The Starting Point

But as many as received him (Messiah Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:        (John 1:12).

Being born again is the starting point of a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  This relationship is that of a father to his children.  Just as a child is born physically into his/her earthly family, so he/she must be born again spiritually in order to enter the kingdom of God and His heavenly family.  Jesus speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Jesus Christ is the door to the kingdom.  Our entrance to His kingdom is through Him and Him alone.  Jesus told His disciples; I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one cometh unto the Father but by me (John 14:6).

Christ’s kingdom is the place of His rule.  During the church age, His rule is in the hearts of believers (those who have received Him as  Saviour and Lord).   We need a new heart because, the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)?  Jesus taught that out of the heart all manner of sin is conceived.  Our sinful heart condition has alienated us from God.  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man (Matthew 15:18).  We need new hearts.

What does it mean to receive Him and how is that done?  Ephesians 2:8&9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

We are not saved by the church or by our good works.  The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day thought that because they were circumcised, they were the children of Abraham.  They claimed Abraham as their Father, but Jesus declared to them: If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God (John 8:39-47).

Those that were depending upon the outward sign of circumcision for salvation were called children of the devil by the Lord because they had only religion (external ceremony).  Still, many today depend on ceremony and participation in righteous works for salvation.

Those that had only religion came face to face with the Lord of Glory and did not know Him.  True Christianity is a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those that know Him, follow Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth.  The apostle Paul wrote, But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God (Romans 2:29).

And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he (the Lord) counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6).  Abraham exercised saving faith before he was circumcised (Romans 4:8-12).  The NT believer is saved the same way Abraham was, by grace through faith plus nothing.

Grace is God’s enabling and unmerited favor.  No one can come to Christ except the Father draw him (John 6:44).  Faith is a firm persuasion or conviction brought about by hearing the Word of God.*  The Bible is the written Word of God.

If you want to have a relationship with God through Christ, experience His forgiveness, inherit eternal life, and understand Scripture then you need a starting point.  You must be born again. You must be born into God’s family.

Are you willing to exchange your religion for a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ?  If you are willing, then please do it now.  Talk to God.

But as many as received him (Messiah Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:          (John 1:12).

Salvation is of the Lord!

 *W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – Copyright 1984, 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN

Where Does Authority Come From?

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:1-14

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

All the Way My Saviour Leads Me

                                                                  Psalm 23                                                                (A Psalm of David.)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

                                         All the way my Saviour leads me                                         What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

Lyrics by Frances J. Crosby, pub. 1875 – Public Domain

A Mentor

According to the dictionary a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

A spiritual mentor is wise or skilled in living God’s way according to the Scriptures and is able to instruct others through the proper interpretation and application of God’s Word.

Do you have a spiritual mentor?

He Is Risen!

Death is coming.  For some of us, we can see the dust on the horizon rising from the wheels of his chariot, the time is so close.  For others, the air is clear and still, there is no dust…, yet we are filled with apprehension, because we know he is coming.  We ask ourselves…, will we see the dust or will we straighten up from some unfinished task as he pulls into the yard? 

Death is coming.  It’s not a question of if he is coming, but when?  His chariot wheels are already turning, his horse is lathered……and there is dust…, we just can’t see it yet.  He is on the way.  The only thing to do is get prepared.  Death will arrive shortly.  Are you ready?

Death is sin’s offspring.  God told Adam in the Garden of Eden “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17   But Adam ate of it, he disobeyed and death came.  Death is separation.

  Physical death is separation from the body.  Spiritual death is separation from God.  Both came at Adam’s sin….spiritual death first and physical death following.  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12.

As sinners we owe a payment for our sin, “For the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23.  It must be paid.  If we pay it ourselves we must not only suffer physical death, but spiritual death as well.  Spiritual death is the second death, which is eternal separation from God in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone Revelation 20:14-15.

The gospel (good news) is that someone has already made the payment for us and offers that payment and its benefits to us as a free gift.  “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…” Romans 5:8.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (delivered from sin’s penalty).   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”                   Romans 10:9&10

Jesus speaking……”I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.  Believest thou this?”  John 11:25&26

Will you receive God’s payment for your sin?  Will you receive His Son as your own personal Saviour?  If you will, just now talk to God.

He is risen indeed!

From the gospel tract He Is Risen by Monty McCoy – copyright 1996.

Who Is Responsible?

When it comes to spiritual things the Bible is very clear about spiritual leadership. The responsibility for spiritual decisions and direction in the home lay squarely upon the shoulders of the husband and father.

This does not mean that the wife should have no input.  It should mean that once the wife has had input, the matter is the husband’s to decide.

I say all that to say this to the wife.  Do not give the husband permission to make a bad decision.  Some husbands will badger their wives until they just give up and say: OK, go ahead and do it.  This is giving him permission to make a bad decision and it makes the wife party to it.

When scenarios like this occur, the wife should keep the responsibility for the decision squarely on her husband’s shoulders.  Here is how that is done.  The wife should say: I understand that this is what you want to do.  I disagree, and I think proceeding will be a mistake, but this is your decision to make.  Don’t argue, plead or manipulate.  Try to keep the emotion out of it and resume normal conversation.

This conversation should always follow the same pattern when the husband wants to make a bad or wrong decision.  Spirit led submission does not mean that the wife should agree to do wrong or use bad judgment.  If the husband proceeds, his decision will affect the home, but the wife needs to be patient and trust the Lord with her husband.   After making a couple of bad decisions, it should dawn on the husband that there is wisdom in the wife’s input.  Only a fool would continue to ignore sound advice.

If the husband realizes his decision is wrong, this is not the time to say: I told you so, or to blow it off by saying: It’s OK, no big deal.  It is a big deal.  Just let it sink in and reassure him of your love.

(Of course I am not talking about illegal activity on the part of the husband.  Some felonies, if not reported before the fact, make the wife an accomplice.)

(Lest someone think this is misogynistic, this counsel also applies to Christian men who find themselves under another person’s authority.)

Note: Ultimately the wife will learn to trust the Lord with her husband,…….even when he is wrong.

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…