February 28, 2014

God's Righteous Judgment

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

Romans 2:1-5, 7-11 ESV

February 27, 2014

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:18-32 ESV

God Does Not Change

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James 1:16-18

February 22, 2014

Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:8 NIV

Faith As Your Shield

In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.

Ephesians 6:16 (TLB)

February 21, 2014

Those Who Walk In Pride

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

DAN 4:37 NIV

February 18, 2014

One Mind and One Voice

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6 NIV

February 16, 2014

Scott Hamilton's Faith

What an incredible story Scott Hamilton has shared—



“The only true disability in life is a bad attitude”—Scott Hamilton

Hat Tip: Beyond the Pale

February 15, 2014

Martin Luther Quote

O it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good things incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done this and is constantly doing them. Whoever does not do such works, however, is an unbeliever. He gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Yet he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works. ~Martin Luther

According to His Power

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

February 7, 2014

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:12-13 NIV

The Royal Law

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

James 2:8-10 NIV

Pure and Faultless Religion

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:26-27 NIV

February 5, 2014

Reblogged: What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and truth?


Question: "What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and truth?"

Answer: The idea of worshipping the Lord “in spirit and truth” comes from Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4:6-30. In the conversation, the woman was discussing places of worship with Jesus, saying that the Jews worshipped at Jerusalem, while the Samaritans worshipped at Mount Gerizim. Jesus had just revealed that He knew about her many husbands, as well as the fact that the current man she lived with was not her husband. This made her uncomfortable, so she attempted to divert His attention from her personal life to matters of religion. Jesus refused to be distracted from His lesson on true worship and got to the heart of the matter: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him (John 4:23).

The overall lesson about worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth is that worship of God is not to be confined to a single geographical location or necessarily regulated by the temporary provisions of Old Testament law. With the coming of Christ, the separation between Jew and Gentile was no longer relevant, nor was the centrality of the temple in worship. With the coming of Christ, all of God’s children gained equal access to God through Him. Worship became a matter of the heart, not external actions, and directed by truth rather than ceremony.

In Deuteronomy 6:4, Moses sets down for the Israelites how they are to love their God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Our worship of God is directed by our love for Him; as we love, so we worship. Because the idea of “might” in Hebrew indicates totality, Jesus expanded this expression to “mind” and “strength” (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). To worship God in spirit and truth necessarily involves loving Him with heart, soul, mind and strength.

True worship must be “in spirit,” that is, engaging the whole heart. Unless there’s a real passion for God, there is no worship in spirit. At the same time, worship must be “in truth,” that is, properly informed. Unless we have knowledge of the God we worship, there is no worship in truth. Both are necessary for satisfying and God-honoring worship. Spirit without truth leads to a shallow, overly-emotional experience that could be compared to a high. As soon as the emotion is over, when the fervor cools, so does the worship. Truth without spirit can result in a dry, passionless encounter that can easily lead to a form of joyless legalism. The best combination of both aspects of worship results in a joyous appreciation of God informed by Scripture. The more we know about God, the more we appreciate Him. The more we appreciate, the deeper our worship. The deeper our worship, the more God is glorified.

This melding of spirit and truth in worship is best summed up by Jonathan Edwards, the 18th century American pastor and theologian. He said: “I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections [emotions] of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth.” Edwards recognized that truth and only truth can properly influence the emotions in a way that brings honor to God. The truth of God, being of infinite value, is worthy of infinite passion.

Hat Tip: Got Questions: What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and truth?

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Reblogged from Got Questions: Is the Church of Christ a good biblical church?


Question: "Is the Church of Christ a good biblical church?"

Answer: This is a difficult question to answer due to the phrase "Church of Christ" being such a broad description. There are many churches who refer to themselves as the "Church of Christ." Even within the most widespread "Church of Christ" denomination, there can be significant differences between the churches. There is no doubt that many in the Church of Christ denomination are genuine believers in Christ who desire to truly worship, follow, and obey Him. At the same time, there are others in the Church of Christ, and some Church of Christ churches, that are borderline cult-like in their preferences, practices, and doctrines. We are by no means disparaging the entire Church of Christ denomination or every church that refers to itself as the "Church of Christ." The purpose of this article is to express some concerns and answer some questions about the Church of Christ that we have observed and experienced.

One “minor” issue is the Church of Christ policy of not allowing musical instruments in their church services. While we entirely agree that a church is well within the freedom God gives to not use musical instruments in worship, the problem is that some within the Church of Christ are fanatically against musical instruments. Some are fanatical to the point of declaring any church that uses musical instruments as not being a true, biblical, or godly church. Such dogmatism on a clearly non-essential issue is often the mark of a cult, not the mark of a good biblical church.

A second issue is the fact that some in the Church of Christ claim to be “the one true church,” outside of which there is no salvation. By no means do all Church of Christ members believe this, but it is prevalent enough to warrant concern. Some go so far as to argue that since the name is “Church of Christ,” that indicates that the church / denomination is the one and only true Church of the Lord Jesus. This is completely unbiblical. There is no one church or denomination that encompasses the entire Body of Christ. The “one true church of Christ” is comprised of all those who have, by grace through faith, personally received Jesus Christ as Savior. The Church is composed of true believers everywhere, no matter the local church or denominational affiliation. The claim of exclusive access to salvation is another common identification of a cult, not the teaching of a good biblical church.

A third and very important issue is the Church of Christ’s emphasis on baptism as being necessary for salvation. Church of Christ advocates point to Scriptures such as Acts 2:38, John 3:5, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, and Acts 22:16 as biblical evidence that baptism is required for salvation. There is no denying that baptism is very important. Baptism is intended to be an initial act of obedience to Christ, an illustration of Christ’s death and resurrection, a public declaration of faith in Christ, a step of identification with Him, and a proclamation of desire to follow Him. In the minds of the apostles and early Christians, baptism was so inextricably linked with salvation that the two were viewed as inseparable. The idea that a person could receive Christ as Savior and not be baptized was completely foreign to the early church.

With that said, however, baptism is not required for salvation. There are biblically plausible and contextually valid interpretations of each of the above Scriptures that do not indicate baptism as being necessary for salvation. There are many Scriptures that declare salvation to be received by faith / believing, with no mention of baptism or any other requirement (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). If baptism is necessary for salvation, these Scriptures are in error and the Bible is contradictory.

Church of Christ advocates argue that when the Bible speaks of salvation “by faith,” it is speaking of a living faith, a faith that produces works of obedience, such as baptism and confession (Romans 10:9-10). They do not claim that baptism is a work that earns salvation, or in any sense makes a person worthy of salvation. Rather, the Church of Christ teaches that baptism is a work that God requires before He grants salvation. For the Church of Christ, baptism and confession are no different from faith and repentance—they are what God requires before He grants salvation to a person. The problem with this is that, while it may seem to be a subtle difference from the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, it is in fact a crucially important difference.

A person who has genuinely received salvation will produce good fruit. Good works are the inevitable result of salvation (Ephesians 2:10). What differentiates a “living faith” from a “dead faith” in James 2:14-26 is the presence of good works. Church of Christ advocates are right to denounce churches that teach intellectual assent to the facts of the Gospel as sufficient for salvation. The Church of Christ is right to reject the idea that a dead faith, a faith that produces no good works, is what saves a person. Faith / trust in Christ as the Savior is what saves a person, but this faith is a living faith that always results in and produces good works. To say that good works must be present BEFORE a person is saved is to make salvation dependent on our obedience, which is works-salvation, not salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. As Titus 3:5 declares, “He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

So, are Church of Christ churches good biblical churches? This is a question that cannot be answered with an all-encompassing response. Many Church of Christ churches are in fact solid, biblically based churches. There are many Church of Christ churches which declare the true Gospel of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. At the same time, with an extreme over-emphasis on the absence of musical instruments, with a claim of exclusive access to salvation, and with a doctrine of salvation that is borderline (at best) works-based, there are other Church of Christ churches that should definitely not be attended / participated in. This requires discernment on the part of a believer considering joining a Church of Christ church. The answer to the question depends entirely on which type of Church of Christ church it is.

Hat Tip: GotQuestions.org: Is the Church of Christ a good a good biblical church? While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

February 4, 2014

Come However You Are



Come however you are
Come with all your heartbreaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt scarred falling apart
Come however you are

Do Not Be Anxious

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

February 3, 2014

A double minded man is unstable

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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8

Ye Blind Guides

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. St. Matthew 23:24

But Woe Unto You

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. St. Matthew 23:13-14

Making Melody

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

With Trumpets and Sound of Cornet

Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Psalm 98:5-6

Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp

IT is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. Psalm 92:1-4

Blow Up the Trumpet

SING aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. Psalm 81:1-3

Unto thee will I sing with the harp

I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. Psalm 71:22

Praise the LORD with Harp

Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Psalm 33:2

Blind Leaders of the Blind

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. St. Matthew 15:14

The Precept of Men

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Isaiah 29:13

The Commandments of Men

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. St. Matthew 15:8-9

It Is Finished

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. St. John 19:30

I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. St. Matthew 5:17

February 2, 2014

Don't Love the World's Ways

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

1 John 2:15-17 MSG