First The Cross, Then The Crown
Before Christ received His crown, He had to die on the cross. This is seen in passages like Philippians 2:5-11 and Hebrews 2:9, as well as Ephesians 1:20-23 and I Timothy 6:15.
In like manner, if we today are going to receive the “crown of life” (Rev. 2:10), we must first die at the cross. Our old man of sin must be put to death (Col. 3:5). Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). He later wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). The letter to the Romans made it clear that those who “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” delivered to them were “then made free from sin” (Rom. 6:17-18).
What did they do? They portrayed Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in their putting to death the old man of sin, being buried in the waters of baptism, and rising to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). In doing so, Paul said they were “buried” with Christ in baptism, “risen with Christ” and “are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 2:12, 3:1, 3). Based on this, they could look forward to their crown. Friend, are you looking forward to your crown? First comes the cross!
Some Things God Will Not Do
Did you know that there are some things that an all-powerful God refuses to do today? It is true. What are some things God will not do today?
1) God will not flood the earth. After the flood of Genesis 7, God promised never to destroy the earth by water again (Gen. 9:8-16). He has kept that promise since then.
2) God will not accept just any worship! The things we do must be according to His will (Col. 3:17). We must do it God’s way, or God will not accept it (Matt. 15:9). God expects worship to Him to consist of: singing (Eph. 5:19); prayer (Acts 2:42); preaching (Acts 20:7); taking the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7); and giving (I Cor.16:1-2) on the first day of the week.
3) God will not lie to us. In fact, it is impossible for God to lie to man (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2). We can trust what the Lord says in the Bible. God’s word is truth (Jn. 17:17).
4) God will not save us if we have not been baptized. This is not the only step, but this is the step that has been debated for centuries. We know God will not lie. Therefore, let us accept what the Lord has said about baptism being necessary for salvation (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Rom. 6:17-18; Col. 2:12; I Pet. 3:21) God will not save you if you have not obeyed His plan!
Truths Concerning The Bible
When was the last time you read your Bible? The Bible continues to be a best-seller in this country, yet people are ignorant of what it says. Why? Please consider some truths concerning the Bible.
The Bible is a spiritual sword (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). It is nourishment to the soul (I Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:12-14). The Bible is described as a fire, hammer (Jer. 23:29), mirror (Jas. 1:22-25), and light (Ps. 119:105). The Bible provides us with “words whereby you and all your house will be saved” (Acts 11:14). Seeing that this is the case, ought we not read our Bibles more?
Yet, many are not reading their Bibles. Why is this? I do not know all the answers, but might I suggest that some may not wish to read it because the Bible demands we change our behavior through repentance (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38). Some do not like the Bible because it demands that we make hard choices (Josh. 24:15; Col. 3:1-10). Some do not like the Bible because it shines the light on our deeds (Jn. 3:19).
In contrast, what we need is to love God and keep His commandments (I Jn. 5:3). We need to show reverence for His word (Ecc. 12:13; Acts 10:35), and speak “as the utterances of God” (I Pet. 4:11). What is your attitude toward the Bible? Come visit with the Caneyville church of Christ. We are folks who respect and obey the Bible.
Some Things No Man Knows …
America has been known for its many advances in knowledge and technology through the years. Certainly with access to the internet, we have access to more knowledge than previous generations. In spite of these facts, there are some things man does not know.
For example, man does not know when Christ will return. Jesus said, “But concerning that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mk. 13:32). Though man continues to make predictions about the Lord’s return, he has no idea when Christ will return! Folks have been predicting the return of the Lord almost since the time He ascended to His Father (Mk. 16:19)! No man knows when Christ will return. Our responsibility is to be ready for His return, whenever it may be (Mk. 16:16; I Cor. 15:58)!
In addition to this, man does not know how long he will live. Solomon tells us not to boast of tomorrow (Prov. 27:1). We have no lease on life. Our life is a “vapor” at its longest (Jas. 4:14). Therefore, instead of living like you will never die, live as if today is all we have. Become a Christian before it is too late (II Cor. 6:2; Acts 22:16; Heb. 3:7-8).
Yes, man has learned much while upon this earth. However, there are some “secret things” he will never know (Deut. 29:29). Because of this, let us be satisfied with what God has revealed to us (I Pet. 4:11). Let us be prepared for Christ's return while we have time and opportunity. Let us not squander the time we have upon this earth!
What If You Knew …?
What if you knew the day of your death? Suppose you could know. Would this change you? Would you be in denial that you would really leave this earth on a “set” day? I imagine some would be. Perhaps by knowing, some would spend the rest of their lives trying to extend their life just one more day. I imagine some would accept it and live their lives as if they didn’t know.
But, would we change anything about our lives? Would we “straighten up” and live as the Bible says? Would we howl and cry against God, blaming Him for our death-day? I am positive that there would also be those who would procrastinate doing anything about their lives until the literal last minute!
What if you knew ….. What would you do?
No, we do not know the day of our death. All we can do is prepare. We don’t know if we will live another 10 minutes, 10 years, or 100 years (Prov. 27:1). Therefore, it is written, “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8). Paul said, “Now is the accepted time ... now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). How interesting it is to note the urgency with which the apostles preached and wrote. Perhaps part of their urgency stemmed from the fact that they did not know when they were going to die, either!
All we know is that there is a day coming when we will either leave this world, or the Lord will return to judge the world (I Cor. 15:51-57; I Thess. 4:13-18). We do not know when the Lord is returning, any more than we know when we will die (Matt. 24:36). Sounds to me like we better be prepared for eternity, and do so without delay.
What if you knew ….. What would you do?