Category Archives: Teachings and Exhortations
It’s a good time to be a false teacher and to espouse deadly doctrine. It seems that today’s most brazen heretic will be granted a hearing and, in all likelihood, a book deal. Novelty is appealing, orthodoxy boring. It’s the ones who sound the warning and issue the challenge that bear the risk—the risk of being […]
There are the true believers and make believers, wheat and tares, sheep and goats in the ‘body of Christ’. Galatians 1:8 -9 states, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” How important is Paul’s warning that he repeats himself! Do not compromise the gospel!
by Mike Ratliff
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 (NASB)
We live in an evil time. There are large numbers of “Christian” leaders who claim to be ministers of God, but prove by their words and actions to have thrown off the authority of God. They do what is right in their own eyes while claiming that they are only following the leading of the Holy Spirit. The fact that what they say or do is unbiblical seems to trouble very few. When some point out the truth to them, they claim that God has lead them to do what they do so it must be okay and those who protest are just legalistic.
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I have been reading Paul’s letter to the Romans. Talk about a long-winded man who once spoke at great length until way past midnight! You can read about this account in Acts 20:
‘a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.’ Paul stopped preaching long enough to go down to pray for him and the young man revived. He continued preaching until daybreak then departed by ship to Macedonia.
An exciting word of comfort and exhortation to the Romans (and us, too) can be found in Romans 8 where the apostle Paul talks about:
‘glory which shall be revealed in us’ (vs 18)
‘glorious liberty of the children of God’ (vs 21)
‘groaning within ourselves. . .for the redemption of our body’ (vs 23)
He speaks about what we, the children of God, hope for and how the Holy Spirit is with us to help us in ‘the sufferings of this present time’ (vs 18). Not only the Holy Spirit, but Jesus also, who is ‘at the right hand of God makes intercession for us ‘ (vs 34), and how ‘we are more than conquerors through him that loved us’ (vs 37) and how nothing ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (vs 39).
Here are more wonderful scriptures to meditate on:
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (vs 24-25).
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (vs 28).
If God be for us, who can be against us? (Vs 31)
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Vs 38-39)
MARANATHA, THE LORD COMETH!
Holding Fast to the Blessed Hope
I just returned from the memorial services for a favorite cousin. Two days ago the newspaper published a lengthy obituary of 8 paragraphs on his life. Besides family information, it described the highlights of his life- accomplishments as an all-star athlete, professional achievements, awards and recognition as an educator and leader in the community, state and at the national level. His exemplary character and life lessons he expoused were extolled by the author of his obit.
BUT the most important paragraph was the first one which was a testimony of who he was- a child of God who had an intimate relationship with God, his Father in Heaven:
(He was) ‘lovingly surrounded by family and friends, and filled with the Holy Spirit’. . . ‘called home to enjoy everlasting life with Jesus Christ in heaven. His family laid hands, and prayed the Lord’s Prayer saying a final aloha, knowing goodness and mercy shall follow him as his spirit lifted to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’
My cousin loved the Lord with his whole heart and knew WHO he was; he knew WHERE he was going when his time on earth was over; and he knew HOW he would receive salvation and eternal life by believing in the name of Jesus. He knew about the BLESSED HOPE and was holding on to it.
‘Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peruliare people, zealous of good works.’ (Titus 2:12-14)
Hebrews chapter 11 says this about the ‘heroes’ or patriarchs from the Old Testament:
‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. . .
‘But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.‘ (Heb 11:13, 16)
This is our BLESSED HOPE– That because Jesus was resurrected from the dead so we, too, can also HOLD ON TO THE BLESSED HOPE OF OUR RESURRECTION!
‘But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words‘. (1Thess 4:13-18)
Reblogged on WordPress.com
GAIUS, FAITHFUL SERVANT OF GOD
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John vs 2)
In 3 John the apostle John wrote a letter to Gaius, an elder in the church, to praise his good works and Christian testimony among the brethren. He mentioned his displeasure with Diotrephes for lording over the people, and his callous attitude and behavior toward the leaders (fellow helpers, vs. 8-10). A third person John wrote about is Demetrius, another leader, for whom he has words of praise (vs. 12). Here are a few significant points from 3 John.
BELOVED OF GOD
We, who are loved of God and who love God are called His Beloved, even as Gaius was addressed by John- ‘Beloved’. John wrote of himself as the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ in John 20:2; 21:7; 21:20.
TRUTH 6 References to ‘The Truth’, ‘In the Truth’ (2 x’s), ‘In Truth’, ‘To the Truth’, ‘Of the Truth’.
This refers to GOD’S WORD, the Words of Jesus as He taught His disciples, the teachings and lessons from the Bible that we should learn and live by.
John said ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth’ (verse 4).
JOHN’S WISH FOR GAIUS
3 Parts- Prosperity, good Physical health and Spiritual Prosperity (vs 2).
Why did John wish or pray for prosperity or financial and material blessings for Gaius? In his letter he reveals what Gaius did with his prosperity.
- Gaius was faithful– vs 5, ‘Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;’
- He was charitable in supporting and receiving the workers who go forth in ministry, vs 6-8, thus being ‘fellow helpers’ to the truth;
- Gaius had a good testimony (and he noted that of Demetrius who ‘had a good report of all men’, vs 12.)
May we, too, understand what ‘TRUE PROSPERITY’ means, what purpose it should serve, and let’s provide support and encouragement to our brethren-fellow workers!
GOD’S LOVE, PEACE AND JOY BE WITH YOU ALL!
J-O-Y is: JESUS FIRST, OTHERS NEXT, YOU LAST! AMEN!
The 3rd Epistle of John:
1 The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth.
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
(Jesus said) ‘ I am come that they (you and I) might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10b)
Someone recently remarked in our adult Bible class that he did not think that many Christians seem to know and experience the ‘abundant life’ Jesus spoke of.
Abundant life is not about financial prosperity, worldly possessions and material goods, luxury cruises and vacations, or fine dining restaurants. It is not even about a comfortable home and closet full of clothes; it is not club memberships, one’s life style, a steady job and popularity, or anything associated with the world we live in. The abundant life/prosperity message of many ministers and teachers today is deceiving many Christians into thinking that the focus is on living in the here and now, rather than focusing on where they will spend their eternity.
Jesus came preaching about the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, a soon coming kingdom, unlike any of the kingdoms on earth (Mt 4:17). The apostle Paul was commissioned to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God/the mystery of Christ more fully (Col 1:27, 4:3; Eph 3:1-12).
‘My kingdom is not of this world. . .’ (John 18:36)
‘For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost’. (Rom 14:17)
The abundant life will not be fully realized until Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom on earth (John 14:1-3). In this present earthly life, Jesus will never leave us, nor forsake us (Heb 13:5) and is our advocate, interceder for us to our Father in heaven, even as the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Teacher. Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer and coming King, our Rock and Fortress, our Deliverer in time of trouble and need; He is our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:12-13).
What is this ‘abundant life’ in John 10:10b? It is about having ‘the peace of God that passeth understanding’ (Phil 4:7) which comes with placing our trust in God, and obeying His Word; it is to live without fear, having been given the Spirit of ‘love, power and a sound mind’ (2 Tim 1:7) to endure living in a dark and sinful world.
The abundant life is to know the joy of our salvation. It is to know God’s love and abiding presence in our hearts and lives, His blessings and promises to all those who love Him and are His children. We will be His heirs to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom (2Tim 2:12; Rev 20:6).
Without Jesus, we would not experience any measure of abundant life now or ‘life more abundantly’ later.
‘Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:’ (1Pet 1:8)
‘Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?’ (James 2:5)
This is what Jesus said about heaven and hell.
What if you could spend 30 seconds in heaven and 30 seconds in hell? Which of the two do you think would give you a greater burden for lost people: the glory and majesty of heaven or seeing and hearing those in agony in hell?
Today, we are going to consider two things we need that are in hell. In the passage we are going to look at, Jesus pulls back the veil between this world and the next and shows us there is a heaven and a hell. There are only two eternal destinies and everyone in this room will end up spending eternity in one of them: either heaven or hell. There are only two directions you can go after death.
People don’t like to talk about hell. But because I’m committed to teach the full counsel of God, I am going to devote today’s message to this…
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