Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE CHRISTIAN HUSBAND

A study of the Christian Highway requires a serious examination of the people who are traveling upon this Christian Highway.  There are many categories of people who are living holy, keeping the commandments of God and travelling upon the Christian Highway.  We want to look at families and the various members of the family; because family members make up families and families make up congregations, communities, states and a nation.  These individual travelers have various offices and duties in society.  The first category in our society which is the subject of our study today is the Christian Husband. 

In America we have about 2.4 million marriages recorded and we also have about 1.2 million divorces recorded.   
  • About 31 percent of a person's friends, aged 35 to 54, who are married, engaged or cohabiting have already previously been married.
  • People who have been married many years (say, 35-plus) and have never been divorced have almost no chance of the marriage ending in divorce.
  • The rate of divorce per year per 1,000 people has been declining since 1980. 
  • The rate of people living together outside of marriage in increasing.
  • The average length of a marriage in the USA is about 11 years.

The statisticians estimate that a young couple marrying for the first time today has a lifetime divorce risk of 40 percent.

Let me establish my personal testimony here at the beginning.  I have been married only once.  I have been married to the same woman since March 6th, 1971.  After nearly 43 years, I still love and cherish my wife.  We do not always agree, but I do respect her opinions and give serious consideration to her advice.  God has been my help to provide for my wife and three children who are now adults and have their own families.  My wife has been a “keeper at home” and I have been the sole “breadwinner.” 

Surely everyone would agree that something has gone wrong with the commitment to marriage among folks in our world today.  The marriage vows are broken sooner and more easily than ever before in our nation.  We ought to look at what the Bible has to say about the members of a family and the relationship of the husband and wife.  We will begin with the husband.  Let us go back to the Beginning and see what God has said.

Genesis 2:18
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

Some women have interpreted this verse to mean that a man cannot function or make good decisions without her advice and commands.  The Word does not say that God made man a governor or a ruler.  He made man a helper or a help meet, someone suitable to be his companion.  Let us look a little further in this chapter.

Genesis 2:21-24
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

God made the woman for man.  God made the woman from the flesh and bone of Adam.  In order for man to reproduce and populate the world, he must have a suitable companion.  It was the will of God that Adam and Eve have children and that they multiply upon the earth.  A wise proverb says:  “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”

When Noah’s family disembarked from the ark God told them to replenish the earth.  Genesis 9:1, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”

This story has not ended yet.  You know what happened in the Garden of Eden.  Eve disobeyed God and her husband.  She ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  She not only listened to the deceitful lies of Satan and ate the fruit; she also took of the fruit and gave it to her husband. 

1 Timothy 2:13-14
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
 
They both disobeyed God and they both suffered the consequences.  What were the consequences? 

Genesis 3:16-19
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
 
The word “rule” in verse 16 means dominion, governor, reign, rule, have power over.  God made man the stronger one and the ruler.  God made woman the weaker vessel and in subjection to her husband.  This is not a popular teaching, but it is scripturally sound and according to the plan of God.  You cannot design and develop a better or more proper plan than that which God has designed.  When people begin to order their lives and affairs contrary to God’s plan, there will be trouble and evil.

Matthew 19:3-6
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Division is the result of sin.  Divorce is the result of sin.  If it were not for some transgression, people would enjoy the blessings of marriage and holy matrimony.  Self-centered people break their vows.  They do not keep their word.  People have come to expect divorce and so many of them have quit saying their wedding vows.  Why make a vow if they know they do not intend to keep the vows. 

Ephesians 5:22-33
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

These are strong statements and many professing Christians who do not possess true salvation and the grace of God have endeavored to explain away the meaning of these verses of divinely inspired scriptures.  If men would love their wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; AND IF, wives would “submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” we would have strong marriages and happy homes.

Christian husbands must provide for the protection and support of their wives and children. 

1 Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

If a man is capable of providing for his family and he does not do so, he has denied the faith.  He is not a Christian.  He is a reproach to the name of Christ and is worse than an infidel, a non-believer. 

Ephesians 6:1-4
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Many fathers have rough-housed their children and aggravated them in order to teach them to stand up and defend themselves.  This method of training is unrighteous.  Mean people or mean parents are not respected.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

This is not the duty only of the mother.  Mother and father must be active in teaching the children the commandments of the Lord.  Too many fathers have given themselves so exclusively to making a living that they have neglected living the life of holiness before their children. 

The husband must be the spiritual leader of the home.  He must be a representative of his Heavenly Father.  Our Heavenly Father has made provisions for all of His children.  If our needs are not being met, it is because we have left the Father’s house, not because He forsook us.

Proverbs 17:6, “Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

I am speaking to the fathers.  Are you the glory of your children?

Are you the ornament of beauty in the lives of your children? 

Are their lives a reflection of your training in righteousness? 

Perhaps you have not performed well as a father; may I encourage you to learn from your mistakes and share with your children your understanding of the mistakes you made and help them learn a more perfect way of becoming a Christian Husband. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE CHRISTIAN INDIVIDUAL


Are you a Christian?  I do not ask this question to cause you to doubt your salvation.  I ask this question to provoke an honest, confident answer.  If you are a Christian, you should boldly say that you are a born again, child of God who keeps the commandments of God. 

Our world is full of people who say they are Christians and are not.  The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 9:8, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God:”

Jesus spoke to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:2, “thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”

Jesus spoke to the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2:9, “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”

Revelation 3:9, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.”

Many people claim to be something and they are not that which they claim to be.  There are false prophets and false teachers who teach false doctrine.  There are many religious people who are not what they claim to be.  It is very important that we know who we are. 
 
The Christian individual is that person who has been born again.  His life has become new through the spiritual rebirth or regeneration.  He has been called by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He has recognized his depraved, sinful condition as a result of entering into the presence of a Holy God who righteousness reveals all evil.  The new convert has been given the gift of salvation, the gift of faith and the gift of a new life.  He now possesses the grace (power) to say no to all the temptations which Satan brings to his mind.  He is able to live holy and keep the commandments of God each and every day for the rest of his life.  This simple truth is not widely known or acknowledged in our modern, religious, American society. 




People have been falsely instructed to believe that they can ask God to forgive them of their many sins and everything is acceptable.  After they have asked God to forgive them, they believe they can continue to do the same sinful acts and still be a child of God.  This false doctrine is called “eternal security.”  Eternal security is a reality ONLY to those individuals who continue to live free from sin each day of their remaining life.  Since God has made it possible to live free from sin, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is required that you consistently and continually obey the commandments of God. 

John 1:12-13
12 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:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

To every person who has received and believed the message of Jesus Christ, that person has become a son of God, i.e. a child of God.  They have been “born again.”  This is not a natural birth, but rather a spiritual birth.  If an individual has been born again, they have been spiritually regenerated; which means, they have been given new life. 

Regeneration is needed because willful disobedience is sin and the payment for sin is death.  This new life is the direct result of the divine grace of God bestowed upon the sinner who has repented of his sins and forsaken every evil way.  He has entered upon and is traveling upon the Christian Highway of holiness.

With the exception of the young child and those who have mental impediments due to birth defects or some illness or injury which has rendered them incapable of responsible reasoning, God will hold each individual accountable for their decisions and choices.  That accountability continues throughout a person’s life.  The person who has been forgiven must not turn back to any of his past sins, else he forfeit his salvation.  He must not serve again that from which he was delivered. 

2 Peter 2:20-22
20 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.
22 But 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.

Who can misunderstand this explicit declaration?  If you have come to Jesus Christ and repented of your sin; and then, you turn away from Christ and go back to the sins which you were delivered from, your latter end is worse than your beginning. It would have been better for you not to have known the Christian Highway of righteousness, than to have known it and then turn from it. 

It is a shame that so many men who call themselves Christian ministers, have believed the false doctrine that “we are all sinners.”  These ministers are not teaching the true doctrines of Jesus Christ.  A Christian individual must not commit sin.  Many are the scriptures which teach us that the children of God cannot be disobedient and have salvation at the same time. 

1 John 3:8-9
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Many theologians interpret this scripture to refer to habitual sin and excuse the occasional sin.  However, when you fall into this trap, you will find that you sin every day and need to repent every day.  That sounds like habitual sin.  These people commit sin every day and they can’t help themselves.  They are in bondage to their sins.  The reason they cannot stop committing sin is because they do not truly repent with godly sorrow.  They do not turn from their sins with the strong intention to not repeat those sins.  Their false preachers tickle their ears with a message that tells them “we are all sinners” and God loves all people. 

God does love everybody and extends mercy to them so that they will have an opportunity to repent.  God’s love and His salvation are two different issues. 

False religion has caused people to believe that you should never tell someone that the sins they are committing will cause them to be sentenced to the punishment of hell, if they continue in those sins until they die.  If you die in your sins, you cannot go where Jesus is. 

John 8:21-24
21 …I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
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.
 
Jesus was talking to the religious Jews who had evil attitudes in their heart.  They did not understand His message because they were in bondage to sin.  In their darkness they could not see The LIGHT.  Their sins prevented them from seeing the light of truth.  The important point is this:  if you die in your sins, you cannot go to heaven to be with Jesus. 

What prevents people from seeing the truth and understanding the necessity of living holy, free from sin?  It is false doctrine and an evil heart that longs to please the flesh and taste the forbidden fruit.  A person will do what he most wants to do.  Usually, a person will prefer to do what pleases the flesh instead of what pleases God.  Satan will tempt every person through the desires of the flesh to disobey the righteous principles of God.  Since the preachers say that you cannot keep from sinning and that we all sin more or less every day; therefore, most people just go ahead and do what they want to do.  They have been led to believe that God knows their weakness and will excuse their sins because they are just humans and can’t help doing the things they do. 

Why should the thief and the liar condemn the life style of the homosexual, since they are all sinners?  Why should the covetous politician condemn the prostitute and the adulteress?  Since they are all sinners, they should just live and let live and have compassion on each other as they continue to live in their individual sins.  Everyone knows that the homosexual life style is the same as sodomy and it is an abomination to God; but, don’t tell the homosexual that he is committing sin because you might hurt his feelings.  This position is wicked and it produces evil fruit. 
 
The Christian individual must be bold enough to stand for righteousness.  Jesus said that if you are ashamed of Him, then He will be ashamed of you.  Listen to what Jesus said: 

Mark 8:38, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

I want a reputation which reports that I am a Christian individual.  I am not ashamed of what I believe.  I will boldly stand for holiness and living free from sin.  I would rather walk alone on the Christian Highway than to be with the multitudes on the Broadway of Destruction.

Are you a true Christian individual; or, are you a lukewarm hypocrite?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

FORGIVENESS


 
Forgiveness is the decision to abandon the right to hurt someone who has hurt you.  Forgiveness is to pardon without punishment or revenge.  Forgiveness does not mean you forget; although, forgiveness will facilitate and hasten the fading memory of the offense. 

Forgiveness is the offering of pardon by the injured individual to the transgressor.  However, although forgiveness is offered, reconciliation is dependent upon the humble repentance of the transgressor.  Fellowship, the reconciliation and unity of individuals, is not possible until repentance and forgiveness are sincerely combined in the total healing of the relationship. 

Matthew 6:12-15
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
 
I wonder how many people think that they have repented and been redeemed and yet they still have bitterness in their heart against some person who has transgressed against them. 

You cannot be forgiven if you do not forgive.

Bitterness in the heart will cause you to be unable to forgive another his trespass against you.  If you are so hurt that you can not forgive, you do not have the grace of God working in your heart.  You need to love others like God loved you and forgave you of your many trespasses against Him.  It is very improbable that anyone has sinned against you more than you have sinned against God. 

Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
I want you to notice that Peter had a limit in his mind on how many times he should forgive someone. The very attitude of limiting forgiveness is contrary to the principle of righteousness which Jesus taught. 
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Christ did not have a limit.  Seventy times seven was a descriptive way of saying as many times as needed for reconciliation.  Why should you limit your forgiveness?  How many times did God extend the gift of forgiveness to you? 
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Can you “from your heart” forgive everyone who has transgressed against you?  Have you “from your heart” forgiven everyone who has transgressed against you?  Think about it this way: Jesus has shed His blood for every sinner; and consequently, salvation is offered to every individual.  Isn’t that right?  Now, does everyone possess salvation?  The answer is No.  Why?  Because not every person has repented and asked forgiveness.  You cannot be forgiven of your sins until you repent and ask forgiveness.  So it is in every relationship where transgressions have happened.  Forgiveness is predicated upon the repentance and request for forgiveness. 

In the passage of scripture we just read, Peter knew that seven was a perfect number in the eyes of God.  Thus, he supposed that seven would be an acceptable and appropriate number to forgive another person their trespasses against himself.  Jesus corrected him by teaching that there is no limit to forgiveness to that person who is truly penitent for his trespasses.  Often times God’s children have erred by putting a limit on forgiveness which contradicts the teaching of Jesus Christ. 

Do not confuse conditions with limits.  There are conditions which must be met to bring about forgiveness.  There are no numerical limits to secure forgiveness when the repenting one is truly sorrowful, contrite and humble. 

Let the virtues of love be found in the one repenting and in him of whom forgiveness is sought.   

Mark 11:25-26
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

If you do not forgive, you can not be forgiven.  How often do people say, “I forgive you,” and do not truly have forgiveness in their heart. 

Forgiveness must come from the heart and not the lips only. 

Luke 6:35-38
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 

As a child of God, you are required to have and to extend mercy to those who trespass against you.  You must realize that God’s mercy to you is measured by your mercy to others?  When you are sick, afflicted and in need of God’s mercy, He will give you just as much mercy as you have given to others who were in need of your mercy. 

Concerning judgment, I fear that many have judged harshly; and, they may find harsh judgment when they stand before Jesus Christ on that great judgment day.  In this passage, Jesus brings together several vital elements of the Christian’s conduct.  We must have mercy, judgment, forgiveness and charity.  These Christian virtues must be evident in our relationships with one another.  If they are absent, God will not be pleased with our conduct.  Many poor souls will hear the sad words, “Depart from me” when they expected to hear the words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” 

Luke 17:1-5
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

A righteous rebuke is not an indication that mercy is not available.  It is a warning that repentance is necessary and required.  At this instruction, the disciples cried for help, “Lord, increase our faith.”  We need more faith and grace to do this commandment. 

We are instructed to “rebuke” that person who trespasses.  We are not told to condemn. 

John 3:16-21
16 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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Who is not worthy of forgiveness?  The answer is:  Him who hates the light and whose deeds are evil.  Before you withhold the offering of forgiveness, you must know that the person who is in need of your forgiveness is a scornful person and has no intention of repenting.  If you show mercy to that person who has hurt you, might he repent and ask for your forgiveness? 

You say, “I tried to teach him the truth and he would not accept what I taught so therefore he is evil and hates the light.”   

This position and attitude is what leads to divisions and sect making.  Just because someone does not understand a certain subject or doctrine the same way you do does not make them evil and haters of the light. 

A lack of understanding is not equal to rebellion.  Rebellion will lead to a failure to understand; but, a failure to understand is not always caused by rebellion. 

Psalms 32:1-2
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

To whom does the Lord not impute iniquity?  The answer to this question is:  Him who is walking in all the light of truth which has been given to him by the Holy Spirit.  There is no sin where there is no knowledge or understanding of the law of God.   

Psalms 85
1 LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.
2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.
8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

It is my continual prayer that God will help us to see and experience the wonderful blessing when righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 

The door of opportunity to gain God’s forgiveness and mercy is open to us because God is merciful.  You must let people know that you are willing and ready to forgive them?   

Don’t withhold your forgiveness or you will not be forgiven.  Don’t hold on to your anger.  Rather work to bring about a quick resolution and reconciliation. 

The mortar of truth,
which binds our hearts together in Christian love,
is mercy and forgiveness.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE CHRISTIAN HIGHWAY


Come, let us search for the right way to live with one another.  I invite you to reason with me for a little while.  Sit with me in the room of Sincere Meditation and let your mind consider this way.  Examine my words and judge whether or not they are wholesome and profitable.  It is my desire to present The Christian Highway which leads to happiness, peace, love and everything that is good and right. Multitudes of people have proven the rich benefits of choosing The Christian Highway. 

As we consider the safety instructions for traveling on The Christian Highway, you will notice that it is good for all people, both the rich and the poor.  Although it is not necessary to have an advanced education, it is required that you be willing to devote some study time to this search for the right way.  I will endeavor to describe The Christian Highway in simple, honest terms; however, these instructions are not shallow thoughts.  After you have read this article, the Holy Spirit will bring these thought to your remembrance.  As you drive to work, as you sit down, as you work and play, as you make decisions and build relationships, these thoughts will return to your mind and you will contemplate the perfect way of life on the Christian Highway.  You will choose to agree or disagree.  You will choose The Christian Way or some other way. 

Isaiah, one of the Old Testament prophets, wrote about The Christian Highway.  In Isaiah 35:8 he tells us, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

The Christian Highway is the way of holiness.  The sinner will not be found on this Highway.  The sinner is on the Broadway which leads to destruction.  There is not found one wicked or evil person on the Christian Highway.  The Christian Highway is a way of life which is governed by God’s principles of righteousness, mercy and judgment.  Righteousness, because all of God’s ways are right.  Mercy, because God is longsuffering and forgiving to those who are humble and willing to be corrected.  God will not condemn the innocent.  Judgment, because the standard and rules for living right are clearly taught and the obedient person is expected to submit to the commandments of God. 

The commandments of God are not grievous or impossible to keep.  They consistently produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  When people live right and treat each other right, they will enjoy great happiness. These are the people who will be found on the Christian Highway.

God is faithful to provide grace and strength with knowledge.  Jesus said, “If you know these things, happy are ye if you do them.”  It is exciting and pleasant to see how doing the right thing makes every duty and relationship enjoyable.  The apostle Paul tells the people who lived in Galatia, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  This is The Christian Highway.  Come travel with us and enjoy the benefits of salvation through Jesus Christ.  

Let us start at the very beginning.  To enter in upon this Christian Highway, you must first be invited.  Stay with me, I will prove my points and positions with the Holy Scriptures. 

John 6:44-45
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The reason no person comes to Jesus Christ, except he is first drawn, called and invited by God, is because his natural heart’s desire is set on satisfying the flesh and his own selfish will. This is understanding we have gained by studying what God has spoken to us.  Jeremiah the prophet said it this way: 

Jeremiah 17:9-10
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

God is merciful and just. He does give every person an invitation to come to the light of truth.  Jeremiah tells us that God will search your heart.  He will “try the reins”, i.e. determine what motivates and control your decisions.  If God finds a desire in your heart to be good, He will appeal to that desire to let Him control your life.  He confirmed this with the inspired words of the Apostle Paul.

Titus 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Now let us re-cap what we have just learned:
1.   No person can come to Christ except the Father invite him.
2.   The heart of every person, before they come to Christ, is deceitful and wicked.
3.   God is faithful to call, invite and give grace to you so that you can believe on Christ and obey His commandments. 

You see, God is not willing that anyone should perish and be eternally doomed to suffer in a devil’s hell.  Hell, that Lake of Fire, was made for Satan and his angels; however, if a person chooses to serve Satan and accept him as their master, then they will spend eternity with him. 

We were created by God to enjoy fellowship with Him.  This fellowship is based upon holiness because God is holy.  You cannot have fellowship with God if you are unholy.  The Bible will teach us what unholy means.  It is all those things which are contrary and enmity with God. 

When God calls and invites a person to come into His presence and fellowship, then sinful man enters the holy presence of God.  This experience brings the conviction of guiltiness upon the heart of that person.  They perceive their unrighteousness and sinfulness.  This brings conviction and a knowledge of the need to repent of all sin.  He stands spiritually uncovered and exposed before God who sees, knows and reveals all things.  It is God’s mercy that this judgment take place in this life when there is hope of forgiveness and the grace of salvation.  At the final judgment at the second coming of Christ, there will be no opportunity for forgiveness or salvation.  Be thankful for the judgment and conviction of God which has brought you to a place of sorrowfulness and repentance. 

At this point there ensues a great struggle.  There will be a strong desire to run away from God and try to hide from His judgment and His holiness.  There will also be a strong desire to repent and humble oneself, seeking forgiveness from this faithful and loving God who has called us to repent. 

What must the sinner do?  The message is the same as that we have read and heard from the beginning.  Peter preached to the people on the day of Pentecost in Acts 3:19 saying, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,”

If you will repent and turn from all your sins, you will find peace and great happiness.  Your soul will be washed from the guiltiness of your disobedience.  You will be pardoned by the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  They will forgive you and cast away all your sins, not to ever be mentioned against you again.  You will be justified by the grace of salvation through faith and obedience, as you begin to travel on this great Christian Highway. 

You are no longer a sinner on the Broadway of destruction.  You have changed the direction of your pathway to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. 

1 Peter 2:21-25
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Are you on the Christian Highway?
Have your feet been firmly planted on this way of holiness?

Do you still make decisions to walk after the desires of the flesh instead of crucifying the flesh so that you can keep the commandments of Christ?

If you are still disobeying and committing sin from time to time, you are not on the Christian Highway. 

The children of God, love Him and keep His commandments.  God does not have any rebellious children.  Rebellious, disobedient children have Satan as their father, because they do his will instead of God’s will. 

Romans 6:16
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

This is not complicated or difficult to understand.  The way of holiness is very simple.  Salvation and eternal life are given to them that obey God.  They are denied to them that disobey God. 

You are a servant to whom you submit.

Are you submitting to God or Satan?

If you think that you are not submitting to either God or Satan, then you have deceived yourself because every person submits to either God or Satan.  There are only two choices.  There are only two ways, the Christian Highway or the Broadway of Destruction.

Which way are you on?