Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). He was referring to the necessity of bearing up under persecution. We are no better than our Lord. He suffered despite the fact that He was without sin (cf. vs. 22-23). So, Peter wrote, “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God” (vs. 20).
In the text we see a reason for Jesus’ willingness to suffer for us. “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (vs. 19). Certainly this was the case with Jesus. He did not deserve the indignities he suffered while among men. However, He willingly endured them because of His Father’s will for Him. It was God’s plan to send Jesus to earth to die for our iniquities. Jesus could not, in good conscience, refuse to submit to His father’s will. Instead, He “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). We are to emulate Him.
Continue reading » The Suffering of Jesus – Our Example
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-5,11, the apostle Paul refers to the Israelites as an admonition to us, for God was “not well pleased” with them. From this, Paul makes three applications in verses 12-14. 1) Pride is a problem; 2) God is faithful; 3) Flee idolatry.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (5:17).
This is both a statement of fact (acknowledging the new birth), and a statement of wonder! When one becomes a child of God, everything changes! Where once we were dead in sin, we are now dead to sin. Where once we had no hope, we now have eternal hope. Where once we had no purpose to our lives, now we rejoice in our singular desire to serve God in all things.
As Paul, “we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (vs. 20). It is a commitment you will never regret!
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Christ requires a total commitment from His disciples. This is too often lacking in our day.
The lesson seeks to identify sin using Biblical descriptions, and discusses the consequences of that sin.
Invitation delivered by: Josh Cox
1 John 3:1-9, the apostle points out the necessity of being pure and without sin as children of God.
Speaker: Brantley Gallman
The lesson calls upon us to have a heart filled with Jesus, and describes what constitutes such a heart.
Speaker: Josh Cox
A discussion of man’s accountability to God, and to one another.
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
In Colossians 1:13-20, Paul describes the preeminence of Jesus Christ. He is not only our Savior, He is our Lord.
Racism has always been a problem in the United States of America. Slavery in America was a racist institution. Today, the problems in dealing with militant Islamic terrorism, and illegal immigration are compounded by racist overtones.
I disagree with the view that if one emphasizes the rule of law, or if one opposes Islam as a false religion, he is a racist (as is sometimes claimed in the national discourse). However, it is obvious that the rhetoric being used by many is indicative of racial prejudice. It is also obvious to me in my observations of God’s people that racism is present in the church. This is shameful.
There are a number of scriptures to which we might refer that clearly teach racism is sinful. We might note James’ condemnation of personal favoritism in James 2:1-13. While the specific prejudice of the chapter is a preference for the rich over the poor, the principle can clearly be applied to preferences for one race above another. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9). In fact, any scripture calling the Christian to love his fellow man, by principle, condemns racism.
Continue reading » Racism and the Christian
Matthew 14:53-58 records Jesus’ rejection by the citizens of Nazareth. This led Him to say, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house” (57). They thought they knew Jesus. They had watched Him grow up, knew Him to be “the carpenter’s son”, and could not reconcile the miracles and teaching of Jesus with their own flawed perception of the man.
Interestingly, they acknowledged Jesus had “wisdom” and had performed “mighty works.” But, they were unwilling to accept the obvious, that Jesus was the Messiah as He claimed to be. They instead insisted that their existing perceptions of the man were correct, despite the evidence to the contrary. So, “they were offended at Him” (57).
After Jesus explanation as to why they were not accepting Him, Matthew records, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (vs. 58). They saw sufficient proof, but it had not swayed them. Further efforts to establish His credentials would be futile (cf. Luke 16:31), and so He did not try.
The same is true today. People reject Jesus as the Messiah, not because of a dearth of evidence, but because of their own preconceptions. Some believe religion to be mere superstition; others place their trust in science; many deny the possibility of a supernatural resurrection from the dead. The proof matters not, they will not believe. Regardless, the proof that Jesus is the Christ is abundant and sure!
What does God love? How about the opposite of the things he hates?
“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
So, God loves the downcast eyes of the humble, a tongue that speaks truth, hands that protect the innocent, a heart that devises righteous plans, feet that are swift to do good, a true witness who tells the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”, and one who promotes unity and brotherhood!
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The text of Hebrews 5:11-6:8 gives us six reasons some Christians fail to grow or mature:
* They have become dull of hearing (5:11)
* They think they have grown enough (5:12)
* They will not allow the word to change them (5:13-14)
*They are accustomed only to “milk” (5:12; 6:1-3)
* They fail to “press on” to maturity (6:1)
* They have already fallen away (6:4-8)