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
Where Is Jesus?
Do we remember the hype and excitement of December 25, 2016? After Thanksgiving Day 2016, we saw numerous billboards, TV and radio ads, etc., which reminded us to remember the “reason for the season.” Yet, beginning December 26th and to this present time, it has been very hard for me to find any type of display reminding me of the One who seemed so important to folks for the majority of December. What happened to Jesus?
It seems to me that if folks are excited about the event of the Christ-child’s birth, His life ought to produce that much, if not more excitement. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case! Many are willing to look upon the “babe in the manger” as He coos and cries in the stable. Yet, the number of people interested in Him dwindles rapidly when we look for folks ready to follow the adult Jesus to the cross! Why is this? Where is Jesus?
So we all understand, I do not believe Jesus was born on December 25th. Biblical evidence suggests another time. I do not celebrate any day as “Jesus’ birthday”, for Jesus never told us to celebrate His birth. Some folks will reason, “Since we don’t know the exact day of His birth, December 25th is as good a day as any to remember His birth. It gets folks to think about Christ.” Such statements declare that folks either have not read the Bible, or they just do not care to listen to what Christ said. Christ and His apostles continually emphasized His death, burial, and resurrection, not His birth (Matt. 26:26-29; Jn. 18:37; Acts 2:42, 20:7; Rom. 6:3-6; I Cor. 15:1-4; etc.). At the same time, I cannot help but note the inconsistency when the bulk of our population claims to love Jesus and wants to celebrate His birth; and yet after December 25th, these folks will return to the way they were acting before December! Am I the only one who sees this hypocrisy? Where is Jesus?
I know Jesus could not have died on the cross had He not been born; yet when we listen to Jesus, He essentially tells Pilate, “I was born to die” (Jn. 18:37)! Therefore, let us follow Jesus, not to the manger, but to the cross (Matt. 10:38). Let us not follow the shepherds to the barn, but follow the “chief shepherd” (I Pet. 5:4) to Heaven (I Pet. 2:22; Heb. 6:20, 10:19-20; Acts 7:56). Let us not follow the wise men to the house (Matt. 2:12)! Let us be wise men and follow the Lord’s footsteps to Heaven as He teaches us how to be true disciples (I Pet. 2:21; Jn. 8:31-32; I Cor. 15:58; Col. 3:17; Heb. 6:19-20).
Friends, where is Jesus? Jesus is not to be found in the lives of the bulk of our population! We know this to be true based upon our observations of man’s inhumanity to man. God does not want His creation to be cruel and hate each other (Jas. 3:9-20; I Jn. 4:20). How then can we treat one another the way we do? It is because the bulk of our population is satisfied to keep Jesus “in the manger” instead of allowing Him access into their hearts and lives.
How do we allow Jesus access into our lives? Jesus told folks, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Therefore, it takes more than simply speaking a word or a prayer, and saying, “Jesus come into my heart” to be saved. It demands action! We must believe that He is the son of God (Jn. 8:24; Rom. 10:17), and we must obey what He says (Jn. 14:15; Rom. 10:16; Jas. 2:24, 26) and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)! “Where is Jesus?” He is not in a manger, or a stable, but is in Heaven, wanting mankind to hear, believe, and obey Him (Mk. 16:15-16; II Cor. 6:2; II Pet. 3:9)!
A Lack Of Information Or Application?
The Bible is a unique book, to be sure. While it is not a science book, it is scientifically accurate. Though it is not a geography book, it is geographically accurate. It is historically true and is obviously a spiritually-focused book. Within the pages of inspiration, we learn that God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). The inspired Scriptures are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (II Tim. 3:16-17). The word Christ spoke ought to take first place in our lives because it is this word that will judge us one day (Jn. 12:48). Knowing these things are true, is it any wonder that Peter would, by inspiration, write to Christians and say, “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 forever and ever. Amen” (I Pet. 4:11)?
I cite the passages above to make it clear that God has provided all the information necessary for us to get from earth to Heaven! The Bible has been written; the word is true (Jn. 17:17); and the gospel will save us (Rom. 1:16). The question now is whether or not we will apply the information to our lives! James wrote that a man who hears and does is considered a “blessed man” (Jas. 1:25). He further writes that “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:17, 20, 26). Jesus said the ones who will see Heaven are those who “do the will of my father which is in Heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In other words, when it comes to pleasing God, we do not lack the information, but we often lack the application!
Throughout history, this fact is what has separated God’s children from the world! Many people have heard God’s word in various ways. In the book of Exodus, we see Pharaoh heard God’s word, but he “hardened his heart” (Ex. 7:14, 22, 8:15, 19, 32, 9:7, etc.) and was punished as a result of his pride. Others who knew the truth but refused to obey were many of the “chief rulers” in Christ’s day. They knew who Christ was, but refused to confess Him because they feared what the Pharisees would say (Jn. 12:42-43). Another person who knew the truth was Agrippa. He knew the truth, but would not confess Christ, nor be baptized (Acts 26:27-28). This list could be extended, but the point is that God did not leave them ignorant of the truth! Yet, they were condemned because they did not act upon what they knew!
What about us? We have the Bible at our fingertips. Yes, some know more than others, but is this really what is stopping us from being what God would have us to be? Is this really what is stopping us from obeying the Lord and living as He wants us to live? I suggest that it is not so much a matter of information, but it is a matter of application! We do not want to do those things Christ has said! Shame on us for being that way! Let us listen to the Lord, who tells us to be obedient to Him (Jn. 14:15; I Jn. 5:3) and prepare ourselves for Heaven by applying the information God has revealed! In so doing, we will be a blessed people! (Jas. 1:25)
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 5:29
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” After having been imprisoned and threatened by the Sanhedrin for preaching the gospel of Christ, the apostles’ response was that they would obey God rather than men. What bravery and what boldness! What attitude do we have when facing those who do not want to hear the truth? How will we act when friends, family, and others want us to “tone it down” and not be so “judgmental” in their way of thinking? Regardless of what others say, we need to obey God rather than men. When the day comes that being a Christian is illegal, we must still obey God rather than men, just as the apostles did in the first century! Where is our allegiance?
- Jarrod Jacobs
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Matthew 28:18-20
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Christ’s words before He left this world are words of action. By His authority, the gospel is to be preached, and those taught are to be baptized. These people are then to be taught “all things” Christ commanded, and the cycle continues on to this day. Before leaving this world and ascending to His Father (Acts 1:9-11), Christ gave His apostles a final commission – a Great Commission – that will continue to be fulfilled until the end of time.
- Jarrod Jacobs