By Glenn Ward
We hear the word gospel in sermons and Bible lessons. What is the gospel and how does it affect our lives? From Vine’s Expository Dictionary the word means: As a noun, “The good news itself” and as a verb it means to “proclaim” and “to preach” to announce glad tidings beforehand. Of course, I shortened the definition by choosing the words enclosed in the parentheses. To me that means the new testament. We are not living under the old Law of Moses, but we live under the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Jesus referred to it as His power unto salvation (Romans 1:16). However, the old law was written for our learning. We can better understand the new if we study the old law. We have heard the word gospel many times, over the years, in sermons and Bible studies. The gospel is good news to the believer and nothing to the nonbeliever. You have to do more than just hear the word you must obey the word to, be saved. James tells us that hearers only will not be saved, but doers of the word will be saved (James 2:26). One must have faith to be saved (Hebrews 11:6). Certainly, hearing the word is good news to us if we believe.
I believe that love is the foundation of the gospel. 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 (John 3:16). For God to offer His Son, He must have a great love for us. Jesus, also, has this great love for us. He left heaven to come to earth to be ridiculed, beaten, spit upon, and crucified. He died not for His sins but ours (1 Corinthians 15:3). As Christians we are to strive to be like Jesus. Those around us should see Jesus living in us. We are to shine like a light in the dark (Matthew 5:14-16). The word encourages us to have the same mind that is in Jesus (Philippians 2:5). The gospel teaches and shows examples of forgiving and we need to be forgiving. To have this great love we must be willing to forgive. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God sent Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus purchased us with His blood (Acts 20:28). We must forgive those who sin against us. Peter asked how many times are we to forgive those who sin against us, seven times? Jesus answered and said seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). We must always forgive those who sin against us. Jesus, while dying on the cross, asked God to forgive those that crucified Him (Luke 23:34). The gospel gives more examples of forgiveness: read Matthew 18:23-35 and Luke 15:11-32.
The Gospel teaches more than salvation and forgiveness. It teaches how Christians are to live in this present world. The first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, tells about the life of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the words of God and we must obey them. The New Testament teaches all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God’s word is truth (John 7:17). Jesus was tempted in all ways that we are tempted and He did not sin. Being tempted He is able to help us when we are tempted. The gospel is our armor that God provides for us. If we put the armor on and sink the word into our hearts, we can withstand any thing that Satan may tempt us with. Jesus used the word of God to fight off Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). The Gospel is our map to heaven, keep and obey it. Jesus is the only way to salvation. When Jesus asked the apostles if they were going to leave, Peter said there was no place to go, you have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Be Careful with Our Tongues
By Glenn Ward
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. KJV
James realized the need for a Christian to control what he says. There were seven things that the Lord hates in proverbs 16; 16-19, and three of those things is about the tongue. One is a lying tongue, two is a tongue that is a false witness that speaketh lies, and the third is a tongue that soweth discord among the brethren. In James chapter three he compares the tongue to a bit in a horse’s mouth, a rudder of a ship, and how big a little fire can make, our tongues are small but can create a great disturbance or problem. The tongue can create divisions between Christians, and in doing that can divide a congregation. The Lord said there was to be no divisions among Christians and the church (1 Corinthians 1:10).
A lying tongue is nothing but trouble. You must have a good memory if you lie because you will have to tell more lies so the first lie will not be exposed. The church is built on truth; God’s word is truth (John 17:17). The corner stone is based on the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:18). A lying tongue affects every relation we have on earth. Lying brings no peace but divisions among individuals.
The unruly tongue speaks without thinking and can cause much unhappiness. Our tongues can hurt other people in which our relationships may never be repaired. If we always seem to be in trouble, it could be the results of an unruly tongue. James wrote: James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offends not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. KJV
A complaining tongue shows discontentment, that one is not happy with the situation at present. Paul in his letter to the Christians at Corinth, warned them not to complain as those did of and were destroyed. These things were written for our learning (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; KJV
We should not have a tongue that soweth discord. Jesus does not want discord among Christian, we are to be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to sow the seed, the word of God, and not the words of discord. Not every time we sow the word of God will it be received (Mark 4:13-20).
A critical tongue is a tongue of unrest. The final judgment is in God’s hands, He will judge us by the word of God and by what is in our hearts and not by outward appearances. We may judge others by their actions and the New testament. If we have a critical attitude we probably think that we are better than others. We cannot judge one into heaven or hell. That judgment is reserved to Jesus Christ. Jesus said we will be judged by the word of God (John 12:48).
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. KJV A person who does not use his tongue to confess belief in Jesus Christ, will not be saved. Our tongue is used to confess our sins to others and to ask God for forgiveness. We use our tongue to talk to God through Jesus Christ. We use our tongue for many other things. (See James 5:13-19).
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR TONGUE?
By Glenn Ward
The scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus. They asked Him Why His disciples violated God’s law, by not washing their hands before eating bread? Evidently, they were referring to commandments of men as laws of God (Matthew 15:8-9). They were worshipping God in vain. God was not accepting their worship. There was a time when Jesus left Judea to go to Galilee and He was passing though Samaria. He stopped at Jacobs well, in a parcel of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. There he met a woman of Samaria and He asked for a drink of water. This led to a conversation of where men are to worship God. He told her the time was coming when men would not worship in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. Those that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is spirit and those that worship must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:19-24).
To worship in spirit is to worship from the heart. Our desire is to please God. All that we do is to give glory to God. People see God in us and it gives praise and glory to God, and our worship is not in vain. He told the scribes and Pharisees that they drew near to Him with their mouth but their heart was far from Him (Matthew 15:8). Their worship was vain. We must want to worship God, from our heart, in order to be pleasing to God and worship God in spirit. It takes more than worshipping in spirit to please God.
We must, also, worship in truth. Pilate asked what is truth? We know that truth is God’s word (John 17:17). God tells us, through His word, how He wants us to worship Him. All we have to do is read His word and make application in our daily lives. Jesus said that if we did not accept His word the same would judge us in the last day (John 12:48). James warns us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22). We are deceiving ourselves if we do not obey God’s word. Our worship will be in vain. Hearers of the law are not justified before God; doers of the law are justified (Romans 2:13).
To worship in truth, we cannot do what we think is good. We must do what God tells us to do. We cannot add to or take away from the word of God (Revelation 22:18-19). There are many laws we must obey. We must remember there are sins of commission and sins of omission. Perhaps the easiest to commit are the sins of omission. One would have to study the Bible to know and understand the laws of God. We could do nothing and commit sins of omission. Once we become tempted to do something and we are doubtful whether it is good or bad, we should not do it. If we find it is sinful we should not do it. If it is not against God’s law, we can do it. In my mind we are more likely to be guilty of sins of omission rather than sins of commission.
We cannot be baptized into Christ and then sit back and do nothing. Peter tells us to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Doing nothing our worship is in vain because we are committing sins of omission. By growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ we will know what we are to do before and after we are saved. We must remember that if we err in one point we are guilty of the whole (James 2:10).
By Glenn Ward
Paul writing to the saints and faithful in Christ at Colosse said; grace and peace unto them from God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:2). Paul continually prayed for them since he had heard of their faithfulness in Jesus Christ. He heard of their love for all the saints. We can learn a lot about Jesus Christ from a study of Colossians chapter one.
They were to walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him by being fruitful in every good works and increasing in knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:10). We are to be walking in the same manner to be pleasing to the Lord. God provided all that we need that pertains to life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3). All we need for life and godliness comes from the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We can find that knowledge in the Bible. We must do more than just reading the word, we must study and obey all the commandments in the New Testament.
Christians know about Jesus. They know He came down from heaven and lived in flesh. He was tempted in all ways that we are tempted, but He did not sin. His ministry lasted three to four years, He started when He was about 30 years old. He suffered a lot abuse both verbal and physical. He was crucified on a cross, outside of Jerusalem, between two thieves. He was buried in a new grave and arose three days later. He was seen by over a hundred fifty people during the forty days remained on earth. He then returned to sit on the throne next to His Father in heaven. Confessing our belief in Jesus being the messiah the Son of God. One is baptized for remission of sins and given the gift of the Holy Spirit. God translate one from darkness into the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13). His church or kingdom was started on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after His resurrection.
Jesus set the example that we are to follow if we want to go to heaven. He strengthens us by His glorious power, patience, and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:11). These things help to make us to be able to take part in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12). Power,
patience, and longsuffering with joyfulness is just part of Jesus’ attributes; there is more that we need to add to our lives. We are to add to our faith, virtue, knowledge, godliness, temperance, brotherly kindness, and charity (love). These are more attributes of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:5-8).
Jesus was more than an example that we should follow. He is our propitiation (1 John 2:2). Jesus is the ransom for our sins. He was willing to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Man did not kill Jesus; Jesus gave us His life. His blood cleanses us from all sin. We come in contact with His blood when we are baptized for the remission of sin. He is the first borne of every creature. All things were created by Him in heaven and on earth. He is the first to be resurrected never to die again. He is the head of the body, the church, that in all things He has the preeminence (Colossians 1:18). He made peace through the blood of His cross. Reconciling all things unto Himself whether they are in earth or in heaven.
Jesus is our advocate. Christians are priest and the Apostle Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 3:1). Under the old Law man had to go through another man to talk to God. That is because the priest hood was made up of men. We can talk to God at any time through Jesus Christ. Jesus said that if we confess our belief in Him before man, He will confess us to His father in heaven. Conversely He will not confess us before His Father if we do not confess our belief in Him before man (Matthew 10:32-33). Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
As priest we are under the authority of the high priest, Jesus Christ. His authority is His gospel, the word of God. God’s word will judge all men in the last day (John 12:48). On the last day we all will stand before Jesus Christ and be judged by the things we did in our life time compared to the word of God. It is appointed unto men to once die and after that the judgement (Hebrews 9:27).
By Glenn Ward
Today is the day of salvation. (Corinthians 6:1-2) Paul, writing to the Christians at Corinth wrote that he and Timothy were ambassadors of Christ and were working together with Christ. They were pleading with them not to receive the grace of God in vain. They were careful not to offend the Jews or the Gentiles with their words. The Words were the words of the gospel. The accepted time is the day of salvation. The word is not harsh or commanding, but is calling them to be saved. Receiving the word in the proper manner (truly repented from the heart) is the accepted time, the day of salvation. However, to remain faithful we must serve God every day, there is no tomorrow. As ministers and ambassadors 0f Jesus Christ, they had to be careful not to act in a way that would bring dishonor to Jesus and their office (Corinthians 6:3-10). Christians have to act in the same manner. We cannot be lazy: we must work the works while we can. When Jesus returns or we die our work is finished. We cannot put off our works until tomorrow; there is no tomorrow. We are not promised that there will be a tomorrow. We are like the vapor coming from a boiling pot; it is visible for a while and then it is gone (James 4:14). Now is all that we have in this present world. In the world to come we will be eternally there. There is an eternal heaven and an eternal hell; how we live now will decide where we live eternally.
Are we to forget about our physical lives and do not plan for tomorrow? That would be unwise. We must take care of our bodies while we live on earth. We must also care not only for ourselves but we must help others along the way. Even though we plan for tomorrow for our bodies we must live as if there is not tomorrow for our souls. There should not be any lazy Christians. We cannot earn our salvation regardless of how hard or long we work. Salvation is a free gift from God. Jesus suffered and died for our salvation. We are to follow His example. In this country, at the present time, we probably will not suffer or be put to death for following Jesus, but that day may come. We must be ready at all times to meet our savior face to face. That will be the time of judgement when our lives will be judged by the word of God.
We must remember that tomorrow never comes. Tomorrow becomes today. We are always living in today. The age of computers, industrial, educational growth, man has more free time on his hands. How we handle this time is up to each individual. Many turn to recreation, sports, and travel to occupy that time. Others turn to doing nothing at all. They like to rest from their labors. This isn’t the rest that God has promised us, that is yet to come if we have been saved. If you are not saved there will be no rest for your soul. God worked for six days creating the earth and all things in the earth and then He rested on the seventh day. God told the Israelite to remember the Sabbath, they were not to work on the Sabbath. That law is not in the New Testament. We can work the works every day. Every day is today and we need to work the works of God to please Him.
Can A Christian Fall Away?
By Glenn Ward
To fall away, one must first become a Christian. If one is a Christian, he or she have been saved and have confessed their belief that Jesus is the Son of the living God. There are some that believe that once you are saved you are always saved. The Bible warns us about falling away (1 Corinthians 10:12
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall). We live in a world with sins being committed all around us. Satan is also tempting us to fall away from God. Satan knows that God has already sentenced him and other devils to a life in hell, when the world is destroyed. Satan is also trying to get sinners not to obey the gospel. Satan wants to take as many as he can to hell with him.
Why would a Christian want to fall away? We see sinners all around us having fun and we want to join in with the crowd. I do not believe Christians want to fall away. We get involved with worldly things and before we know it we have fallen. We are in a body with lustful desires. We are born into a materialist world where we have needs to support our bodies. We need food, clothing, and housing to protect our bodies. When we grow to adulthood and get married we have to provide for others besides ourselves. The more things we get the more we want. More time is spent on getting material things than serving God. One does not know he or she is slipping away. As long as we are going to church steadily each week, things are all right. Serving God and mammon is going OK. The scriptures say different. (Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon). Sin is deceitful, and only the fun part of sin is advertised. The end result is not advertised. Sometimes families are destroyed, health destroyed, and friendship destroyed, everything can be lost. The final result is the second death when we are cast into hell, which is eternal punishment (Revelation 20:14).
Can we prevent falling away? YES. We need to make our calling and election sure by giving all diligence, add to our faith virtue; knowledge; temperance; patience; godliness; brotherly kindness; and charity. If these qualities are in us abundantly we will not fall (2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall). Another way of making our election sure is to put on the whole armor God. (Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;).
You might say that God has given us a safety net; it is His grace and mercy. If we fall then He is willing to forgive and accept us back again If we repent.
By Glenn Ward
I heard someone say that rules or laws were made to be broken. He was talking about the civil laws of this country. I believe he was just joking, but maybe he broke a law of the road by speeding or drag racing. Of course I know that laws or rules are not made to be broken. Ann and I play a game of dominoes on Friday evening with a few friends. We play the game according to all the rules but one. Everyone must agree to any rule that we want to change. If one persons does not agree, then the rule will not be changed. Our civil laws were made by elected officials of the government. If we do not like a law and want it changed, we would have to get a certain number of signatures of registered voters to get the change on the ballot. The change must be voted on and win by a certain percentage to be enacted.
There are punishments recorded for each law that is broken. The one that breaks a law may be arrested and tried. If one is found guilty, his punishment will be given by a judge according to the law. We are not to be afraid of the powers over us. They are not a terror to good works, but to evil (Romans 13:3). Everyone is to be subject of the higher powers because all powers are ordained by God (Romans 13:1). The laws of man are not perfect or good and some governments are corrupt bur they are ordained by God and we are to obey them. However, we are to obey as long as they do not go against the laws of God. Peter said it is better to serve God than man (Acts 5:29).
We are living under the law of Christ; the gospel of Jesus Christ. The laws that are in the New Testament are from God and they cannot be changed. Jesus died to put these in effect. Jesus made sin and dies on the cross for our sins. He paid the ransom for our sins. He took our sins to the cross fulfilling the Old Law of Moses and nailed it to the cross, making way for the Law of Christ (Colossians 2:14). Our obedience to the new Law we have forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life in heaven. Jesus told the people that if they reject Him or His word, the same will judge on the last day (John 12:44-50). The word of God is going to judge us on the last day (John 12:48). Wouldn’t you want to read the Gospel to see what is required of you? If you believe there is a heaven and a hell, I would advise you to study and seek out every command that applies to you and obey them. James said that we should not be a hearer only, but a doer of the law. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20, 26).
Rules are not made to be broken: they are made that we can live better in this world. We will not find total peace in this world but in the world to come. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a country without any laws? There would a lot of confusion and crime going on every day. Our lives would be in constant danger. The strongest would rule over the weak.
There are those in this world who continually break the laws of the land. We live in a country that allows us to worship the God of our choice. We can seek and find the true God and worship Him and not fear man (Luke 11:9-10). We can find that eternal, perfect, peace in the future land by obeying the gospel. Those that break the laws here will find everlasting torment in the world to come. We are not forced to obey God we have the choice to obey whoever we desire (Romans 6:16). Once we obey the gospel we are encouraged to grow in faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Are you growing every day in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior? I hope you answer is YES.
By Glenn Ward
We live in a world where anger is prevalent. Almost every night on the news there is someone who has been shot. There are people that get fired from their job and they leave and get a gun and come back to kill as many as they can and then kill themselves. Some kids that are bullied in school get guns and come back to school and kill all they can and the kill themselves. We also hear of road rage, some get angry at other drivers and try to cause them to wreck. Considering the size of the population, these incidents would seem small. There are a lot of good people in the world. However, even good people may not put the value of life as high as they should. God gives us the command that we are not to murder people (Matthew 5:21-22). Even if we get angry, without cause, against a brother we are danger of losing our soul.
We are to be in control of our bodies. I know there are brothers and sisters in the church who have become angry and have said things that hurt others but they do not think they have sinned. They let their anger control their body rather than they controlling their anger. We are warned about the dangers of not controlling our tongue (James 3:5-6). It is usually when we are angry when we let our tongue go uncontrolled. Once the words come out of our mouths we cannot take them back. Once we hurt someone with words, it is very hard, if not impossible, to repair the damage. I have heard others say that God gave us two ears and one mouth for us to listen before we speak. James yells us to be swift to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19). You probably heard the advice to count to ten before taking action. That is good advice, but not necessarily the answer to the problem of losing control. The best solution is to study the scriptures and place them in your heart. Remembering the scriptures will deter us from all sins. Jesus demonstrated this when He used scriptures when Satan challenged Him face to face (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).
There are those that will say Jesus became angry and cleansed the temple of God. Jesus certainly cleansed the temple but He was not out of control. He was angry because of the sin that contaminated His Father’s house. He chased the sinners out of the temple but He did not harm them. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus was not found with any sin, so we know that He did not sin when He cleansed the temple. Christians should get angry over others committing sin but should keep their bodies under control. We should not try to harm or destroy the sinner but try to convert them to Jesu Christ (James 5:20). We are told to return good for evil and not evil for evil. We are to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). We are not to avenge ourselves; vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19).
It is very easy to interpret the Bible to agree with what we think, if we take it out of context. Let us open the Bible and open our minds to find the true meaning of the scriptures. It is, also, a good idea to study with others and come to an understanding of the Bible. We must not be hearers only but doers of the word of God (James 1:22). The word will set us free from sin if we obey the commandments (John 8:32).