What The Bible Says About DeathThursday, February 16, 2017
What The Bible Says About Death
It is a fact that death will come to everyone. “The living know that they will die” (Ecc. 9:5). Yet, what does the Bible say about death? What can we learn from God that provides insight into this part of our life?
First, let us understand that we have no promise of tomorrow. The book of James records the well-known words, “You do not know what tomorrow will bring, What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time, and then vanishes” (Jas. 4:14). Job also comments about the brevity of life, saying, “My life is a breath” and, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days, and full of trouble” (Job 7:7, 14:1). We have no promise of seeing another day (Prov. 27:1)!
Another fact about death is that it is a great equalizer. Since Genesis 3, death has been with men and it will be this way until the end of time (I Cor. 15:26). Death is not just something experienced by the “poor” and “unknowns” of this world. Death will come to all. Job stated this great truth when he wrote of the “kings and counselors of the earth … princes … the wicked … the weary … the prisoners … the small and great … and the servant” who have died (Job 3:14-19). Death will come to us regardless of our age, gender, race, or anything else. It is a great equalizer.
Death ends all earthly plans and intentions. The obituary page is full of those who had intentions and plans for the upcoming week, month, and year. Those things will not be accomplished by them. Once the spirit separates from the body and produces physical death (Jas. 2:26), whatever plans or intentions a person has for the future, he will never do. Since this is the case, it places great emphasis upon each one of us to make sure we are right with God and ready for death. God places emphasis upon preparing “now” for eternity. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “Behold now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). Again, the words of the Holy Spirit ring true when we read, “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8, 15). We see emphasis placed upon the “now” and “today” because death will bring an end to our work. This is why Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no man can work” (Jn. 9:4). Let us learn the lesson!
Death shows us that our life is fragile. People today act as if they are going to live forever. Yet, we know this is not the case. Solomon said, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov. 27:1). Truer words were never said! Our lives can change in drastic ways over the course of just one day (Jas. 4:13-15)! When we appreciate the truth revealed by God, we must ask, not how much money is in our bank account, or how big our house is, or how many people like us. Rather, we need to ask two questions: in what condition are our souls, and are we on the Lord’s side?
This life is fragile and things are constantly changing. Since this is the case, we need to trust in the One who is unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8). The wise man wrote, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart” (Ecc. 7:2). Therefore, let us lay these truths to heart and prepare for eternity. Do you need to have your sins forgiven and become a Christian (Mk. 16:16)? Do it before it is too late. Don’t wait for another day. You may not get one!
A Lack Of Information Or Application?Wednesday, February 15, 2017
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)
Does It Matter What I Believe?Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Does It Matter What We Believe?
Many today ask this question in reference to religious matters. Depending on who we ask, some will say that it does not matter what we believe so long as we are honest and sincere about religious issues. Others will say that what we believe matters, religiously. Which answer is correct? Let us look to the Bible and see whether or not what I believe “matters”.
If, in spiritual matters, it does not matter what we believe, why did Jesus condemn the Pharisees and the Sadducees for their behavior? Let us read Matthew 15:9. There, Jesus said, “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Does this sound like Jesus does not care how we worship him or what we believe? If it does not matter what we believe, then why did Jesus make that statement in Matthew 15:9? Another passage we ought to read is found in Matthew 22:29. Jesus condemned the Sadducees at that time and said, “Ye are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures, nor the power of God.” How could these people be “wrong” if it does not matter what we believe on religious matters?
Let us look at an early teacher and preacher of the gospel; a Christian by the name of Stephen. This space will not allow us to print the entire text, but please read Acts 6-7 so you can understand the entire context. We are introduced to Stephen in Acts 6, and Acts 7 records a time when he was opposed by the Jews for preaching about Christ. Toward the end of Acts 7, Stephen condemned the Jews for refusing to believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and that He is the Messiah. Please notice what happened, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth...Then cast him out of the city, and stoned him” (Acts 7:54, 58). Does this sound like a reaction from folks who have been told, “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are honest and sincere”?
Why do people insist that it doesn’t matter what folks believe in religious matters? We know that this idea of “It doesn’t matter what you believe” is not true in any other area of life. For example, we can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about the rules of arithmetic. So long as you are sincere, any answer will do.” We can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about the prices of items at the store. So long as you are a sincere person, any amount will be accepted.” We can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about stop signs. So long as you are a sincere person, any action you take at an intersection is accepted.” Since we know this to be true, why then do men teach that it doesn’t matter what you believe when it comes to religious matters? Put simply, it is because these folks do not want to do what God says, but want to follow their own will!
My friend, what we believe religiously, matters! What we believe concerning religious matters will determine whether we go to Heaven or Hell! This is how serious it is. If you are not sure, then please read John 8:24, and ask yourself if there is “room for interpretation” there. When people declare that it does not matter what you believe so long as you are honest and sincere, they are teaching something completely foreign to the Scriptures.
"Lying Lips Are An Abomination"Monday, February 13, 2017
Lying Lips Are An Abomination
Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” George Washington was quoted as saying, “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” In a time in which lying to one another (and to ourselves) seems to be in epidemic proportions, let us see what God says about lying.
God consistently condemns lying. Looking to the Old Testament we read, “Let the lying lips be put to silence…” (Ps. 31:18). David prayed that God would consume those who sinned by lying and cursing with their mouth (Ps. 59:12). Proverbs 6:17 reveals that God hates a “lying tongue.” Solomon said, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD…” (Prov. 12:22). The righteous man will hate lying (Prov. 13:5). Jeremiah says that “lying words” are words which “cannot profit” (Jer. 7:8).
Looking to the New Testament, we learn we must put away, “lying” and “speak truth” (Eph. 4:25). In Colossians 3:9, the apostle Paul says to “lie not.” Could a Scripture be any plainer than this? In Acts 5, we read of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to God (Acts 5:1-11). As a result of their deception, and lying to God, they were struck dead (v. 3-5, 10)! Jesus spoke of, “all liars” and said they, “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). What else needs to be said to get people to understand that God demands honesty?
Why talk about dishonesty? Perhaps we can answer this question by considering our advocate, Jesus Christ (I Jn. 2:1) and our adversary, Satan (I Pet. 5:8). Our Lord Jesus is “the truth” and God’s word is truth (Jn. 14:6, 17:17). Satan, on the other hand, is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). He introduced lies into the world (Gen. 3:4), and has been lying ever since. Therefore, when we are dishonest, who are we following? When we are honest, who are we following? Answer those questions, and we will see why honesty is imperative with God!
“The truth hurts” is an accurate statement at times. But, isn’t greater damage done when we lie to others (or to ourselves)? Isn’t it a far worse thing to be found out as a liar and a dishonest person than if you’d just told the truth in the first place? This world encourages us to lie “a little bit,” or “bend the truth” (?) at times. However, isn’t it better, and so much easier, to always tell the truth? As Mr. Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” Make no mistake, “your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). If it doesn’t come in this life, it will come on the Day of Judgment (II Cor. 5:10; Ecc. 12:13-14). What then, friend? Consider the consequences of your choices before it is too late. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Are you ready for the Judgment Day? Can you honestly say that you have obeyed Christ and are a Christian (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38, 22:16)? Or, have you been lying to yourself all this time? The truth is that Jesus Christ is “the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). Don’t deceive yourself by thinking that simply hearing His word is enough. You must obey His will today (Jas. 1:22-25).
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Jude 3Sunday, February 12, 2017
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Jude 3
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude’s letter is unique. He had intended to write to Christians about the common salvation. However, it was necessary for him to remind folks to “earnestly contend for the faith.” To “contend” means to strive or agonize. Many Christians forget that being a Christian involves contending, or striving for what is right. Shame on us! Jude was stating something that Paul had taught to others (II Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:13-18). Similarly, Peter stated that fleshly lusts “war against the soul” (I Pet. 2:11). Let us understand that Satan is not playing with us. Why then are so many Christians playing with him? Let us open our eyes and understand that we must strive or contend with Satan and evil in this life. We are in a fight for our souls and the souls of others. God has called us to be soldiers (II Tim. 2:4). Therefore, let us do as Jude said and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints”!
- Jarrod Jacobs