The wise man of Ecclesiastes had it right in despairing of a contemplated life without God’s presence. “‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Life only has meaning if God is in the picture. Otherwise, it is without any lasting value or purpose. Men everywhere live out their short existence on earth without hope beyond the grave. Such an existence is truly vain. “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever” (1:4).
Many of the problems we have with sorrow and despair come from this flawed perspective on life. Above all other things, we must recognize our purpose on earth is to serve God. If we do, we can with that realization have a happy and productive life, and after, a sure hope of eternal bliss. As the wise man concluded in his contemplation of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:13-14).
Continue reading » The Path to Joy
We live in a promiscuous society. According to a 2008 survey reported by the Guttmacher Institute, 90% of single women between the ages of 20 and 44 are sexually experienced. 70% identified themselves as currently sexually active. Among teenagers for the past 15 years, the percentage of teenagers (15-19) who have had sex has remained fairly constant (44% of girls, 49% of boys, Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention).
It should not be surprising that some churches are changing their teaching regarding premarital sex. One example of this is a recently published book by Bromleigh McCleneghan, a married mother of three, and “associate pastor for ministry with families” at the Union Church of Hinsdale in Illinois. The title of her book is, “Good Christian Sex”, with the subtitle, “Why Chastity Isn’t the Only Option—And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex.”
Continue reading » The Bible View of Sexuality
In Acts 10 we have the record of Peter’s sermon in Cornelius’ house. In verse 38 Peter related how, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
A major point of Peter’s statement was the power given to Jesus. This power to perform such miracles identifies Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
However, you might also note that He went about doing good. Jesus is not only our Master, He is a righteous Master! In this, He serves as our example. We are to do good, because we are to strive to be like Him! “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master…” (Matthew 10:24-25).
Jesus went about doing good! Are you?
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The repentance of the Magicians in Ephesus teach us that true repentance is open, thorough and conclusive.
Jesus intended for his listeners to be discerning and disciplined in their hearing. The lesson emphasizes how essential it is for us to be good listeners.
Relationships are hard. Lots of women are looking for love. Hopefully, Christian women are searching for a man who is worthy of a possible lifetime commitment.
While some care about whether a man is athletic, good looking, funny or educated, hopefully a Christian woman is more interested in finding a man who will represent, (as closely as possible), the ideal for a potential future husband and father.
Continue reading » Video Transcript: 6 Traits of a “Dateworthy” Man
In 1 Corinthians 1:18, Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The “message of the cross.” What is that message? It is the unique message of redemption for mankind. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Victory in death is a message the world certainly does not understand. It is a “stumbling block” and “foolishness” to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Regardless, it is true! “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
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The apostle Paul asserts the greatness of God’s Scheme of Redemption, accomplished in Jesus Christ. However, some who have embraced Him as Lord, inexplicably turn away. This apostasy is a most terrible thing.
It is possible for a Christian to lose his fervor for the Lord. The lesson calls for fervency in Spirit, that we not be found lacking when Christ comes.
The American Standard version uses an interesting and appropriate word to translate the Greek term kenodoxos in Galatians 5:26. It is a term that is rarely used in our day, vainglorious.
“Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.”
The King James translation is similar though it translates the word with a phrase “desirous of vain glory.” More modern translations such as the ESV, NKJV and NIV use the term “conceited.” While the word conceited is certainly an accurate translation, it is not nearly as evocative as the more antiquated vainglorious.
Continue reading » Vainglorious
“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight” (Proverbs 11:1).
Dishonesty and theft are unacceptable to Jehovah. In the same context, the wise man wrote, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them” (11:3). It is telling that honesty in a person is indicative of personal integrity, and that dishonesty indicates perversity and unfaithfulness.
The characteristics of honesty and integrity would go a long way to fixing the moral problems of our day. While all will claim that personal integrity is very important, our culture is rife with liars, thieves and politicians (sorry, couldn’t resist).
God demands honesty from His children. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).
Little is known about the man Epaphras. He was a Christian in Colosse describe by Paul as “a faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7). He also is mentioned in chapter 4, and Philemon 23. Colossians 4:12-13 states:
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis” (4:12-13).
The terms “servant”, “minister”, “bondservant”, and “fellow prisoner” are used to describe the man. Also, words such as “dear”, “faithful”, “laboring”, “fervently”, and “great zeal” indicate his desire to serve the Lord.
Finally, the phrases “on your behalf” and “for you”, “one of you”, indicate that his labors in the Lord were personally beneficial to his brethren.
One of the most important benefits of serving Jesus is the blessings such labor brings to our brethren and others. May we all be so giving, humble, and concerned about the welfare of all men. This is a true indication of a diligent servant of Jesus Christ.
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