Mooresville church of Christ

Teaching The Gospel in Mooresville, NC and Around the World...

News & Articles News & Articles

Mothers In The Church

Mothers In The Church

     Today is the day set aside by our nation to remember and commemorate our mothers. There is much that is misunderstood about this “holiday” among those who observe it.   It is not a day set aside by God.

     Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in our society. This is understandable as it has long been said” The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” But this does not mean that the mother rules the world; but it means that the mother has a great deal of influence over the ones being rocked.

   mThe idea of “Mother’s Day” is not specific to America alone as it is observed in many parts of the world.   Like most “holidays” the idea of it may have come about due to pagan celebrations or denominational practices. The Greeks had a cult that honored Cybele; the Romans had a festival of Hilaria; and the church of England and the Catholics had “Mothering Sunday” which commemorated the “mother church” rather than motherhood.

   The modern “holiday” of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a celebration for her mother in St. Andrews Methodist church in Grafton West Virginia.   She began lobbying to make Mother’s Day an official “holiday” in 1905, shortly after the death of her mother, who had cared for wounded from both sides during the American Civil War.

   It was also in 1908 that the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-In-Law’s Day”. But, in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed a declaration that the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.   That day has been the observance from that time until the present. (info from Wikipedia)

   Now that we have established the fact that “Mother’s Day” is not a celebration of the church, nor authorized by God, let us point out some of the things God has said about mothers in His Word.  

   We know from Genesis 3:20 that Eve was the “mother of all living” as all who came to be after the creation of Adam and Eve were born, and all who give birth are called mothers.   Then as we move to the New Testament, after the establishment of the church, we have a fine example of the type of mother that is to be in the church and one that is to be truly honored. That example is found in 2Timothy 2:1-5 where Timothy’s mother Eunice is commended for instilling in Timothy a love for the truth and a desire to faithfully follow God in accordance to God’s Word. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. These are the kinds of godly mothers that God would have in the church.  

   In Titus 2:4-5 we see that the aged women were to teach the young women to conduct themselves in such a way to deserve the honor of their children and their husbands. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  You may say: “What mother does not love her children?” No doubt most mothers love their children, but what better way is there to show that love than teaching them the way of truth so that their soul need not spend eternity in Hell?   The “hand that rocks the cradle” has the most influence on the child in its most formative years, but it is not the mother alone that is to bring up the child properly in accordance to God’s Word.

   The passage above in Titus 2:4-5 goes hand in hand with Ephesians 6:4, which while speaking directly to the fathers, has the mother in mind as well as the young women are to be “keepers at home” and let the fathers provide for the family. A godly mother (and fathers too) are to guide the child in God’s Word as the father provides for the family. (I know this may be a bit unpopular – but I didn’t write it, God did.) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

   The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10 whose price is far above rubies is explained in the verses that come afterward. From Proverbs 31:26-28 we can read of her virtue relative to being the mother God would have her be. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  It is not wrong to remember our mothers.   Let’s honor every Christian mother on every day.   But, on the Lord’s Day, let us focus on honoring and serving the God of heaven as He would have it.  

                                                                                Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

 

When We Know Not

When We Know Not

The phrase “I know that I know nothing” is called the Socratic Paradox and is a well-known saying, but there is no record of Socrates ever speaking these words.   The saying is derived from Plato’s account of the Greek philosopher Socrates.  I’m not sure what this saying even means, because if you know that you know nothing – well, then you do know something.  

When we don’t know, we tend to stumble along and often fail or fall. Israel was a prime example of this.   This nation was known as the people of God.   This is because God chose the nation of Israel to carry out His plan to bring salvation to humanity. God set things up and as His plan was being carried out Israel was to know and to follow that plan.   However, we find in Jeremiah 8:5-9 that even though Israel had been informed, and had been given God’s Word, they still knew not.   Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.  8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them

This passage also shows that God’s creation, with the exception of man follows the plans set up by God.   Why is it that man does not know? It was not because they were not told.   In Hosea 4:6 the Spirit directed Hosea to write why God’s people were destroyed and what their own actions would bring upon them.   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

So that we do not misunderstand – Let us be clear.   God is not a respecter of persons per both the Old and New Testaments. From the O.T. we see this in the book of 2Chronicles 19:7 (to the Jewish nation only). Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.    And, from the N.T. we find this in Romans 2:11 as well as other passages. For there is no respect of persons with God.   Therefore, He has given His Word to all men, if they will receive and accept it.

God’s forgetting the children of the nation of Israel would be brought on by the parents.   For, if parents reject the knowledge of God and do not pass it on to their children, the children will not know God, nor follow Him.   This is clearly what the Spirit had Paul write to the Roman brethren in Romans 1:28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;    Even a casual reading of the verses that follow verse 28 shows the despicable activity in which many who refuse to retain God in their knowledge participate.

This is why God saw to it that the gospel was preached everywhere.   There is no excuse for man not knowing God’s Will for man. The Spirit had Paul inform the Colossians brethren of this in Colossians 1:23 as well as pointing out the importance of holding fast to the truth. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 

We also must also understand that choice is part of this equation.  Everyone that is of the age of accountability must make their own choice.   But, let us also acknowledge that each will be judged according to what they choose in this life.    2Corinthians 5:10 makes this abundantly clear.   For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  Can we afford to not know?   The grace of God has been extended to us in that we have this present time to know and to choose well. Make the best of the time you have.   Read and know God’s Word, and do it.

                                                                                                                                 Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

 

Getting God's Word Right

Getting God’s Word Right

   It is apparent by all the different doctrines that are being put forth in regard to the Word of God that many have not and do not understand God’s Word.   The message God has provided for men is the same for all, but not all read it the same or apply it as it should be applied.   Folks show how selfish they are by picking and choosing their own “special” passages and then often misapplying them toward preconceived notions or to support the doctrines they hold.

   These doctrines of men are refuted when God’s Word is rightly divided as we are told in 2Timothy 2:15.   This verse also tells us how we are to know what is right and what is wrong.   If we do not study, we cannot “get God’s Word right”. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.    Let us not misunderstand; God’s Word is always right, but is not always rightly divided. It is often not rightly divided because it is not read and studied.   Man should be “ashamed” if they do not read and study God’s Word as this will leave them ill prepared for what lies beyond this life.    

     God’s Word in this – the last dispensation of time – is called the gospel. We are told in Romans 1:16 what power it holds and the one who was directed to write this was also directed to write that he was not ashamed to preach it. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.    God’s rightly divided Word is His power unto salvation, but not unless it is read, studied and understood. This is equally true for Christians as well as those outside of Christ.   Christianity has to be maintained once it is obtained. This cannot be done without proper application of the Holy Scriptures.

     Included here is a poem written by O.D. Wilson, my Father-in-Law, penned some years ago which shows that he also had a grasp on this problem faced by many Christians and other “religious” people that recognize the Bible as God’s Holy Word.  

Understanding the Word

1)

I’m attempting a thing that is hard to do,

And, that’s writing this poem for people like you.

Don’t misunderstand the things I shall say,

Everything in the Bible’s not for us today.

2)

While personal pronouns appear in their places,

The context decides their “use” in such cases.

The apostles and prophets have some special spots,

Which some never knew and others forgot.

3)

The “permanent” and temporary are valuable, too,

While screening the evidence for what to do.

It’s true these are there in the Sacred text,

With the temporary first and the permanent next.

4)

To whom and about what, is often ignored,

While some certain passages are underscored.

“Generics” and “specifics” we know aren’t the same,

And the literal and figurative are seldom explained.

5)

When “rightly divided” God’s Message is plain,

He gave the “commands”, the “expedients” we name.

The “mystery’s” revealed, but, Ah, have we learned?

This question I ask: Are we really concerned?

6)

So, let us “divide” by the Dispensations,

Patriarchal, Mosaic and Christian equations,

Re-trace the “boundaries” re-build the “fences”,

And the Word will require no further defenses.

                                                                  O.D. Wilson - deceased

Let’s let God’s Word speak for itself, but let’s also be sure of what it is saying and apply it properly to our lives.  Only then can we “get God’s Word right” and only then can the proper application be made in our lives.

                                           Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

 

Two Sides of the Father

Two sides of the Father

      We are told throughout the scriptures of the goodness of God. We are also told of the wrath of God and the severity of the punishment that will be inflicted on those who fail to serve God faithfully or refuse to serve Him at all. We have a passage in Romans 11:22 which speaks to two sides of the Father at the same time.    Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 

     I am afraid that many are willing to take note of, or remember the goodness of God and refuse to think of the severity of God as if that will cause them to be the recipients of only the good and possibly shields them from any punishment which they deserve if they do not do the Will of God.   That’s like thinking a tornado will not damage your home if you simply refuse to think about it, or that disease cannot afflict you if you don’t acknowledge it.

      Many want to point out the goodness of God by quoting verses like John 3:16 and then staking their soul’s eternal destiny on a misapplication of the verse. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  This verse in no way states that just because Jesus died, and just because one believes he or she “shall” have everlasting life.   It clearly states that He died so that those who believe in Him “should not perish, but have everlasting life”.   This shows He provided the means whereby those who believe in Him can be saved.   This is the goodness of God extended toward us. Eternal life is in Christ, and outside of Christ one cannot have the promise.  

     If one believes in one God, they will believe in the Christ. But, this belief alone still does not save. James 2:19, in the discussion of faith and works makes this abundantly clear. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. They do more than some people do; at least these devils tremble. Most folks go through life asserting that Jesus loves them and God loves them and hoping that this in itself will make a difference for them at the judgment.

     We do know that a certain amount of the goodness of God is directed to all of humanity.   The fact of creation itself attests to that. Also, as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 5:45 in the Sermon on the Mount, . . . for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.    Now, does it not make sense that since God shows His love for all of mankind in expressing His goodness upon us all that He will also punish all who refuse to love Him and follow that which He has directed in His Word?   No amount of refusal to believe on our part will nullify what God has said in His Word.   2Thessalonians 1:7-9 are Words given to Paul by the Spirit to write to these brethren which were troubled because of the persecution of the wicked.   These Words are still applicable today.   And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 

          We are also told in Romans 12:9 that we need not worry about avenging the evil that is directed toward us because this belongs to God and He will take care of it. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. God will punish those who refuse to obey Him, and He will also reward those who follow His Word in faithful obedience. In Colossians 3:24-25 we are told that all will receive their “reward” in accordance to that which they have done in this life. God does not respect anyone’s person. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 

              Let’s make the right choice; God has left that up to us to do. If we think only of the goodness of God we might think the Lord is on our side.   Rather, as Moses offered the choice to Israel in Exodus 32:26 let’s be obedient and be on the Lord’s side. Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. Then let us look forward to the reward of God and not be on the receiving end of the severity of God.

                                                                                                             Dennis Strickland - Mooresville

MAKING CHRISTIAN PROGRESS

MAKING CHRISTIAN PROGRESS

   One of things the Christian is to focus on is choosing the better things in life. In fact, being a faithful Christian is the best thing in life. We made the choice to be obedient. The reason we make choices is so that we can make progress in various areas of our lives. This begins early in life as many young folks choose clothing to be in style or to make progress up the social ladder in school. We also often begin to select certain subjects to study while in school once we have determined we want to prepare for a specific vocation.   We do this to make progress as we become adults. And, as we become adults we continue to make choices so that we can make progress for ourselves and our families.

   The greatest choice one can make is to become a Christian. But, to become a Christian and not make progress is not acceptable in the sight of God.   As with life, when we become a Christian we are a babe.   In 1Peter 2:2 we are told by the Spirit we are expected to “grow” or make progress and how we are to do this. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:   Then in 2Peter 3:18 we also see that the growth is to continue so that we can remain pleasing to God. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.

   While we go through life, even as a Christian, it is sometimes easy to lose heart, especially when some of our choices are not what they should be or do not turn out as we wished. It is also easy to lose heart when once faithful brethren fail to remain so and depart back into the world.   Those who do so have not made Christian progress, but in fact have digressed. We can look into the Word of God to see He has clearly instructed that to return to the world is a mistake none can afford. 2Peter 2:20-22 is a warning to Christians ending with a rather graphic description of the condition of one who has once become a child of God and then again becomes entangled in sin.   This is the opposite of Christian progress. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

   Below is a poem written by my Father-In-Law many years ago and is entitled

“MAKING CHRISTIAN PROGRESS” and shows how to choose to become a Christian and then to never lose heart is definitely choosing the best thing in life.

MAKING CHRISTIAN PROGRESS

(1)

Closer and closer Lord would I be,

I’ve found the answer, learning from Thee

Where would I be if I’d never heard,

How would I know Thee, without the Word?

(2)

Stronger and stronger Lord would I grow,

With Thee beside me, I can, I know,

One single cross I don’t bear alone,

You help me bear them like they are Thine own,

(3)

Purer and purer Lord would I be,

More of Thyself and far less of me.

Crossing the River, I’ll have no fear,

For I know my Savior will always be near.

(4)

Longing and hopeful of wearing a crown,

When faith is sight and the sun has gone down,

Reunion with those who have crossed to that Shore,

Rejoicing in knowing we’ll part never more.  

                                                  O. D. Wilson - deceased

   Choose the best opportunity of life. Learn God’s Word, obey it, and as a faithful Christian, never lose heart.   Look forward to being with God forever in heaven when time is no more.  

                                                                            Dennis Strickland – Mooresville

 

Should The Gospel Still Be A Mystery?

Should The Gospel Still Be A Mystery?

   There are many mysteries in life. Some of these are part of the course of growing up.   As very young people there is much we cannot understand and as such, these things are a mystery to us.   Many a young boy has found himself in trouble by trying to solve the mystery of how something works by dismantling it to see, and in so doing damage it beyond repair.   The very young don’t know how the car works, but do understand it to be the means of going someplace.    By the same token, the young cannot fully understand the love a young man has for the young woman and some unfortunately, in trying to unravel the mystery, have found themselves in a heap of trouble.   Some mysteries must remain so until it is the time to understand.  

   There are many things in life that are mysterious, yet this does not mean that they cannot be known or understood.   Having trouble with your remote?   Hand it to a child of 10 or 12 and in short order they will likely show you how it works. MYSTERY SOLVED!   The same could be said about a number of electronic devices.   That which can be understood should not necessarily remain a mystery.   I suspect I will never understand quantum physics or advanced mathematics, and so, such will remain a mystery to me. I have enough difficulty with “regular” mathematics. We all have areas of learning with which we are unfamiliar, or about which we have no interest.   Because of this these are likely to remain “mysteries” to us.

   Often, that which is a mystery to us is so because we chose to allow it to remain a mystery. If we do not “seek” to understand, we cannot expect to do so and we recognize this in areas of academia or vocation and just about all other areas of life, yet many still are quite comfortable in this life allowing the gospel to remain a mystery.   God did not intend for it to remain so. God intended that the gospel was to be delivered at the right time, following the sacrifice Christ made for mankind. This was all according to His divine plan.  

   Did you know that the word “mystery” is not found in the Old Testament? The first occurrence of the word “mystery” in the Bible is in Mark 4:11 where Jesus was asked by His twelve disciples to explain the parable of the sower. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:  This is parallel to the accounts found in Matthew 13:11 and Luke 8:10 which employ the word “mysteries”.

   The Old Testament is the preparatory state of that which we find in the New Testament. This is divinely supported by Romans 16:25 which the Holy Spirit had Paul write to those brethren. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, The gospel had remained a mystery as long as it was in the preparatory stage, but is now fully revealed and should no longer be a mystery. Romans 16:26 assures us of this and also shows for whom and how it was provided and the purpose for doing so.   But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

   So, why is the gospel a mystery to so many?   I think we have already hit upon the answer to this question.   It is because so many are unfamiliar with God’s Word or have little to no desire to know what it says. To some it is easier to say: “I just don’t understand it” or “It’s too hard to understand”.   That is a cop out!   As the Spirit directed Paul to write in Ephesians 3:4-5 we can see the means by which we can understand is plainly laid out.   Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of ChristWhich in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit

   Should the gospel still be a mystery?   NO! In accordance to Romans 1:16 the gospel is God’s power to save.   For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  Would God want the means of Salvation He provided for mankind to remain a mystery?  I think not. It is also to be understood that God desires that all be saved. 2Peter 3:9 makes this abundantly clear. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God provided the gospel to inform us of our sinful state, but also so we could know how to be washed clean by the blood of Christ.

   In John 1:12-13 we are told that He gave us power to become sons.   It is only through a proper understanding and following of the gospel this can occur.   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:13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 

   Don’t let the gospel remain a mystery to you.   Read it and study it and do as it directs and you too can become a child of God and be with Him for eternity.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Dennis Strickland – Mooresville

Is There Any Stick-to-it-iveness In Your Christianity?

Is There Any Stick-to-it-iveness in your Christianity?

     Stick-to-it-iveness is probably not a word we use on a regular basis. We may not have been aware that such is a word.   It is; and the definition given is: a dogged perseverance; a resolute tenacity. I am sure we do know what perseverance and tenacity mean.    And, one does have to persevere and be tenacious to be well pleasing to God as one of His children.  

    The Spirit directed the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:13 to instruct the Ephesians to take unto themselves the “whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” This is another way to say they were to have stick-to-it-iveness. Notice the phrase “having done all” in this verse.   Are we doing “all we can” to stand and to overcome the ruler of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places?   One can indeed make the required preparation for something and fail to succeed by not seeing it through to the end. We can see this application in our jobs or as we seek to further our education, or in other aspects of life. Why can we not see it in our service to God and the lives we are to live for Him?   We made a commitment to God when we were baptized into Christ; can we not see that we will fail if we don’t continue faithfully and fulfil the whole commitment?   That commitment is to be life-long.

     The verses following this one in the sixth chapter of Ephesians describe that whole armor of God and leaves no doubt as to the protection one has when they put on that armor and use it as indicated.   After we have donned the armor, we are also told in Ephesians 6:18 in what we are to continue as we bravely fight. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

     Do we not recall the Words written to the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10, the latter part of which is still applicable to all Christians? . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.     The church was going to have to endure near unbearable hardships and persecution during the time of the fall of Jerusalem and adequate warning was given in Revelation so that the church could escape the ravages of the Roman armies upon all who called upon the name of the Lord.   How do you think they would have fared if they did not have some “stick-to-it-iveness” in their Christianity?  

     Throughout the writings of the apostle Paul, the Spirit directed Paul to encourage four congregations, six times, to stand fast.  Some of these same brethren are admonished to “be strong”. One cannot “stand fast” or “be strong” if they fail to honor the commitment they made to the Lord upon obedience to the gospel. No less is expected of us.   Those of the Old Testament were also expected to live in accordance to the covenant God made with them.   In Romans 15:4 we are told that the things that were written (recorded) were done so that we might learn and through the scriptures have hope. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Examples are also given showing those who did not have “stick-to-it-iveness” in the Old Testament in regard to the covenant God made with them.   In 1Corithians 10:5-10 we read of the actions of those who failed to be faithful under that Law while they journeyed in the wilderness. Then in 1Corinthians 10:11-12 we are informed as to why this is of such great importance to us. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 

     This shows that it is indeed possible for one who has escaped the contamination of the world to again become entrapped in sin. 2Peter 2:20 proves that this can happen; and it also shows the end state of those who have allowed this to happen. This verse also points out that it is only through the knowledge of, and obedience to the Law of Christ can one be saved.   For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  All are lost who have not escaped the pollutions of the world in obedience to the gospel through the knowledge of Christ.   But, one who has been baptized into Christ and then gone back into the world are those who have no stick-to-it-iveness in their Christianity.

      Perhaps the Spirit, in 2Peter 1:10 after listing the Christian graces called us to have some stick-to-it-iveness. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:                                  

                                                                                                                     Dennis Strickland - Mooresville                    

 

How Does Truth Affect You?

HOW DOES TRUTH AFFECT YOU?

    Truth is something that affects everyone.   The way it affects each one is up to the individual.   Truth has been around as long as time itself.   Truth is that which God spoke to Adam in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:16-17. This is when the commandment was given regarding what was allowed in the Garden and what was not.    What God said also provided the penalty for breaking His commandment. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:   17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 

   What was the truth here? Actually, there were a number of truths spoken by God in these verses.   1) It is truth that God told the man that He had provided the man with all he was permitted to eat.   2) It is also truth that God told the man what man was not allowed to eat within the Garden. 3) And, it is truth that God warned Adam of exactly what would happen if he broke the Commandment of God. The outcome of the situation was completely dependent on the man and his choice to obey or disobey the Commandment of God.

   In John 8:32 we read some Words of Jesus regarding truth. He said: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Unfortunately, many fail to read the verse before it to see that Jesus was speaking to the Jews that believed on Him, then He told them where they could find the truth. John 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  Truth is not going to change just because some fail to obey it.   Those who reject the Word of God are rejecting the truth in this life and will have to deal with that truth at the judgment. We are told this in John 12:48 by the Lord Himself while He was on the earth.   He said: He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 

     But, many are confused as to what truth is and what is not truth. Even Pilate, while interrogating Jesus in John 18:38 asked such a question, and then immediately told the Jews that he found no fault at all in Jesus. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.    How could Pilate possibly find any fault in Christ?   There is none to find because Jesus is “the truth”.  In John chapter 14 when Jesus told His apostles He was leaving to prepare a place for the obedient and faithful, He said they knew where He was going and how to go there. This is when Thomas said: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus response, which we find in John 14:6 tells us what Jesus said to Thomas.   I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.    Then in Jesus’ prayer for His disciples (apostles) in John 17:17 we see how all the disciples of the Lord are to be sanctified (set apart). Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

     But, truth will not set one apart unless the person embraces the truth and applies it to their lives. The only way a person can be “sanctified” or set apart, as we see in 1Peter 1:22 is to obey the truth. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:   And, according to 1Corinthians 12-13 the saved have received the truth which has been given us of the Father through the Spirit. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

     Way back in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 29:29 we see that what God wanted His people to have was given to them and was theirs forever, and why it was provided for them, but that the secret things belong to God.   The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.  Then, in the New Testament we are also told in 2Peter 1:3 that all things that pertain to life and godliness has been provided for us by the divine power of the Lord.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  We are to do these things.

     Based on the fact that truth is God’s Word and God’s Word is truth, perhaps we should ask a different question than the one which is the title of this article. We should ask: HOW DOES GOD’S WORD AFFECT YOU?

                                                                                                       Dennis Strickland - Mooresville

Proper Paths

Proper Pathways

   We don’t seem to think of pathways much anymore.   It used to be that one walked a path to get from one point to another.   Many of these have been replaced with roadways and highways as the preferred mode of travel is no longer walking.   But it is important to remember that in whatever way we travel or convey ourselves from one place to another we are walking a path as we continue through this life.

     God spoke to the prophets through His Spirit to warn His people so they might always strive to walk the path that leads to God.   Sadly, some of God’s people refuse to remain on the right path.   In Jeremiah 6:16 we find the inspired directive to God’s people of that time and their refusal to walk the path God had chosen for them.   Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.   Even today there are those that are supposed to be God’s people that no longer desire the “old paths”, or the “good way” in which to walk, and yet they still want rest for their souls.  

    Perhaps today, folks should look to the example of those of Jeremiah’s day and see what happened to them because they refused to walk the proper path. We see in Jeremiah 18:15-16 that they were to become a shame and a reproach. Notice that these folks made the choice wherein they would walk and therefore chose to be a reproach to God.   Let us not be so today. Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; 16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.    Being a disgrace to God will not result in one being with Him for eternity.   None desires this for himself. 

      Proverbs 14:12 advises that, just because a path seems to be right, doesn’t mean it is. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.    This perhaps was the idea my father in-Law, O.D. Wilson had when he penned the words to a song he wrote. He pointed out in this song that there are Three Highways one might travel.   I have copied the three verses and the chorus below and perhaps these words might help to choose the proper pathways. This song can be sung to the tune of “There’s A Garden” by J.H. Filmore and is entitled:                      

THREE HIGHWAYS TO ETERNITY

(1)

                                                                       Are you walking the highway that seems right?

There is sorrow and death at the end.

Is your conscience considered a safe guide?

Do you offer this way to your friends?

(2)

There’s a beautiful broad highway leading,

In destruction it pays off some day.

The multitudes travel unheeding,

Any warnings we give on the way.

(3)

There’s another highway on the road map.

It is narrow, uncrowded and strait,

It’s the one of the three Jesus traveled.

It alone leads to where saved ones wait.

Chorus

Yes the conscience approval the Lord may reject,

It deceived Eve and Adam that day.

At the end of this road, you’ll miss Heaven’s abode.

Only God’s Word is safe to obey.

      As we travel the highways in our journeys and to and from work and such, we tend to choose carefully the routes we take.   Of course there are multiple routes to many of the places to which we might travel here, but there is only one route or path that leads from earth to Heaven.   As Jesus neared the end of the Sermon on the Mount He spoke to the multitudes in Matthew 7:13-14 and encouraged them to take the proper path. This requires that one stay off the forbidden paths the world offers. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 

     We cannot save you, but we can help guide you to the gate, path and the way that leads to Heaven. Choose your path carefully. Your soul’s eternal destination depends upon it.                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Dennis S – Mooresville

How To Overcome Our Goliath

How to Overcome Our Goliath

   Like many Americans and other folks all over the world, we have spent some time enjoying the Olympic games that have been televised this past week. As the athletes compete, some take on daunting challenges. I am told the pressure these people are under is intense.   We know they have trained and practiced, but even then some of the things they are able to accomplish seem almost impossible.

    The events themselves are difficult, but what about having to compete against the greatest of other countries in their respective sports, some of which hold world or Olympic records? The physical nature of these things are incredible and we all must admit that the mental aspect could present a nearly insurmountable obstacle.

   This is likely what Israel felt when challenged by the giant of the Philistines. In the 17th chapter of 1Samuel, vss 4-8 we are told of the great might and incredible size of this formidable warrior, as well as the massive nature of his weapons and his armor.   He truly dwarfed the Israelites and knowing he could easily defeat any of their soldiers one on one, still offered a challenge of “mano a mano” or hand to hand battle with any single Israelite of their choosing.   We then see in vs 11 how that made the Israelites, from the king on down feel.  When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. 

   Often when we face perceived or real obstacles we may feel we are facing our Goliath. Our thoughts sometime lead us to defeat. Our fears are realized and we find it nearly impossible to fight on or to think we can overcome the various things that present themselves as hindrances and impediments to the goals we want to achieve.  David did not allow improper thoughts to allow him to consider defeat.   He stated in 1Samuel 17:37 that he knew God would deliver him as long as he followed the Lord.   The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

   What a lesson for us! How soon we forget that our strength comes from God and

His Word. This is the same message the Spirit had Paul deliver to the Philippians brethren in Philippians 4:13 so that they would know the source of his strength and also could be the source of their strength. The same thing applies to us. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

    Can we not see that the means by which David was strengthened was the same in his youth as when he was king of Israel? The Spirit had the Psalmist record this in Psalms 119:9-16 so we can know how to stand strong in the face of adversity and opposition. This is also how we can overcome our Goliaths. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

    As the Spirit had Paul encourage and instruct Timothy in 2Timothy 3:14-17, He pointed out how we all can overcome as obstacles are placed in our ways. This advice is something we all need to heed. By following this instruction we can also overcome the things which stand in opposition to our faithful service to God   But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works

   The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews is dedicated to the many who endured pains, sufferings, trials and tribulations, and overcame the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that were placed before them as they strove to serve God and do what was right to do. As time passed on and the church was established, these folks and their dedication to God and doing what God directed them to do, stand as a great example to us.   They had great faith in God, and obtained a good report according to Hebrews 11:39, yet did not receive the promise. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  Then in verse 40 of Hebrews 11 we are told God has provided something better for us. That something is the church. Then in Hebrews 12:1 we see the advice the Hebrews Christians were given and we also should heed it as we strive to overcome all the Goliaths this world presents us. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,. Overcome your “Goliaths” – Be faithful to God and His Word.  

                                                                                     Dennis S - Mooresville

Upcoming Events

Share This Page