6 Reasons Why Practicing Homosexuals Can’t Be Christians

This is an article that I found that goes along very well with another article that I posted.  I find it interesting how any controversial issue that I post upon draws all the attention from the readers.  This post that I wrote on Homosexuality received the most hits out of any other article that I have posted.  I just hope that people are able to use the information that is written in my article and this article to be able to get a good biblical perspective on homosexuality.  Check out my article after you have read this one.  The link is at the bottom of the page.

DAYS OF LOT: 6 Reasons Why Practicing Homosexuals Can’t Be Christians.

©2013 Mark Davis

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Top 10 Bible Truths

1. All men are sinners:

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”

Ecclesiastes 7:20
“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

Isaiah 64:6
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Romans 3:10
“There is none righteous, no not one”

James 2:10
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

1 John 1:8
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

2. Salvation by grace (undeserved mercy), not works:

Ephesians 2:8, 9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Mark 10:25-27
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Romans 3:20
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Romans 11:6
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

Galatians 2:16
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Titus 3:5
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

 

3. Salvation only through Jesus:

Acts 4:12
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

1 Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, “

John 3:36
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 8:24
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 10:1
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

John 10:9
I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.

1 Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

1 John 5:12
“He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

 

4. Believe on Jesus:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 11:25,26
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believe you this?

Acts 16:31
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Romans 10:9, 10
“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”

5. Receive Jesus:

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me.

John 1:12
“But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Galatians 4:6
“And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Ephesians 3:17-19
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

6. Eternal salvation:

A. You can never lose it, even if you make mistakes and fall:

Psalm 37:24
“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand”

John 3:36
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 10:28
I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand

Romans 8:38,39
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 3:11-15
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

1 Corinthians 5:5
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

2 Timothy 2:12
“If we endure, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: “

1 John 5:13
“These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God”

B. But the Lord will chasten you for wrongdoing:

Psalm 89:30-34
“If his children forsake my law, And walk not in my judgments;  If they break my statutes, And keep not my commandments;  Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.  Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.  My covenant will I not break nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”

 Hebrews 12:5-8
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children:  My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then ye are bastards and not sons.”

Revelation 3:19
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

 

7. Receiving Jesus guarantees eternal life in Heaven:

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. “

John 11:26
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

John 14:2-3
In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

1 Peter 1:3, 4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”

1 John 5:11, 12
 “And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

(See Revelation 21:1-27 and 22:1-5 for a description of Heaven)

 

8. The results of being born again:

A. Spiritual rebirth makes you a new creature:

John 3:3
“Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.””

Matthew 18:3
Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

John 1:12, 13
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.  Which were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Romans 12:2
“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

1 Peter 1:23
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

B. You will desire to work for Jesus:

Ephesians 2:10
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Titus 2:12-14
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works.”

(See also Ephesians 4:21-24; Colossians 3:8-10; Titus 3:8; James 2:18.)

 

9. Sin brings about spiritual death; but Jesus died in our place, taking our punishment:

Isaiah 59:2
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

2 Corinthians 5:21
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John  2:1, 2
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation (replacement sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

10. In the Mosaic law, blood is payment for sin; Jesus’ death paid that price in full:

Leviticus 17:11
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

Hebrews 9:22
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Matthew 26:28
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

John 1:29
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and sayeth, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.””

Ephesians 1:7
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,”
(See also 1 John 2:12)

1 Peter 1:18, 19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver or gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.“

©2013 Mark Davis

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WHY Do I NOT See The Blessings of God In My Life?

“I thought that things were going O.K. lately and didn’t realize that I was doing something wrong but apparently I guess I have been.”

Have you thought that recently but then in your daily life you don’t seem to see God’s hand working in your life?  You haven’t really seen God’s blessings apparent in your life or surrounding you?  If you are a “child” (under 18 or still living with mom and dad), has it seemed that you aren’t getting things like you would like them?

I could take this any number of different directions and none of them would be off course.  But, I will only try to stick to a couple of different avenues here.

I constantly hear people wanting to know how to find the will of God for their lives.  I also hear some of the same people ask why they don’t seem to see God’s blessings in their lives.

What do I mean by God’s blessings?  Some of us might think that God’s blessings would be just waking up in the morning and they would be correct, but people seem to take things like that for granted.  Most people consider God’s blessings to be something like finding a $10 bill on the sidewalk or something out of the blue like that.  Maybe it could be that your car broke down and a friend of yours fixed it for you without you having to incur major labor bills to get it fixed.

You see, when you are doing God’s will you will start to see some of these blessings pop up.  You also must realize that when you are doing God’s will, you are also accumulating rewards and riches in heaven rather than on earth, so, you may not see some of your “blessings” here on earth, but eventually you will see them and going the extra mile to do God’s will will actually be worth it for you.

Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

We find may places in scripture telling us what to do and what not to do.  It spells things out pretty clearly what God wants us to do to receive the blessings for our actions.  The above verse tells us that we are to think on, and eventually do, all of these things: True, Honest, Just, Pure, Lovely, Of Good Report, Virtuous and Worthy Of Praise — we are to “think on these things”.

How many times do we go through our days, one after the other, in our ruts, and we do the same things day after day… and everything we are doing (or at least most everything) is for us.  It’s all about “ME”.  We are all worried about ourselves and what affects us and our well being.  If something goes against US then we will most likely not do it.

When was the last time you held a door open for someone behind you going into a fast food restaurant and let them go into the line in front of you?  When was the last time you, when driving, let someone in in front of you when you didn’t really have to, instead of squeezing them out and not letting them in?  After all, they were the ones that were merging, not you.

That is just a couple of examples of selfishness – and I could go on and on with many more examples, but I think you might have the idea that I am getting at here.

Many times in the Bible, we see that God is telling us that we should always put others first before ourselves.

Proverbs 18:24  “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” — Here we see that we are to act first before we get the reward.  Here the action is to be friendly and the reward is to have friends.

Rarely is it that we get something before we do something to get it.  We aren’t going to get paid for doing a job before we do the  job.

The Bible lays it out for us: if we are to receive a blessing, we are first to act in a manner that is bless-able (I’m sure that isn’t a word, but it works).  I have prepared a post that lists a whole bunch of Bible verses that spell out what IS the will of God, how to FIND the will of God and what to DO to be in the will of God. You can read it here.

I will give you a few references here that will give you an idea what I was talking about before – just so you know that this isn’t just me trying to get you to do something for ME but rather for your own well-being and for you to receive the blessings of God.  Keep following me here:

1 Peter 3:17  “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” — We are told here that we should do the right thing (“well doing”) even if it means that we suffer for it.

Mark 3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. — If we do the will of God as it is spelled out, we act as the family of Jesus.  What better blessing can there be than that?

2 Corinthians 8:5  “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” — Putting themselves last, they first gave themselves to the Lord as is the will of God.  If we do this, we will be more willing to put others before ourselves and therefore receive the blessing.

Ephesians 6:6  “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” — If we do the will of God from the heart, with the right spirit, we are the servants of Christ.  Because we are doing it in the right spirit, we are doing it for God rather than so that others can see us and we can receive the glory of men for it.

1 Thessalonians 4:3  “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” — Staying away from fornication is just another way to do the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — It is the will of God that we give thanks – even if things don’t go the way that we want them to go.  Remember that God has a master plan for our lives that we don’t know about.  Every time that something goes “wrong”, it might be an inconvenience to us, but in reality, it prepares us to be able to serve Him in another area, another time. Give thanks, always!

Hebrews 10:36  “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” — Patience is required.  God’s timing is perfect regardless what we think it should be or not, He knows what is best for us.  He promises to take care of us.  Give it to Him and let Him live out His promise.

1 Peter 2:15  “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:” — Remember that when you are doing the will of God, the other “men” are the ignorant and foolish ones – not you!  Don’t worry about what they might say about you or do to you.

1 Peter 4:2  “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” — The “flesh” is the lusts of men — the desires to live in sin and the sin nature that we, as Christians, have sworn off — we should live out the rest of our lives doing the will of God.

1 Peter 4:19  “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” — We are God’s, as Christians.  Therefore, as we suffer for doing the will of God we are to allow God to take care of us.

1 John 2:17  “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” — This goes with the previous verse:  the things of the world are only temporary and also the pleasure that is derived from doing the things of the world and those things will pass away – they are only pleasurable in this life – but, if we do the will of God, we will live forever with God in heaven.

Matthew 20:16  “So the last shall be first, and the first last:” — As we go through our lives and live for ourselves, putting ourselves first, the Bible here indicates that the first (or those who live for themselves as being first) will be the last, but those who live for others (putting themselves after others – last) will end up being first.  This can almost be a selfish thing to do.  If you live for others for yourself, you will not receive a reward, but rather, if you live for others in the right spirit, then you will receive the reward and thus become first.

1 Corinthians 10:31  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” — As we are living for others and in the right spirit, we deflect the glory from ourselves and onto God.  He alone should receive the glory.

Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” — I mentioned this verse earlier, but it comes into play here again, if we do all of these things and receive any “virtue” lavished onto ourselves, we are to give that virtue and any praise that might be given you, to Christ. This is similar to the wide receiver in a football game that receives a touchdown pass and kneels in the end zone and says a small prayer to show the fans that he is not taking the praise for the achievement but rather giving it to God.  This is not a show-off thing for him to do to make him look  better but rather he wants God to look better for allowing him and giving him the strength and ability to get that touchdown…

John 15:5  “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” We can do NOTHING without the power of God — even if a person isn’t a Christian, God has created them and has given them the ability to do whatever we/they do.  Without God, we are powerless!

I hope that with this list of verses, you can see that it is the will of God that we DO NOT live for ourselves, but rather for others.  We need to put this acronym into action:

J — Jesus
O — Others
Y — You

If you do things in this order you will experience true JOY.  It takes a lot of effort to do this and it really isn’t easy to start with, but once you start doing it, and in the right spirit, you will start seeing God’s blessings in your life and you will have more happiness than you have ever experienced before.

Teens reading this:
If you start living like this, your parents will think that an alien has taken their child.  If you do things when they ask you to do them — “Delayed obedience is disobedience”; “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20) — you will be doing the will of God in this regard and will notice that the air in your house will be much easier to breathe.  Your parents will not believe it is you.

If you are a new Christian and start living like this, you will be living as God wants you to live and you will make your parents wonder what it is that makes the difference in your life and that will give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them as well.  If they see no difference in you, you may never see them in heaven with you.

©2013 Mark Davis

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Conclusion

This series is written by Nathan Paugh, copyright protected.

A local church building built by Independent B...

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Over the past several posts we have seen how the local church is an essential component to the growth of the believer.  The reality is that when God’s people utilize God’s ordained instrument the results are unbelievable.

There are three specific, positive results that are revealed by Paul in Ephesians 4: 13 – 16 with the condition that they will come to be if the members of the church body will faithfully exercise their individual spiritual gifts.

  • The church will be unified and loving (v. 13).
  • The church will become mature and wise (vv. 13-15).
  • The church will become effective and successful (vv. 15-16).”[¹]

In light of these statements it is imperative that we recognize that this success is not necessarily equal to the success as would be defined by the world.  However, this success will be exactly what God has planned for that particular ministry.

Romans 12 is another passage to consider when attempting to understand this concept.  In Romans 12: 3 – 8, we find the Apostle Paul exhorting the Roman church to utilize all of their gifts for the effectiveness and efficiency of the ministry.  Paul makes it clear in verses 4 – 5 when he says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”[²]

Therefore it is imperative to recognize what God’s plan is and then, as God’s children, follow this plan while utilizing their individual God given gifts. When we take God at His word and follow His plan be prepared to see amazing things take place in our own individual lives while also in the lives of those around us both individually and corporately.

[¹] Wayne Mack & Dave Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 158-159.
[²] Romans 12:4-5, KJV.
©2013 Mark Davis

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From a Humble Perspective

Christians, Give this a read. This is written by a very talented poet/writer that has taken a challenge to write some prose on different topics. She is very inspired! Her writings (on this post and others) will bless your heart. God bless and good reading!
— Mark

Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones

This post is in response to the Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.

Praise the Lord! Sis Caddo Veil wrote several nonets, which were so moving, that I just had to try also. For those who don’t know, a nonet is 9 syllables on the first line, going down to 8 the next, 7 next, and so on, all the way down to 1 syllable on the last line. I tried doing one of these earlier today, and it was such fun, that I decided to have a go at it again, with this second writing prompt… 

Tilda, I know you said to choose…

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The Medium of Growth

This series is written by Nathan Paugh, copyright protected.

A local church building built by Independent B...

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Part 3
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Within the context of the local church there are several pieces that can, and should, encourage the spiritual growth of the believer.  Those things can range from the pastoral leadership to the people you sit next to during the service to the appearance of the facilities, inside and out. 

While it is certainly healthy to have all of those “things” being just right, the reality is that the pin-point aspect that should encourage spiritual growth, and thus being seen through all of the peripheral items mentioned above, is the Word of God itself.

The Bible speaks much about the value of itself but we will focus only a few key passages in this post.  In 2 Timothy 3: 16, the Apostle Paul states that “All scripture is profitable….”  In making this statement, Paul is most definitely including the writings of the Old Testament (the Law) in conjunction with the writings of the New Testament.

No matter how you attempt to translate what appears in our English Bible as “All Scripture” you will find that “all” means all and “Scripture” is referring to the writings found within the canonical Bible.

As we follow this idea to the next step, we need to explore what these writings are profitable for.  Paul’s statement continues by saying that it is profitable for “doctrine [teaching], for reproof [rebuking], for correction [adjusting], for instruction [training] in righteous-ness.

Thankfully Paul does not stop at this point but he continues on to tells us for what purpose these things are profitable.  In verse 17 he tells us that they are profitable in order to guide the man of God to be “perfect [proficient], thoroughly furnished [equipped] unto all good works.

This plays out in a number of different ways in the local church today but John 17:17 provide some great insight here that helps us see exactly why it must be central.  The words of Jesus Christ read “Sanctify them [make them holy] through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  This verse provides a concise view of what medium must be used in order to see growth in the body of Christ.  The Word of God is the only medium that will not change and is profitable for many things (2 Timothy 3:16).[¹]

Paul, in Ephesians 4:15, exhorts the reader to be “speaking the truth in love”.

When true lives are married to love, the Spirit is free to do his work, and the result is wonderful.” [²]

The sufficiency of Scripture must be relied upon in both the life of the teacher and the life of the student (all believers).  If this reliance is not found on one side of this equation the effectiveness of the medium of growth greatly diminishes.

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[¹] Not only is God’s Word profitable for instruction in righteousness (which is what we all love about it) but it is also profitable to reprove and correct us when we make those wrong turns that we are all prone to make in life.
[²] R. Kent HughesPreaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 136.
©2013 Mark Davis

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Guilt

O.K. You did it!

Guilty Pleasures - Big Mac Combo

Now a sharp nagging guilt has set in.

Nobody else knew; or maybe they did.  One thing is for certain… You know and God knows and listened.  He knows all about it.  He is the One who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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.”

The big problem now is:  “how can I live under this load of guilt?”

It might have been because of some exchange of harsh, cruel words; disobedience; some kind of sexual sin; theft of what is not yours; or a host of any other things.  It makes no difference what kind of a problem you created.  The point is… it was wrong – and it has succeeded in creating a big case of guilt.  You know about it and God knows all about it.  He even knows your thoughts and motives.  You cannot fool God.  You will ultimately give answer to the “all-knowing God”!

You are tired of the load of guilt!  The question now that needs an answer is, “What can be done about it?”  Is there any hope of relief from this nagging problem?

You CAN’T go on this way!

I want to carefully explain what has been done for this situation.  I want you to know that you are not alone with the problem of guilt.  Everyone has that same tendency toward sin.

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.

That sin can show its ugly head in a variety of different ways.  Nevertheless, it does show itself.  And… most assuredly it has guilt and consequences.

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

There are basically two kinds of sinners in the world…  The lost ones – never trusted Jesus to save them – and there are the saved ones – they have been to Jesus and have accepted God’s free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  Both can experience guilt.

Let’s consider first the person who has never put his trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, or the lost sinner.  These have not faced their sin problem and the consequences. They are still trying to do it all themselves. This will never work.

Ephesians 2:8, 9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

No matter how sincere or religious they are, they cannot do what God requires.  This person (along with all other people on earth) has been born with a sin-nature.

There is one exception, though… God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  He was born without a sin-nature.  He is eternal and He was sent to earth to be born of a virgin.  He did many miracles, and taught the people.

His ultimate ministry was to go to the cross of Calvary to pay the supreme price for sin – death.  He is the “Sinless One” and was the only one qualified to pay for the sin-penalty of all mankind.  He had no sin, so, he, being sinless, died in the place of all sinners.

He paid the wages of sin, which was death.  He did this because he loved us.  He didn’t stay dead.  He rose from the dead on the 3rd day after He was placed in the tomb.  Then, after walking the earth for another 40 days was taken back to Heaven with His Father who had sent Him to accomplish this ministry.

Then 10 days later, God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell, seal, teach, and to guide us in the Truth of the Word of God.  He has placed the seal of the Holy Spirit Himself in each believer to guarantee that they are kept by the power of God till we arrive in the very presence of God.  He has guaranteed that none will be lost.

John 3:36
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

If you can identify with this person, then there is a very simple solution.  God wants to give you a “new-life” and forgive your sin.

At present you are spiritually dead.  Before you can have the victory over the sin-nature, you have to meet the requirements that God has established.

The first thing that must be done is to admit that you are a sinner – like everyone else – and that you do not now possess His eternal life.  You are still lost in sin and will be separated from God for all of eternity in Hell.  God wants you to be saved from this terrible consequence.  Jesus paid the full price for your sin.

Won’t you open your heart and trust Jesus by faith to be your personal Saviour?  He promises to give you new life and forgive your sin.  This is the only way you can have freedom from the guilt you are facing.  It is imperative that you do it now!!

Do not delay…

Matthew 11:28, 29
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Then, there are those who have faced their sin problem squarely and dealt with it the way God has provided.  The quilt and penalty of sin are forgiven.  Even though they still have the old sin-nature, they are now a child of God through faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

That old nature is not “eradicated” now, but, we will be rid of it when we are caught up to Heaven to be forever with Jesus.

In the meantime, it is still possible to yield to the tricks and temptations of Satan.  Our relationship with Jesus is not broken, but our fellowship is blemished.  That fellowship is restored when the Child of God repents of that sin and confesses it to God.  He is forgiven and fellowship is restored.

1 John 1:8, 9
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.

A happy, fruitful life is only possible as we yield our body, soul, and spirit to the will of God.

Read your Bible daily and pray.  The Bible , God’s Word, will take on new meaning because we now have the Holy Spirit in us to teach us
and to guide us into all truth.

John 16:13, 14
“… he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”  
John 16:14 says, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”  

(We recommend the KJV since many modern translations have incorporated inaccuracies into the text.)

In conclusion — There is hope for you.

Your guilt can be forgiven by the grace of God.  As you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9, 10
“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.” 

His forgiveness will be yours.  You will be quick to observe the new peace, joy and freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin.  Instead of bearing guilt, you will now have a heart full of rejoicing and praise to God for such a great and wonderful gift.

2 Corinthians 5:21
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Ephesians 2:9b
“…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

It really is life changing!

Now there is REAL purpose in life.

I trust I will one day see you in God’s heaven.

What an AWESOME hope!

Bob Davis
©2013 Mark Davis

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The Goal of Growth

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The ultimate goal of the preparation of the saints and the work of their ministry is the building up of the body of Christ.”¹ This building up of the body ultimately finds itself producing a great level of unity within the body of Christ.  This unity allows for believers young and old to be able to come together around a common goal and push forward.

As the local church (the body) grows toward Christ-likeness individually, the corporate unity begins to take place.

Having established that the gifted people were given to the church for the immediate purpose of preparing all the saints to minister for the building up of the body of Christ, Paul explains the need for the process to continue until attaining the goal that believers mature to the measure of the fullness of Christ.”²

Maturity does not always equate to unity nor does unity always equate to maturity.  Many times one will make the other to be more likely, but they can be used synonymously.  Full maturity that is to the measure of the fullness of Christ cannot humanly be experienced this side of eternity, but it is extremely necessary for the believer to continue to strive toward that end.  Paul explains in verses fourteen and fifteen the importance of growing individually so that the whole body can function as it was designed.  If one part has failed to develop as it should then failure is eminent and thus the entire body will suffer.

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¹ Frank Thielman, Ephesians, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010), 280.
² Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002), 551.
©2013 Mark Davis

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The Medium of Growth >>

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The Means of Growth

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Having briefly explored how gifted leadership is essential to the growth of the church in verses 7-11, Paul begins explaining how that takes place in verse 12.  In this verse the process of discipleship is established as the means for growth.

He says quite simply that God has given gifted leadership to the church ‘to prepare God’s people for works of service’ (v.12a) – or as it literally reads, ministry.”[1]

The word commonly translated as equipping is the Greek word karartismos which “basically refers to that which is fit, is restored to its original condition, or is made complete.”[2]  Christ, through His divine power, “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” however, those things must be honed through the sound teaching of the Word by those that have been appointed to be over the body – the leadership.[3]

This teaching can be done from a pulpit, classroom, one-on-one, e-mail, instant-messenger, etcetera.  Regardless the means, this teaching must be taking place.  The body of Christ is the most obvious people-group that such teaching would take place in.  Although the ministers of the church are ultimately over the teaching material and training times this does not have to be done only by the church staff.

Many times a fellow lay person would be the best person to work with another lay person in order to immediately break down barriers and see God’s Word do a great work.  This can be one of the most rewarding relationships a believer can have.

When a believer takes a personal interest in a fellow believer, it causes both parties to think and study so that they can be better equipped and therefore would be able to equip others also.

The Bible speaks specifically to these types of relationships in Proverbs 27:17 and 2 Timothy 2:2.  Within both of these passages it becomes apparent that believers can have a great impact on each other and not be considered “official” church leadership or staff.

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[1] R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 134.
[2] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 152.

Leadership; The Essential Component for Growth

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In order for God’s purpose to be accomplished through His chosen instrument, the Church, it is imperative the appointed leadership be setting a proper example.  God has called out men to be the leaders of His Church.  These men must meet specific qualifications (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1) and exercise the gifts that have been given to them.[1]
God has supplied each of His children with grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Ephesians 4: 7).  This grace “is measured out to be consistent with what is necessary for the operation of Christ’s gift.”[2]  Therefore, due to the measure of grace that has been bestowed upon the believer, there should not be an assembly production of Christians.  True, genuine disciples are not manufactured, rather, they are develop one relationship at a time.
In verse eleven of this passage, Paul makes it clear that there are specific gifts of Christ that have been given to the whole Church:  “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”[3]  God provided these specific offices “for the perfecting [equipping] of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ.”[4]  While all of these gifts are not still active today, the principle behind having several offices still stands.[5]
In order to train the believer to follow after Christ and to do the work of the ministry, it takes many individuals actively involving themselves in this process.  The men that hold these offices must not be ignorant about spiritual gifts in their own life or the lives of those that they have been called to oversee.  This entire idea can really be summed up with a statement by Wayne Mack, a very influential and Biblically sound author.

Ignorance about spiritual gifts in the life of any particular believer is harmful to the church because that believer has been gifted by God to play a unique role in the body, and the individual himself suffers because his usefulness and joy in Christ is dependent upon his exercise of that giftedness.  On the other hand, if you as a Christian understand the truth in God’s Word concerning spiritual gifts and practice it, you will make a significant contribution to the success of your congregation and experience increasing personal fulfillment in your walk with Christ.”[6]

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[1] R. Kent Hughes really does a great job at including some real life examples so that the reader can really get a grasp on what he is trying to communicate through his statements.  It is imperative for the leadership of the church to not only meet a set of criteria but to also live out that criteria daily, regardless of what setting they are found in.
[2] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 135.
[3] King James Version, Eph. 4:11.
[4] Ibid. Eph. 4:12.
[5] From what I can tell of my study, the offices of an apostle and a prophet do not fit the biblical model that is still in place today.  This is not due to tradition but rather due to the plan that God had for that particular office and thus that purpose has since past.
[6] Wayne Mack & Dave Swavely,  Life in the Father’s House, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 145.
©2013 Mark Davis

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