious world.  Paul pleaded that we all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you (1 Cor 1:10).  Is Christ divided (1 Cor 1:13)?  If God dwells in us, and Christ dwells in us, and the Spirit dwells in us, are they telling us different things (Rom 8:9-11)?  Let the word of Christ dwell in you (Col 3:16).  Speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11).  That is how unity is achieved.  In my prayers for the church I ask God for peace, unity, and growth.  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1).

 

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Rev 22:18-19).

Man cannot add to or take away from God’s words and please Him.  Moses said it this way, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, not take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you (Deut 4:2).  Jeroboam changed God’s words regarding where to worship, who were to be priests, and the month of the feast.  He sinned and led Israel away from God.  We must carefully follow God’s word (1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:10).  We must speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11).

Blog Post By Gary Henry

Many Things are True in Two Senses

In Bible classes, it is common to hear people speak out in defense of two separate, but equally true, positions. For instance, I heard a brother recently emphasize our need to see eternal life as a present possession (1 John 5:13), and another brother responded that we have the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2). Both of these are true; they simply present life in Christ from two different perspectives.

When we read the Scriptures, it becomes clear that some passages talk about the “already” part of life in Christ and others talk about the “not yet.” These passages are not in conflict. Both are needed, and if we quit thinking about either of these perspectives, our faith becomes unbalanced and ineffective. Consider three examples.

Salvation. The Christian’s salvation is a present reality. “By grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). But we are also in the process of being saved. Peter wrote, “You believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9).

Kingdom of God. God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13), but we have not yet gained “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). So the Scriptures speak of God’s kingdom as both a present reality and also a future hope.

Holiness. In Christ, we are “saints” or “holy ones,” and we are “holy brothers” (Hebrews 3:1). Together, the Lord’s people constitute a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). But holiness is also a goal. Paul urges us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Each of these points should remind us that our salvation in Christ is both an accomplished fact and also a growth process. Generally speaking, the present aspect of our salvation provides a “sedative,” and the future aspect serves as a “stimulant.” When we’re discouraged, we need to hear that our salvation has been accomplished by Christ so that we can rest securely in His grace. But when we’re lackadaisical, we need to hear that it is only the penitent and the diligent who are going to finish the race. Every Christian needs both truths. This morning we may need a “sedative,” but by this afternoon we’ll very likely need a “stimulant.”

The multi-dimensioned nature of truth is one reason we need to study all of the Bible. It is only by exposing our minds to every page of the Scriptures that we can avoid over-emphasizing one part of the truth at the expense of others. And mark it well: the more you think one perspective is “what we really need to hear right now,” the more you probably need to pay attention to the remainder of the Scriptures. The parts you don’t like to hear are often the parts you need the most.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

The post Many Things Are True in Two Senses appeared first on WordPoints.

How To Be Transformed

Colossians 3:2,3

Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.…

“How To Be Transformed” – Short posts sharing inspirational scriptures on motivating the Christian to make daily progress putting on the mind of Christ

Words From Keith and Debbie Crews

So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean (2 Kings 5:14).

 

Naaman was a mighty man of valor in the Syrian army but he had leprosy.  Elisha sent a servant to tell him to dip seven times in the Jordan River.  He got angry like some do when told to be baptized for the remission of their sins.  They think all they have to do is take Jesus into their heart and they will be saved.  It is easy to take Jesus into your heart.  It is more challenging for some to be baptized.  They have to humble themselves and submit.  They look for excuses to not be baptized.  Naaman had to do all the prophet Elisha told him to do.  He had to dip seven times in the Jordan.  We have to do all God tells us to do.  Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).  Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Blog Post by Gary Henry

All of us have some painful memories. The person who says he has no regrets is either lying or has not lived long enough in this world to make any mistakes. So the question is: what are we to do with the memories that bring us pain when we they resurface in our minds?

Perhaps a clarification is in order. In this post I am not thinking about the memories of things other people have done to us. Those memories can be excruciating, but whatever we may have suffered at the hands of others, of much more concern should be the sins that we ourselves have committed. How should we think about these things?

I expect very few of us can ponder this subject without thinking of our brother Paul in the New Testament. Forgiven by God’s grace and given a clean slate, Paul still had to live the rest of his life with the memory of having persecuted the Lord’s church while he was still an unbeliever. His attitude, however, is admirable and worthy of our imitation. “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9,10).

No self-pity or worldly sorrow. Paul’s memories were painful, but his sorrow shows no sign of self-centeredness or despair.

Gratitude for grace. Forgiven, Paul was determined that God’s grace would not be wasted on him. He would respond rightly to grace.

Humility. If Paul was ever tempted to be cocky, he would only need to remember the seriousness of what he had been forgiven of.

Diligence in the Lord’s work. Paul’s memories of his forgiven sins were helping him in the Lord’s work rather than hindering him. Forgiveness should have the same result in our own work in the Lord.

We live in a feel-good society that prioritizes emotional happiness. In our culture, painful feelings are avoided at all costs. But such an approach to life is inconsistent with the Scriptures. Jesus was a Man of Sorrows. He did not teach that we should avoid painful thoughts but that we should think rightly about them. When we choose to think rightly, even our most painful memories can strengthen us spiritually.

So, my dear friend, my advice to you is this: embrace your painful memories — but take them before God’s throne and seek His help in thinking about these things as you should. Avoid worldly sorrow, thank God for His grace, let yourself be humbled by the memory of your sins, and let your gratitude for grace send you back into the Lord’s work with a greater wisdom and strength than you had before. The devil says, “All is lost,” but God says, “Much can yet be done, my child.” To whom will we listen? That is the choice we must make.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

The post Painful Memories Can Help Us appeared first on WordPoints.

Words from Keith and Debbie

Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4).
Unfaithful to God is one who is a friend of the world.  “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Prov 12:26 NKJ).  The world is full of wicked people who have no regard for God.  “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Ps 10:4).  We should not be friends with such people.  They will lead us away from God just like the idols of heathen nations led Israel away from God and just like the idols of Solomon’s wives led him away from God.  “Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house” (Prov 5:8).  The world is like kudzu.  It will wrap itself around you unless you beat it back.  “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Pet 2:20).  Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:12).
Keith

blog post from Gary Henry

“. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

There are so many good results that come from pondering the Lord’s death each first day of the week. I have often marveled at how all of our individual needs are met at the foot of the cross, whatever they may be on a given Sunday. Only God’s wisdom could have contrived a practice that helps us in so many ways all at once.

But think with me about what Hebrews 12:2 says about our Lord’s suffering. How was it that Jesus mustered the strength to get through His trial and crucifixion in such a steadfast way? It was, this text says, “for the joy that was set before him.” In other words, it was not by pretending the ordeal was pleasant, but by looking beyond the pain, that He was able to keep going when it might have been tempting to give up. Of the many character traits Jesus demonstrated in His last hours, this is one of the most encouraging for us in our own lives: Jesus made the decision to keep going. Called upon to endure, He endured.

And lest we forget, it was a decision on Jesus’ part that led Him to do what He did. His perseverance was not easy or automatic due to His divine powers — it was a choice that He made. It was, to put it simply, an act of obedience on His part. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

And making the choice to endure is the point of our text back in Hebrews 12. In v.1, the writer had said, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” And then in v.2, it is Jesus who is the example of endurance. More than anyone else’s example, it is “looking to Jesus” that gives us the courage to keep going. Jesus is the One whose character we need to emulate. Tempted to quit, it is Jesus we need to think of.

Lately, it has been a joy for me to meditate on this particular aspect of Jesus’ example when I partake of the Lord’s Supper. This response to the Supper is an “invigorating” response. Yes, the Supper warms us with gratitude for Jesus’ love, touches us with sympathy for His suffering, reassures us of our peace in His mercy, and calms our nerves in the midst of all our uncertainties. But no less important, the Lord’s Supper energizes us, stiffens our courage, and sends us back into the world with a greater determination to endure. The joy is coming. The day of rest awaits us. The victory celebration is being prepared. But in the meantime, Jesus’ endurance of suffering shows us how to . . . continue.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com