Freedom of choice is one of the privileges God has given us, but He instructs us and urges us to use that freedom wisely. The laws of God are guideposts to lead us on the path of life, and He watches the decisions we make and the roads we take. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” – Proverbs 15:3. As long as we use our freedom wisely, we will mature in Christian character, and God can trust us with more freedom. But if we abuse our freedom and deliberately disobey His Word, our freedom will gradually become bondage, the kind of bondage that can’t easily be broken. “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” – Proverbs 5:22.

He shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” – Most people who follow sinful pleasures, think they can give them up whenever they please; but sin repeated becomes customary, usual, we get used to it. It no longer seems so bad. We start to justify it in our minds. The usual or often done sin soon becomes habit; and habit in the end assumes the form of necessity then the form of bondage; the man becomes “holden with the cords of his sins” or he becomes bound with the cords of sin. He becomes in bondage to that sin. A slave to that sin; and so he may at first thought he was exercising his “freedom” to sin a particular way, but in the end that so called “freedom” was really the Devils ploy to put him into bondage and so this man who wanted his freedom “to live it up” is now led captive by the devil by his own desire to sin. “For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” – Acts 8:23

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Genesis 5:1-2 “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

Man is not his own creation, neither are we a result of evolution or a “big bang” – God created man, God created man in His own likeness. God created humans with only two sexes – male and female. God creates you either a man or a woman. God makes no mistakes. You were born either male or female, and you will remain either male or female the rest of your life.

There was a day when God, in His infinite wisdom, created man. We have not eternally existed, though we are a creation of an eternally existing God.

in the likeness of God” – This is mentioned to remind us how highly God had honored man, and how shamefully man has sinned against God. Think about that statement for a minute, we were created in the image or the likeness of The God! What an honor God bestowed upon man, and then think how much man has fallen since then to the point now some men and women even doubt or have confusion over whether they are men or woman. But thankfully God sent His Son, to die for all of mans sins (for we are all sinners). Jesus came to pay the sin debt of all of mans sins, even the most dreadful and shameful of sins, Jesus has died for them; and all man has to do is to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior by faith – to receive that forgiveness and to accept that sin debt paid on our behalf! And to have eternal life with God one day in Heaven.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 10:9,10 & 13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you have not, why don’t you call on His name today and accept Jesus as your Savior?

Matthew 5:13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the salt of the earth” – Our Lord shows us here what all who profess to follow Him, should be; we should be the salt of the earth, to preserve the world from putrefaction and destruction. Salt renders food pleasant and palatable; so Christians, by their lives and influence, are to keep the world from entire moral corruption. By sending up their prayers, the blessing of God, and by their influence and example, they save the world from universal vice and crime.

But if the salt have lost his savour” – A Christian, who has lost the life of Christ, and the witness of His Spirit, out of his soul, may be likened to this salt. He may have the sparks and glittering particles of true wisdom, but without its unction or comfort; only the soul that is in union with Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, can preserve its savor and influence, and be the instrument of good to others.

To be trodden underfoot” – There was a type of salt in Judea, which was generated at the lake Asphaltites, and therefore called bituminous salt, easily rendered savorless, and of no other use but to be spread in a part of the temple, to prevent slipping in wet weather. This is probably what our Lord alludes to in this place; to the existence of such a salt, and to its application to such a use.

We need to keep a constant watch out for bad influences in our life, and we need to keep a constant check to make sure we are being good influences for the Lord. What kind of influences are we letting into our life to affect us and our decision making? What kind of influence are we being to those around us, to our friends and to our family? Are you being a bad worldly influence, or are you being a Godly Christ like influence. Are we letting Satan and the world influence us negatively and letting the devil pull us deeper and deeper into sin and farther and farther away from God? Or are we letting Christ influence us by digging deep into His Word, by praying and meditating on His truths and growing closer and closer to Him each and every day

Illustration on being a good influence – Four preachers were discussing the merits of various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James best because of its simple, beautiful English language. Another preferred the American Standard Version because it is more literal and he likes lots of error in what he reads. Still another favored the New International Version because of its up-to-date vocabulary and it has a lot less words and verses to worry about reading and studying. When the fourth preacher was asked his opinion, he replied, “I like my mother’s translation best.” The other three were a little puzzled. They were unaware that his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes, she did,” he stated, “She translated the Bible into life. She lived what she read, and hers was the most convincing translation I ever saw.” This good mother had a fine Christian influence on her son. What about your influence? Do you so live out the Bible, like this mother did, that people can see the Word of God in you come out in your everyday life and actions?

I recently got a “new” old book by John R. Rice and I am enjoying it greatly. From what I have been able to ascertain it is no longer in print. I bought a used copy of it after searching for it for a long time. Below our some of his thoughts on biblical separation, they are very interesting from his book “Dr. Rice, Here are more Questions…

“Those who hold to the faith of the gospel according to Philippians 1:27, those who believe in the deity , the virgin birth, miraculous life, atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the inspiration of the Scriptures in which these things are clearly revealed from God and who have personally trusted Christ as Saviour are Christians worthy of our fellowship, and should be called Christians.” (pp. 145)

“One might break fellowship with a born-again Christian who continues in gross sin, as we see from I Corinthians 5:11-13. And one might refuse fellowship to a born-again Christian if he made doubtful disputations, divisions and strife on lesser matters, according to Romans 14:1. For example, I could let a Pentecostal brother come to a revival and help us win souls and I could have Christian fellowship with him, pray with him, and enjoy the Word of God with him provided he did not make special issue of tongues. If he did cause “doubtful disputations” we could not continue in fellowship. That would lead others wrong.” (pp. 146)

“If a born-again Christian makes constant division and strife over lesser matters, then sometimes he breaks the fellowship with other Christians.” (pp. 146)

 

 

 

Sabbath Keeping

This is a heresy taught by several different groups and churches. They teach that the church has always supposed to have kept the Sabbath and if you do not and meet on Sunday instead you are the ones committing a heresy, this is a false and unbiblical teaching. The Jews under the Law of Moses were commanded to keep the Sabbath day (Saturday) as a sign of their relationship with God (Exodus 20:8-11, Ezekiel 20:12 & 20, Nehemiah 9:14).

Since Jesus “finished” the Old Testament law we are no longer under the bondage of the law but we are under grace (Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.). The Sabbath is no longer in effect as a sign between God and His people. Colossians 2:16-17 could not be any clearer about this it says “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

The “first day of the week” (Sunday) is the appointed day of gathering together for meeting and worship for true New Testament Christians. The disciples and the New Testament Christians met and worshiped on the first day of the week (Acts 20:6-7, I Corinthians 16:2). Jesus rose and completed our redemption on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). Jesus met with the disciples after His resurrection, more than once, on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9-12, Matthew 28:8-10, Luke 24:36). Jesus blessed His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week (John 20:19). The Gospel of a risen Savior was first preached on the first day of the week (Acts 2 – we know the Pentecost was on a Sunday because it was always on the 50th day after Passover – Leviticus 23:15-16). Christians do not keep the Sabbath, or they should not, though we know some erring groups do. Christians following the New Testament teaching on the subject meet on the first day of the week, what is called the Lords Day by John in Revelation 1:10, or what we all know as Sunday.

TIME, SPACE & MATTER

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

There is a vast and immeasurable universe that we live in. The physical universe is “temporal” its characteristics are defined by time, space and mass/energy (usually just referred to as matter).

Any effort to determine the cause or reason for the universe getting here or where it came from is based in faith. No human was alive to observe the theory of the “big bang” and the preceding “billions of years” and then the theory of evolution. All of these theories are based on assumptions and presuppositions. All beliefs in the origin of our present universe can be broken down into to statements:

  • There is an infinite series of random causes and effects going back almost infinitely in time with no ultimate cause other than that of the “big bang theory”. But this leaves us with the question “what caused that?”

-or-

  • There exists and uncaused First Cause that was transcendent to the universe and this First Cause created the universe with an intelligent design. With this statement the universe was created purposefully and not by a random series of occurrences happening over billions of years.

You need faith to believe either of them since they our improvable. Either you believe in what some finite men say about the origin of the universe. That a tiny spec blew up and spread material randomly around until it somehow started forming planets then somehow a lifeless particle became alive and eventually evolved through billions of years into every living thing on planet earth. Or you place your faith in an infinite God and that “In the beginning God created” everything there is. Either way what you believe is believed in by faith. You either have faith in what finite men say (who if you believe what they say, their very existence is just a random occurrence) or you believe in an infinite God with infinite power who created all the world with purpose and by design.

Let’s look at Genesis 1:1 – We learned already that the basic elements of the whole universe consist of Time, Space & Matter.

“In the beginning” – We have the creation of time. Time as we know it did not exist till God made it exist.

“God created” – Here we see the reason things came into existence. We have our “First Cause” revealed to us in these 2 words. Think of all the time and money spent on research over the years that could have been saved by reading and believing those 2 words.

the heaven” – God created space. God created all of space in which the earth exists.

and the earth.” – God created matter. All that we can see in the natural world and in space God created.

So we have in this one short verse the origin of all the universe. The “First Cause” of the basic parts of our universe. We have the “First Cause” God creating Time, Space & Matter. The 3 fundamental parts of all the universe.

Final thoughts on this verse:

  • The word interpreted God in this verse is the Hebrew word Elohim. Which means the mighty God which is many is one. Or in other words the Mighty God which is three in one which is referred to as the Trinity.
  • So we see that God created the universe with 3 basic parts to it. The 3 in 1 universe is a reflection of our mighty God and his Trinity.
  • The Bible also tells us that “man was created in the image of God.” Man also is 3 in 1. We are body, spirit and soul. So man reflects God’s Trinity by our Tri-unity of body, spirit and soul.

 

Proverbs 7:4-5 & 26-27 ”Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

Exercising wisdom in defense of purity and Biblical dating standards is critical for today’s Christian. The average person is bombarded with temptation from all areas, billboards, magazine covers, television, movies, music, internet and many other areas. It is simply too easy to become impure or succumb to the impure thoughts and temptations in society today. This is why we need to be vigilant in anchoring our dating relationships in God.

Many strong men have been slain by her.” – lust, impurity, sexual temptation have been the ruin of many great men, men who at one time may have been looked to as heroes, men that were well respected, highly thought of, that were good examples, have been brought down by either not having proper standards of purity and separation or simply letting themselves become too weak to want to resist temptation when it came their way. Solomon himself, as well as Samson, became examples of the “strong men” here mentioned, who were ruined by wrong moral choices.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Song of Solomon 2:16 “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Husbands are the ones who give flowers to their wives, and single men or young men may give them to the lady they are interested in. The Bible says we that are saved are part of the bride of Christ and Jesus is the groom of the church. When a Husband gives flowers to his wife it is a sign of his love. God loved us all so much, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

The Bible says in II Corinthians 11:2b – “for I have espoused you (the church) to one husband (Jesus), that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” This is a wonderful picture of a personal relationship between the church and God’s Son, Jesus. How can we get to the point where we can say “My beloved is mine, and I am his”? We must understand what love is, and what love is not. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Another word for love is charity. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2. As we learn about pure, Biblical, Godly, God given love, keep in mind that it is very important for us to remain pure for God and our future happiness. We should want to dedicate ourselves to living a pure life for the Lord. Learning about pure, Biblical, Godly love should inspire and encourage us to stand fast in our decision and obedience to the Lord in this crucial matter of purity. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19-20

“FILTHY COMMUNICATION”

(Colossians 3:1-8)

Colossians 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

But now ye also put off all theseDr. Hammond Burkitt said this concerning this phrase “But now that you are Christians, ye are obliged to put off all, not only these forenamed, but of the other sort of affections; all sudden inflammations of anger, all rising of it to any height, all continuance of it upon you, until it be increased into malice; and for the tongue, let not that be guilty of any reproachful, unclean, or false discourse.”

filthy communication-The context also favors the thought “abusive language, or disrespectful language” in addition to impure conversation. Any type of communication that would be considered “filthy” to God needs to be stopped and avoided.

INTRODUCTION: “The gospel religion introduces a change of the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the dominion of right reason and conscience over appetite and passion.” – Matthew Henry. We need to cut off the “filthy communication” of a quick, rash, flippant, and disrespectful comment as well as the “filthy communication” of sinful words and ideas. Both are just as bad and sinful in the eyes of God and in Colossians 3:8 both are implied and we are told to put both of these out of our life. Neither of these types of “filthy communication” should be in the life of a Christian. “Filthy communication out of your mouth” – obscene discourse, dishonest talk, malicious talk, or disrespectfulness should not come into the Christian’s mouth and be directed at others, especially to other Christians.  (Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.)

PUT OFF Put off all these” – Paul is talking to people here who used to be pagans who used to live in a state of sin and who used to be servants to sin. Now they are saved, now they are living as Christians and there behavior should be dramatically different than that of the world around them. They were more strongly obliged to lay aside those inordinate affections which were more spiritual in nature. (Ephesians  4:22-23 – That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;) Some of what they were to lay aside was anger, having a vindictive spirit, and the wrong kind of attitude, which was leading them to unjustly hurt, and disrespect others around them. (Ephesians 4:29 –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.)

WRATHWrath” – Romans 2:8 “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath”.  Wrath is a sudden, hasty, and vehement reaction of the offended mind, perceiving an injury, when it shows itself in the countenance, or written or verbal expression, in a manner and measure unbecoming a Christian. (Ephesians 4:31 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:)

MALICEMalice” – connoting both the evil habit and the vicious act: now though this word is used often more generally, for those mischievous thoughts which run through all the passions of the soul, reaching to all sins. Here, in Colossians 3:8-9, it seems to be taken more specifically, for a secret malignity of rooted anger and continued wrath, remembering injuries, meditating on revenge, and watching for an occasion to vent it, to express it, to demonstrate our displeasure to the person or persons we hold the “malice” to, whether that be by deed or by “filthy communication” of all varieties, but most usually the disrespectful and intentionally insultful varieties.

This “malice” according to the original word usage and definition could take the form of intentionally hurting the good name and reputation of someone, which when it is in connotation to God we do more strictly call blasphemy. When it respects our neighbor, our associate, or our fellow Christian, God forbid, it is more largely considered to be defamation (Romans 3:8; 1Corinthians 4:13; Titus 3:2) yet if this “malice” is taken out in a secretive manner or behind someone’s back it is considered backbiting, reviling or slandering. Matthew 15:19-20For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”, Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” and  I Timothy 6:4-5He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

PAUL TELLS US HERE IN COLOSSIANS 3:8 TO STOP OUR “FILTHY COMMUNICATION Stop the lewd comments. Stop the alternate implied meanings to what you say. Stop the dirty jokes. Stop the vile words. Stop the disrespectfulness directed at others. WRONG COMMUNICATION AFFECTS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD (I John 1:5-6 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:)

  • Our fellowship with God is maintained as we walk in light. How can we have a proper relationship with God if our communication is perverse, dark and sinful?
  • God is light” this is describing an attribute of God. Light is purity, it brings clearness, it shows beauty. As light is necessary for life, our communication needs to reflect God’s light instead of reflecting the perverse darkness of the Devil.
  • Especially watch for “filthy communication” in your texts, on facebook and in all types of electronic communication. Just because you don’t actually say it, it is still “filthy communication” if you type or text it.
  • Music is included in this communication too. How are you musical choices? Do they blaspheme God and the teachings of God in His word? Do your musical choices violate other Scriptures?
  • If we walk in obedience to our Lords commands concerning our communication, we will be able to have great fellowship with Him. (I Samuel 15:22 – And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…) – How is your relationship with God?

THE POWER OF THE TONGUE Solomon wrote about the power of the tongue in Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

  • The power of the tongue” to do Good.
  • The tongue has the ability to dispense good council and wisdom from trusted Godly leaders when we need it. (Proverbs 10:20 – The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.)
  • The tongue has the power of encouragement. The right word at the right time can do wonders to encourage someone with a heavy heart. (Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.)
  • The tongue has the power to stop anger before it has a chance to boil over. (Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)
  • Using your words in a Godly uplifting way can bring great joy. The tongue can be the source of many good fruitful works in our life. (Proverbs 15:23 – A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!)
  • “The power of the tongue” to do Evil.
  • In the list of 7 abominations in the sight of God, Solomon mentions lying lips and those that sow discord among the brethren. (Proverbs 6:17,19 – A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.) – Notice in the same sentence that God condemns murder; He mentions and condemns lying as well. To tell a lie, especially about another Christian, is a serious sin. (Colossians 3:9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;)
  • A person who does not control his tongue or his typing in social media or texting will bring destruction to himself. (Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth verswide his lips shall have destruction.)
  • A person with a perverse tongue will fall into mischief. (Proverbs 17:20 – He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.)
  • Gossip will cause deep and lasting wounds. (Proverbs 18:8 – The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.)
  • A lying tongue hates and afflicts people, and flattering lips cause ruin. (Proverbs 26:28 – A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.)
  • Notice what the “abomination” is in this passage. It is one who uses his or her tongue or typed out words to sow discord among the brethren or among saved people. If you cause discord or issues and problems among Christians the Bible tells us this is an abomination.
  • Your tongue has a lot of potential. Potential to do good and potential to do evil. What are you using your tongue for? Are you building up your friends and people you know or are you tearing them down behind their back? Are you spreading lies about someone? Are you gossiping about someone? Are you using the power of your tongue for good or for evil?

WHEN WE SPEAK BE TACTFUL NOT JUST TRUTHFUL (Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.)

What is tact?

  • Tact is the ability to make a point without making an enemy.
  • Tact is when you tell someone to go jump off a cliff in a way that makes them look forward to the journey.
  • Tact is treating everybody as if they knew what they were talking about.
  • Tact is the art of telling someone he’s open minded when he’s really just got a hole in his head.
  1. The primary way we show respect is with our words.
  2. ‘Wholesome‘ carries with it the idea of healing or curative.
  3. This verse reminds us that we need to give attention to how we speak. Paul admonished us to ‘Speak the truth in love’
  4. The way we say something will go a long way in determining how well it’s going to be received. Learning how to be truthful and tactful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.
  5. People with tact often have a lot less to retract. We don’t have to eat our words as often if we say them in a kind way.
  6. Many people today don’t understand this; they often confuse rudeness with frankness. “I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!” That’s not being frank; that’s being mean and disrespectful to people.

ANOTHER TYPE OF “FILTHY COMMUNICATION” IS “MURMERINGS AND DISPUTINGS” (Philippians 2:14– Do all things without murmurings and disputings:) – We need to not have murmurings and disputing toward things we do for God and our Church or for things we do at our secular jobs. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.) I am going to talk about 3 areas where we need to watch our attitudes or our “murmurings and disputing”.

Secular Job

  • We need to maintain a testimony where we work. Especially since we are Christians and hopefully those you work with know you are a Christian.
  • We need to maintain a good testimony of having a good attitude and not complaining about everything at work, because we represent Christ. If people we work with see a negative complaining, insubordinate attitude from us, they are not going to want anything we have. We will turn them off to Christ and that may end up sending them to a Christ-less eternity.

Church life

  • We need to have a good, a non complaining attitude in things we do for Christ and in our church life. Constantly complaining about things is a sin. A very discouraging sin to the leader that has to hear it all the time.
  • We need to support and enthusiastically follow leadership. God put men in the leadership position in our church “for such a time as this”.
  • Of course if the leadership of the church is leading in an unbiblical path we are not obligated to follow it in those circumstances nor should we. We should follow the biblical guidelines given in those circumstances as found in Matthew 18:15-17. Our ultimate allegiance should be to God and His word.

To the brethren

  • The Bible warns us over and over again about causing problems among the brethren. Of the seven things listed as what the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 the last one mentioned and considered an “abomination” is “he that soweth discord among the brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16, 19 – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:, vs.19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.)
  • Don’t be guilty of what the Lord considers an abomination!
  • How do you sow discord among the brethren? – With murmurings and disputings. With a complaining attitude. With an attitude of seeing just how much you can get away with or trying to get special treatment for yourself.
  • Don’t be guilty of this sin, the Lord says is an abomination. We are commanded in the Word of God to mark those which cause division among fellow Christians and to avoid them. (Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.) – Don’t make fellow Christians have to avoid you.

CONCLUSION: Fires don’t start out big and destructive. Fires start out small, but have tremendous potential for destruction. So too are the words we say with our tongues. The tongue is a small part of our body but it can cause tremendous havoc and problems for us and for the innocent people around us. (James 3:5-6 – Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.)

We need to “Know what is acceptable.” Are we speaking what is acceptable? Are we messaging, or texting, or Facebooking what is good or what it is evil? We learned that “filthy communication” will affect our relationship with God. We cannot be living in the darkness of “filthy communication” and be having fellowship with God at the same time.

We need to learn to control our reactions to false accusations and sinful hurtful communications. We need to follow our Lords example and to go by His words he gave us in Matthew 5:39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

We have a responsibility to represent Christ in this world. One important value that we must build our lives upon is proper and Godly communication. We need to show respect for ourselves, we need to show respect to our family, we need to show respect to our church family and we need to show respect to the world at large.

Maintaining godly relationships between brethren is of such extreme significance that it will affect our ability to serve and to worship God.  (Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.) – If you have been guilty of hurting someone, especially a fellow brother or sister in Christ, the Bible shows us here it will affect our ability to serve and worship Him. We need to set things right, sincerely apologize, seek forgiveness, repent of that action before God, and move on in your service to Him.

Everyone has a “right” to an opinion as long as it lines up with God’s opinion on the subject. Everyone has a “right” be treated with dignity and respect. But remember if Jesus had demanded “his rights” He would not have died on the cross for you and I and we would be condemned to an eternity in Hell. So be careful with this. What you say might be “right”, but the wrong attitude and wrong spirit will make it wrong.

Make your attitude and your responses in situations a serious matter of prayer. Remember it may be you with the wrong attitude. Ask God to give you insight to determine the right behavior in situations that can cause you to get angry. (Ecclesiastes 7:9 – Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.)

We all want to be respected. We want other people to treat us with dignity. The Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that is necessary for life. The Bible is very specific about this. We find that we are to respect parents, people in authority, church leadership and fellow Christians. Being respectful and courteous to people is one of the great evidences that you know God. How you treat people and the amount of respect you show to those in leadership positions over you is a good reflection on your true heart condition to God. How about you? What could people glean from how respectful or disrespectful you are to others in your life? Would they determine that you have a good heart relationship with the Lord or a bad heart relationship with the Lord? (Mark 7:6 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.)

DRESSING FOR CHURCH MATTERS

(Exodus 28:1-5, & 39-43)

 Exodus 28:3 – “And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”

 INTRODUCTION: The Bible establishes guidelines and principals for us to live by when it comes to how we are to dress. There are different circumstances and different styles of appropriate dress for each occasion. While the Bible may not give certain specifics about dress standards for some things, it does give us clear standards and instruction in the area of how we should dress so that we “may minister unto” the Lord. It also gives us clear instruction in the matter of modesty and purity in our standards of dress.

STANDARDS OF APPEARANCE FOR GOD’S HOUSE. (Exodus 27:16-19 – And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service hereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.)

  • As you can see by these verses, God sets a high standard for the appearance of His house. We should be very concerned with the appearance and upkeep of our church building. God wants our church building to look the best it can look. We honor the Lord by keeping our church building as beautiful as we have the means to make it.
  • God wanted His Tabernacle to look beautiful because this is where his people would come to worship Him. This is where the priests would come to “minister unto me” as the Lord said.
  • God wanted His Temple to look the best it could look because people knew this is where His Holy Spirit would dwell. It was literally the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
  • What does the Bible say is the Temple of the Holy Spirit now? – We are. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19-20 -What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.)
  • Our bodies are that temple if we are saved. Shouldn’t we put as much effort into the appearance of our Temple that was put into the appearance of the Temple of God back then when we are serving and worshipping God? Yes, we should.
  • We should strive to look the best and dress the best we have the ability to for the Lord especially when we are doing service for God in this Temple, our body.
  • Like the Bible says in Exodus 28:1 – “that he may minister unto me in the priests office”. Minister means to serve. When we are ministering unto God the Bible demonstrates unto us this principle we should want to look the best we can for the Lord because we are His Temple. When we are serving the Lord we should want to be dressed in the best that we have for our service to Him.

STANDARD OF DRESS FOR THE PRIEST THAT MINISTERED UNTO GOD. (Exodus 28:1-5 – And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him,that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.)

  • The Bible tells us 3 times in these 5 verses why the garments of the priests were to be the best they could make them. Why? – “that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office” – The priests’ garments were to be the best they could make them because they were ministering or serving God while they had them on.
  • They were to honor God with the best garments they had while they were serving Him. The Bible does not say they had to dress like this all the time, only when they were serving the Lord, because it was a special and holy privilege to serve the Living God.
  • They could dress down, they could dress in a relaxed manner; but this Biblical principle in these verses clearly demonstrates when it comes time to serve the Lord we should be trying to dress up to honor Him as we serve Him.
  • So how do guidelines about how a priest in the Old Testament was to dress as he served the Lord apply to me? – Good question. The answer is found in I Peter 2:5-9 – “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
  • These verses describe to you the principle of the priesthood of the believer; which essentially means we all as believers can offer spiritual sacrifices or service to the Lord, and we can get access straight to God through our great High Priest. As we are serving the Lord this way, we should follow the Biblical example of the Old Testament priests, and where practical and possible represent our Savior the best we can.
  • So who is the great High Priest in New Testament times? – The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:14 – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”
  • The Bible gives us the example here of dressing up to serve the Lord, dressing up when we go to church to hear His word preached and taught, dressing up while we minister to others, dressing up while we go out to visit and witness to the lost.

STANDARD OF DRESS TO HONOR GOD (Genesis 35:1-3 – And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.)

  • God told Jacob to go to Bethel and build an altar to honor Him there; that is where God had appeared to Him. So Jacob then spoke to his family and told all that were with him to get ready to go to where God had visited Him and helped him in his time of trouble. He said he was to build an altar there to honor God.
  • Jacob began this faith journey with recognition of how much God had done for him, and how much he needed God in his life. He wanted to get himself ready and his household ready to experience God too.
  • Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean” – this signifies the need for repentance and coming clean to God about our sins. (Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;)
  • change your garments” – this implies a change of our hearts toward sin. Our outside should be a reflection of our inside, our outside appearance when we journey to the physical place of worship of God should, to the best of our ability, reflect the holiness and pureness of God.
  • God looks at our heart; however, what we wear to worship our holy and pure God may be an indication of our heart condition. Getting dressed in our best helps prepare our hearts and minds to the worship of God.
  • There can be many legitimate exceptions to this. Those coming straight from work may not be dressed in their best but did not want to miss the church service, those who do not have the physical ability to dress as sharply as others, and those whom to the average person may not look like they are dressed in their best but they really are. It is not up to us to judge those who come to church, however they are dressed for the service. It is up to us though to teach the whole council of God, and God’s Word clearly teaches the principle of dressing up in our best for God when we come together in corporate worship. (Matthew 7:1 – Judge not, that ye be not judged.)

IN CONCLUSION: How we dress for church and for the corporate worship of God at the physical location of our church does matter. It matters because the Bible teaches us that we are to present the temple of the Holy Spirit as best as we can when it is involved in the worship of God. The Bible teaches us that we are priests, and as priests, we should dress up in our best to honor God as we worship Him. Jacob set an example with his family and household in that when it was time to go up to Bethel to build an altar of worship and thanksgiving to God, he had them get clean and change into nicer clothes to get ready for what was to come. The Bible gives us several clear principles about dressing in our best when it comes to going to church to worship and hear from the Lord, and we need to be following those principles in our life.

***Yes… It Does Matter – the preceding post is chapter 10 in the book – Yes… It Does Matter***

That they may go forwardExodus 14:15  Or Contrasting living by sight vs. living by faith

(Exodus 14:10-15)

Introduction: The setting of this text is when the Israelite’s led by Moses have finally left Egypt and are being chased by Pharaoh. They are on the edge of the Red Sea and the Egyptians are at their back  and the Red Sea is in front of them.

“Lifted up their eyes”  – LIVING BY SIGHT – verse 10. The Israelite’s were living by site and not by faith here. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF LIVING BY SIGHT & NOT BY FAITH?

  • They were sore afraid” vs. 10 – FEAR – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • The Bible tells us a spirit of fear does not come from God! – II Timothy 1:17For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  • If you have a problem with fear and worry, take it to the Lord he will help you overcome it. – Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
  • Children of Israel cried out” vs.10 – COMPLAINING – having a complaining spirit is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • Having a complaining spirit displeases the Lord. – Numbers 11:1 – And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
  • And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?vs. 11 – DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • People who have a doubting spirit are unstable the Bible tells us and easily led astrayJames 1:6 – But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
  • “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” – 12 – THINKING YOUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOD’S WISDOM – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • We need to learn to trust in God’s wisdom and quit thinking we know better. If God is leading us in a certain direction don’t think you thought of something that He didn’t think ofProverbs 3:5-8 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
  • And Isaiah 55:8-9 tells usFor my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

NOW LETS LOOK AT LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT. Remember what II Corinthians 5:7 says “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

SO WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF LIVING BY FAITH & NOT BY SIGHT?

  • “Fear ye not” vs. 13 – LACK OF FEAR – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • If we are God’s children we can place our trust in Him and not fear what lies ahead of us.Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
  • Stand still” vs. 13 – CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITION – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • If we are His children we have nothing to fear. We can have confidence in our position with Him. John 10:28-29 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
  • See the salvation of the Lord” vs.13 – SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN YOUR LIFE – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.God’s hand is at work in your life – have faith and trust His sovereignty over you life.
  • the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” 13 – THE LORD MEETING YOUR NEEDS – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • He is our Heavenly Father “Stand still” and have confidence in His ability to do anything or meet any need that might arise. Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • “The Lord shall fight for you” 14 THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US – is as result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • The Lord will be with you in the heat of the battle. He will fight for you in the battles of life on your behalf. Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
  • “Hold your peace” – 14 – PEACEFULNESS – a sense of peace that passes all understanding is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – If you are living a life of faith the Lord can give you a sense of peace in the midst of your trials.

“That they go forward” – vs. 15 – The end result of living a life by faith and not by sight is MOVING FORWARD for the Lord.

  • The Lord wants us to be constantly moving forward for Him.
  • He does not want us to rest and be content where we are at in our walk with Him.
  • We should be constantly striving to conquer new challenges and take new ground for His Kingdom.
  • We should never think we have arrived or our church has arrived – the minute we do that we are no longer living a faith life.

In Conclusion: We should always keep in our thinking that the Lord is in control of our life. He sometimes brings circumstances about or trials in our life for a purpose for a reason. He controls a chain of events from start to finish with the goal in mind to help His children to be constantly doing one thing for Him, He will bring about events so “That they go forward” like it says in the last part of verse 15.

Remember we said a living a life by sight results in:

FEARThey were sore afraid” it says in vs. 10

 COMPLAININGChildren of Israel cried out” vs.10

 DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” vs. 11

THINKING YOUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOD’S WISDOM vs. 12

And we said living a life by faith on not by sight results in:

LACK OF FEARFear ye not” vs. 13

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITIONStand still” vs. 13

SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN YOUR LIFESee the salvation of the Lord” vs.13

THE LORD MEETING YOUR NEEDS “the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  Vs. 13

THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US“The Lord shall fight for you” vs. 14  

PEACEFULNESS“Hold your peace” – vs. 14  

Moving forward – “That they go forward” – vs. 15 – The end result of living a life by faith and not by sight is MOVING FORWARD for the Lord. – trusting the Lord with the next step not just being content where you are at.