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The Dangers Of Assumptions

Thursday, March 23, 2017

“The Dangers Of Assuming About Other People”

Jarrod Jacobs

            II Samuel 10 (and its parallel text, II Chron. 19) speaks of the occasion when David’s kindness was misinterpreted as evil. An assumption was made by the princes of the Ammonites that David had sent spies into the country (v. 3). He had not done this. Rather, this was a diplomatic action following the death of Nahash the Ammonite (v. 2). Yet, because of the princes’ assumption, David’s men were insulted, horribly mistreated, and sent away (v. 4-5). The end result was that the Ammonites hired the Syrians as soldiers and David and Israel went to war with the Ammonites and Syrians. By the end of the chapter, we read that the Ammonites and Syrians lost to David and the Israelite army (v. 6-19).

            THINK ABOUT THIS: This whole event, including the resulting war, came about because someone ASSUMED the wrong thing and then acted upon that assumption. Consider for a moment the death, the bloodshed, the widows, the fatherless children, the economic problems, and the other consequences that came to the people because the princes of the Ammonites could not imagine David doing a kind thing for them (though it was a kind act, v. 2)!

            Truly, Psalm 19:13 would ring true in David’s life. He asked God, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.” In essence, Psalm 19:13 is David’s prayer that he might not act as the Ammonites did! Let this be our prayer as well.

            I Corinthians 13:4-8 declares that an attribute of love is that it “thinketh no evil” (v. 5, KJV). Love also “believes all things” and “hopes all things” (v. 7). No, this is not encouraging some naïve display of love. Rather, love thinks the best of others and of their intentions. Love wants to believe the best and strives to believe the best in people until proven wrong. Love does not assume things, nor try to “read hearts”.  Again, this is not being naïve, nor blind to the truth. Instead, love is thinking the best of others, while having one’s eyes open to the facts. Friends, do we do this? Please go back and reread II Samuel 10 and I Chronicles 19 and see the results of presuming or assuming the motives of others. In truth, those chapters would not even read the way they do if it had not been for the assumption and evil surmising of the Ammonites!

            In making application to ourselves, stop and consider the following. When someone does something nice for us, do we say or think, “I know the real reason why they did that...”? I have seen folks who were treated nicely look to the person and ask, “OK, what do you want?” Are we always assuming that others have “ulterior motives” in what they do? Why is this? Biblical love doesn’t act this way. If one says, “I act like this because those people have shown themselves to be two-faced”, then my question is, why are you still associating with them (I Cor. 15:33)? Let us stop presuming things about others. Love does not do this, and as we have already noted, assuming matters brings trouble and hardship!

            No, we cannot read other people’s minds (I Cor. 2:11a). Let’s stop acting like we can by presuming or assuming things about God and others! Let us do as love demands and then see how we (and others) can be blessed.

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?

Friend, Life Is Too Short (#2)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Friend, Life Is Too Short (#2) …

Jarrod Jacobs

            Perhaps all of us at one time or another has heard someone say, “Life is too short to ….” Yes, based on the Bible’s teachings, we see that our life on earth is very brief. David said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Ps. 90:10). James said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). Yesterday, we studied some on this subject. Today, let us conclude this study.

            After yesterday's article, I imagine most would agree that one cannot afford to live in sin as if he had all the time in the world (Prov. 27:1). Yet, when it comes to the matter of identifying sin and identifying false teachers, it is then that some people say, “Life is too short!” Or they say words to the effect, “If you’d just stay busy preaching and trying to save souls, you wouldn’t have time to worry about these matters.” Is this true? Let us examine a few cases in the Bible, and determine from Bible examples how our brief time on earth is best spent.

            Consider the example of Christ. While “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10), we find Christ condemning those who were living in sin. He condemned the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites (Matt. 23:13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29). Christ also said that such people as the publicans were sick, and sinners in need of repentance (Matt. 9:12-13). What would you think dear reader, if the roles were reversed and you were in their place? Would you think “life is too short” to talk like that? Jesus would not agree with that assessment.

            Another example is Paul. Paul had no problem identifying sin and naming false teachers. Paul warned Timothy of such men as Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus, Demas, Alexander the coppersmith, and others whose actions had led many astray (I Tim. 1:20; II Tim. 2:17, 4:10, 14). One might recall how Paul used a significant amount of the book of Galatians, to condemn the Judaizing teachers. Who is ready to say that Paul’s time and ink would have been “better spent” speaking on other subjects? Paul also told the Corinthians that if he got to see them a third time and they hadn’t repented of certain sins, “I will not spare” (II Cor. 13:2). Evidently, the Holy Spirit, who inspired Paul to write what he did, and speak what he spoke (I Cor. 14:37), did not think that life was “too short” to deal with false doctrines and false teachers who were leading people astray!

            The quibble which says “life is too short” to take time to deal with false doctrine and false teachers is wrong. We find New Testament heroes standing and dealing with sin and error in an attempt to bring lost souls to Christ, and this is what we need to be doing today (I Cor. 11:1). “Life is too short” to spend it living in sin. We have a limited amount of time on earth and must be about our Father’s will while we have this day and have breath in our bodies (Jn. 9:4).

Friend, Life Is Too Short (#1)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friend, Life Is Too Short (#1) …

Jarrod Jacobs

            Perhaps all of us at one time or another have heard someone say words to the effect that, “Life is too short to ….” Yes, based on the Bible’s teachings, we see that our life on earth is very brief. David said, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty, yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away” (Ps. 90:10). James said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). These two examples impress upon our minds the brevity of this earth-life.

            While our life on earth is short, that is no excuse for justifying evil practices or false doctrine. I am afraid that sometimes we have the attitude that “life is too short” to worry about sin, so “live and let live.” Such an attitude attempts to take the emphasis off of the one in error, and place it on the one asking and searching for the truth. When one is living in sin or is teaching false doctrine, and they justify their behavior by saying, “Listen, friend, life is too short ....”, the men using such justifications have it wrong.

            The fact is that when it comes to living in sin, “life is too short” for people to continue in such behavior. It is for this reason that there is a continued emphasis in the Bible on teaching and practicing the truth, and repenting of one’s sinful ways now (Lk. 13:3; II Pet. 3:9). This is because man’s time on earth is “too short” to waste living in error.

            Jeremiah said that God’s word was “in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not” (Jer. 20:9, NKJ). Jeremiah was one who had to speak when it came to preaching against the wickedness of Judah. To him, life was “too short” for him to be silent and allow the people of God to remain ignorant and die in their sins.

            When Christ lived on this earth, His emphasis was upon people repenting and doing it right away. On one occasion, a man stated his intention to follow Christ but intended on doing it later. Christ responded, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). Our responsibility is to Christ first, and then to others! We make a grave mistake when we put things/people before Christ.

            Yes, friends, “life is too short” to live in sin and outside of Christ. There is a change that is demanded of all of us, and it is something which must be done before it is too late (II Cor. 6:2)!

            Let us learn that “life is too short” to spend it living in sin. We have a limited amount of time on earth and must be about our Father’s will while we have breath in our bodies. Our Lord said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (Jn. 9:4).

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Galatians 1:8

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Galatians 1:8

            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.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians, stating how surprised he was that they were “so soon removed” from the gospel of Christ to something perverted (Gal. 1:6). He then told them if any man, even an angel from Heaven preaches any other gospel, then let him be “accursed.” To be “accursed” is to be cut off from God and Christ. “Accursed” means to be abhorred, and to essentially be rejected from Christ, wherein He will say, “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Perverting the gospel of Christ is not a joke or something to be taken lightly! It will result in the souls of those false teachers being lost. It will also result in the souls of those who obey the false doctrine being lost! Teaching and following false doctrine will result in our being out of fellowship with Christ (II Jn. 9-11). Therefore, let us take the teaching and spreading of God’s word very seriously. If we preach or teach anything that is not according to the revealed will of God, we will lose our souls!

– Jarrod Jacobs

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