Hey Church Family!
Next week I hope to start a study through the book of Revelation. I am waiting for some study material on Revelation to come in the mail. So this week I decided to write about something that has convicted me and that God has laid on my heart.
A lot of folks are irritated by this disruption of our lives due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. A lot of people are frustrated by the loss of jobs and incomes. People are sad because we cannot be with loved ones. And some of us are just irritated that we cannot operate the way that we have always operated. But let’s be clear, ignoring and rebelling against social distancing is sinful. I’m writing this knowing that I too am guilty of consciously ignoring social distancing by shaking someone’s hand or just allowing myself to be closer than six feet from another person, and I feel convicted to repent. “What’s the big deal?” “Why is this sinful?” I can hear you asking these questions. But at its core ignoring/rebelling against social distancing is selfish and sinful.
At Ector Baptist we have been conducting parking lot services. The aim of the services (at least from my perspective) is to have the safest, most inclusive, services we can provide during these irregular times. The church has placed signs out asking people to park at least six feet from the car next to them and asking people to stay in their cars. We have been pretty good at parking six feet apart, but we still have folks getting out of cars and coming up to other’s windows. I’m not trying to call anyone out or shame anyone because I find myself guilty too! The temptation is great! We long for human interaction, especially with our fellow church members who we love and care about.
So, what makes ignoring social distancing sinful? Coronavirus and social distancing are not found in the Bible but obeying the government is in the Bible!
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Romans 13:1-2 ESV
The only time a Christian can break the law is when that law would cause you to disobey the higher authority which is God. Social distancing is not sinful. President Trump, Governor Abott, and other governing authorities have all asked us to practice social distancing. You may not agree with social distancing. I sometimes don’t agree with the speed limit. But we still must listen to our governing authorities who God has placed in authority over us and obey them.
In 2020, in the face of the Coronavirus, social distancing is how we consider others more important than ourselves. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV).” Former President George W. Bush recently made a video addressing the nation. In the video he said:
“And it is frustrating that many of the normal tools of compassion, a hug, a touch, can bring the opposite of the good we intend. In this case we serve our neighbor by separating from them.” -President George W. Bush
Christians must be the example. We must practice what we preach. If we say we love God then we must love our neighbors. If we love our neighbors, we will keep a six foot distance. If we say we want to obey God then we must obey the authorities He has placed over us.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Jesus humbled, and sacrificed Himself for our sake. At this time when we are longing for interaction with our neighbors and friends, we must, for their sake, lay that desire at the altar. Let us be obedient to what has been asked of us, and let us show the world that we love them and care for them by practicing social distancing.
Love you guys!
Hey Church Family!
Today’s blog will be the conclusion of our study through the book of Galatians! Start by reading Galatians 6:11-18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+6%3A11-18&version=ESV)
Up until verse 11 Paul is probably using a scribe who is writing the letter as he dictates it to them. Now Paul is ending with his own personal handwriting. He wants them to know this letter is actually from him! I think this is due to the fact that the judaizers were probably falsely claiming that they were sent by Peter, John or James (We talked about this while looking at chapter 2).
In verse 12 and 13 Paul states that the judaizers are not really concerned for the Galatians. The main point in trying to have them circumcised is so that the judaizers would have something to boast about. But Paul says in verse 14 that he has nothing to boast in but in Christ! As Christians we know that Jesus is the one who saves, not us.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44 ESV
The work of Salvation is 100% a work and miracle of God. He is our only boast! And because of Christ’s work on the cross Paul states that “...the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV) Because of the cross Paul has no desire for the things of the World! As Christians we don’t belong to this world anymore. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God. Our desires are for the things above!
This week as we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ let us remember that the resurrection is the proof that all our sin was paid for on the cross. We cannot by works earn favor or salvation from God but only the work of Christ on the cross changes our standing with God. Only Christ’s work on the cross could earn our salvation. “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 ESV
Rest in Christ’s work! Celebrate Christ’s work! Tell others about Christ’s work!
Love you guys!
Hey church family!
Read Galatians 6:1-10 on your own Bible or you can read at this link:
This passage calls the church to be the church. The Christian life was never supposed to be lived alone. Christ did not intend on his followers to live in seclusion or isolation. How many times have you heard someone say “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” This saying is one of those saying that makes my hairline move further back LOL! The church is a good gift from God! The church is God pouring his grace out on us!
The very first verse of chapter 6 speaks to our responsibility as the church to practice church discipline. This is NOT a suggestion! Church discipline is one of the many ways we show love to our fellow church members. This is something that the church in America has avoided for decades if not longer and that avoidance is sinful and unloving. So much of the apostasy in the church today could have been stopped if the church would have loved one another enough to practice church discipline. If church discipline scares you, remember the words in verse one “...restore him in a spirit of gentleness...” Also, church discipline is a way in which we show LOVE and what does the Bible say about love:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Verse one also says “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” I think this is meant to reflect the words of Christ when he said “...first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” (Matthew 7:5 ESV). Check your own heart before walking through church discipline with someone else. Make sure your own heart is in the right place first!
This chapter goes on to tell us to bear one another’s burdens. Part of that is indeed church discipline as we walk fellow believers through repentance which can be very difficult and painful. But this also looks like mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Encouraging one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Serving one another (1 Peter 4:10). In this season of the Coronavirus, one of the best things you can do is check up on people by calling, texting, or messaging on social media!
This chapter also reminds us that we will reap what we sow. Now remember our salvation is not hinged on our works but that doesn’t mean that what we do doesn’t have consequences. We want to serve God because we love Him. Jesus said “"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 ESV) We want at the end of our lives to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant!” We want to know that with our lives we did all we could for the Glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom!
So “let us not grow weary of doing good!” Look for ways to love and serve one another!
Love you guys!
Hey church family!
Since we cannot meet in person I wanted to give a devotional in the place of Wednesday night church. We are almost through with Galatians and I don’t want to wait to finish it! If you have not been with us on Wednesday’s for our Galatians study you will do fine to jump right in with us for the last chapter and half!
Read Galatians 5:16-26 in your own Bible or online by clicking this link: (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A16-26&version=ESV)
Paul has made it clear to this point in the book that those who are in Christ have been set free from the law and set free from sin. Meaning that we are not required to obey the law for salvation because as Paul has already stated “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:21 ESV) We have also been set free from sin, meaning we have the ability to repent and turn from sin (Galatians 5:1)! Apart from Christ this is impossible (Romans 8:7, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 2:1-3).
Paul tells us in v.16-17 to “walk by the Spirit” because the Spirit and the flesh(sin) are opposed to each other. If we truly want to experience, here on earth, the freedom that Christ gave us, then we must walk by the Spirit! How do we walk in the spirit then?
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV
If we are to learn to walk in the Spirit we must lean into the Word of God, belong to and serve the church, and seek the Lord in prayer. Keeping our eyes on the things above (Colossians 1:2).
Paul tells us the dangers of continuing to walk in the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
No one really has to tell you that the activities listed above rob us of joy. The flesh lies to us and in the moment these things may even bring temporary pleasure. But in the long run these things all lead to pain and ultimately death.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
These things are truly good! These things lead to real joy and real pleasure. These things come directly from the Spirit and not by us. No human can truly experience these things except by walking with the Spirit.
Lean into the Spirit, dive into the Word, and trust in the Lord.
Most of us have struggled with authority at some point in our lives. Most of us as children struggled with the authority of our parents especially when we were teens! We didn’t like being told what to do or when to do it. We didn’t like to be told that we couldn’t go to the movie with our friends or that we had to be home by 10pm. Today you still may struggle with authority. Maybe you don’t agree with the way your boss runs your workplace. Maybe it’s those pesky white signs that tell you how fast you can drive your car. Whatever your case may be, humanity has struggled with authority from the beginning. Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden and what did they do?
Although we still have many authorities in our lives there is one authority that trumps all other authority, God! God as the creator and sustainer of all things has authority over everything (Colossians 1:15-20). The authorities in our lives only have authority because God gave it (Daniel 2:21). God is the highest authority. What He says goes! When Jesus told the storm to stop what happened? The storm stopped and the disciples were amazed (Mark 4:35-41). The Word of God carries with it the Authority of God. The Bible therefore is authoritative, and we must obey it! To disobey the Word of God is to disobey God.
It is because the authority of God’s Word that we can say unashamedly that marriage is between one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31). It’s because the authority of God’s Word that we can say that life begins at conception (Psalm 139). It’s because the authority of God’s Word that the church meets together regularly to worship God together (Acts 2:46-47, Hebrews 10:25). It is the Word of God that dictates how we should live and it is the Word of God that should dictate how we function as a church.
One day, when I leave this earth my hope is that I would be known as a man who loved the Word of God, who preached the Word of God, and who obeyed the Word of God. I hope that is your desire too!
“Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture, or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the word of God, and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe.”
-Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms
The FBB Student Ministry wrapped up our Fall teaching series “In the Beginning.” In January we will pick back up in Genesis with a series titled “A Nation Born.” For now, we will cover the topic of Thankfulness next week and then after Thanksgiving we will start our Christmas series “Good News Great Joy.” Our Christmas series will focus on the first couple chapters of the book of Luke.
This Fall we covered five major stories/topics that are found in the beginning of the book of Genesis.
The first week of our series we covered the story of creation. We talked about how the triune God created everything in six literal 24 hour days and that on the seventh day He rested. He rested not because he was tiered but because He was finished and also to set a precedent of work and rest in our own lives. We covered that God is triune. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all three have distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. The last thing we covered was that God created Man in His own image and that God gave man dominion over the rest of creation.
The second week of our series we covered God’s design for marriage. In Genesis chapter two God shows us exactly what he intends for marriage. After creating Adam, God saw that it wasn’t right for man to be alone, so He created a Woman. God did not create another man, he did not create multiple women to be with Adam, God created one woman. We then turned to Ephesians chapter 5 to look at how God set up marriage this way because marriage is a representation of the Gospel. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, this kind of love is sacrificial and unconditional. God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life.
The Fall of Man
The third message in our series focused on the moment that sin and death entered the world. God gave a couple commands to Adam in the beginning. He told him to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth, and to steward creation. He also told him one thing He was not supposed to do and that was eat from tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, in Genesis chapter three Satan comes in the form of a serpent and tempts Eve into eating the fruit of the tree by lying about what God had said. Adam who was with her also buys the lie that Satan tells and eats from the tree. In that moment humanity and all of creation became infected with sin. However, God in His love and kindness did not destroy man but instead showed grace and mercy. In Genesis 3:15 we find the Protoevangelium, the first mention of the Gospel in Scripture. God tells Satan that one day woman will give birth to a Child who would crush the head of Satan while Satan will only bruise the Child’s heel. We know that this was speaking of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection for the salvation of mankind. Genesis 3 tells us of the really bad news that makes the Good News (The Gospel) really GOOD!
Noah and the Ark
In the fourth message of our series we saw the spread of sin and wickedness as man began to multiply on the earth. The thoughts of mankind were only evil continually. God decided to destroy all mankind, but a man named Noah found favor with God and so God decided once again to show grace and mercy to mankind. God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth to destroy everything, so God told Noah to build an Ark. Noah did this and just as God told him a flood came and destroyed everything. Only eight people would survive the flood, Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. After surviving the flood God would give Noah the same command He gave Adam, to be fruitful and multiply, and to subdue the earth.
The Tower of Babel
The final message of our series focused on the story of the Tower of Babel. One of the primary issues in the tower of babel is that the people had decided that they would stay in one city. The people decided against subduing the earth. To quote they said “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4 NASB emphasis added) This is in direct violation of God’s command to subdue the earth. God in His loving kindness confuses the language of the people which causes the people to scatter. God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and to subdue the earth translates to the church today to the Great Commission. We are called to make disciples of every nation. Sadly, many churches choose to build a church for themselves, focused on their own preferences and comforts, instead of focusing on reaching out to a lost and dying world with the Gospel. Just like with the tower of babel God is not pleased with this disobedience and these churches end up either repenting or closing. Heed the warning of the tower of babel, the gospel will go to the ends of the earth, will we willfully and joyfully do our part in the great commission, or will we squander the time we have on earth fighting for our own comfort and preferences.
Two major things I want students to know from this series. One is that God is kind, loving, and full of grace. We do stupid stuff all the time. We sin constantly. During the time of Noah, God said that man’s heart was wicked, that truth has not changed. Man’s heart is wicked and because of that even those who know Christ do and think horrible and evil things. But Praise God for His abundant grace and mercy towards us. Praise God that He has made a way of salvation for us. Praise God that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NASB).
The second major thing is that we are called to share this message. God’s command in the beginning to be fruitful and multiply translates to the Great Commission today. It is our privilege and JOY to share the gospel. The fact that the star breathing God of the universe would make us His ambassadors to make known His great gospel in the earth is incredible. He who has ALL authority in heaven and earth is with us always even to the end of the age in this journey and calling. There is no excuse for disobeying the command to go and make disciples of all nations. It is joy for us to obey!
The story of David and Goliath is one of the most famous stories in the Bible. What’s sad is that most Christians get the application of this story all wrong. Growing up in church I often heard that I was David and I could conquer my Goliath's. Goliath could be sin, Goliath could be a math test, Goliath could be a bully, or Goliath could be a football team. If we trust God as David did WE can conquer our Goliath, but that’s not true.
Correct application of this passage is that Goliath represents our sin, Goliath represents an impossible hurdle. But we are not David in this story. In this story, we are the scared Israelite's hiding from Goliath, unable to defeat the giant and unwilling to face him. So, who is David in this story…JESUS! The fact is that the burden of our sin is too great for us to handle. Jesus came to save us from our sin. The law is impossible for us to uphold, but Jesus fulfilled the law. Our sin was great but Jesus is greater! On our own we will never conquer our sin, we need our warrior God and King, Jesus to save us, to conquer for us! If we trust in Jesus as David did, Jesus will conquer our Goliath!
One other observation is the example of Saul. After David defeated Goliath, God blessed David greatly and that enraged the jealous king Saul. Notice Saul’s heart though. Saul watched David, by faith, slay Goliath but instead of: one realizing that he himself lacked that same kind of faith, two repenting of his faithlessness, and three putting his faith back in God, Saul just became bitter and jealous. This sadly happens too often in our churches today. We see the spiritual success of other Bible believing churches and often become bitter and jealous, bringing up false accusations against the growing and successful church. Instead we should be looking at the heart of our own church, repenting of our sin, and trusting our church with Jesus no matter what changes might occur.
Our hearts are so wicked. God has done so much for us by way of our physical provisions and by the way of eternal provision through Jesus. Yet, we still run to false gods. Israel ran to baal, we run to worship ourselves through temporary pleasures. Because we run to false gods we end up enslaved. Israel was enslaved to the Midianites, we are enslaved to our sin. We are not called to be slaves of anything or anyone other than the One True God! In slavery to our sin, we are beat down, we are oppressed, we have no joy.
We need to know that the Israelite's oppression from the Midianites was their own doing. Our enslavement to sin is of our own doing. Neither are punishments from God but are natural consequences of our failure to keep our eyes on the One True God! Just like Peter in Matthew 14, Peter trusted in Jesus to walk on water but as soon as his personal safety trumped his trust in Jesus he began to sink. Jesus did not make Peter sink, Peter’s lack of faith caused him to sink.
Judges 7:22 tells us that God WON the victory for the Israelites. God reduced the number of the Army from 32,000 to 300 men to prove it was God who won the victory. We dig ourselves into holes and only God can pull us out. We cannot earn salvation, and we cannot white knuckle our sin. We are in desperate need of a savior! He saves us from the bondage of sin and he pulls us out the ocean when we start sinking. Pray and ask God to reveal sin in your life that is leading to bondage and then ask God for grace to repent of sin.
Job had three pretty awful friends who did not at all understand how God works. There are so many beautiful gospel truths found in the book of Job that not only proves God’s character as good but points us to Jesus and his unconditional election. Job’s friends believed that Job’s loss and pain where a direct response to something Job had done. Job responds to them by defending himself knowing that he had done nothing to deserve the loss and pain acquired. The primary concern of God is His own glory and as God, only He deserves glory! In his pain and suffering, Job is displaying the glory of almighty God. Job is proving God’s goodness! As bad things happen Job trusts God. Sometimes bad things happen, we can choose to glorify God as Job did or we can curse God. Our purpose in life is to glorify God! In Job 38 & 39 we see God respond to Job’s wrestling over trusting in God. God reminds Job that He alone is almighty God. God reminds Job that He alone is faithful. God tells Job to “dress for action like a man” or basically to man up. God reminds Job that He has never failed and will never fail and that Job needs to just trust God! Today we can trust God through all things! Jesus has come and defeated sin and death! We need to fear nothing and trust God! He is faithful.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:25-26
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Job is a really awesome character in the Bible. Job gives us an example that seems impossible but obviously is possible. For us it almost seems impossible, in the same situation, to respond “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."(Job 1:21) Sometimes I try to close my eyes and picture myself in Job’s shoes. My heart breaks to quickly! I still don't know how I'd respond but I pray that I would respond like Job. Job trusts fully in God. It wasn't written yet but Job had the Philippians 4:13 mindset. Even in the worst pain possible Job was content with God alone! “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”Job 2:10 I am also reminded of Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Job was not afraid of death or losing everything because he knew where his real treasure was! Pray that God would fix your eyes upon the things above that you would be content in all things!