For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.—Romans 1:16
The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.
It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room…. Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.
That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation—apart from God. Paths to Power, 7-8.
“We continue to need that power, Lord, or we still are hopelessly incapable of the task You’ve left us. Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early church. Amen.”
Reprinted from Tozer on Christian Leadership by A.W. Tozer, copyright © 2001 by Zur Ltd. Used by permission of WingSpread Publishers, a division of Zur Ltd.
“Our Walk” and “our life style,” (the way we live) defines us to others that we are a Christian. Another requirement is that we walk “in truth,” (a commandment from our Father in Heaven.) We can define “in truth” as being faithful, and sincere to The God of Heaven and His Son Jesus The Christ.
However, in our walk it must to be as He commands. In (v 6) He commands “that we walk after his commandments.” Jesus also states in:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Therefore, our “walk” should always be as close as possible to what God wants for us. (Many Christians perceive this more as a suggestion from God.) But when we read and literally accept what has been stated, our “walk” is a command. There are NO suggestions, and there are no other interpretations or perceptions.
Our Walk is the definition of what we claim to be. Many who know us, (though they tell us not to judge them) will judge us in “Our Walk.” Bro D. L. Moody stated: “Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.” As Christians, we are The Bible for so many. It is so important that “Our Talk” match “Our Walk.” “Our Walk” must match what God expects of us.
Part of that expectation is that “we love one another,” and in that love “keep my commandments.” In this “love [for] one another,” we are to be concerned about their souls. As a Christian, we are allowed to judge others’ sins, and counsel them concerning their involvement in sin. We are to “love” the individual (regardless of their sin.) However, we are NOT to “love” their sin. We may come across as being a self-righteous person, and/or with an angry attitude. This is why “Our Walk” is so important. Those we approach must see Jesus’ Love in us by our compassion and concern.
We must remember that there was a day that we were where they are now. “So, do you love Jesus? Do you keep His commandments?”
One mistake can change the course of our lives. One bad decision can cost us years. In Moses’ case, the mistake was murder. In a fit of anger, he killed an Egyptian and then fled for his life. He went from living as a prince of Egypt to growing old with the sheep in the desert. He was certain that it was too late for anything good to come of his life.
Many of our lives have been forever changed by a single decision, and the consequences have left us feeling as though our existence has little significance. But it wasn’t too late for Moses, and it’s not too late for you. Just because you have done bad things in the past does not mean that God will not forgive you. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, we just need to ask. Don’t let your past rob you of your future.
When he was 80 – after 40 years of waiting – Moses’ mistake brought him to the right place to meet with God, who used him to lead an entire nation out of slavery. Cry out to God, and He will meet you in His presence.
The purpose and role of the Church.
What it Means
The Greek word used in the New Testament is ‘ekklesia.’ It is a compound work derived from the word ‘ek,’ which means ‘out,’ and the term ‘kaleo,’ which means ‘to call.’ The term literally means ‘to call out.’
The Church is literally those who are “called out.”
In the NT it is used to describe believers who met at a location together. When Paul referred to the church at Galatia, he was referring to the people who gathered together in Galatia.
No where in the NT is the term used to describe a building, a denomination, or an organization. The term is reserved for people. A collective group of “called out” believers who meet together. This is the Church.
Throughout the NT, the church is described in a variety of ways. Scripture frequently uses imagery to communicate a deeper message.
Paul describes the church as the Body of Christ in I Corinthians 12:12. Paul states that the believers, those who are ‘called out,’ are the various members of the Body of Christ. Each person has an important role and is essential to the body.
The body is composed of many members, toes, eyes, kidneys, but it is a single body. The body is designed to function a single unit. Each of the members are important and help the body carry out its function.
We are the members of the body of Christ. As we work together in unity, we allow the body to function as it is designed. The Church is then able to carry out the mission and purpose of Christ.
The church is also described as the Temple of God. In I Corinthians 3:16, Paul ask the rhetorical question, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (NASB). We are the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.
Peter emphasizes this concept in I Peter 2. Peter compares us to the living stones of the “spiritual house.” We are being used to build up the temple of God of which Christ is the cornerstone (I Peter 2:7).
An interesting observation is that a temple is built and finished with all manner of stone. Some of the stones are positioned in places of honor and covered with ornamental coverings, while other stones are buried in the ground as foundation or support. Each stone is important. There are no stones that are insignificant or irrelevant.
Believers are the stones used in the building of the Temple of God. Some stones are used in places of ‘honor’ and others are used for foundation and support. Rest assured, that your position in the temple is designed and ordered by God and that it important and essential to the plan of God.
So what is the purpose of the church? What do these illustrations of the church help us understand about the role we are to have?
First, we are to continue the work of Christ. Since we make up the body of Christ, when we are doing what we are designed to do, we will continue to do the work of Christ. If we are his body, we do his work.
Second, we proclaim his message. As the body and the temple, part of our responsibility is to continue to communicate the message of Christ, the good news, the gospel.
Third, we are to server as an example or demonstration. When people see us and watch how we live, our lives should reflect the character of Christ. If we are his body, we should live a life that is worthy of the name. If we are the Temple of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, we stand as an example of the work of Christ to the world.
The Lord told Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against its wickedness. However, Jonah did not like his assignment and decided to runaway from God. Jonah boarded a ship and headed in the opposite direction from where the Lord wanted him to go.
The Lord chased after Jonah by sending a fierce storm that threatened to break up the ship Jonah was using for his great escape. The only way for the storm to cease was for the sailors to throw Jonah overboard. Despite the crew’s concern for Jonah, they tossed him into the sea.
While Jonah was sinking, the Lord rescued him by means of a great fish. God placed Jonah in timeout for three days and nights. Jonah prayed from inside the belly of the fish. The Lord heard Jonah’s prayer and commanded the fish to vomit Jonah out onto dry land.
In spite of Jonah’s disobedience, God gave him another chance to fulfill his mission. When God spoke to Jonah the second time, he quickly obeyed and went directly to the great city of Nineveh. Because of Jonah’s message, the people of Nineveh turned from their wicked ways and turned to God.
Has God placed you in a timeout today? You might feel like a castaway and that God has given up on you. God has not abandoned you! Start crying out to Him in prayer as Jonah did so He can help you out of whatever situation you are facing. He longs to see your upturn in spirit so you can carry on with the good plans He has waiting for you.
Maybe some of you have been avoiding God. You have been running from one activity to the next trying to flee from the things God desires. God has not put you in timeout because He is patiently waiting for you to choose His best course of direction. Turn to God today and ask Him for clarity so you do not end up in unnecessary timeout for days, weeks, or possibly months.
Whether God has you in timeout or you have been on the run, know that God offers you a second chance. God knows the plans He has for you, so it is wise to take timeout with Him so he can begin to reveal His plans to you. You will never go wrong when you obey God and head in the right direction. Chances are it will be the best time of your life!
Peppermint Patty steps up to the store counter in a PEANUTS cartoon. She says, “Yes, sir . . . I need some school supplies . . . some pencils, some paper, a loose-leaf binder . . . and some answers … I need a lot of answers …” Don’t we all?
Life is full of difficult questions. There are many things in life we do not understand. Many of us have a hard time understanding the Trinity–God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Even the finest theologians find themselves at a loss to explain it satisfactorily. Some use the analogy of the masks worn by actors in the old Greek tragedies. One actor wearing many masks can play many parts. But it is still just one actor.
Others have used the analogy of water. Under normal conditions, water, H2O, is a liquid, but freeze it and it becomes a solid. Heat it and it becomes steam. It is still H2O, whatever form it takes, but it can have three radically different forms.
The secret of us, in our understanding of the Trinity, is trust. We can either spend our lives making ourselves miserable about what does not make sense to us or we can live joyful lives based on trust in God. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “The bird does not sing because he has an answer; he sings because he has a song.”
I may not be able to understand the mystery of God in three persons, but I can enjoy the incredible beauty of God the creator. I may not understand how the Bethlehem’s babe “can in the Godhead be,” as the song says, but I can read with awe the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. If anyone has ever lived closer to God than Jesus, I’m certainly not aware of it. I may not understand all there is to understand about that Comforter that Jesus said he would send us, but there have been times when that Comforter, the Holy Spirit, has enveloped me with love. I don’t have to understand God in three persons in order to experience the grandeur of what those three persons can mean in my life. The secret of a successful life is not understanding but trust.
VALENTINE DAY CARD YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET
“You’re perfect in every way, just not for me.”
“I wish I could say you were the most special person in the world, but you’re not.”
“I’m looking for a long-term relationship and I just can’t pursue that with you.”
“Our relationship is like a fat guy, What? It’s not working out.”
“It’s not you, it’s me. I just need to stop dating losers”
TWINS JOIN AIR FORCE
A General of the US Air Force decided that he would personally intervene in the recruiting crisis affecting all of our armed services. As he and his staff were standing near a brand new F-15 Fighter, a pair of twin brothers who looked like they had just stepped off a Marine Corps recruiting class walked up to them. The chief of staff walked up to them, stuck out his hand and introduced himself. He looked at the first young man and asked, “Son, what skills can you bring to the Air Force?” The young man looks at him and says, “I’m a pilot!” The general gets all excited, turns to his aide and says, “Sign him today, do all the paper work get on with it” The aide hustles the young man off. The general looks at the second young man and asked, “What skills to you bring to the Air Force?” The young man says, “I chop wood!” “Son,” the general replies, “we don’t need wood choppers in the Air Force, what do you know how to do?” “I chop wood!” “Young man,” huffs the general, “you are not listening to me, we don’t need wood choppers, this is the 20th century!” “Well,” the young man says, “you hired my brother!” “Of course we did,” says the general, “he’s a pilot!” The young man rolls his eyes and says, “Sir, I have to chop it before he can pile it!”
Listen without interrupting. To answer before listening — that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13).”He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
Speak without accusing. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19).”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
Give without selfishness. The righteous give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26).”He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.”
Pray without ceasing. We have not stopped praying for you. (Colossians 1:9).”For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
Answer without arguing. “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).
Share without pretending. Speaking the truth in love, we will become in every respect. (Ephesians 4:15).”But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Enjoy without complaining. Do everything without grumbling or arguing. (Philippians 2:14).”Do all things without murmurings and disputings:”
Trust without wavering. [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:7).:”Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Forgive without punishing. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13).”Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Promise without forgetting. A longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12).”Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
The Danger of Flattery
by Dr. Paul Chappell
“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”
King Canute ruled over Denmark, Norway, and England more than one thousand years ago. A wise ruler, he worked diligently to make the lives of his subjects better. As is often the case, he was surrounded by those who sought to gain influence and prominence with him, and according to the ancient story, he grew tired of their continual flattery and determined to put an end to it. He ordered that his throne be carried out to the seashore and gathered his courtiers about it.
By the sea, the king asked his courtiers to repeat their flattery concerning his power and might, and they did. Canute then commanded the tide not to come in. Yet soon the waters were lapping around his legs as the tide did not heed him. According to one historian’s account, King Canute rose up from his throne and said, “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom Heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”
Flattery is so effective because it appeals to our pride—we want to believe the wonderful things that are being said about us, even if we know that they are not deserved. False praise has led to the downfall of many Christians. This is especially true in the area of moral purity. Proverbs abounds with warnings about the words of the “strange woman” to guard those who are committed to remaining pure. Anyone who approaches you with flattery is attempting to get you to do something, and though it is not always the case, most of the time that something is not going to end well. Do not be swayed from following God by flattering lips.