Tag Archives: Salvation

The Quick and the Dead

2 Timothy 4:1-2

 

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

So which are you?  Are you among the quick or the dead?  This is not a reference to how fast you can run!  This is a reference to the nature of your spirit!  Paul tells us that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will quicken your mortal body!  That word quicken means to make alive!  The Spirit of God, otherwise known as the Holy Spirit, brings life into our spirits when it enters in at the time of salvation.  It is a similar life giving as when God breathed life into Adam into garden.  He had formed the body out of the dust of the ground, but as of yet, there was no life, no part of God, in that body.  But when God breathed life into him, he became alive.  We need the breath of God in our lives as well. 

There is coming a day when God will judge us all.  The quick he will judge according to our works on this earth and we will gain our heavenly rewards.  The crowns are mentioned throughout the Bible, and we will receive those crowns we have worked for.  There are five crowns.  The Crown of life will be given to those who persevere under trials.  The. Imperishable Crown is given to those who demonstrate self-denial and persistence in their faith.  The Crown of Righteousness is given to those who everyone who is in an intimate relationship with God.  The Crown of Glory is given to those who shepherd others and lead a life that is a good example for others.  The Crown of Rejoicing goes to men and women who work as evangelists, or who wins souls to Christ.  These crowns are then cast down at Jesus feet in a sign of submission and worship in Heaven.

The dead will also be judged.  Those who do not have their name written in the Lambs Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire, along with the devil and his demons. This is the final judgment on mankind.  They will never have an opportunity to leave that burning lake of fire.  For all eternity they will feel the flames of torment that were never, meant for mankind.  All because they refused to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  This is the only way to get your name written down – a personal confession of faith in Jesus.  He said that no one goes to the father except through Him.  Please, if you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, ask Him to forgive you today, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior.  He will hear your prayer and wrap His loving arms around you if you do!

Then comes the call to our hearts.  Paul declarers the mission Timothy has in dealing with the churches he has been assigned to.  But this mission can be passed to all of us.  It is a microcosm of how to bring people to Christ. and how to disciple those who come to Christ. If we follow this simple formula, we will see our churches grow, our friends saved, and disciples rising up to follow Jesus.  I fall short in utilizing these steps too often.  I must learn to incorporate these things in my daily living and conversation.  Let’s take a look at how this works out in our lives. 

Preach the word.  I think often we get intimidated by that word preach.  We think it means to be a great orator and to together a stirring sermon that will touch the heart of a person.  We think we have to study hard to get the message just right.  Our minds tell us we are not preachers – far from it. We are too imperfect to preach.  But our imperfection is the key to the whole message!  God loves us just as we are, and we can tell that truth with conviction, we are preaching.  Sharing what God has done for me is the best preaching anyone can do.  It does not have to be a long, studied out argument on the merits of being a Christian and all that it takes to become one.  Just a simple testimony of what He has done for me, for you!  Preach that message and the world will listen.

Be instant in season and out of season.  Here is where the study comes in.  This is really where the rubber meets the road, so to say.  If someone comes up to you and asks you why you are full of joy, or why you have such peace in the midst of turmoil, are you ready to give them an answer?  Are you a student of the word of God?  Can you defend your position with solid scripture?  You don’t have to know the address, although it is helpful to give validity to what you are saying.  But knowing the word is helpful what times are good or bad – in season or out of season.  Have a read through the Bible? Do you have the word of God somewhere in your brain?  If you do, then the Holy Spirit can bring the right word to your remembrance when you need it.  I can’t tell you how many times He has done that for me.  And he will give you the words to say when you are asked about your faith.  But they must be inside you in order for them to come to your remembrance.  Study to show yourself approved!

Reprove, rebuke and exhort.  These three things are essential ij discipling others in the way of Christ.  If we are not doing these, we are not properly leading people down the path to holiness in Christ Jesus.  I need to do these to myself as well.  But we must do them with two key elements always in mind.   The first is longsuffering, or patience.  It is easy for me to want someone to change their ways now, to take my rebuke or reproof now, to grow up and mature in Christ now.  But I must always remember that God was patient with me and I must exhibit the fruit of longsuffering with others.  The old saying says Rome wasn’t built in a day!  Well, neither was a mature Christian!  These things take time and we must bear with those who are trying to find their way.  The second element is with all doctrine.  I have a friend who loves to tell me what a particular preacher says.  I want to hear what God says in His word, not what some preacher says.  Sharing a message someone has given is OK, but give me the word of God if you are trying top build me up or correct me.  The word of God is what can change a life, not the word of some preacher.  Preachers can get it wrong, but God’s word is always truth and life.

To reprove is to show someone the error of their ways, or to correct them.  This has to be done with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  You should never just walk up to someone and say they are doing this or that wrong.  And it should never be done in front of anyone else.  This is a private matter, and you must use wisdom m and the word to show them the error of their ways.  Remember that if they have offended you for some reason, that reproof can only come after forgiveness is granted.  Forgiveness to them for the offense, forgive ness to you because you took offense.  You should never give reproof if there is an offense that has not been corrected properly.

The same is true for a rebuke.  A rebuke is more of a warning that going a certain direction can cause one harm.  I get caught up on certain things from time to time and if I don’t get them under control, that can cause me harm.  One example is chocolate!  Once I start eating chocolate, it is hard for me to stop.  But if I don’t stop, or at least use temperance, I will balloon in my weight, which I do not want.  So, I must rebuke myself and remind myself that this is bad for me to keep doing.  This is a simple example, but I think you can see what I mean.  The spiritual applications are many.  Perhaps someone is listening to bad doctrine, or they have fallen into a pattern of sin, or they had stopped attending church.  All of these can be cause for rebuke.  But remember the lovingkindness and doctrine part!

To exhort is to uplift or encourage someone.  This is a positive thing but still must be done with patience and doctrine.  Too much of this can instill the wrong kind of pride in a person, and that is dangerous.  Exhortation should be true and justified, not just pretty words flowing off our lips.  If you enjoy your pastors’ message, tell them and tell them why!  Often, we just say “Good message”, but we never tell them, how it affected us.  Exhorting explains why it is a good message.  Exhorting lifts a person spiritually, not in the flesh.  Exhortation should come sparingly, but it should always come.  This is a sure way to see someone grow in Christ. These two verses show us how we should conduct our everyday conversations with others.  I pray you will go out and keep these words in mind as you go about your day.  Find someone to peach the word to.  Be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you.  Have the right words to say to those around you, and use them sparingly and lovingly.  If you do thisl sopuls will come closer to Jesus Christ all around you.

The Lord Knows His Own

2 Timothy 2:16-19 King James Version (KJV)

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

It is so easy to get into a discussion or argument over doctrine or belief system. We argue over what is true and what is a lie. We discuss the facts of the day and come up with different conclusions. It is hard to know what is right and what is wrong anymore. The media doesn’t help us, the politicians make it worse, and our vain discussions get us nowhere.

A perfect example is the recent happenings in Minneapolis, where a man named George Floyd was murdered, yes murdered, by a police officer and it was caught on camera. There is absolutely no doubt about what happened and how it happened. No doubt of the officers guilt. No doubt the other three officers should have done something to stop this man from murdering someone in front of a crowd. They are guilty also. The result of this flagrant violation of a police officers power has been riots in the streets of cities across the nation. Crowds of people looting, destroying public and private property, attacking police and defying the rule of law. The chant Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police. More and more people have sympathy for their cause. Even governors and city councils are starting to bend under their reform cries. Their cause is trumpeted by the media.

But what do we here about the damage they have done? Hundreds of businesses across the nation have been completely destroyed, hundreds more damaged. Police officers have been shot, had concussions from bricks thrown at them, and been ignored in their plea for calm. The demonstrators demand justice, but they don’t want justice! If they truly wanted justice they would want all those who are damaging property to have justice also. They would want them in jail also. Justice cannot be for just one, it must be for all. Because of a few bad cops, they want to abolish all. The media has spun that to mean just take money, some money, from the police force and distribute it different. But there are many in this movement today who want to see the police gone. If that happened, anarchy would come. We are seeing that now, but not acknowledging it. We prefer not to think it can happen. But it is! Where is the reporting on this? What is the truth and what is vain babblings?

Then there is COVID-19. This flu-like disease has closed businesses all over the country, bringing an end to a strong economy. It has closed sports, leisure, travel, dining and all kinds of establishments. It has caused tens of thousands to go to unemployment status. The reporting kept spelling doom so we all believed it. People tested positive with no symptoms. They said it spread by contacting any saliva, even the smallest drops. Maybe a cough, a sneeze, wiping a runny nose left a bit here or there. As more investigation is done into this malady, I start top wonder if this has not always been around and just never tested for. I start to wonder if closing businesses was the best answer. The strange and vain babblings of the media and our politicians goes on and on about this disease, and we have done little to stop it. What are we to believe?

Paul here addresses a different babbling then this mess our media serves up to us, but it does give us pause to think about what is true and what is not. Paul is addressing one particular instance or heresy that he came across in the early church. We have to recognize that there were more errors being preached than these two guys. The Judaisers were around spreading false doctrine, others upended Pauls’ doctrine with their tales as well.. These two were telling people that the resurrection was past meaning there we not going to be a resurrection of our bodies. It was a spiritual resurrection only according to them. Of course the repercussions of that meant there was no life to look forward to after this one. This drove many away from God because if we have life in Christ in this life only, we are hopeless!

Paul then outs things straight and he says one of the most profound things we should all cling to. The Lord knows them that are His. Simple yet worthy of our utmost respect. I don’t know about you, but I am quite often guilty of passing judgment on others. It’s easy to decide who is going to heaven and who isn’t by their behavior and language. It’s also easy to take those vain babblings and spread gossip about someone just because I think it is true. I am like those reporters on the riots and COVID-19. I hear something and I run with it. I ignore what is good and what is bad and make judgment on what I want to talk about.. I get into heated arguments on all kinds of subjects, even on doctrine of the kingdom, and make judgments on those things. I wonder how they could possibly be right? How can all these violent protestors be right? How can they possibly be headed for heaven? How can a politician who looks out for his personal interests above the interests of the country be saved?

I can argue about these things all day, but in the end of the day all of it is vanity, vain babblings, The Lord knows those that are His! Why should I worry! Should I witness? Of course! But I must realize that I do not know the heart of a man. I would have been wrong in finding a King for Israel when Samuel chose David. I probably would not have chosen fishermen and tax collectors as followers if I was Jesus. I would look at the person but God looks at the heart of a man. God cares about the heart of a man. In these last days, men will become more judgmental, more prideful, more dishonest and more skeptical. They will continue to call good evil and evil good. It will become harder and harder to follow Christ and even the very elect will be turned away. Stay true to God and do not get into the fray of who is right and who is wrong. God knows those that are His. Just make sure you are one of His!

Honoring Widows

1 Timothy 5:3-7

3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day..
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

In our society today more and more children are caring for their elderly parents. Because most businesses now do not offer the pensions they used to, seniors are finding it harder to afford living on their own. The cost of living keeps rising and the social security checks just don’t rise as fast. This poses big problems for those who did not do a good job saving up during their lifetime, and that is the majority of our seniors today. Fourteen percent of adults living in someone else’s home are the parents of the homeowner, up from seven percent in 1995.

At the same time, more and more adult children are living with their parents due to various reasons. Lack of jobs, affordability of housing and coping skills are all causing young adults to move back home. And in many cases, grandparents are taking custody of their grandchildren due to a lack of social structure in the home of their children. This is the case with my wife and I. We have our fourteen year old granddaughter living with us because our daughter was in a situation that defied all sensibility and put our granddaughter at risk. We are thrilled to have her and she loves being with us but it does put a strain on our household budget.

I bring all this up because we now live in a society that doesn’t really see its widows. We rarely use that word – at least I hardly ever hear it. It seems there is a negative connotation associated with the word widow and that is so wrong. Women live much longer than men on average so it is very likely we will have a lot of widows around, But the fact that women are aging much better and looking very good well into their 80’s leads us to think of them as still vibrant and able to care for themselves. They just don’t look like widows, if you know what I mean. I know a lot of ladies who are widows that lead very god lives and seem to be doing very well in society. I know they are hurting deep inside, but they do well to rise above that and be active in the community.

In Jesus day, it was a different picture. The woman was a housekeeper and her husband provided everything for her. There was no social security or welfare she could fall back on if her husband died so she was left to fend for herself and it was very difficult. People felt sympathy for them, but most households had enough to do just to keep their own house running smoothly. It was hard for them to give of their sustenance to help someone else out. So, the widows had to trust God to provide for them.

We read a couple stories in the Bible about widows that really show God’s provision and faithfulness. In 1st Kings 17, we can read the story of Elijah coming to the widow of Zarapeth. She was fixing bread from the last bit of meal that she had. Elijah asked for the bread she was making. She felt that once this bread was eaten, her and her son would die because they were out of food. But Elijah blessed the bread and the widow found that her meal never ran out. The widow was provided for.

In 2nd Kings 4 Elisha went to a widow’s house and she was about out of oil. She just had a cruse of it left. Elisha told her to go get all the vessels she could find and bring them to the house. She did that and the cruse filled every vessel she brought into the house so she did not run out. Again, the widow was provided for.

Throughout the Bible we read that God cares for the widows. Psalm 68:5 tells us that God is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. Psalm 146:9 says God upholds the fatherless and the widow. Jeremiah 49:11 says the widows should trust in God. And James 1:27 says it is pure, undefiled religion to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to stay unspotted from the world.

It is fascinating to me that widows are so often mentioned along with the fatherless. And they are both mentioned as ones whom God has a special heart for. What intrigues me is that God is our heavenly Father and he is also the bridegroom waiting for His bride. To me this is not mere word play, but a truth that we should all pay close attention to. The fatherless can be seen as those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior, thus never becoming adopted into His family as children and heirs. And the widows can be seen as those who have not married the bridegroom after they have divorced this world. They have not come under is authority and become obedient to Him. These are people in desperate need of attention. They need provision from the word of God to help sustain them and lead them in the right path.

It would be easy for us to overlook these scriptures about widows because the landscape of our society has changed. But God always has a purpose and a vision for the future and He wants us to pay close attention to everything he has to say. We cannot ignore this charge to care for the widows. Whether they be true widows who have lost their husbands, or whether they be spiritual widows who have left this world behind and married the Bride. Both need our attention and our help.

On the other hand, Paul writes if a widow is living in pleasure then she is dead while living. In Paul’s day, this would be looked upon as slandering her husbands name. Today we often see widows go on to remarry or lead very good lives after their husband dies. So once again the picture has changed. But if a person who has died to this world by accepting Christ and lives a life of fun and games that are not spiritual, they face the same fate. They have not come under the arm of a protective Savior, but rather have decided to turn their backs on the one who saved them. This is a very dangerous place to live. Once we turn our backs on this world, we should never return to the ways of the world. Christ calls us to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to have no part of that former life or of a life filled with gaiety. We are to become obedient to Christ and His commandments if we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21)

Do you know any widows who are struggling in their faith? This is a call to all of us to provide the truth to them. The bread of life and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Just as Elijah and Elisha provided for widows in their day, so we should bring the word of God to those who are trying to find their way once they have died to the world. We are not to condemn them, just as Christ did not come to condemn (John 3:17). We are to love them and nurture them, bringing them alongside so they can taste and see that the Lord is good. This is our calling!

Time For A Change!

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

If I have heard Him, and been taught by Him, then it’s time.  I should not wait any longer. He is the truth, and He can not lie.  It’s time for me to put away the old things in my life, and all the corrupt thoughts and lust of my past.  Put it away for good.  We all know that’s easier said than done, right?  It seems just when I get my head clear f that baggage, it pops back up again.  Then I feel like I’m stuck on stupid, as my friend says.

Here’s what I see as a key way to get that old man put behind me.  Ignore him.  Every time those bad thoughts come wandering my way, just ignore them and focus on God.  If I spend my time worried that the old thoughts are back, I just give them a place in my head. So when they come rushing in, and they will, I just don’t fret or stew about it, I go about my business and praise God, focusing on the praise instead of the delusion in my mind.  Once I can master that, the thoughts will eventually fade away and become irrelevant.  I believe they will always come.   It’s how I cope with them that matters.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

I need to renew my mind  Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  This is so critical once we have been born again.  Our minds need to be put right,  We have been in the world for so many years (I got saved when I was 24) and that old worldly mindset needs to go.  The mind has such power over he rest of our body and soul.  If we can be renewed in the spirit of our mind, the  rest will follow.  And that is done through reading and studying the word, getting grounded in a good church where we can fellowship with other believers, and learning how to pray and praise.

The new man is created in righteousness and holiness.  Those that think they can get saved and just go about their merry little lives the same way they were before being saved are deceived.  It is very clear in this passage that God asks us to change.  We should not be the same person after we accept Christ, if we have taken the time to learn Him, hear Him and be taught  by Him, as our first verse says.  His desire is to bring us to the place where we take His love to a lost and dying world.  And we can only do that effectively when the old man is gone, and the new man has taken up residence.  Has he come  alive within you?

Learn Christ

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Paul starts out this section by asking the people not to walk as the Gentiles walk. He describes this as walking in the vanity of their minds.

I remember walking like that. I was raised in the church. My mom was the Church secretary for the First Congregational Church in West Boylston Massachusetts for most of my formative years. She was also the board secretary. So we were at every church function that ever happened. I was in the choir, I was an acolyte, I got confirmed and everything seemed to be going the right direction. But in my senior year in high school I started to experiment with drugs. Back in those days we did LSD on sugar cubes. That’s how I started. I got in with a great bunch of guys and we were there hippies of the senior class. This was in 1969-1970. We were true flower children
During the summer of 1970 high was the only word I knew – LSD, pot, speed, booze.. My mind was so messed up.  I drugged up shortly after I started college, I got mononucleosis.  I missed five weeks of college, which meant five weeks of chemistry and physics labs. I had no desire to go back even though they offered to let me start over again on full scholarship. I was a smart kid. I turned it down and took a job in the factory where my mom was then working. But high remained the main word. It was definitely the vanity of my mind. I thought I was doing so good and I was so messed up. I was so thankful for that day that I accepted Jesus Christ in my life and got turned around. What was your experience before you knew Jesus?

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

There’s no doubt that my understanding was darkened. I was so alienated from the life of God. I had many people try to get me to church but they had no success. I classified myself as an agnostic. I believed there was a higher power but I didn’t think it was the God they were talking about. And that was the ignorance that was in me my heart.  I was definitely blinded. I had been raised in the Bible and worked in the church, even assisting in Sunday School, but it did not follow me because I became blind to it.

I was no doubt past feeling.  My heart was cold and unyielding. I had a few girlfriends but most of them were just passing girls who satisfied my lust. I never developed any close relationships that lasted. It was all fun and games and it was for my pleasure. I was definitely greedy in that area. It was not a fun way to live when I look back on it, but it sure seemed fun then.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

But that’s not my Jesus. And I have learned Him over the past 40 years and He has been so good to me. Two years after I got saved, He brought me to my wife and we’ve been married for 38 years. We have had our struggles and I have had my struggles with my past but she has stuck by my side all the way through and I haven’t always deserved it. He gave me an angel and I didn’t deserve that either. He gave me three daughters and five grandchildren. He has blessed my life abundantly.
I have also learned that he wants me in Ministry and right now this blog and my Palms and my other blog are my Ministry. I am restricted at home with cancer so I can’t go out and do the evangelistic work that I love to do. My church is losing our pastor (he’s retiring), and I am usually the fill in guy.  Some would like  me to be the pastor.  At this time I can’t go to my church because there’s mold in the building and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Please pray for my church.
I have learned that Christ wants me to love all those that he puts in my path and all those that I can reach. And I have to do a better job doing that. I’ve learned of His peace and His undying love for me.
I’ve also learned to be humble, and that I must keep my pride suppressed.  Ny wife is my helper there. I have learned to praise Him in any situation at any time of day or night. I’ve learned that He is worthy of every word of Praise that I can lift up to His name. I have learned that the world will reject Him and will reject me, but that cannot keep me from lifting up His name at every opportunity. That is what I’ve learned about Christ and there is so much more. It is a much better life and I plan to live it as long as I’m on this Earth, which will be a long long time