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What Is Your Attitude Toward Sin?

Friday, March 24, 2017

“What Is Your Attitude Toward Sin?”

Jarrod Jacobs

            What is your attitude toward sin? Do you consider it funny? The Bible says, “fools mock at sin” (Prov. 14:9). Is sin something that you consider “no big deal”? Perhaps you think sin is serious, but not serious enough to cause you to change your life? When we read the Bible, we are warned about sin, and told that folks need to change their lives immediately! (Acts 22:16; II Cor. 6:2; etc.) Tomorrow may be too late.

            Perhaps our attitude toward sin is not what it ought to be because we do not appreciate how terrible it is. Let us consider God’s definition of sin as revealed in the Bible:

            The Bible compares sin to a terrible wound (Isa. 1:6). God looked upon national Israel and said, “From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it; but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.” David described sin in a similar way in Psalm 38:7-8.

            Another description of sin is a heavy burden (Ps. 38:4). David said, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” He continued to describe their putrid nature by saying, “My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness” (Ps. 38:5).

            Our Lord describes sin as a debt (Matt. 6:12). He instructed His disciples to pray: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Do we recognize that sin is a debt we have? Have we forgiven others that need our forgiveness? If not, how can we expect God to forgive us of our debts (Matt. 6:14-15, 18:21-22, 35)?

            The Bible also describes sin as a stain (Isa. 1:18-20; Jas. 1:27). The “stain” of which Isaiah speaks is compared to a garment which has been “double-dipped” in dye so that the fabric is vibrant with color. James reminds Christians to make sure and not be “spotted” with the corruption found in this world! The way we can keep from such is described for us in James 1:25-27.

            The New Testament reveals that sin enslaves us (Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:16; II Pet. 2:19). One who is in sin is in slavery and a citizen in the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13; I Pet. 2:9). Hence, the need for “redemption!”  How terrible it is, though, when we see folks who are slaves to sin and either don’t know or don’t care! May we avoid such attitudes!

            Sin results in spiritual death (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8)! No one who dies in sin will see God.

            Sins such as lying, immodest dress, drinking alcohol (“socially” or otherwise), adultery/fornication, homosexuality, filthy language, and lusting after the opposite sex, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-7; Rev. 21:8) are not “minor” things. Your soul is in jeopardy so long as you continue to live in such sins!

            Seeing that the above is true, if one could go to someone who can heal the wound, lift the burden, forgive the debt, cleanse the stain, give us freedom, and bring spiritual life, would we not do it? Of course, we would! Then, what is YOUR delay? Repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). What is your attitude toward sin?

What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”

Jarrod Jacobs

            The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?

            Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!

            Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?

            Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?

            Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!

            Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).

            Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?

Three Sins That Condemned Daniel

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Three Sins That Condemned Daniel

Jarrod Jacobs

            Daniel, the prophet of God, was an outstanding character of the Old Testament. Most of his life was spent in captivity: first under Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, then under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, king of Persia (Dan. 1, 6, 10). In spite of his being away from family and loved ones, he knew about God and worshiped Him faithfully. His faithfulness so impressed God that God said Daniel was one of only three men who “should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness” while the rest of the land would be laid waste by God because of the people’s sin (Ezek. 14:12-20).

            Yet, on one occasion, Daniel was condemned. Daniel was condemned to die, not by God, but by men, because he prayed to God after a decree had been made that no one could pray to anyone or any “thing” except to the king. Daniel’s condemnation came because three sins were committed. Not his sins, but because certain others committed sin. If we are not careful, we may also be guilty of these same sins. Let us study Daniel chapter 6, and see what three sins condemned Daniel to death.

            The first sin to condemn Daniel was envy. Daniel had risen to a position of leadership, not unlike Joseph in Egypt. During the reign of Darius, Daniel was placed over several governors. These men didn’t like this, and in their envy, they devised a way to trap Daniel (Dan. 6:1-4). In Daniel they found “no error or fault.” Therefore, they decided, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (Dan. 6:5). The only thing they could find “wrong” with him was his loyalty to God, and that he would put God above all else. (Wouldn’t this be a good problem for all of us to have?)

            The second sin that condemned Daniel was lying. Based on their decision to trap Daniel by forcing him to choose between the laws of the land and the laws of God; they met with the king, saying: “All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions” (Dan. 6:7). This was a lie, for “all” were not “agreed”! Daniel would not support this legislation. They had conspired and lied against Daniel, the very one who was over them (Dan. 6:2-3).

            The third sin condemning Daniel was pride. Friend, think about it. Why then did this edict pass (Dan. 6:9)? It is because of the King’s pride! He could have refused the legislation, but he, like Nebuchadnezzar, was proud and wanted to be worshiped. Why else would one sign such a decree? In the end, though, he was humbled when he realized what his signature and seal had done to Daniel (Dan. 6:14-15, 18-19). The sins of these men condemned Daniel to the lion’s den. Why? Because when Daniel “knew that the document was signed, he ... gave thanks before His God, as he had done previously” (Dan. 6:10). He did not alter his prayers, nor hide in the corner from anyone.

            The sad thing is that these sins are still with us today, and it is possible for us to be guilty of envy, lying, and pride if we are not careful. (In fact, these sins nailed Christ to the cross!) We know the outcome of Daniel and of his accusers (Dan. 6:23-24). What about us? Are we the kind of people that have such conviction and dedication that, no matter what, we will be faithful to God? Remember, Daniel didn’t know he would be rescued when he made his stand! In like manner, we don’t know the end of things when we stand for the Lord. However, we know Who holds the future! If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

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).

Some Things Man Cannot Escape

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Some Things Man Cannot Escape

Jarrod Jacobs

            In our society, we are used to people “getting away” with certain things, aren’t we? It has become almost commonplace to hear about a person hiring a “dream team” of lawyers so as to avoid criminal charges and prosecution. Closer to home, we may notice people “getting away” with theft by eating displayed food at the grocery store without buying it; or taking extra time on their breaks at work and getting paid for it. Perhaps someone we know has been dishonest (lying). Don’t men tend to ignore this sin? It seems that we have reared a society which thinks that we can escape certain sins by ignoring them and no one is the wiser. Is this really the case?

            God says there are things we cannot escape in this life no matter how hard we try! Just like Adam and Eve could not escape God (Gen. 3:7-10); just like Jonah could not escape God (Jonah 1:3-17, ch. 2); neither can we escape God (Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13; Ecc. 12:14; Rom. 2:16)! Nor can we escape the truth He has revealed.

            We have reared a society of people who are under the impression that they can “bury” their sins deep enough that no one will find out about them. Sometimes, folks have the idea that they can somehow escape the consequences of sin if they pay enough money, run far enough away, deny it, etc. In truth, this is not possible! “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23)! We need to understand that we cannot escape sin independently of Christ and His shed blood (Rom. 6:3-6; Acts 2:38, 22:16)! Whether we are discussing the physical or the spiritual consequences of sin, we cannot escape without Christ! Lest we forget, go back and read Romans 6:23, which tells us, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In addition to this, God compares physical sowing and reaping with spiritual sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7-8. Be sure, there will be a “bitter harvest” awaiting us if we have sown a life of sin and have not repented nor have been forgiven!

            As hard as men try to avoid it via medicines, vitamins, exercise, food choices, etc., we also know that we cannot escape death! (Heb. 9:27). Death was something God promised as a physical consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:19) and it continues to this day. Solomon put it this way: “The living know that they shall die” (Ecc. 9:5a)! How true this is! In fact, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26). Therefore, be assured we will not escape death because it will be with us until the Lord returns!

            Further, let us remember that there is a Judgment Day coming in which all mankind will be judged by Christ (Acts 17:30-31; Jn. 5:22). Just like death, no one will escape this event! How do I know this? I know this because the Bible reveals this truth to us (Ecc. 12:13-14; Matt. 25:31-33, 46; II Cor. 5:10).

            Can there be any question as to the coming Judgment? Can there be any question as to who is going to be there? We will all be present before Christ in Judgment (II Cor. 5:10). The question is: “Are you ready?” If not, why not?

            Yes, some things we cannot escape! Yet, we can come through anything successfully when we are in Christ. Are you in Him? (Eph. 1:7-13; Gal. 3:26-27)

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