These studies will resume on 2/15

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I am a disciple, but I am not a foolish one
I have not drunk from the cup of ignorance
I do not believe without first seeing proof
I am no foolish disciple
I walk by faith and not by sight
But my faith is rooted in stone
I do not pray to a transient god
My God hears every groan that issues from my heart
I am no foolish disciple
I chose my servanthood knowing full well the consequences
Knowing full well the rewards
And I shall continue to choose it
Every day of my life
I am no foolish disciple
– Jewell Holland

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Controlling Envy

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In an ancient Greek legend, a very good, well-trained athlete competed in a race but came in second. With the winner immersed in praise and glory, a monument was erected in his honor. But the man who came in second place was immersed in envy. He was resentful and decided to destroy that statue.

For many nights, the man went, hidden by darkness, to the statue and chiseled at the base, weakening its foundation. One night, as he was particularly angry, he went too far. The statue teetered on its base and crashed down on the athlete, killing him. His own envy had destroyed him.

Envy is a lack of thankfulness motivated by the success of someone else. We focus on what he has or what she has accomplished and we contrast that with what we do not have or what we have failed to accomplish. We forget to be thankful for what we have or what we have been able to accomplish.

The parable of the workers in the vineyard illustrates the attitude of envy (Matt. 20). The vineyard owner hired workers for a day’s salary. He went out a second time and hired more workers, also at a day’s salary. He went out a third time, hiring more workers. Again, he went out to hire workers with but one hour left before time to quit.

At quitting time, in the society where workers were paid each day, the owner wanted to settle with the workers. He gave each a day’s salary, even if they only worked one hour. Those who had worked all day were envious. They thought they should get more than what the others had received, although they had received a fair day’s salary.

The owner responded to them, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?” (20:15).

King David is another example of envy. He saw Bathsheba, another man’s wife, that she was “very beautiful in appearance” (2 Samuel 11:2). He had already married Abigail, who was both intelligent and beautiful (1 Samuel 25:2ff). But he envied Uriah and his wife. David took Bathsheba and killed Uriah.

The way to control our envious feelings is found in God’s response to David, “I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!” (2 Samuel 12:8).

We should be thankful for what we do have. Refusing to be thankful is despising the gifts of the Father. It is worse than revenge. Revenge is giving back evil for evil. Unthankfulness, motivated out of envy, is giving evil in return for good. That’s what envy causes us to do. Rather, we are commanded to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) and be thankful for what we have (Colossians 3:15).

Secondly, to control envy, we should remember that God knows how to distribute His gifts to the right person, in the right way, in the right quantity. In the context of giving miraculous gifts, Paul writes: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). God knows what you need. He will give you what you need, when the time is right. All good gifts come from the Father of lights who does not change (James 1:17).

Finally, envy shows a lack of faith. We see what others have. We cannot see what God has planned for us. So, because we cannot see, we envy what others have. So envy is failing to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

So, let us control our envy by: being thankful to God for what we have, remembering that God will give us what we need, and walking by faith in the wisdom of God.

–Paul Holland

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Who are you going to trust?

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His Word will Never Fail

The fundamental reason man does not obey God is because man does not trust God. Man either does not trust God because he doesn’t believe God exists or he doesn’t trust God because he doesn’t believe God can or will punish him for refusing to trust Him. That was Adam and Eve’s fundamental problem and it is man’s fundamental problem today. Who are you going to trust?

It was the same problem for the Jews during Isaiah’s lifetime. They wanted to trust man. They wanted to trust their own pastors over the clear teaching of God’s word. They wanted to trust themselves, or anyone, except the God of heaven.

In Isaiah 55, the prophet calls on Israel (once again) to trust God. Since chapter 40, Isaiah pictures the Jews as being in Babylonian exile (where they would stay for 70 years). Isaiah, himself, will pass away long before they will even be taken into exile, much less return from exile. Yet, his messages were to sustain the Jews through the 70-year exile and through the ensuing centuries until the Messiah would come.

Through all those years, and in fact, on a day to day basis, the Jews needed to trust God’s word. In Isaiah 55, Isaiah begins with twelve imperatives! He calls on the Jews to come to God, to buy wine and milk, “without money and without cost.” These commands are not calls to buy literal wine and milk. In verse 2, God calls on them to “listen” and eat what God has prepared for them, “in abundance.”

Please observe this point: “How does one eat of this food and delight in its richness? By listening carefully (the verb is emphasized by the infinitive absolute immediately following) to the words that God speaks to the prophet” (Oswalt, 436). The same thing is true in John 6 when Jesus talks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He is not talking about eating Himself and He is not talking about eating the Lord’s Supper. He is talking about “consuming” His words, His Truth, His message (John 6:63, 68).

Repentance is always demanded of people who want to be right with God. The wicked must forsake their ways (vs 7) and return to the Lord. There he will find compassion and pardon. Why should the wicked forsake his way? Because the thoughts of the Lord are so much higher than man’s (vs 8). Just as far above as the heavens are than the earth.

Plus, God’s word is dependable, reliable, trustworthy in its nature and character. As the rain and snow fall from heaven and water the ground without fail, so God’s word leaves His mouth and does not return without accomplishing what God intends for it to accomplish (vss 10-11). “The Bible reveals his thoughts and ways, sets his targets, voices his promises and is powerful to achieve what it expresses” (Motyer, 391).

Smith writes (511): “God does not make impotent threats or empty promises; when he talks, people should listen because what he predicts is exactly what will happen. …When God speaks he externalizes who he is; his words represent his values, his will, and his existence.”

In light of the power and dependability of God’s word, the Jews are promised that they will leave exile “with joy” and “with peace.” The whole creation will celebrate their return – the mountains and hills and “all the trees of the field” (vs 12). Cypress will grow instead of thorns and the myrtle instead of nettles. All of God’s blessings will be a memorial to what God’s word had said and will be an everlasting sign that God keeps His promises.

There is no difference between the promises laid out for the Jews in the Old Testament and the promises laid out for Christians in the New Testament. God always keeps His promises. His word will never fail!

–Paul Holland

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Disrespecting God

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No respect for God
1) READ Mal. 1:6-14
2) These verses give us a pretty good idea of what life was like in the time of Malachi.
i) Fathers were honored by their sons and masters were honored by their servants.
ii) Honor and respect was shown in different relationships, but God was not getting much respect.
3) As Malachi spoke against the priests who refused to honor God the priests questioned their guilt.
4) The end of verse 6 has them asking, “How have we failed to honor God”?
5) Verse 7 offers some specifics; God said “polluted bread” was being used for His altar.
6) Verse 8 says the priests were willing to accept blind, sick and lame animals for sacrifice.
7) Animals which no one else wanted or were basically useless were offered to God.
8) The “governor” would not accept such sacrifices; God said people would not try pawn their junk off on him.
9) Mal. 2:3 – READ
10) “Dung” is “animal waste.” In our area we refer to it as “cow patties.”
11) A paraphrase of Mal. 2:3:
12) “splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile.”

DISRESPECT IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER

The people of our society believe respect is important; respect matters; disrespect is very, very bad.
However, when it comes to disrespecting God, well, this seems to be “no big deal.”
The book of Malachi says failing to show proper respect for God is a big deal.

1) In Mt. 7:21-23 Jesus spoke these words: – READ
2) If we truly respect God, we will seek to always act in accordance with the Father’s will (verse 21).
3) When we begin to replace some part of God’s will with our own, we are an enemy of God (verse 23).
4) Based on what we see in Mt. 7:21-23, let’s see if we can identify some ways to disrespect God.
i) “faith alone.”
ii) Jas. 2:24 says we are not saved by “faith only.”
iii) If God says we are not saved by “faith only,” and some man, woman or groups says otherwise, guess what?
5) Anyone who teaches something contrary to the gospel is guilty of disrespecting God.
i) God says infants are “safe” (free from sin) and thus part of the kingdom (Mt. 19:14).
ii) There are religious groups which claim children are tainted by sin and must be baptized.
6) When it comes to salvation, there is a need to repent (turn from sin); Jesus Himself taught this, Lk. 13:3.
7) The manure pile is the right place for many individuals, even some who claim to teach baptism.
8) If a person ever instructs someone to be sprinkled with water, he deserves the manure pile.
9) The Bible describes “baptism” as a “burial” (Rom. 6:4); pouring or sprinkling will not do.
10) When God says “bury” (immerse someone in water), sprinkling and pouring water disrespect Him.
11) After becoming a Christian God says we can “fall from grace” (Gal. 5:4, ASV) but some groups say “no.”
12) The disrespect for God involves salvation as well as other matters, one of which is the church.
i) The Lord promised to build a “church” (just one, Mt. 16:18), but men say He created several.
ii) The Lord said religious division is bad but many praise God for denominationalism and thus division.
iii) God says worship in “spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24) but the world says “spirit and error is ok.”
iv) God says “sing” for the music in Christ’s church; the religious world says, “sing and play.”
13) In the last book of the Old Testament God says: Do not disrespect Me.
14) Will we listen and heed this message?

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The Road to Jesus Leads to the House of Prayer for all the Peoples

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Isaiah 56:7

Isaiah has been teaching the nation of Israel how they need to respond to God. You will not respond to God until you understand what God expects from you. You will not respond to God until you realize you have a sin problem and it is keeping you away from God.

Israel is going into exile in Babylon. When she returns, she will have to return to God by repenting of her sins. But the issue of sin still has to be resolved, which God will do by sending Emmanuel to take the sins of the world on Himself. So, since chapter 40, Isaiah has pictured the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile as including a spiritual return to the God of heaven in faith and obedience.

Largely throughout all of Isaiah’s preaching, he has indicated that all peoples, Gentiles, will be welcomed into God’s new, spiritual temple (see 2:1-4): 2:2-3; 11:10-12; 14:1-2; 18:7; 19:18-25; 42:6; 45:22-24; 49:6, 22-23, 26.

In chapter 56, specifically verses 3-8, God calls to the “foreigner” and to the “eunuch” to respond to Him. How will they receive the blessings God has to share? As always, through an humble, obedient response – they need to keep God’s sabbaths, choose what pleases God, hold fast to His covenant (vs 4).

To those who do respond to God with humility and obedience, God says He will give them a memorial (vs 5), in His house (the temple) and within His walls (His defense). He will give them a name better than sons and daughters. In fact, He will give them an “everlasting name” – the name, designation, or character of one who belongs to God.

Likewise for the “foreigner” – they will join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him and to love His name, to be His servants, who respect the Sabbath law and hold fast God’s covenant (vs 7). God will bring them to His “holy mountain” (His temple; see 2:1-4), and make these foreigners “joyful” in His house of prayer.

In this new, spiritual “house of prayer,” their worship, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices, will be accepted by God because this new spiritual temple will be a universal temple: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” This verse is quoted by Jesus (along with Jeremiah 7:11) in Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46.

There is no single nationality, race, ethnic group, family, clan, tribe, or other that belongs exclusively to God. His church is a house of prayer (temple) open to all the peoples.

–Paul Holland

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Where I Ought to be Judged – Acts 25:9-10

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“But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know.”

Roman citizens had the right to appeal to Caesar. Paul evidently had recognized that an impartial and fair trial in Jerusalem would be impossible (Acts 25:7-11). Jews were intending to kill Paul upon his return to Jerusalem (Acts 25:1-3). Paul believed that Caesar’s judgment would be fair.

God shall one day judge all men fairly and impartially.

MEN SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED BY MEN:
Jesus cautioned: “Judge not” (Matt. 7:1-5). This judgment is a harsh, crude, unkind, unjust, critical kind or type of condemnation. Men are incapable of judging (Matt. 7:5: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”). Men are often unfit to judge (Matt. 7:3-5).
Paul warned, “Let us not judge one another anymore” (Romans 14:13). Some things are matters of opinion (Rom. 14:1-2: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.”). Men have no right to judge each other in these matters (Rom. 14:3: “The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.”).

MEN SHALL BE JUDGED BY CHRIST:
All men shall one day appear before Him (Rom. 14:10: “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”). God shall judge the world by Christ (Acts 17:30-31: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”). Judgment is as sure as death (Heb. 9:27: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”).
Judgment will be the day of great separation (Matt. 25:31-46).

THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST IS WHERE MEN OUGHT TO BE JUDGED:
The Lord shall judge men by His word (John 12:48: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”). Men shall give account to Christ for the deeds done “in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10-11: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.”).
This judgment will be fair and impartial (Rom. 2:5-6: “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds.”).

Men should be made aware of coming judgment. They should know the standard of judgment: not the opinion of men; not the doctrines of men; the Truth of God.

Are you ready for the judgment day?

– the late Wayne Holland
– a sermon preached in Hiawassee, GA 2/5/1984
and South Boston, VA – 3/1/1992

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Everyone has to choose what they will do with Jesus Christ.

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Choose Today Whom You Will Serve – Joshua 2

In our current cultural atmosphere, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that no one wants to hear the Gospel anymore. When you talk to people at work or your family members and you get shut up or shouted down or ignored time after time, it is easy to believe that no one wants the truth anymore. But we have to be careful that we don’t fall into this trap of cynicism and believe that Christianity is a dying religion, even in the U.S.

Everyone has to choose what they will do with Jesus Christ. Everyone has to choose how they will answer the question: “Where did this world originate?”

The theme verse for the book of Joshua is 24:15: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Yet, at the very beginning of the book, we have a woman, a non-Israelite, who does exactly what Joshua challenges the Israelites to do – She chooses, along with her house, to serve the Lord. In every way, she is an unexpected convert. But when she saw the evidence, she accepted it by faith and God blessed her with salvation.

Take a closer look at Rahab from Joshua 2:8-14. The Israelites were camped at Shittim. Shittim is the place back in Numbers 25 where Balaam was able to influence the Israelites to engage in sexual immorality with the women of Moab and through those relationships, to engage in idolatry.

That Rahab is a prostitute would form a link with that idea. Prostitution was often inter-related with the pagan religion of the Canaanites and later, the prophets will use “prostitution” as a figure of speech for leaving faith in God and trusting in someone or somebody else besides God. So, Rahab is the “epitome” of the Canaanite pagan who tries to seduce the Israelites away from God.

She is the last one you would expect to want salvation!

The basis of Rahab’s faith is the knowledge of God working among the Israelites: “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”

Now observe Rahab’s confession of faith in the God of Israel in verse 11: “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

Rahab will be saved through her faith and her obedience to the conditions given by the spies (2:15-21).

The story of the destruction of Jericho is found in Joshua 6. How Joshua and Israel treat Rahab is found in 6:17 (Joshua’s command to the soldiers), and 22-25. Rahab was saved and was living among the Israelites at the time that the book of Joshua was written.

In Hebrews 11:31, the author of Hebrews praises Rahab because of her faith: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.” Rahab’s faith was not an empty faith. It was a faith based on knowledge of what God had done. From that knowledge, then, she believed that God would follow through with giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites. Notice here in Hebrews 11:31 that Rahab’s faith is set in opposition to the “disobedience” of everyone else. The opposite of “faith” is “disobedience.” If you believe, you will obey. Welcoming the spies in peace was Rahab’s “response” of faith to the promise of God.

So – a prostitute finds her way into the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5) and, eventually, into the records of the book of life. As much as we might say that if Paul can be saved, anyone can be saved, I hope we learn from the example of Rahab that if she can be saved, anyone can be saved.

“Choose you this day whom you will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Through a faithful response to God, anyone can move beyond their past and receive the grace of God.

–Paul Holland

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Sacraments?

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Have you heard of “sacraments”? You generally hear them discussed in the context of Roman Catholicism although other religious groups sometimes use the term. Richard Muller, in his Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, defines “sacraments” as “a holy rite that is both a sign and a means of grace. …a visible sign of an invisible grace. …Properly and strictly sacraments must have three characteristics: (1) they must be commanded by God, (2) they must have visible or sensible elements prescribed by God, and (3) they must apply and seal by grace the promise of the gospel.” Muller recognizes, in contrast to most religious groups who like the term, that there are only two “sacraments” that meet this definition – baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Suffice it to say that the word “sacrament” is not found in the New Testament. The Latin word (sacramentum) was used to translate the Greek word for “mystery.” That word (mysterion) is used in the New Testament 27 times. It’s very first use is instructive. In the parables found in Matthew 13, Jesus says: “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted” (13:11).

In the first use of mysterion outside of the Gospel accounts, Romans 11:25, we have a similar idea. Paul states: “I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery.” At the end of Romans, 16:25-26, Paul writes: “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.”

There are still some mysteries, like what the future body will be like in the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51). But largely speaking, the “mystery” (sacramentum) was hidden in the Old Testament times but revealed in Christ in the New Testament age: “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him” (Eph. 1:9). To put it succinctly, the mystery is that Christ might dwell in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

We understand, then, that neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper are called sacramentum in the New Testament. Relative to the characteristics mentioned by Muller, both baptism (Mark 16:15-16) and the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22-25) are indeed commanded by God. Both have visible elements prescribed by Christ: water for baptism and the unleavened bread and fruit from the vine in the case of the Lord’s Supper.

But the great problem comes in the third characteristic: that they “must apply and seal by grace the promise of the gospel.” There is no promise of such grace attached to the Lord’s Supper. We are to take the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of” Him (Luke 22:19). We have fellowship with Christ, in His body and blood, when we take the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16). Through sharing the Communion each Lord’s Day, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Clearly, the Lord’s Supper does not fit either the definition or the characteristic of a “sacrament.”

Relative to baptism and its seal by grace of the promise of the gospel… Going through the motions of immersion does not do any good. For those religious groups who immerse babies, baptism has no New Testament authority. The grace only comes when one obeys Jesus Christ. “Baptism does now save us,” Peter clearly teaches in 1 Peter 3:21. But it’s not the water itself, Peter continues, that does the cleansing. It is affected by the conscience being clean as it responds in faithful obedience to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is clear that the word “sacrament” (even in the Latin) does not apply to what some religionists say it applies to. Plus, even with the two “sacraments” supposedly found in the Word of God, neither meets the characteristics of so-called “sacraments.”

The denominational term, therefore, has no authority or basis in the New Testament and Christians should not use the term.

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Stand Fast in Your Spiritual Walk

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Did you work more than 40 hours this week? Did you have less than three evenings at home this past week, with nothing to do?

Do you ever feel like you are living in the fast lane? Do you ever feel like you are in a rat-race every day? Do you feel like you are racing in the “5:00 500” every day? The country music group Alabama has a song by that title: Five O’Clock 500. Listen to the first verse and chorus of that song:

Just punched the clock and boy, am I ready?
Walkin’ out the door headin’ home
It’s time to buckle up again in my rolling hunk of tin
It’s quittin’ time the evenin’ race is on

It’s that five o’clock 500 and I run it every day
Pick up trucks, cars and buses all in my way
We’ve got Darrel, we’ve got Dale, Richard, Mark, Rusty and Jeff
Oh, the boss just dropped the green we’re on our way
It’s that five o’clock 500 every day.

As you live a fast-paced life in 21st century American, the “5:00 500” lifestyle, let us be reminded that God calls us to slow down, in fact, to walk our spiritual walk in faithfulness and in maturity.

The verb “stand” is found one time in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” (NKJV). The verb translated “stand fast” is translated by the ESV and the NASV as “stand firm.” So, the verb means “to be steadfast” (BAGD, 768), to be resolute, firm, and unwavering.

In Galatians 5:16-18, Paul writes: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

THE INDICATIVES (FACTS) OF THE WALK:
Keeping our minds focused on Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we learn a few reasons why we should stand fast in our spiritual walk.

First, Christ gave Himself for us – 1:4.
Second, Christ lives in us – 2:20.
Third, we have been crucified to the world with Christ – 5:24.
Fourth, why we need to stand fast in our spiritual walk with Christ is because Christ is the seed of Abraham who will bless all the nations – 3:8-9.

THE IMPERATIVES (COMMANDS) OF THE WALK:
There are 22 commands in this letter; most are concentrated in chapters 5 & 6. We’ll just point out a few…

First, don’t desert Christ – 1:6ff.
Second, strive to please Christ – 1:10.
Third, wait for the hope of righteousness that will be ours in a state of perfection when Jesus comes again – 5:5.
Fourth, do not turn your freedom into a license to fulfill the desires of the flesh – 5:13, 16, 19-21.
Fifth, serve one another through love – 5:13, 22-23.
Sixth, sow a Spirit-focused life – 6:8.

You might live a “5:00 500” type of life in 21st century America but the Christian life is a walk with the Spirit, guided by the Spirit, persistently, consistently, focused, and determined. You can be in a righteous state if you are firmly attached to Christ and walk according to His Spirit.

–Paul Holland

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What we may need to give up to serve God

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i) Jesus spoke about “losing” our lives for His cause (Mt. 16:25).
ii) He said there would be those who would “lose” their homes, lands and relatives (Mt. 19:29).
iii) There would even times when “children” would be lost due to the gospel (Lk. 18:29).
iv) Mt. 19:27 – READ

2) Phil. 4:8 says Paul suffered the “loss of ALL things.” What we are looking at is not hypothetical.
3) Could we and would we be willing to “leave all” for the Lord?
i) If we believe we would be willing to “lose all” for the Lord, what about losing all our friends?
ii) Would we be willing to have 0 friends in our neighborhood?
4) Acts 2:29-32 – READ
5) Verse 36 – READ
i) We might say Peter told those on the Day of Pentecost they needed to “change churches.”
ii) It was time to “lose” the old religion and embrace a brand new faith with a brand new leader.

6) This change meant getting wet; this change meant changing the heart and life – Verse 38 – READ
7) It is very easy to say, “Lord, I am willing lose all for you. Whatever you will is, I will do it.”
i) All too often people have a list of exceptions.
ii) Jesus took note of this when He said in Lk. 6:46, “why call me Lord, Lord, and do not what I say?”
8) Acts 19:19 refers to some Christians who had formerly practiced some type of “magical arts.”
i) These Christians realized they needed to separate themselves from their former way of life.
ii) They needed some new habits and books they had bought with hard earned money were burned.

9) Acts 2:42 – READ
10) Some Jews may have wanted to cling to some of the worship practices associated with the OT.
11) A similar truth exists in our time – choirs and instrumental music in worship.
i) Passages like 2 Chron. 29:25 command instrumental music for Old Testament worship.
ii) In the New Testament (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), we are commanded to sing.
12) The Lord said we need to be willing to “lose it all.” Will we give up choirs and inst. Music in worship?

A FEW MORE ITEMS TO CONSIDER.

1) Acts 19.
2) Paul explained that John’s baptism had “expired” so to speak and this fact required a decision.
i) Would the people who believed they were right with God argue with Paul or would they believe him?
ii) Would pride fill their hearts and they would argue with Paul, or would they lose any desire to object?
3) Acts 19:5 says those who had been baptized with John’s baptism were baptized into the Lord’s name.
4) If we are truly willing to “lose all” for the Lord, this includes our attitudes.
5) A person with a “good heart” is willing to “lose” whatever is in contrast to God’s will.
6) We might need to “lose” a relationship.
7) 1 Cor. 15:33 speaks about “evil companionships” – leave these alone.
8) John the Baptist told a ruler he was joined to an unlawful partner (Mt. 14:4).
9) We know some who became Christians had been guilty of “adultery” (1 Cor. 6:9), a sin involving the married.
10) In Mt. 19:12 the Lord said some make themselves “euneuchs” for the kingdom of God.
11) Any number of items or relationships might need to be “lost” (given up) for the kingdom of God.

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