Bible study

Legalism Acts 15:1-5; Romans 14:1-23

Sin can manifest itself in a myriad of ways within the local church. When we think of sinfulness within the body of Christ, we normally think about such sins as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, drug abuse, etc. These sins are certainly “No-no’s” in the church, but one of the most prevalent sins of the believer is often either over looked or justified.

The sin of Legalism! On occasion, I preach on the subject that I will preach on today because it is an area of sin that remains problematic in our fundamental churches. Liberal churches have little or no problem with it because there is no strict adherence to the Scripture and every one does that which is “right in his own eyes.” Though it does show occasionally in other churches, legalism—as a rule—is a fundamentalism problem!

I have said often and will reiterate again that knowledge without compassion is a dangerous thing! With great knowledge come great responsibility and that responsibility encompasses our relationship with not only the world but with each other.

The key verse of Romans 14 is verse 12. God requires a personal accounting at the Judgment Seat of Christ and that should be our concern. I am all for standards and holy living. I believe that it is the obligation of the believer to be non-conformist when it comes to the standards set by the world. We will give an account for the knowledge that we have and our testimony of the grace of God in this world, but THIS WILL BE A PERSONAL ACCOUNTING TO GOD—NOT TO MAN!

I want to call your attention to verse 10. The verse actually speaks of judgments being made by both the pharisaical brother and the brother that claims liberty in grace. The more “liberal” brother can look down on the pharisaical brother and be just as wrong in his judgments. Such words as “legalists, etc., become “straw men” that the liberal uses to vindicate his loose standard of living. Chapter 15:1 says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” This verse speaks of the “brother at liberty” as the strong.

When studying chapter 14, it immediately becomes obvious that the “weak” brother is the one who “eateth herbs.” I am not against a vegetarian who does so simply by personal preference. In the American Indian vocabulary, a vegetarian is one who does not know how to hunt! By “eateth herbs,” the Holy Ghost is speaking of one who abstains from meats because of “religious conviction.” You can live on a “Hallelujah Diet” as far as I am concerned and be right with God. You can live on a “Hog Diet” as far as I am concerned and still be right with God. You may see God a little sooner though!

Colossians 2:20-23 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

The “Eye of the Pharisee” is found in verse 10. He is characterized by the judgment of others. The Bible teaches self-judgment! I can preach on not judging one another until I am blue in the face and the problem continues to persist because the Pharisee can only see through the “eye of the Pharisee!”

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men’s shoulders; but they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers.

John 9:39 -41 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

H. Our Lord condemned legalism!

  1. Legalism Violates The Fellowship Of Believers – vs. 3-4 – When believers stand argue their “convictions” and “preferences,” it is just that: an argument! What I stand for is between the Lord and I! What you stand for is between the Lord and you! When what we stand for becomes an issue between you and me, it divides the fellowship of the church. Despise – to look down on with contempt or aversion.
  2. Legalism Withstands The Man Of God – Acts 15:1-2, 5 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question… 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses. (The enemy of Christ was the Pharisee! Even God’s man cannot withstand the scrutiny of the “letter of the law,” as can no one else. They will hold him to a holy standard that no man can attain to or they will hold him to “their” standard that even cannot live up to. Pharisees are not “followers,” they are “leaders.” They must have “followers” in order to lead! Pharisees are not “students,” they are “teachers.” They must have “students” in order to teach! Pharisees are not “edifiers,” they are “destroyers!”)
  3. Legalism Is Detrimental To Evangelism – Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (The Lord called the Pharisees “hypocrites.” Have you ever heard the lost say that they would not come to church and sit on the pews with all of those hypocrites? Most of the time, their claims are unjust but, on occasion, they are right! The lost hear what the Pharisee says and then see how the Pharisee both acts and reacts! How many times have I heard of people who have said, “I will never come to your church as long as “so-in-so” is there!” Or, “If he (or she) is a Christian, I do not want to be one!” Or, “If they are going to Heaven, I do not want to go there!” Or, “If that is the way their God is, then I do not want their God!”)
  4. Legalism Drives Away The New Families And New Believers – Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (Pharisees automatically “migrate” to new “blood.” They are proselyters! Grace teaches the new converts while vchastises them! It is not that they do not want to get right with God. God is merciful, compassionate, longsuffering, and gentle with the new believer. They leave because they cannot live up to the standards and expectations of the Pharisee. I am still glad that, when I was newly saved, people let God work in my heart as I heard the Word of God preached. God “grew” me at His pace and His way was perfect!)

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

  1. Legalism Eventually Destroys the Pharisee! – Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (A key is made to unlock a door. Grace is the key that unlocks the door to the believer. Grace brings both love and liberty to the believer and is the key to holy living.)

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (I am so glad that I was saved by GRACE! I am so glad that I have been taught by GRACE!)

Conclusion: Beware of becoming legalistic. All of us have that potential! Pharisees not only destroy those around them, but eventually destroy themselves because—even they cannot live up to the letter of the law! We want to have a good, separated church. We want to have a loving, kind church. I believe that God can reconcile these two positions. The key to holy living is not standards set but seeing God’s people fall in love with Him!

Wade’s Wednesday

Your Life is Your Time

By Charles Stanley

Ephesians 5:14-17

Our lives are governed by time. That’s why we’re surrounded by clocks and calendars that dictate our activities. As the minutes tick by, we wonder where the day went. When responsibilities and pressures mount, we complain, “I just don’t have time to get it all done!” But the reality is that God has given us enough time to do exactly what He’s planned for our lives. Perhaps the bigger issue is whether we are using our time to do our will or the Lord’s.

Time is a gift from God, and He has allotted each of us a measure in which to live and accomplish His purposes. We have only two options—to spend it temporally on our own interests or invest it eternally. Since time can never be retrieved or reversed, it’s critical that we make the most of every opportunity the Lord provides.

The key to investing in eternity is following God’s plan for your life, not just filling your days with activities. Jesus was allocated just thirty-three years of life on earth, but only the last three were spent in fulfilling His Messianic ministry. To us that seems like a waste of time. Yet Christ accomplished everything His Father gave Him to do. That’s why on the cross He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Scripture compares earthly life to “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14), but eternal life never ends. It’s foolish to spend your life on a vapor when you can reap everlasting benefits by following God’s will for your time here. Each day is an opportunity to choose.

Tuesday With Karen

If You Keep God First

If you keep God first, He directs your steps,
In His loving care, you are daily kept;
He answers prayers if you seek His face,
In each day anew, He gives you His grace!

If you keep God first, glorify His name,
He gives abundantly to His own each day;
He walks beside you & He guides your path,
His all-knowing wisdom, so sweet to have!

If you keep God first, & you seek His face,
He’s very willing to show you His ways;
You won’t be perfect, at times you will err,
In all things, God’s presence will be there!

If you keep God first, you’ll see Godly love,
As He blesses you from His throne above;
Even if life has heartaches, tears, & hurts,
There is special care if you keep God first!
                                        8-10-21.
**From what Commissioner Jeff Turner
said on 8-8-21. AM

Stand At Attention

by Ricky Smith

Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting friends in Westpoint, NY. Since my friend was an officer in the U.S. Army and professor at Westpoint, I had the behind the scenes experience. One such experience was attending a holiday social with several other Westpoint officers and professors. These are real men who welcomed me into this relaxed environment. That comfort quickly transformed when the commanding General of Westpoint entered the room. Instantly all conversations ceased and every person stood at attention. It took me a moment to recognize what was happening, and I absolutely stood at attention as well. In that moment, I was simply a civilian, but I was forced to acknowledge the authority of the man who was in charge.

In Ephesians 1:22, Paul uses military language to illustrate the supreme authority of Christ. “Put under” is hupotass?, a military term meaning “to put in subjection under one”. The matter of who is in authority has already been determined. It is now simply a matter of willing or forced submission.

Imagine a recruit in boot camp. The system is designed to break down the individual and rebuild this person into a warrior. How willingly the recruit submits to the rank and authority of the world in which he lives, will impact the overall experience of boot camp. For us in the “boot camp of life”, we can willingly choose to surrender our plans and control to Him in exchange for a better life. Either way, Philippians 2:10-11 is true when it says, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Circumstances

If you had the power to change your circumstances, would you? Since no one has a life without problems, most of us would immediately say yes. However, the reality is that we must learn to live with some of our difficult circumstances, because only God has the power to alter them—and in His providence, He’s allowed them to remain.

Take the apostle Paul, for example. He had a desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel but didn’t anticipate the route God would use to bring him there. It began with false accusations in Jerusalem, an appeal to Caesar, a rough sea voyage, and a shipwreck and eventually included time spent in a Roman prison. This was probably not what Paul had envisioned, but as he sat chained to a Roman guard, he wrote the following words to the church in Philippi: But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; (Phil. 1:12) circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel . The very circumstance that may have seemed like an unfair misfortune became the avenue for fruitful service.

What looks like a shipwreck or detour in our plans could actually be God’s ordained path for our lives. It may include financial challenges, health issues, relational conflicts, or any number of other hardships, but there is one certainty to which we can cling: Jesus Christ is our life, and He never changes.

Conditions around us will fluctuate, but if we belong to Christ, He’ll use every situation to accomplish His will in and through us. Even when we face matters of life and death, we can share Paul’s desire—that Christ would be exalted in us, whether through life or death.

How God Calls

 

 

Dr. Charles Stanley

 

God’s call on our life extends beyond the moment we receive salvation. He wants to develop Christlike character in us through the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Every believer is given this call to sanctification—God’s intention is for all Christ-followers to be set apart. His Spirit enables us to turn from our old patterns of action and attitude so we can give ourselves exclusively to the Lord. Sanctification brings about genuine freedom from self-centered desires that keep us in bondage (Titus 3:3-7).

The Lord’s call to service requires total surrender. When God revealed His glory to Isaiah, the prophet offered himself completely (Isa. 6:8); Paul submitted his whole self to Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9:15-19); even Jesus, our ultimate example, daily surrendered to His Father’s will (John 5:19). A life of surrender says, “God, whatever, whenever, wherever, and however You want it, my answer is yes.”

A willing response to each of these divine calls prepares the believer for God’s call to accountability. Scripture tells us that every person will experience a day of judgment. For those who refused God’s invitation to salvation, it will mean wrath and eternal separation from the Lord. For God’s children, it will be a day in which our response to His call on our lives will be evaluated. Only those things done at His direction and in His way will matter when that time comes; everything else will count for nothing (Ps. 127:1-2).

Daily, God is calling to you, wanting to speak with you about important matters. Are you listening to Him and responding?

Friday Funnies

TREE SERVICE

While working as a radiology technician in a hospital emergency room, I took x-rays of a trauma patient. I brought the films to our radiologist, who studied the multiple fractures of the femurs and pelvis.

“What happened to this patient?” he asked in astonishment.

“He fell out of a tree,” I reported.

The radiologist wanted to know what the patient was doing up a tree. I replied, “I’m not sure, but his paperwork states he works for Bob’s Expert Tree Service.”

Gazing intently at the x-rays, the radiologist blinked and said, “Cross out ‘Expert.'”

PLANE TRIP

I was on a flight the other day when the air hostess came up to me and said, “Excuse me sir, would you like to have dinner?”

I said, “What are the options?”

She said, “Yes and No.”

DIFFERENCE

What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?

One’s really heavy, the other’s a little lighter.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

Mr. and Mrs. Brown had two sons. One was named Mind Your Own Business & the other was named Trouble. One day the two boys decided to play hide and seek. Trouble hid while Mind Your Own Business counted to one hundred. Mind Your Own Business began looking for his brother behind garbage cans and bushes. Then he started looking in and under cars until a police man approached him and asked, “What are you doing?” “Playing a game,” the boy replied. “What is your name?” the officer questioned. “Mind Your Own Business.” Furious the policeman inquired, “Are you looking for trouble?!” The boy replied, “Why, yes, have you seen him!”

Bible Study

GRACE Philippians 4:4-19
  
Grace and Contentment
 
Paul sets forth the key to this valley in verse 11 when he said, “for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  The Bible teaches the child of God about the grace that brings contentment:
  1 Timothy 6:6-8  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
  Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
  Matthew 6:31-33  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
Contentment is a satisfaction and trust in what the Lord is doing in your life at any particular time.  Why contentment in problems?  Because of:
 1.  The promise of God’s commitment to the believer – 1 Timothy 6:17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
  2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
 2.  The promise of God’s companionship with the believer – Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 
Acts 23:11  And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
  2 Timothy 4:17  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
 
Valleys in life re-introduce us to God’s amazing, all sufficient, always abounding grace!  Grace for every trial and grace for every mile!
 
1.  Promised grace in forgiveness – Romans 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
2.  Promised grace in temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
 3.  Promised grace in endurance – 2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 
1.  There Is Grace For Salvation.
 
a.  Grace’s Position – Genesis 6:8  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
b.  Grace’s  Price – Romans 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
c.   Grace’s Purity – Romans 11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
d.  Grace’s Product – 1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
 
2.  There Is Grace For Living.
 
a.  Grace’s Obligation – Romans 6:1 What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
b.  Grace’s Abounding – 2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
c.  Grace’s Teaching – Titus 2:11,12  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
 

3.  There Is Grace For Suffering.
a.  Physical Suffering – 2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
 
1)  Grace’s Sufficiency – 2 Corinthians 12:9a  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2)  Grace’s Strengthening – 2 Corinthians 12:9b  for my strength is made perfect in weakness
3)  Grace’s Satisfaction – 2 Corinthians 12:9c . Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 
b.  Financial Suffering – Philippians 4:12-13  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 
 
c.  Persecution’s Suffering – John 15:18-20  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
 
4.  There Is Grace For Service.
 
a.  God’s Grace Administered – 1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.  
b.  God’s Grace Abounding – 2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 
 
5.  There Is Grace For Sacrifice.
 
a.   Giving Grace’s Example –  2 Corinthians 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
                    1)  Christ Went From Riches To Rags
                    2)  the Believer Went From Rags To Riches
 
6.  There Is Grace For Dying.
 
a.  Manifested In The Lord Jesus – Hebrews 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
b.  Manifested In The Apostle Paul – Philippians 1:21-23  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Victory Baptist Church 22 September 2021 victorypalmetto.com

Wade’s Wednesday

Quieting the Mind

By Jackie Trottmann

Be still and know that I am God,” —Psalm 46:10. This is one of the most well known and beloved Bible verses for many.

The words be still . . . can mean not moving, and being quiet. The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, surrender. In Psalm 46:10, God is defending His city and people.The chapter begins and ends with God is our refuge.

We can take comfort in letting go and resting in God to provide help, strength and safety.

How often do we ask God for everything, but we don’t stop to listen or to be still? The act of being still and getting quiet becomes more of a challenge in our hectic world. The world asks us to be busy. God asks us to be still so that we can receive love, peace and guidance.

Quieting the mind, shutting up the mind requires practice. One powerful way to shut up thoughts that don’t serve us is by practicing meditation.

Jesus, John the Baptist and others went off to meditate and to take themselves away from the hectic world. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Meditation helps to renew the mind, to be still, to let go and surrender, to shut up the thoughts that do not serve us. Many people are intimidated by silence.

Silence can cause you to address issues that you might be running from. It’s easy to fill each day with busyness and then block out concerns through hours of mind-numbing television viewing, internet surfing or reading magazines. None of these activities are bad. However, if they are used to fill a void that is not being filled, over time, the toll will manifest itself in the form of lost relationships, lost opportunities and lost dreams never being fulfilled.

The next time you have fearful and anxious thoughts that are raging within you like a violent storm, do as Jesus did. Silence those thoughts by saying, “Peace, be still.” (which can be translated “Hush!, be still”).

When you need strength and help, let go and rest in God, your refuge. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Tuesday with Karen

Thankful for the loving God in my heart! KI

Closer Than The Eye

Closer than the eye, God is deep inside,
By salvation, He moved in to abide;
If He comes inside, He’s there to stay,
Leading & guiding our steps in each day!

Closer than the eye, is where God resides,
His Spirit lives within the Christian’s life;
He never makes us take one step alone,
But gives us grace, helping us to go on!

Closer than the eye is God in our heart,
Once He comes in, He’ll never depart;
Watching over us in our every breath,
He walks beside us to the day of death!

Closer than the eye, God will stay within,
Guiding us with Light, keeping us from sin;
Oh how blessed we are, He is in our heart,
Blessed even more, that He never departs!