Rejoicing As A Christian

Rejoicing As A CHRISTIAN

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Rejoicing As A Christian

There is so much to be filled with joy and praise in being a Christian. The Bible begins with the fall of man but it ends with the eternal hope of redemption through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter lived in a period of persecution under the tyrannical rule of Nero yet his message was filled with an amazing spirit of blessings. His first epistle is addressed to the pilgrims of the dispersion who were scattered abroad due to persecution. He writes a positive letter of hope to say to the faithful of God not to be overcome by the difficulties of life but to remember that God has promised eternal life in the joy to come and there is no reason to be downcast. It was hard to live a consecrated life in a world given over to bigotry, prejudice, and hatred against Christians. Peter would speak of the genuineness of faith necessary to maintain the courage to face severe trials because it was more precious than anything life had to offer. If the saints would prepare their minds for action and exercise self-control they would do well. He exhorts his readers to put all their hope in the salvation that will come when Christ is revealed to the world in His glory. The promise of joy was yet to come if they would remain faithful. Peter begins his epistle by showing the basis for this joyful hope. The abundant mercy of God made certain promises that could not be taken away. Believing Jesus had risen from the dead instilled in the hearts of the persecuted saints the living hope of eternal life. There was a greater expectation in life than the peripheral happiness of this life. It was transcended by the knowledge and assurance that in death something greater was coming. A living hope contrast a hope that is a maybe or chance event. It becomes a promise without bounds.  What kind of promise has God made?

The joy of being a Christian is to know that through faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a birthright that is priceless. God has promised eternal life as something that is incorruptible and undefiled. It cannot be tainted by human affairs or false hopes given by the wisdom of men. While the child of God may suffer in his earthly life, there is no suffering in his eternal life and that is a guarantee by the hand of God. Inheritances can be challenged through the courts of men, changed, dismissed or lost. This is not the case with the promise of God who cannot lie. The Bible teaches the security of the believer and those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus must embrace it. Sadly, the idea of the security of the believer has come to be known as the impossibility of the saint to fall from grace which is false teaching. However, the pendulum has swung so far in opposition to the doctrine of ‘once-saved-always-save’ than many discounts the security of the believer as a Biblical fact. What other kinds of hope is Peter describing than the realization that the Father has promised His children an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for them? It is a blessed assurance that is beyond the reach of change and decay. It does not fade away. There is no corruption. This promise is undefiled. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, those sanctified of the Holy Spirit and to all who obeyed the will of the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ has been assured, promised, reserved and guaranteed eternal life. No reservations or doubts. Salvation is waiting for its revealing in the day when Jesus will return with His holy angels and take home the redeemed.

Satan has done well to convince the saved they are lost. He has embedded in the minds of the faithful that God would never consider them worthy enough to live with Him and only by a slim margin of victory would eternal life be given. There is no boldness of hope to believe that eternal life is real. When the people of God live cheap lives of imperfect hope they dim their lights of faith in a world growing darker by the minute. It seems the most perfect tool of Satan is not to convince the child of God to engage in some immoral act but rather to live fearful lives of distrust to their Father. If the feelings of fear become strong enough then the Christian will abandon their hope. As a result, death is feared and life is wasted. Hope is found in life now instead of the life to come. Peter wrote in a time of incredible trial to be a Christian yet he writes the positive message of eternal security in the promises of God. The great mercy of God has promised an eternal life that is incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away. It is reserved in heaven. He has kept His promise. This truth gives every Christian the confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—pledged before the world began. There is great joy in being a Christian because death is only a quiet sleep to awaken in eternal life and that is a promise of God.

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The Joy Of Companionship

rope tie into a knot, studio shot

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

The Joy Of Companionship

One of the basic needs of a man is a desire to be valued and recognized. Babies come into the world needing the bond of a mother. Children seek connections with their peers. Adulthood is an adventure of relationships where the soul seeks comfort, security, and peace in the companionship of others. The family is created from a need to spend life with another human being. Children become blessings to fill the joy of a couple to enjoy a family together. From the beginning of time, God created man to find the reward of sharing life with another. There is great reward in the union of two souls united together as one. A man alone finds it hard to navigate the uncertain paths of life. When God first created the man He recognized the need that man should not be alone and so made a helper comparable to him. The woman fills that need but this desire for companionship stretches into many other parts of life. Solitary confinement is used as a punishment because being alone is not the nature of man. To be alone and without companionship makes for a meaningless and depressing life. Two people are better than a man alone so they can help the other succeed. When one falls the other can help the fallen stand again. If there were no one there to help, it would be difficult for the man alone to find his strength. People need people. That is the way God created man. His command for Adam and Eve was to multiply and fill the earth. Imagine how lonely and stark the world was when the first man and woman stepped out the Garden of Eden into a world empty of human beings. Their real joy came when children were born and then their children had children and the earth filled with the sounds of humanity. Cities were built, commerce and industry established and the world became a planet of inhabitants. God was pleased with the design He created where men were not alone. Sadly the Lord had to destroy the world save eight souls because men used their unity of companionship to fill the earth with wickedness. It was here the lesson of how to use what God has given is learned. The generation of those who called upon the name of the Lord companioned with those who followed the way of Cain and soon the world was corrupt and destitute. Noah and his family remained alone in a world filled with all unrighteousness but they had one another. Spending over a year in the ark was bearable because the family of Noah had each other.

The joy of companionship is told by Solomon to be of great value because when one is stricken, a companion can help restore the afflicted. Two people lying close to one another will help warm the other when a man alone may freeze to death. A single braid of cord is easily broken but when combined with two other cords creating a triple-braided cord, it cannot easily be broken. So it is with having someone to bind your strength together to withstand the pressures of life. Friendship affords the opportunity to carry burdens, share troubles, enjoy happy times, create lasting memories and find completeness through the life of another human being. There is a stronger spirit when joined with others. Left alone the heart of the discouraged cannot be regained. All men need the spirit of another soul to bind their hearts in the union to find courage as they face danger. Jesus sent His disciples out two by two in large part to bear the burdens of one other. There would discouragement and the disciples would face rejection and persecution but united with another soul they could rejoice in the strength drawn from companionship. Peter and John went together to the Temple to pray and were later imprisoned together. Their spirit refreshed the souls of the other as they faced an uncertain future. Paul and Barnabas did much work (along with others) in establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire. Later Paul and Silas continued that work of evangelizing the world. Bound together in prison, Paul and Silas sang praises to God during the night. Two are better than one because so much more can be done.

When Jesus established the church He followed the will of His Father’s plan for its design. A key element of the New Testament church is the communion of fellowship in the body of Christ. The Hebrew writer alludes to this union of spirit when he speaks of the assembly as a time to exhort and encourage the other. When the disciples forsake the assembly they deny the union of companionship the Lord desired for His people. The music of the early church was not patterned after the Law of Moses but rather souls singing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as they made melody in their hearts to one another. This cemented the souls of the saints together as one body. The taking of the Lord’s Supper is a part of the unified pattern of souls joining together to examine the death of Jesus Christ and to share together the remembrance of His suffering. Preaching has no message if no one shows up to hear. The value of companionship is how the church thrives and grows into the image of God’s will. Assembling together is helping for tired souls to become strong and cold hearts to become warm. In part, the purpose of singing is to teach and admonish one another – the company of companionship. Communing together in the supper of the Lord binds hearts together as one body of Christ. Listening to preaching together creates a strong bond of faith through the word of God. Sharing life together with brethren is imperative to strengthen the church. The weak members are necessary and need the help of the stronger. When one brother sees another brother fall, he will lift him up. While one soul may be overpowered by the wiles of the devil, three souls united under the flag of righteousness will gain the victory. The joy of companionship is needed for every home and for the church of the Lord.

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God’s Will Is According To His Will

Gods will

Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him. (John 11:53-57)

God’s Will Is According To His Will

The ministry of Jesus began with great expectation and popularity but began to fade quickly as the man from Nazareth challenged the foundations of the Jewish leadership. While His miracles would draw many disciples to His message, there were many who could not bear with the implications of the plain and powerful teaching of righteousness given by Jesus. He became trouble for the Jewish elite who feared their place among the Romans. They could never deny His miracles and never sought to discount any miracle Jesus did but they constantly challenged His claim to be divine. Blinded by their hypocrisy, the chief priests and Pharisees would easily ignore the incredible resurrection of Lazarus from the dead and plot to kill Jesus instead. All of the people that were healed of their diseases could testify to the power of the Nazarene. Many of the ones who condemned Jesus stood in His presence when He did the unimaginable and healed lepers, made withered hands whole, raise from near death a man bedridden and cast out demons. This had no impact on the hardened hearts of the envious who despised Jesus. Because of their self-righteousness to see Jesus as only a carpenter’s son, they could never see Him for who He truly was – the Son of God. When the popularity of Jesus began to challenge their authority, the Jewish leaders tried to stop him. After a debate with Jesus at the Temple where Jesus declared He had been before Abraham, the Jews took up stones to throw at Him but He was hidden from them and left the Temple. Later, after healing the man born blind, the people again took up stones to kill him. When many in Jerusalem began to question whether Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Pharisees sent officers to arrest Him. The officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees empty-handed declaring they had never heard a man speak like Jesus. There were many plans to kill Jesus but to no avail. The people knew there was a desire to kill Jesus and the Lord Himself reminded the people of those who sought His life. Yet, they could not find the man from Nazareth to carry out their murderous deed. After Lazarus was raised from the dead, the search for Jesus intensified.

Jesus knew that in the fullness of His Father’s will, His death would come about. While the plans of men sought to stone Jesus, arrest Him and to kill Him were thwarted on every hand, the will of the Father was being carried out to its divine end. One of the things the rulers of the Jews failed to realize is that every time they tried to arrest Jesus, He evaded them. Early in the ministry of Jesus, he returned to His home in Nazareth and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. After reading from Isaiah, Jesus declared the prophet spoke of Him. This infuriated the people. They mobbed Jesus and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built where they intended to push him over the cliff. To their surprise, He passed through the crowd and went on his way. Jesus lived a controlled life. The will of the Father would permit the death of His Son when it was time for His Son to die – and not before. Jesus would tell His disciples His hour had not come and all of the murderous plans of the Jews would not change that. Near the end of His ministry, Jesus decided to conceal Himself more from the Jews as He no longer walked openly among them. He did not disappear totally from them as He came to Bethany and Jerusalem but His days of public ministry had ended. It would shortly come to pass the divine plan of the Father to die but not before it was the will of God.

The plotters and enemies of Jesus could never succeed when they wanted. It would require a great deal of hindsight to look back and see how the will of the Father was accomplished in the life of Jesus. Judas instructed his cohorts that when he came to the garden and kissed a certain man, that He was the individual they were to seize. Did Judas think about the times the people tried to seize Jesus and could not? As an apostle of Christ, he would have been aware of the attempts on Jesus’ life and the many times the people tried to attack Jesus and were hindered. To believe that any man could seize Jesus would seem impossible. One of the most amazing passages in scripture is when the Holy Spirit says the people laid hold of Jesus and led Him away. That would not have happened if it were not the will of God. Clapping irons on Jesus and dragging Him away as a common criminal only happened because God said it could. The arrest of Jesus in the garden was not a gentle affair. A mob came after Jesus with clubs, swords, weapons, and the chief priests, elders of the people, and a detachment of soldiers. Pilate would chide Jesus that he had the power to crucify Him or release Him. Jesus replied that he would have no power unless it was given to him from above. All that was done to Jesus was in keeping with the divine will of the Father. The life of Jesus is the testimony of the scheme of God’s redemption for humanity to be fulfilled in the life and death of His Son. Throughout the ages of time, the Father’s will is accomplished in keeping with His plan. Man cannot change that.

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The Will Of God For The Church

1thess 43

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

The Will Of God For The Church

Jesus died to purchase the church with His blood thereby redeeming the citizens of the kingdom to Himself and to the Father. The church was not an afterthought or mistaken idea temporarily put in place until a new revelation. On the first day of the kingdom when Peter opened the doors to all those who would believe Jesus was the Son of God, the church became an essential part of the character of God’s grace to save humanity. Those who would become disciples of Christ were added to the church which would be described as the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and the family of God. To be in the company of the children of God was to be special people called for an eternal promise of divine grace. These citizens of a heavenly promise were sanctified to the Lord God as holy people and a royal priesthood. The character of those who would embrace the love of God would need to be identified as separate from the world in every way. This would become a dominant factor in the manner of life as the disciple of Christ would seek to live a pure life in a very impure and immoral world. Sexual immorality was very common and almost a sign of culture. Sexuality was accepted at every level. Divorce was common. Infidelity would be a part of society without turning an eye. Temple worship among the pagan culture of Roman mythology including Diana, Bacchus, and Venus would open the floodgates for gross immorality. It would become a great challenge to keep oneself pure in a world given over to debauchery.

The will of God has always been the measure of man’s salvation whether he accepts it or not. Rejecting the word of the Lord displeases God and brings His wrath upon the transgressor. As people of God, the Christian exemplifies the character of faithfulness to show the world a life of purity. Living among the sexually immoral would become one of the great battles for the early church and Paul warns the saints in Thessalonica to abstain from the carnal pleasures of the flesh. The will of God was for His people to abstain from something that would be accepted in society, a normal part of relationships and to some degree, expected as a part of growing up. Sowing the seeds of fornication was an affront to the holy nature of God. The Christian is a sanctified or set apart individual who honors the covenant of marriage as given by the will of God. Fornication, adultery, sexual perversions and the like were not in keeping with the life of those who professed Jesus Christ as Lord. One of the great challenges of a Christian is how to control his own body and live in holiness and honor. The motivation behind abstinence is to live according to the will of God. Marriage is honorable and God does not want the bed to be defiled with the carnal pleasures of the flesh. God did not call His people to live in the lusts of the flesh but to live holy lives before all men. Engaging in sexual immorality is rejecting the love of God and His grace. Of all the people on the earth, those who profess to be Christians should separate themselves from the uncontrolled carnal desires of the flesh and possess their bodies with honor and purity.

While the world views sexuality as an expression of self-indulgence, the scriptures condemn fornication, adultery, homosexuality and all sexuality outside the bonds of marriage. Like Israel of old, the modern mind does not know how to blush. What God has called evil, men have called good. Those things that were called sinful are now called a lifestyle. The word of God has not changed and never will. Paul said the will of God is for His people to abstain from sexual immorality and the will of God remains the same for the Christian today. Accepting sexuality in the modern world does not change what God has said since the beginning of time. One of the failures of human wisdom is to believe that advancing cultures have a better understanding of morality. The Bible is viewed as a book that is out of date and out of step with the culture of mature minds who view themselves wiser than their ancestors. Sadly, the character of man remains unchanged since Adam and Eve and sexuality is still a transgression of the law of God. The sanctification of the Christian is an example of how the word of God (the Bible) establishes a life of purity and integrity. It is not easy to live in a world that is slowly accepting more and more of the debauchery of the flesh but if Paul exhorted the saints in Thessalonica to abstain from sexual immorality, the people of God today can follow the same admonition. Pleasing God and walking in truth is defined by the sanctification of the heart to abstain from sexual immorality.

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A God Who Is Slow To Anger

slow to anger

The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation. (Numbers 14:18)

A God Who Is Slow To Anger But Does Not Excuse The Guilty

The Hebrews had suffered under the tyranny of the Egyptian bondage for generations before the Lord came and freed them by His mighty hand. Through the miracles of the plagues the Lord showed the Egyptians and the Hebrews there was no God as great as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises made to the fathers would be kept as the Lord led the people out of bondage into a new land. When the people came to the Red Sea, the Lord showed His immense power to deliver His people as they walked across on dry land. Pursuing the Hebrews the Egyptian army was caught in the deluge of water that came crashing down upon them as the Lord destroyed the might and power of Egypt. Arriving at Mt. Sinai, the law was given to the Hebrews making them the nation of Israel. The Lord God would fight their battles and give them victory against any army. All the provisions of the people would be provided by the hand of the Lord as He fed them, gave them water and blessed them above any people on the earth. A new and fertile land was promised to them as the reward for obedience and faithfulness. Arriving at the borders of Canaan, everything was prepared for the rise of a new nation among the peoples of the world to show forth the glory of the Lord God of Israel. Spies were sent in to secure information about the Canaanite people and their cities. Ten of the spies returned disheartened and filled with fear. All they could see was disaster and death. The giants of the land were so large no army could defeat them. Their cities were fortified bastions that would resist any army. There was no hope in the heart of the people. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with a message of power and might. They suggested that with God’s help there was nothing to fear. Their message fell on deaf ears as the people rebelled against the Lord God who delivered them from Egypt and made them a great nation. God was angered and was determined to destroy all of Israel and begin anew. Moses interceded for the people and the nation was spared destruction at that time. The punishment for their rebellion came over the next forty years as the people wandered around in the wilderness. All those who were above the age of twenty would perish in the wilderness without seeing the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb would live to see the fulfillment of God’s promise.

When Moses interceded for the people, he described the incredible character of the Lord God. He defined the nature of God as slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. The people of Israel deserved to be destroyed for their constant bickering, complaining and murmuring. They complained about the conditions of the journey, the food provided by God and everything they could imagine to complain to their benefactor about. Their empty faith to enter the Promised Land was the last straw for the Lord. He wanted to destroy them and start over. Moses knew how compassionate the Lord was for His people and that mercy would save them from destruction. The people were guilty but God was able to forgive them and bless them. However, this did not mean there would not be consequences to their rebellion. Moses also said the Lord did not excuse the guilty. Those who rebelled were punished for disbelief. There would be many people who would die in the wilderness as the wrath of God meted out divine justice to those who disobeyed the word of the Lord. God is the Lord of mercy and pardon but He is also a God of wrath and justice.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He died on the cross to provide a way of atonement for all men to come into the holiest by a new and living way. The promise of eternal life is given through the blood of the Son of God. There is no greater sacrifice than the love of God to give the world His only begotten Son who for the love He had for all humanity willingly died for the sins of all men. In the cross is found the eternal longsuffering and abundant mercy of God. By the sacrifice of Christ, forgiveness is offered to remove the stain of the transgression that mars the character of a man. Like God delivering the children of Israel from bondage, only through the power of God can man find salvation. The final plague of the death of the firstborn became symbolic of the death of God’s Son for the redemption of the fallen. All of the grace and power of God is demonstrated through the grace of a redeeming Savior. Like Israel, the need for obedience and faith is necessary for salvation. God could have just given the Promised Land to the people but they had to learn obedience – and they failed. Everything man needs to find hope in eternal life is provided by the mercy of the Lord but man must obey to find those promises. When a man refuses to obey the word of the Lord he faces the consequences of a God who will by no means clear the guilty. Disobedience brings the wrath of God. Without faith and obedience, there is no promise of better land. God is the Lord of mercy and He is the God of punishment.

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Aristarchus

god knows name

Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. (Colossians 4:10)

Aristarchus

The Bible is filled with the names of great people, wise men, heroes of faith, scoundrels of infamy, false teachers, faithful apostles and a host of names that nothing is known. Names like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Peter and Paul resonate in the minds of the Bible student because they had a major role in the development of the plan of God to redeem humanity. Men like Aristarchus are slightly revealed on the pages of inspiration leaving the mind to wonder what kind of person he was and what role he had in the early church. Paul mentions him in his letter to Colosse as a man who shared a prison cell. Aristarchus was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul and had suffered abuse at the hands of the people in Ephesus when a riot broke out. He and Gaius were dragged before the magistrates of the city before the clerk of the city quieted the mob and released the men. Paul took Aristarchus with him on his journey arriving in the home country of Aristarchus which was Macedonia and then traveled to Greece. In the letter to Philemon, Paul commends Aristarchus as a co-worker. Here is a man who is mentioned by the Holy Spirit in three of the New Testament books but nothing else is known of him. His name is inscribed in the hall of faith among the saints who suffered with Paul in the work of teaching the gospel and we know hardly anything about him. Admittedly, there are many more that we know less about than Aristarchus.

Luke writes that Aristarchus is from Thessalonica (Macedonia) along with a fellow native named Secundus. Where did Aristarchus learn the truth and how did he come to follow Paul in his arduous trips around the Roman Empire? The name Aristarchus remains a mystery for all the ages but his name is not missed by God. In someplace and at some time, the gospel moved the heart of Aristarchus to obey the gospel of Christ. As a Greek, what moved him to accept this new idea of the Christ and the teachings of the early church? His belief was not a passive one but vibrant to accepting the challenges of imprisonment and the hardships he would face with the apostle Paul. God knew who Aristarchus was and this man of faith knew that God held his name is reserve for eternal life. It is doubtful that more information will emerge of who this man of God was but the one thing that is certain is his name was in the Book of Life and that is all that really mattered to him. Names are important because this is what is found in the memory of God’s grace or the measure of His wrath. Aristarchus kept the faith and like Paul, finished the course as a faithful child of God. His name will not be found in the marble ruins of Rome or the historical documents of days long gone. Aristarchus lived in such a way to inscribe his name in a place that could never be taken away. The hand of God wrote the name Aristarchus in eternity because God knew who he was. Names carved in stone fade away. Those names found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will never fade away as eternity unfolds.

The apostle Paul wrote his letter to Colosse many years ago but the whole world can still read of a man called Aristarchus. He left a legacy of a name that means faithful and true. He was born in Thessalonica but no one knows where he died and where he is buried except God. The body that was placed in the ground was not who Aristarchus was and he did not live for the glory of the flesh. Whenever and however the companion of Paul died it was a day of glory and a moment of victory. Like Paul, he suffered because he believed Jesus was the Son of God. Death unleased the bonds of physical restraints to open the portals of eternity for a man whose name; while unknown for generations; was known by the Lord God. The world is filled with all those who seek to make their name great and hoping that history will bear their names with the badge of glory but to what end? Those who were great in one generation will be forgotten in the succeeding generations as whispers of the past. Names etched on marble fill the landscapes of burial grounds forgotten as only a moment in a time long ago. When the heart of a man believes and obeys the gospel of Jesus Christ, his name will never be forgotten in the mind of God. Men will forget but the Lord will never forget the names of the faithful saints – men like Aristarchus.

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Jesus Is The Reason For The Season

Bible cross

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season

There are three words that are imperative for the church today: preach the word! There is nothing more fundamental yet so often disregarded as the exhortation of the apostle Paul that preaching must find itself rooted and grounded in the message of Jesus Christ. Preaching the word is more than unraveling a yarn of interesting stories with humorous antidotes and pithy sayings to excite the ears of the listener. The word is based on the character and the divine nature of the Son of God and nothing less. All men will stand before the Lord God and receive a judgment in accordance with the words of the book – the Bible. A grandfather was asked by his young grandson why he always read his Bible, the aged man said, “I am studying for my final exam.” If the word of God is going to judge the hearts of men in the final day those who preach the word are obligated to preach the words found on the pages of holy writ. Paul reminds Timothy of the day when God and the Lord Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead. He then declares the need to preach the word and that word is found in convincing, rebuking and exhorting the saints with the message of the risen Christ. There will come a time when men will not endure the doctrine of Christ and turn away to hear something more appealing. This is evident by the many different brands of churches that fill the land. Brand A Church teaches a different doctrine than Brand B Church which differs from Brand C Church and so it goes. If everyone preached Jesus Christ how could there be any division or disharmony? A denomination is a divisive mathematical term showing the fallacy of human wisdom trying to preach the doctrine of Christ from different viewpoints. The cause of religious division comes from men failing to teach the doctrine of Christ and Christ alone. If preaching was done through the authority of Jesus Christ all men would be united but they are not. This shows that all men do not preach Jesus Christ but their own doctrines.

Paul declares the nature of preaching as something that is without regard to what the world accepts or denies. Preaching the word must be done in season and out of season. In other words, a man must preach the word of Christ whether the time is favorable or not, whether people accept it or not. Jesus is the reason for the season if it is a sunny day and Jesus is the reason for the season if it is a day filled with storms. Preaching must convict the heart and as Dee Bowman says it must storm the will. Assaulting the bastions of the human heart requires diligence to preach Jesus Christ when it appeals to the minds of the audience and when it does not. There is much in the teaching of Jesus that does not tickle the ears of the listener. Like His Father, Jesus taught His goodness and His severity. Preaching Jesus is telling the audience there is judgment, hell, condemnation and contrary to popular preachers today, there is something called sin. Jesus was full of love, compassion, mercy, and grace. If a man is to preach Jesus he must preach the whole counsel of Jesus in the good seasons and in the difficult seasons.

Jesus is the reason for the season because He is the only message. Vance Havner said, “Make Jesus Christ your theme! I have seen preachers espouse causes and champion movements, and when the cause died and the movement collapsed, the preacher vanished too. But the man who glories in Christ never grows stale.” What is remarkable about the message of Christ is that what a man preached in the year 1245 or 1492 is just as powerful today as it was then. For two thousand years, the doctrine of Jesus Christ has remained unchanged. What has destroyed the unity of the body of Christ is the changing nature of preaching where men stop preaching the word and begin teaching the tenets of human wisdom. History is filled with the failed efforts of those who preach a different gospel. There is only one message of Jesus Christ and it is found in the word. If the world accepts the teaching of Jesus the Father is glorified. When the world fights against the teachings of Jesus Christ and persecutes the saints of God the preaching of Christ remains powerful. It does not matter what the political, social or moral climate of the world becomes – preaching Jesus is the only imperative. He is the reason. Preach Christ.

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