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The Great Salvation In Christ

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

         In Hebrew 2:1-5, the Jewish Christians were shown the great salvation that belongs to those in Christ. What is it that makes salvation great? Let’s find out.

First, a great God planned our salvation (Heb. 2:3). God promised that it would be through Abraham that “all families” of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). We can also read in the Bible of the multiple prophecies of a coming Savior (Isa. 7:14, 9:6; 53; etc.). When learning about our great salvation, we see forethought and extensive planning on God’s part.

Next, we see a great Savior executed the plan. Passages like Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 show us that God’s plan included Jesus dying as a sacrifice for man’s sins. While on earth, Jesus had one motive: to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). His life, death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. For example, His crucifixion in Matthew 27 was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Jesus also prophesied of His own death and burial (Matt. 12:40). Such was foreshadowed in the life of Jonah. He then prophesied that He was to be resurrected the third day (Jn. 2:19). The four gospel accounts record His resurrection in which even His enemies declared that Jesus had risen! The Bible states that Christ’s resurrection gives us the hope of everlasting life (I Cor. 15:13-20; I Pet. 1:3). God’s plan for this great salvation was executed flawlessly by the Sinless Savior (Matt. 5:17; John 17:4, 19:30). We can have salvation today, thanks to what He has done!

Great miracles were performed to prove Jesus is our Savior. (Heb. 2:3-4). These miracles showed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He was speaking the truth (Jn. 2:11, 23; 4:46-54; 11:43-48). The Apostles and 1st Century Christians used miracles for the same reason (Acts 13:7-12). What good would it have done for God to offer salvation to people who wouldn’t believe Him? They didn’t have Bibles to read as we do (I Cor. 13:8-10), thus the need for miracles, signs, and wonders.

The simplicity of obedience makes salvation great! What good would it do for God to devise a plan of salvation that was impossible for man to obey? God’s commands have always been stated so that man can accomplish them. For example, in Genesis 2:15-17, mankind was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden and stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Wasn’t that simple? In II Kings 5:10-14, we read about Naaman, who complained about God’s plan for cleansing him from leprosy (an incurable disease) because it was so simple! Today, God’s plan of salvation is that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repent of our sins, and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Isn’t this plan simple? Have you obeyed it yet?

Finally, a great reward awaits those who accept God’s great salvation. This reward is an inheritance for His people (Matt. 25:34; I Pet. 1:3-4). This reward provides great joy to those saved (Matt. 25:21, 23). One of the best parts about this great reward is that those saved will be in the presence of Jesus forever (Jn. 14:1-3). This great reward makes salvation great! Will you neglect this great salvation? I hope not!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Christ Is Better

Sunday, November 01, 2020

                   When we read the book of Hebrews, it is evident that “better” is a keyword. Christ is contrasted with the angels and Moses. His priesthood is contrasted with Aaron’s, and His covenant contrasted with the Old Covenant. These and many other things (blood, etc.) show Christ and what He did to be “better” than all others. This is how God intended it.

 

                   I wonder if we miss one of the contrasts, though, because it is presented so early in the book. It is seen in the first two verses of Hebrews. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).

 

                   While there is no question that the Holy Spirit inspired Old Testament writers and prophets (II Pet. 1:20-21), there is something different and notable about the fact that “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). Again, note the contrast in Hebrews one. In the past, God revealed His will in various ways and by various means. He stopped doing that when Christ came to earth. Christ came with a mission and a message, and it behooves all of us to listen! I think it is interesting to note that in the presence of Moses and Elijah, the words came from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5)!

 

                   When Jesus left the earth, the apostles had a message to preach (Mk. 16:15). Paul called it “the word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:20). It was the same message he taught “everywhere in every church” (I Cor. 4:17). The message of Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection was taught as reality by Paul and all of those preaching in the first century, and it needs to be preached today with the same fervor and fire (I Cor. 2:2, 15:1-4).

 

                   This message is contrasted with Old Testament preaching because while those godly people preached about One to come, we can now preach that He has come to this world. What they looked forward to, we can have the trust and understanding that it has happened. What those from the Old Testament saw as a far-off glimmer, we see as the “day star” (II Pet. 1:19).

 

                   I hope this will help us see that great contrast in Hebrews 1:1-2.  The Old Testament people had God’s word given to them (Rom. 3:1-2). This was indeed a great blessing. Greater still was when the word became flesh and dwelt among us! It was when the words were no longer words of what was to come, but words that proclaimed it has happened! God has kept His promises! We have salvation at our grasp because of the sacrifice of the Lord! Are you glad that you live in a time when you can benefit from the knowledge given since God has spoken to us through His Son?

 

                   As I close this, let me hasten to add I am not trying to take anything away from the work of the Holy Spirit after Christ ascended (Jn. 14-16; Acts 2; etc.). In this study, however, I have tried to emphasize what the text emphasizes – how God has spoken to us through Christ in these last days. What a blessing it is to have a Bible in our hands. Let us read it, learn, and obey, and we will see for ourselves how Christ is better than all!

 

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

“Him Whom My Soul Loveth.”

Saturday, October 17, 2020

            Our title is a phrase that is unique to the Song of Solomon. Four times in the book, the Shulammite spoke of “him whom my soul loveth” (3:1-4), and once she called him, “thou whom my soul loveth” (1:7). The intensity of her love is apparent. This was no passing infatuation with her, for in this song, she waited patiently for him, and in two sections (chapters 3 and 5), she went looking for him when she dreamed she had lost him. She was not satisfied unless they were together. She sought the one “her soul loveth” diligently in these dreams (perhaps she would consider them nightmares).

             She speaks not of a casual acquaintance, close friend, or the like when she speaks of her beloved. This is one her soul loves! When found, she “held him, and would not let him go” (3:4). The intensity of this love is something that ought to be in our marriages. Paul described this love from the man’s point of view when he said a man ought to love his wife as his own body (Eph. 5:28). He continued, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it” (Eph. 5:29).

            Husbands, love your wives as your own bodies! Wives, love your husbands with your soul! Christ loved His church so much that He “gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). Paul made clear the relationship between a husband and wife reflect Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). His blood purchased the church (Acts 20:28). In response, the church is to love the Lord and submit to Him (Eph. 5:24). As the Shulammite desired her beloved, and as the wife desires her husband (Gen. 3:16), so let Christians desire to serve and follow the Lord. May we truly love Him, for He loved us first (I Jn. 4:19). Yes, love Him from the soul! Love Him for all he has done for us and how He has made it possible to be in Heaven one day (Jn. 14:3).

            The pure love described in Solomon’s Song needs to be applied in our homes and the church. If we haven’t been doing this, let us start today to reflect that pure and intense love. Christ showed it first to us; therefore, let us respond in kind.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Wisdom Says Sharpen The Ax

Thursday, September 24, 2020

           The Preacher wrote to an innumerable company of young people (including us) and stated, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct” (Ecc. 10:10, KJV). 

Other versions state this passage as:

  • “If you don't sharpen your ax, it will be harder to use; if you are smart, you'll know what to do” (Common English Version). 
  • “If your ax is dull and you don't sharpen it, you have to work harder to use it. It is smarter to plan ahead” (Good News Bible).
  • “If an ax is blunt and the edge isn't sharpened, then one has to use more strength. But wisdom prepares the way for success” (“God’s Word”).
  • “If an iron axhead is blunt and a workman does not sharpen its edge, he must exert a great deal of effort; so wisdom has the advantage of giving success” (New English Translation).

            The point of this proverb is to remind people that preparation goes a long way in bringing success. We have heard the statement about folks having to do things “the hard way.” How true this is! Some are convinced that if the ax is not cutting well enough, the answer is to hit harder! Solomon says the wise person plans ahead to sharpen the ax, and then the work goes easier.

            In this section of Ecclesiastes, we see other examples of Solomon telling us that preparation is critical (Ecc. 10:11a, 15, 18). Remember, if we don’t take time to sharpen the “ax,” we’ll work harder than necessary to get the work done. Preparation, planning, or forethought, makes our lives much easier! The fool doesn’t see this. The fool strolls blindly through life and then wonders why bad things befall him (Ecc. 10:14-15). The wise understand that we are the result of our decisions!

            In Ecclesiastes 10:10, we are reminded that foolishness will make us work harder than we need to work. If a man takes the time to prepare for his work and do what is necessary, his work goes faster and easier. I am reminded of the old statement: “Work smarter, not harder.” I used to think that was a silly statement, because how can you work “smart” without also working “hard”? I have since learned better and see the wisdom in the statement. It is truly a reflection of Ecclesiastes 10:10!

The spiritual application of Ecclesiastes 10:10 is quite simple. Are we going to listen to the wisdom of Solomon? There is an eternity of “hardship” that awaits the unprepared (Matt. 25:41-46; II Thess. 1:6-9)! If we want a peaceful and joyous eternity in the presence of God, then let us prepare and do the work now (II Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7-8, 15)! Someone said, “A soldier is not wasting his time when he is sharpening his sword.” How much time do we spend sharpening our “sword”? In other words, how much time do we spend with the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) and learning what God wants us to do while on earth (Eph. 3:4; II Tim. 2:15)? How much time do we spend purposely preparing our souls for Heaven by spending time in prayer (I Thess. 5:17)? How much time do we spend living Philippians 4:8-9; Matthew 7:12-14; and Mark 16:15-16?

            Our lives are much harder with a dull ax! Wisdom says to sharpen it! What will you do?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

God Doesn't See Things The Way Man Does.

Monday, September 14, 2020

            I Samuel 16:7 tells us that God does not see things the way man does (Ps. 139:2). There is no denying this fact if we know anything about the Bible and what it reveals about the mind of God. Today, instead of writing a long article detailing the teaching in these verses, I thought I would make a chart that contrasts God’s wisdom with man’s wisdom.

            Please study the chart below. Note the contrasts between God’s wisdom and man’s, and then decide who you will follow.

God’s Wisdom

Man’s Wisdom

A good name is better than riches (v. 1).

Riches are the most important thing -- better than one’s reputation.

Our death day is better than our birthday (v. 1).

The day of death is the worst day of one’s life (with only a few exceptions, such as an incurable, painful disease).

The house of mourning is better than the house of feasting (v. 2).

Feasting is better than mourning.

Sorrow is better than laughter (v. 3).

Laughter is better than sorrow.

Wise men are in the house of mourning (v. 4).

Wise men are in the house of mirth.

It is better to hear the wise man’s rebuke (v. 5).

It is better to hear encouragement.

The laughter of fools is as vain as expecting thorns to provide heat (v. 6).

The laughter of fools is to be desired.

Accepting bribes will corrupt you (v. 7)

There is nothing wrong with getting money “under the table” from time to time.

The end of a thing is better than the beginning (v. 8).

The beginning is better than the end.

The patient is better than the proud (v. 8).

Being proud is better than being patient.

Be slow to anger. Anger rests with the fools (v. 9; Jas. 1:19).

Becoming angry and “cracking heads” gets things done.

Don’t live in the past (v. 10).

The “good ol’ days” are better than what we have today.

This list from Ecclesiastes 7 teaches us much. Notice how these Bible facts from Ecclesiastes show that man’s ideas stand polar opposite to God’s intent. I find it interesting that the apostle Paul taught a very similar thing in I Corinthians 1:18-31 when he spoke of the preaching of the cross.

            The ultimate question we must answer is: To whom will we listen? Will we listen to the world and follow “conventional wisdom” or listen to God and turn man’s wisdom on its head? Remember what David said about God’s wisdom (Ps. 119:98-100)? Listen to him! At the end of the day, we must decide for ourselves, and must face the consequences of that decision. As for me and my house, we want to listen to God. Who will you follow, friend?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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