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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 Corinthians 4:6

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Corinthians 4:6

            And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you “be puffed up for one against another.” Respect for others can develop into something sinful if we are not careful. In I Corinthians, as well as Romans 12:3, Paul warns against thinking of men above what is Scripturally allowed. In the case of the Corinthians, they placed undue importance upon who baptized them (I Cor. 1:11-17, 3:3-7). Paul said they were acting like babes in Christ rather than the mature Christians that they needed to be. While we may think highly of certain brethren, or family members, and the like, we must never think of them as sinless, without flaws, or somehow above what God has described in Scripture. Our association with them does not make us better than others. Who is Paul? Who is Apollos? What about any other apostle or evangelist? Even now, we may think of a “favorite” preacher, or a “favorite” Christian we respect highly. Regardless of past achievements, they were, and are, simply ministers or servants, acting so as to carry God’s word to the lost (I Cor. 3:5-8; I Pet. 4:11). No one in such a position deserves undue credit or praise. They are not equal to God. Their word is not “law.” While we may respect people who make various sacrifices in the Lord’s work, including those who brought us to the Lord, let us never place men in a position of importance that they do not deserve.

– Jarrod Jacobs

"All Things Desirable To Men Are Contained In The Bible"

Saturday, March 11, 2017

All Things Desirable To Men Are Contained In The Bible

Jarrod Jacobs

            “All things desirable to men are contained in the Bible.” – Abraham Lincoln. This statement made by Mr. Lincoln shows that he understood something that many today do not. Anything desirable, anything worthy of imitation or pleasing to God, is found in the Bible! Peter said God “has granted to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). If God has given us “all things,” then what do we lack? Why are men so pressed to find life’s “necessities” somewhere else? Truly, “all things desirable to men are contained in the Bible.”

            Within the pages of Inspiration, we find God’s instructions for life. “Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). God’s word says treat others as we would want them to treat us (Matt. 7:12). No one has ever improved on this! God declares that we are to “pursue what makes for peace, and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19). God instructs us to speak to others in an edifying way, and to not tear one another down through malicious words and gossip (Eph. 4:29, 31). Husbands and wives are to submit themselves to one another and love one another, cleaving to each other, and forsaking all others (Eph. 5:22-33). In any relationship, the Bible has the answer. It truly contains “all things desirable to men.”

            The Bible also contains God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. We see it unfolding from Genesis 3, and continue to take shape until the coming of Christ who died on the cross! The Bible teaches that Christ’s blood was shed to purchase us and take away our sin (I Pet. 1:18-19; Matt. 26:28; Jn. 1:29). God loved man so much that He allowed His Son to die on our behalf (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:6-9). Christ shed His blood, and resurrected on the third day, declaring Himself to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4). The Holy Spirit was then sent to guide the apostles into “all truth” so that they could preach and teach the truth to all nations (II Pet. 1:20-21; Jn. 14:26, 15:26, 16:13; Col. 1:5-6, 23; Rom. 16:26).

            Now, it is man’s responsibility to do that which is right and submit himself to God’s will. He must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24) and repent of his sins (Lk. 13:3). He must confess his faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and then be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38). Upon doing these things, the Bible reveals that man is saved (Mk. 16:16). Notice please that man is not saved simply by “doing something.” Man is not saved on his own merit. Man is saved by hearing and doing the will of God. He has done nothing of which to boast, but must do what Christ expects (Lk. 17:10; Eph. 2:8-9). He must then live a faithful life to God, doing the Lord’s will as His faithful servant (I Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10). The Bible teaches that when we submit to God, doing His will, and obeying His word, we become His servant or slave (Rom. 6:16-18). Still, this is a desirable position! What better place to be than in the loving care and mercy of a loving God whom you can now call your Father (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6)? What could be more “desirable” than this?

            The Bible contains the wisdom and power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16). God has revealed things to us that belong to us and our children forever (Deut. 29:29). The Bible reveals our origin. It reveals our purpose for being here, and it reveals what shall become of us (the faithful AND unfaithful) at the end of time. Jesus said that this book will be our standard on the Judgment Day (Jn. 12:48). Seeing that this is true, how foolish it is to cast this book aside as “antiquated,” or “a book of myths,” etc.! The Bible is necessary, vital, and alive. Let us never forget that (Heb. 4:12)!!

            Yes, “all things desirable to men are contained in the Bible.” The question is: Will you accept or reject the Bible?

Things We See In Mary, The Mother Of Christ

Friday, March 10, 2017

Things We See In Mary, The Mother Of Christ

Jarrod Jacobs

            Jesus’ mother Mary stands out as a great example of a godly woman. She was the one chosen by God to be Jesus’ mother (Lk. 1:28), and as a result, she has become the focus of admiration, but sadly, gossip and slander, and even idolatrous acts. It seems that folks’ reaction to Mary has run the “spectrum” just as it has with Jesus. In this article, let us see what God said about Mary.

            Early in Bible history, we read about this one who would give birth to the Savior. She was not specifically named; however, she is described for us in Genesis 3:15. Another passage which speaks of Jesus’ birth and of His mother is Isaiah 7:14. It says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

            Upon reading about Mary in the books of Matthew and Luke, we learn she is a virgin chosen to bear God’s Son (Lk. 1:34). She was the fulfillment of God’s prophecy, and served the Lord’s purpose, not only in bearing a son, but also in raising Him (Lk. 2:51).

            What we are told about her character revolves around the events of God choosing her to be the mother of Christ. When we read about her during this time, we find a young woman whose example ought to be emulated by young girls today.

            Probably the most obvious characteristic is that she is an example of moral purity. She did not commit sexual sin with anyone and sin against God and her body (I Cor. 6:18; Lk. 1:34; Heb. 13:4).

            In addition to this, we see Mary as humble and obedient to God. When Gabriel told her she was chosen, and answered her questions, her response was: “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). Her attitude was not unlike Noah, Moses, and many others (Gen. 6:22; Ex. 40:16, 39:42-23). She obeyed the Lord and was blessed for it.

            Please understand though, that as great as Mary was, she was not sinless. Romans 3:23 applies to her just as it does to everyone else on earth. Jesus died for the remission of her sins, just as He died for the remission of everyone else’s sin (Matt. 20:28, 26:28). At the same time, she was not born in sin. The Bible does not teach this. The Bible teaches the opposite, declaring, “The soul that sins will die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). The sins she would have committed came as a result of her yielding to Satan’s temptation (Jas. 1:14-15).

            Sadly, people throughout history have made more of Mary than God ever intended. This issue began while she was living. One time, a woman cried out to Jesus and said, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus corrected her by saying: “Blessed rather, are those who hear the word of God, and keep it” (Lk. 11:27-28). Mary was not then nor is she now deserving of worship. Only God is deserving of worship (Acts 10:25-26; Rev. 19:10, 22:9)! She is not deity. She was a humble servant, like many others in the Bible. At the same time, she is not a mediator. Only Christ serves in this work (I Tim. 2:5-6).

            While on earth, she served a very important role. Yet, to give her undue glory is not right. It is just as wrong to give her undue glory as it is to place upon her scorn and ridicule as if she were guilty of sexual relations before marriage! (Many have said this through the years.) She was not guilty of fornication.

            Mary strikes me as a kind, virtuous, considerate woman. Certainly, her example ought to be remembered, just as we remember the examples of Noah, Hannah, Ruth, Moses, Peter, Paul, Phoebe, and others. Young women today who follow her example will be blessed, as well as their families. Fathers and mothers, what are you doing to encourage your daughters to act like Mary?

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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