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Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 4:12

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 4:12

                   Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” This verse is the end of a larger thought wherein Peter defended himself before the Sanhedrin for healing the lame man and preaching Christ (Acts 3). The Sanhedrin wanted to know what authority granted these men the right to heal the lame man (Acts 4:7). Acts 4:9-12 is the full answer. Verse 12 reminds us that salvation comes by no other “name” or authority than Christ! If anyone is to be saved, we will do it through the authority of Christ or not at all (Jn. 14:6; Col. 3:17). Buddha, Shinto, Mohammed, Confucius, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Aimee Semple McPherson, and anyone else has no authority on earth (Matt. 28:18). We will be saved by the teaching and authority of the Lord, or we will not be saved! It is as simple as that!

– Jarrod Jacobs

Another Strike At The Fabric Of Society

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another Strike At The Fabric Of Society

Jarrod Jacobs

            In June of 2013, Americans were met with the news that The Supreme Court of the United States had “legislated” from the bench again. Their 5-4 ruling was that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act was “unconstitutional”. Put simply, section three did not allow “same-sex” couples to receive the same government benefits that heterosexual married people receive. In effect, this ruling opened a door for the federal government’s eventual recognition of “same-sex” marriages in June of 2015. Such a ruling seems “par for the course” since in the past several years our civil leaders seem to do their best to rule in ways that are opposed to the Bible. Further, this nation is not unique in the world concerning such actions! I say this not as a virtue, but in shame. This nation that was once known for upholding Biblical principles is steadily moving away from these principles.

            Before someone says, “We have separation of church and state in this country, so we ought not mix politics and religion”; let us be reminded that such a statement is never found in our Constitution nor Declaration of Independence. The U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from establishing a “state religion” as England and other countries have. Our Constitution, however, does not forbid civil leaders, or anyone else, from expressing religious convictions publicly or privately!

            With this in mind, let the leaders of our country and its citizens be reminded that God has condemned homosexuality from Genesis through Revelation. How can folks who claim to believe in God and the Bible say otherwise? God showed His condemnation of homosexual acts when He destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (Gen. 19). Homosexual sins were consistently condemned throughout the Old Law. In the New Testament, we see the same thing (Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; etc.). Thus, when a country has legislators (or jurists acting like legislators) who treat homosexual sins as a “right”, then something is WRONG! Further, rest assured, God will not allow such actions to go unpunished. (See: Dan. 4-5)

            Remember the words of the Lord: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Yet, in the current political climate, instead of leaders bowing their heads and asking God for forgiveness, we have a civil government who encourages homosexual behavior (and other sinful acts) by bowing to those who practice it! (Rom. 1:32)

            Is homosexuality the only sin that has been “legalized”? No! Drinking alcohol, abortions (murder of unborn children), prostitution, fornication, adultery, divorce for any cause, and numerous other sins have been “legalized” in the last century. The sin of homosexuality is simply the “latest” sin being justified by civil leaders.

            What can Christians do in a situation where our leaders rule in opposition to God? 1) Pray to God for help (Jas. 5:16; I Pet. 5:7). Pray also for our civil leaders that they will see the error of their ways and repent (I Tim. 2:1-2). 2) Teach our children what is right. Homosexuality, like all other sins, is learned behavior (Jas. 1:14-15). It isn’t “genetic”, as some claim, for God says repent of it! (I Cor. 6:9-11) Let us teach our children God’s laws for marriage (Matt. 19:4-6; I Cor. 7:2; Heb. 13:4). Let us show them God’s ways of living while they are at home (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:6). 3) Speak up when we can. This country still has freedom of speech for the time being. Let us use our freedom to speak up for God’s way, regardless of the sin being “legalized” (II Tim. 4:2, 2:2; II Pet. 1:12-15; etc.)! Express your disagreement with the elected officials as well. Let them know that there is a “voter block” who cares for God’s ways of ruling. Who knows but the people you speak to can be convinced and converted to the Lord’s ways on this subject and other subjects before it is too late (Est. 4:14).

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Peter 4:11

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Peter 4:11

                   If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Peter’s words closely parallel the words of Colossians 3:17. They are a reminder that in whatever we say or do, it needs to be for the glory of God! When we speak, let us speak as the oracles (utterances) of God. What has God “uttered”? We will only know when we spend time in God’s book (Eph. 3:4)! Our actions need to be a reflection of what Christ did. Christ left “us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Pet. 2:21). When we speak and act according to the will of God, we also bring glory to God. Truly, this is our reason for being here! We ought to live so as to glorify God and bring others to Him (Matt. 5:14-16). Are we speaking and acting in a way that reflects the command of I Peter 4:11? If not, why not?

- Jarrod Jacobs

Getting An Answer You Don't Want

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Getting An Answer You Don’t Want

Jarrod Jacobs

            An old saying often repeated is: “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” In like manner, be careful when asking a question, you just might get an answer that you do not want! Is this not what happened when the rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what to do to inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:16)? Jesus answered him, but the man received an answer he did not want, and so he abandoned Jesus (Matt. 19:22).

            What about us? Do we sometimes get an answer from God’s word that we do not want? How do we react when we learn that a thing we have been doing (or would like to do) is not authorized of God in the Bible? Do we become defiant, saying, “I’m going to do it anyway”? Do we get mad, or sad? Do we say, “That doesn’t make sense to me”? Such responses do not change what God said. Getting mad, sad, protesting, or substituting our ideas for God’s does not change what has been written. Let us take a moment and examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5). How do we react to God when His answers are not what we want?

            For example, some do not like God’s answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” The Lord’s answer is to have faith in Christ, repent of sin, confess our faith in Christ, and be baptized (Heb. 11:6; Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:10; I Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:22-38; etc.). Will you accept God’s answer to this important question, or will you turn away like the man in Matthew 19?

            Some ask, “What kind of music does God accept in worship?” God’s answer is vocal music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; Jas. 5:13; etc.). Yet, this is not the answer men give to us! Therefore, whose answer will we accept? God’s or man’s?

            Others ask, “Did Christ really establish one church?” The answer from Scripture is that Christ promised to establish a church (Matt. 16:18), and this church began on the Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:41, 47). Before Acts 2, the church was spoken of in promise, but after Acts 2, the church was spoken of as being in existence on earth. This church belongs to Him and not man (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28). This is the Lord’s answer. However, is this the answer we want, or the one we have been taught? When was your church established?

            Another common question asked is whether or not the kingdom is in existence. Jesus said the kingdom was “at hand” when He was on earth (Matt. 4:17). He promised some would not “taste of death” until they saw the “kingdom of God come with power” (Mk. 9:1). He equated the kingdom with the church in Matthew 16:19. Thus, the kingdom was brought into existence in Acts 2 when folks heard the gospel, believed, obeyed it and were saved (Acts 2:36-41). As further proof of the kingdom’s existence, the apostle Paul said folks who are saved are “transplanted” into this kingdom (Col. 1:13). The apostle John said he was in the kingdom (Rev. 1:9).

            These and many other questions are answered by God in the Bible. Therefore, what is the proper response when we get an answer from God’s word that we do not want? The answer is to be honest, and accept what the Lord says (Jer. 10:23; Col. 3:17). There are times when God’s answers do not make “sense” to us, but this does not give us license to change the answer (Rom. 3:4). Let us submit our will to God’s, and let us be ready to accept what He says always (I Pet. 4:11), knowing that God’s ways are best (Isa. 55:8-9; I Cor. 1:20-31).

The Silence Of The Scripture

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Silence Of The Scripture

Jarrod Jacobs

                   Many today think that God’s silence within the Scripture is in fact, permission to act. In contrast, there are others today who say that if God is silent on a subject, this means we cannot do it! Which viewpoint is the Scriptural viewpoint? Are they both wrong? What does the Scripture say? Let us see what the truth is concerning the silence of the Scripture.

                   When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, it was not long until they reached the Red Sea. Knowing that the Red Sea prohibited their travel, and the Egyptians were quickly catching up, what were they to do? Exodus 14:10-14 records the people’s frustration and Moses’ response. He said, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today…. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

                   Seeing that God had not spoken yet about what they were to do upon arriving at the Red Sea, Moses commanded the people to “stand firm.” They were not to act until God spoke to them! We know that God parted the water, and they crossed on dry ground (v. 15-16), but until God spoke to Moses, they “stood firm” and did not move!

                   Consider Numbers 9:2-11. After God had given the command to keep the Passover, two came and said they had missed it because they were defiled. Therefore, they asked Moses what to do. What did Moses say? Take note of his answer: “Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you” (Num. 9:8). Moses did nothing until God spoke, and required those men do nothing until God spoke! Once he inquired of the Lord, then the matter was resolved. Let us learn and learn well that when God is silent, we cannot act!

                   In the New Testament, when the Jews disputed over whether or not uncircumcised Gentiles could be saved, it was God’s silence that settled matters (Acts 15:7-15, 24). When we read Acts 15, Peter recalled his experience with the Gentiles (Acts 10-11), and the fact that God had said nothing about the Gentiles being physically circumcised was evidence to them that it was not necessary anymore.

                   This is not the only time that men in the Bible reasoned based upon God’s silence. For example, in Hebrews 7:12-14 we learn that without a change of the law, Christ could not be a priest. Why? It is because God, through Moses, had allowed the Levites to serve as priests, and had been silent about Judah’s descendants serving as priests (Num. 1:50-54, 3:12, 45, 18:1-7)! God had not given a list of all the tribes not allowed to serve as priests. Rather, by only allowing the Levites to serve, it was understood that all other tribes were forbidden in the Old Covenant. Therefore, there has come a change of the law, and we today are subject to the New Testament, the New Covenant, and not the Old.

                   In Old Testament days, it was stated, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). God has revealed all necessary to live a pleasing, acceptable, and enjoyable life (II Pet. 1:3; II Tim. 3:16-17). Why would we want to act when God has been silent? The truth is that most people have not yet come to terms with what God has said! Let us learn and learn well that God’s silence never permits, it only prohibits!

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