Deliver Us from Evil #421

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 97:10)

Christians love the Lord and abide in His love by keeping His commandments. “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (Jno. 14:15); and If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (Jno. 15:10). Loving the Lord also means we will despise or detest (“hate”) evil. We are not loving God when we practice sin. Evil is not attractive to those who love the Lord. See the dangers of sin with clear eyes. Love the Lord by being His obedient child. He will preserve you and deliver you from evil.

The Fight is On! #420

3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6  and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Christians are at war, and we’d better realize it! The battle is raging for the minds and souls of every person on earth, including ours. Guns, tanks, missiles and bombs will not defeat our enemy. We wage a spiritual warfare, “the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). Our weapons are spiritual in nature and “mighty in God” to break down the bulwarks of unbelief, human wisdom and pride. The “sword of the Spirit”, the word of God, renders error impotent. Truth vanquishes every foe and as it leads us to obedience and victory in Christ. The question is not whether Christ and His army will prevail. The question is, in which army are you a soldier; Satan’s or the Lord’s?

Full, yet not Satisfied #419

8  All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing. 9  That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10  Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-10)

The old adage rings true, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Life “under the sun” brings nothing that is truly new. Human beings have benefited from labor since the beginning of the creation, yet it is obvious that labor does not satisfy every longing of the heart. This is not said to discount labor, but to emphasize that expecting to meet all of one’s desires through labor is unrealistic. There remains a yearning for something more – to know more, to be more – that labor does not fill. The purpose of your life and the satisfaction for which you yearn will be found when you fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Jesus Ashamed of Believers #418

42  Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43  for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43)

If sinners are saved by faith only, then we must safely conclude that these believers who loved “the praise of men more than the praise of God” will be saved without confessing Him. Who can believe such a thing? A doctrine that allows one to sin with impunity is false; it is error. Being ashamed of Jesus and His words now will certainly forfeit His acceptance of you when He returns – even if, like these rulers, you believe in Him: “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Saving faith is obedient, otherwise, it is not acceptable faith (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21). Be sure your faith pleases Jesus.

Times and Seasons #417

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)

There continue to be those who ignore and deny the truth of the Lord’s return. It will be a day of divine justice against evil. Others dispute the nature of that day. These attempt to predict when that day will take place. They make fanciful calculations using the Bible which dazzle their disciples, but only give false comfort and hope. Christ’s apostles said the day of the Lord will come without warning (“as a thief in the night”) and “they shall not escape”. It will be unexpected and inescapable. Do not be unsettled by those who claim knowledge of when the Lord will come. The Scriptures do not tell us. Not to worry; faithful Christians are always ready for His return (see 1 Thess. 5:5-11).

Sacrifice #416

18  And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20  They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21  Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22  and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-22)

What are you willing to leave to follow Jesus? Fishermen Peter and Andrew left their nets and immediately followed Jesus when He called them. James and John immediately left their work, their boat and their father to follow Jesus when He called them. In another place it says these four men “forsook all and followed Him” (Lk. 5:11). Following Jesus requires immediate, complete sacrifice. Will you sacrifice anything to follow the One who sacrificed everything for you?

Don’t be Cheated! #415

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

It makes a difference what Christians believe. If not, Paul wasted his time warning Christians of the “basic principles of the world” that display themselves as philosophy and religious and spiritual traditions. These are empty and deceitful, plundering faith by their attractive allurement. and  False doctrines, worldly philosophies, religious and spiritual traditions – these all originate with the world, not God. Fill yourself with the word of Christ. The world’s philosophies and traditions, while promising knowledge and wisdom, bring eternal death. The gospel of Christ secures eternal life for the faithful. That’s enough; “You are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).

Help be of the Same Mind #414

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3  And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (Philippians 4:2-3)

Paul made a personal appeal to these two Christian women to achieve unity of mind in the Lord. He implores each in turn, as it were, “face to face”. He urged his fellow companions to help these women. Here’s the lesson: Be careful not to immediately take sides when differences arise between brethren. This aggravates the situation, making it more difficult to achieve a godly resolution. Keep the best interests of all parties before you. The goal is unity in the Lord. With that in place the Lord’s work is unhindered and names remain in the Book of Life, undefiled by sin.

Godly Sorrow and Repentance #413

9  Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Being sorry for sin and repenting of sin are two different things. This passage not only distinguishes between sorrow and repentance (which is a change of heart), it also identifies two types of sorrow. Sorrow for sin that is directed toward God produces repentance, while the sorrow of the world produces death. You may be sorry you got caught in your sin. You may be sorry for the effects your sin had on others. But only when you sorrow because you have sinned against God will you be driven to repent – change your heart – leading to salvation. Judas was remorseful over the outcome of his betrayal of Jesus. He even admitted his sin. But Judas did not have godly sorrow. He killed himself instead of repenting of his sin (Matt. 27:3-5). If you are struggling with sin you need to be sorry “in a godly manner”. This type of sorrow toward God will generate the decision of faith to “repent, turn to God and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20).

God’s Commands or Your Traditions? #412

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)

One of the sins Jesus rebuked while He was on earth was the elevating of human religious traditions to the status of God’s will. The fact of the matter is that we do not get to tell God what is right and what He must accept from us. God’s commands, by definition, take precedence over human tradition. To think otherwise is the height of hypocrisy and self-righteousness (Matt. 15:7). Jesus said our worship is vain when we prefer to obey our doctrines instead of God’s commands: “In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Test everything you believe and do against the word of God. Then, follow God instead of men, and you will have His approval.