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  • Eugene Adkins 6:28 am on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Forms, , , , jesus, , , Plato   

    Guest Article: Plato and Paul by Joshua Gulley 

    Plato and Paul by Joshua Gulley

    As a diversion lately I’ve been reading a textbook I kept from college: Philosophy: History and Problems. In a chapter about Plato the authors describe his theory of “Forms.” Basically, forms are the essence of a thing—you and I, being humans, are copies, imitations, or manifestations of the form called “humanness.” Perhaps a better example would be the form called “Beauty,” of which there are many diverse expressions. A rose, for example, displays characteristics of the form “Beauty.” It doesn’t exhaust the characteristics of beauty, because beauty can be manifested in other things—a sunset, for example, or an attractive person, or a relationship that works properly. The things that display the form “beauty” are almost endless. The point is that these individual things are only manifestations of the “form,” which is said to exist independently of the things which are copies of it. In support of this idea is the fact that we make value judgments about the quality of things. We say that one particular “car” is better than another car, implying that there is a standard—an “ultimate car”—by which we measure the quality of a particular car—and one model is closer to that standard than another.

    Like other philosophies, I suppose this one has weaknesses, but that’s not the reason I brought this one up. I find this philosophy of “forms” intriguing because it suggests there are two worlds—one that is made up of the things we see and handle, which are, as Plato suggests, copies of the true “forms” that exist separately from our experience. The analogies could be pushed to the extreme, but I think this aligns perfectly with what we understand from reading the Bible. There is a physical world—a world of the flesh, the things we experience. Then there is a spiritual world—a world of the “forms” or virtues that find expression in the physical world. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” All these we can imagine as “forms” which find expression in the actions we portray in everyday life. I’m ninth in line at Wal-Mart at the only register that is open despite the fact that it’s Wednesday night and they should know there will be an onslaught of customers, but instead of huffing, puffing, and describing the managers using creative adjectives, I make use of the time by saying a silent prayer, getting to know someone in line next to me, or thinking of all the things God has done for me today that I don’t deserve. My doing so is not the ultimate picture of “patience,” but it is a reflection of that “form” which exists separately from my individual demonstration of it.

    I believe the apostle Paul has Plato’s back here. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Lord, may our lives be filled with demonstrations of those “forms” You call us to pursue; and by so doing, help us reflect Jesus, who is our life.

    Josh is a teacher of music at the High School level and is a member among the saints who belong to the Smithville Church of Christ

     
    • Scott Shifferd Jr. 9:16 am on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You could really run with this thought. Consider that form of doctrine to which we obeyed from the heart (Rom. 6:17). Then consider that form or pattern of doctrine in the example of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-7, cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4). From here, think of how we are conformed (Phil. 3:9-11). Thank you for the springboard.

      • Eugene Adkins 4:44 am on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I definitely thought of Philippians 3 too. Romans 8:29 was another area that came to mind.

        Thanks for commenting, Scott. I’ll pass along your thanks.

  • Eugene Adkins 7:07 am on September 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Ninja Warrior, , jesus, , , ,   

    The Frustration of Falling Short 

    I’ve been a fan of the TV show “Ninja Warrior” long before it ever came to shores of America for a couple of reasons.

    1) It looks like fun!

    2) It looks like a lot of fun!!

    But at the same time I know the competition is serious business. Major, major training goes on. People’s lives are revolutionized, physically speaking, because of their desire to complete the physically and mentally grueling four-stage course. Thousands of people, including professional athletes, have attempted to conquer the feat lying before them to reach the top of “Mt. Midoriyama” but a very, very, very limited few have actually reached their goal.

    If you watch the show very long you’ll know one thing to be true – to fall short of your goal is to fall frustratingly short in a way that words can hardly describe! You see, if don’t already know, you only get one shot per year. Your run has to be perfect for it’s all or none!

    I hear a spiritual application in that!!!

    To fall short, well the spiritual application there is about as clear as day to anyone familiar with the word “sin” itself. But in case you don’t know, the word “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark, or to fall short of the standard.” And when it comes to life a standard from God has been given and it requires perfection. His righteousness is the standard and our sin causes us to fall miserably short of the goal!

    Yet when we, as Christians, fall short, slip, have a misstep or a momentary break in our concentration we have one who is there to pick us back. We have one who is willing and able to allow His righteousness to win the victory at Mt. Zion for us! We have a Savior who completed the courses of life and he completed them perfectly for us as Paul said in Romans 3:22-26: “…For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

    But at the same time this Savior expects us to train, to fight, to run and to encourage others as they compete on their way through the stages of life and that’s why God’s word encourages us to stay in the game, to keep on keeping on even when failure comes our way. Jesus has the won the victory for us. He has the met the standard on our behalf. But He will not make us get up and He will not make us finish if we do not want to. And in that I say let’s keep going, competing and running toward the rest that will be found on top of Mt. Zion by faith our faith in Jesus lest we know what it feels like to fall frustratingly short of it all!

    Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1-2 – NKJV)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:11 am on September 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jesus, September 11th, wounded heart   

    Wounded Hearts 

    Every day an untold number of hearts are wounded around the world. Sometimes it happens two or three at a time. Sometimes it happens two or three thousand at a time. And yes, it even happens two or three million at a time!

    There is much danger in a wounded heart. It’s a wound that causes sobriety and stupor to collide head on with one another.

    Wounded hearts remind us of our frailty, our humanity and mortality. Generational wars can be fought because of one wounded heart, and one wounded heart can solve generational wars.

    Wounded hearts compel us to find an answer and solution; both of which depend upon the depth of the wound and the health of the heart that’s suffering.

    Even God’s people have never been immune to wounded hearts – we suffer alongside the worldly hearted.

    My heart hurts because so many hearts have been wounded on this day, yet I know that my hurt is nothing compared to theirs.

    So why bother with trying to be healed if it will only happen time and time again?

    Because there is a heart that was wounded by us all and yet that very heart still offers to heal our wounds that were not caused by him!

    But it was for our sins he was wounded, and for our evil doings he was crushed: he took the punishment by which we have peace, and by his wounds we are made well.” (Isaiah 53:3 – BBE)

     
  • TFRStaff 5:21 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Forgiving Others, , jesus, ,   

    Motivated Mercy 

    Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:13 *NKJV)

    Now I know that forgiving another is hard for us to do at times, but when we remember how very much God has forgiven us; it becomes much less difficult to do. After all, just thinking about God’s tremendous Love and Forgiveness can help us to forgive and love each other.

    So as God’s Children we should; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)

    Therefore; Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

    So, forgive those who offend you, and do not try to get even; For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Hebrews 10:30)

    When we consider how much God has loved every man, and how much He has forgiven each of us, well, it takes my breath away. Would I love a roach enough to let my child die that that critter might live? I don’t think so. Yet, the difference and the space between God and man is far greater than that between man and a roach. But God loved us enough to let Jesus die for us. And that means that God loved every single person on the face of the earth that much. With that in mind, how can I possibly hate any other person, and not be willing to forgive them?

    Wishing you a beautiful day on God’s green Earth, and may; The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:21)

    Doc Phillips

    Fredericksburg Church of Christ, TX

    http://fbgcofc.com/

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:51 am on August 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus, , , Simon the Pharisee, , spiritual debt   

    A Thought on Mercy 

    Here’s a thought that I’m going to work in during my sermon based within the context of Luke 7:36-50 (Simon the Pharisee and the woman sinner).

    “If you owe someone 1,000$ and your neighbor owes 10,000$, and the note is due the next day, but you’re both out of work, who’s in trouble? – That’s why we’re all dependent upon the mercy of God through the Son of God who can pay off our notes through his blood.”

    Read Luke’s account of what happened that day in a Pharisee’s house and the point becomes clear.

    I thought you might be able to use it for a devotional thought or a sermon seed.

     
  • TFRStaff 6:29 am on August 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ad Hominem, , Eternal Punishment, , Goodness of God, , jesus, Nature of the body, Nature of the Soul, , , , , , , the Resurrection, ,   

    The Goodness of God and Eternal Punishment By Wayne Jackson 

    The late Bertrand Russell, a renowned British agnostic, wrote a small publication titled, Why I Am Not A Christian. One of the reasons he cited for his unbelief was that Jesus Christ taught that there is an eternal hell for the wicked.

    Russell could not harmonize Christ’s doctrine about hell with the biblical position of a just and benevolent God; hence, he rejected the teaching of Jesus and inclined toward the belief that there is no God. Russell, who lived a life of reckless abandon, echoed the sentiments of Cain: “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” On that basis, he became a determined opponent of true religion.

    The problem of reconciling eternal retribution with the goodness of God also has had a significant impact on the religious world. Many religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and the World Wide Church of God (Armstrongism), have rejected the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked. Even the churches of Christ have had their advocates of this erroneous viewpoint (see Fudge, Smith).

    Ad Hominem Arguments

    An ad hominem argument (meaning, “to the man”) is the type of reasoning that focuses on an opponent’s inconsistency. Let us, at the outset of this discussion, utilize this form of argument in response to the “no hell” theory.

    First, a major premise of the “no eternal punishment” dogma is the notion that such is at variance with true justice. The argument might be framed like this. The Bible speaks of a just and good God; it also teaches the doctrine of eternal hell. These two positions are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the Scriptures are inconsistent and cannot be true.

    We insist, however, that those who thus argue are under obligation to defend their use of the terms “just” and “good.” By whose standard are these character traits to be measured? Critics of the Bible must not be allowed to become “theological dictionaries unto themselves.” Their reasoning is based solely upon their own ideas of how goodness and justice should be expressed.

    If it is true that the Scriptures teach that God has appointed eternal punishment for impenitently evil people, and if it likewise is correct that the Bible affirms the justice and goodness of Jehovah, then it must follow that eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the nature of God. It is at odds only with some men’s perception of goodness and justice.

    Second, no one (skeptic or otherwise) is ready to concede that evildoers are unworthy of any type of punishment. It is recognized that no society could survive in such an atmosphere. Should the rapist, the robber, and the murderer be told: “Admittedly, you have done wrong, but we (society) will not punish you for your crimes. This would be unjust”? Is there anyone who argues that there should be no consequences resulting from criminal conduct? Surely not! It is conceded, therefore, that punishment is not inconsistent with true justice.

    Third, let us take our reasoning a step further. Is it the case that genuine justice can be served even when an evil man’s punishment is extended beyond the time involved in the commission of his crime? Do we, for example, in our criminal justice system, ask the murderer, “Sir, how long did it take you to kill your wife?”—then assign his incarceration accordingly? Would justice be maintained by such an approach?

    Here, then, is the point. True justice, combined with genuine goodness, allows the possibility that a wrongdoer may be required to suffer a penalty that is considerably longer than the duration of his evil. The real issue, therefore, is not punishment per se, or even protracted punishment; rather, it is eternal punishment. The skeptic (or religious materialist) simply wants to tell God how long the penalty is to be! Remember, however, in a system of true justice, the offender is not allowed to set his own sentence.

    Eternal Punishment and a Just God

    Since no one has ever returned from the dead to discuss his or her personal experiences, this issue is not one that can be settled by human speculation; rather, it must be decided by divine revelation. When the relevant biblical data is assembled, it will be seen, even from man’s jaundiced viewpoint, that the fact of eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the character of a righteous God. Our case will be set forth in a series of interrelated propositions. (More …)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:14 am on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, , , , ,   

    To Him Who Thinks He Sits Take Heed Lest He Fall! 

    But when you come, go and take the lowest seat, so that when the giver of the feast comes, he may say to you, Friend, come up higher; and then you will have honour in the eyes of all the others who are there.” (Luke 14:10 – BBE)

    Taking a seat and being given a seat aren’t always the same thing. While they both can be a preference, only one can be done with presumptuousness while the other will only be done with prudence.

    It was never Jesus’ goal with his lessons to get a person to think less of themselves per say – his goal was to get people to think rightly of themselves. A failure to think rightly was, and still is, a driving force behind many our decisions that are made wrongly.

    While he is better known for saying, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 – NKJV), to this situation the apostle Paul may have said, “To him who thinks he sits take heed lest he falls.

    Jesus had no problems with people who wanted to RSVP in the kingdom of God, for that he required; the problem was with people who wanted to proclaim themselves a VIP in the kingdom of God by seating themselves at the table!

    Let us all learn the lesson that says pride may lift us up in the eyes of others, but it is the Lord who will sit us down at his table.

    And in the same way, let the younger men be ruled by the older ones. Let all of you put away pride and make yourselves ready to be servants: for God is a hater of pride, but he gives grace to those who make themselves low. For this cause make yourselves low under the strong hand of God, so that when the time comes you may be lifted up;” (1 Peter 5:5-6 – BBE)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:50 am on August 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Consumerism, jesus,   

    We are what we consume! 

    The American culture is unabashedly a culture of consumerism. From the geriatric to the goo-goo’s and gah-gah’s and everywhere in between there is a product out there that is a must have, and the product placement to remind us is everywhere! My little daughter even has a tiny little toy person with a cell-phone in their hand, and it didn’t take her long to put that little phone up to her ear and say “hello.” Funny, but not funny!

    The world says you’re only as cool, hip, and up-to-date as the latest version of whatever thing that you’ve bought. The emphasis there being on the very last word of that sentence! What people forget is that these companies are not that interested in whether or not something is actually that cool, but only that we think it’s cool enough to spend some cold hard cash, or even better, some flaming hot debt to buy their product with their line of credit! They repeatedly remind us that we are what we consume, and without realizing it we take the bait – hook, line and sinker.

    The Bible also reminds us that we are what we consume. We either try to become full of the bread that perishes (you know, the stuff that’s constantly going out of fashion), or we take a seat at the table that’s serving the Bread of Life. When Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51) He put something on the menu that was meant to stay because He knew that we are what we consume, and what we consume will eventually consume us for the good or for the bad.

    The world is constantly offering change to keep our attention and the appetite of our carnal bellies full, but the word of God encourages us to keep our attention fixed upon the One who will not change nor send us away spiritually empty (Hebrews 13:8, John 6:53-58).

    I’m not saying that buying stuff is evil in-and-of-itself, but if Jesus warned the people of His day about consuming the wrong things then how much more would He warn a consumer based economy that has little to do with physical bread and even less to do with the spiritual?

    For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:18-20)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:38 am on August 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , False Judgments, Harvest, jesus, , , the changing power of Jesus,   

    An Unlikely Harvester 

    The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”…The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.” (John 4:25-26, 28-30)

    After meeting the man who gave her a drink from the fountain of life, the thirsty woman forgets her waterpot and gets to work spreading the word about Jesus. And what was that word? It was, “Come meet a man who told me about everything I’ve done – I think I’ve found who we as a people have been looking for.” When she said she believed that the coming Christ would be able to tell all that needed to be told, she meant what she said and she was willing to tell others about it!

    This woman was ready for a change. She went from thirsty to quenched. She went from collecting water for others to collecting others for the water. And I don’t about you, but I bet that man she was living with (John 4:16-18) slept by himself that night.

    Jesus didn’t only know what the woman at the well had done in her life, he knew what she could do, he knew what she was capable of and he knew what she could be all at the same time! Because of this the disciples were going watch one of the most unlikely harvesters that they had ever seen start bringing in the sheaves to Jesus.

    We never know who might just bring more people to Jesus than we thought if we just focus on who they could be with Jesus instead of who they are without him!

    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

    Related Article:

     
    • kenandjean92 11:48 am on August 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      We are taught that we are to hunger and thrust after righteousness. The woman at the well didn’t know that she was thirsty until she spoke to Jesus after which she was filled and wanted to spread the good word. We should all take a lesson away from her and be filled with His righteousness and eagerly spread the good news as the women at the well did.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:36 am on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Barrier of Religion, , , jesus, , Mount Gerizim, , , , The Christ of the Samaritans,   

    When Jesus Broke Down the Barrier of Religion in Samaria 

    Read John 4:19-26 and you’ll see Jesus knocking down one huge barrier in Samaria that still stands between many people and God today. And the craziest thing about the method that Jesus used was that he actually used God to do it!

    When the Samaritan woman at the well brings up the issue of religion Jesus gets her back to the point that a lot of people in religion miss by getting her back to the starting point instead of focusing solely on the end point. And why did he do that? Because the fastest way to tear down a wall is by starting at the bottom where it rests on the foundation; not by hitting all of the bricks that are sitting on top.

    Now were the Samaritans wrong in their religion and religious behavior? Yes! They accepted the Torah as God’s word, but they rejected the prophets. They worshipped God but they rejected the circumstances God required (i.e. they chose Mt. Gerizim and their own priests over Jerusalem and the Levites). They had a desire to be God’s people but they fought against the people of God. So yes, Jesus does correct the woman, but he doesn’t tackle these issues in-depth one at a time – instead he gets her away from Judea, away from Samaria and away from religion for a moment by getting her back to God.

    Jesus tells the woman what kind of person God is looking for. He knew what kind of person she was, she knew what kind of person she was, but Jesus brings her to God by telling her what kind of person she could be! He lets her know that the time had come when God would remove the religious barriers that separated people. There would be no more Samaritan, no more Jew, no more Mt. Gerizim and no more Jerusalem to use as barriers, but rather an acceptance of people by God who had a hunger for him. Not a hunger for religion, but a hunger for a relationship.

    And guess who gets brought up when the barriers get torn down? The Messiah! The same Messiah introduced by John the apostle in John 1:1,14, the same Messiah proclaimed by John the baptizer in John 1:29, the same Messiah who taught a top-notch Pharisee that a physical birth wasn’t going to be enough to be a member of God’s kingdom in John 3:3-5 and the same Messiah who would create a body of united believers by breaking down barriers through his broken body.

    It was the very Messiah who was revealing some raw truth to woman living in a religiously cooked world when he told her that he was the one that the thirsty people in Samaria were looking for! This Messiah was Jesus the Christ, the one who knew how to tear down a barrier that didn’t belong where it was.

    But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

    Related Article:

     
  • Michael Summers 11:31 am on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jesus, Mark 13, ,   

    Has Jesus Left Our Temple? 

    C.E.W. Dorris wrote these provocative words concerning Jesus’ departure from the temple in Mark 13:
    “Sad the day for us when Jesus leaves our temple, and his voice is no longer heard pleading in our souls.”
    His words evoke memory of Jesus standing at the door of the hearts of Laodicean Christians in Revelation 3. Do we sometimes ignore Jesus as we would an unwelcome guest? Do we mentally and spiritually pretend that we’re not home when our conscience senses his knocking?
    Jesus calls us to follow him. That call requires attention in all areas of life, in making decisions and in forgiving as he forgives as well as in preaching sound doctrine.
    Have we surrendered all? Is the voice of Jesus still pleading in our souls?

     
    • Lillian 9:01 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I believe we sometimes ignore Jesus. I have at times, not proud to say it, but it is a fact. When something is being taught and you aren’t comfortable with it, but remain silent or do not take the time to look up the truth in the Bible. I consider that ignoring Jesus. Hopefully I am doing better on this issue. I question more and read more and discuss more with friends. The ultimate decision is mine with the Lord.

      • Michael Summers 11:59 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You have a great attitude, Lillian. I especially appreciate that you see the need to look up the truth in the Bible. I must admit that there have been times when I have taken the time to look up what the Bible had to say when I was uncomfortable with what was said or practiced, only to find that my expectation or previous belief was wrong. When the practice or teaching is wrong, we must address it firmly, yet with love. Jude verses 20-23 are helpful in this regard, as are the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18.

  • TFRStaff 6:38 am on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible prophecy, , , , jesus, Royals   

    A CHILD IS BORN! 

    Everyday there are children born into this world. Those  births are very significant to the parents who anticipated the day and look  ahead to what that child might become. For some of those births there is more of  A STIR than others. Monday, July 22, 2013, there was a birth in England greatly  anticipated by both the media and by citizenry not only in England, but around  the world. There was wonder as to whether it would be a prince or a princess who  would be in the line of royalty. That wonder was even accompanied by bets being  wagered not only on the gender, but also the date of the birth, the name that  would be chosen, and many other things associated with this coming child.  Monday, the news was announced and greeted with cheers that a prince had been  born. Now THE STIR continues with guesses as to what this child will eventually  be named; a name I understand will have to be approved by the Queen.

    Many years before what I would say was the most  significant birth in the history of man, God revealed through His prophet  Isaiah. . .

    “(6) For TO US A CHILD IS BORN,  to us A SON IS GIVEN; and THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDER, and HIS NAME shall be called WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE  OF PEACE. (7) Of the INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT AND OF PEACE there will be NO  END, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold  it with justice and with righteousness FROM THIS TIME FORTH AND FOREVERMORE. The  zeal of THE LORD OF HOSTS WILL DO THIS.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV)

    Of this birth, many lived in great anticipation. (i.e.  Simeon at the temple, Luke 2:25-36) There was A STIR among shepherds as they  were told of the birth (Luke 2:8-20) and among some wise men who traveled from  the east to seek Him out. (Matthew 2:1-12). There was also A STIR within  government circles as Herod became alarmed at the thought of the rising of A KING. (Matthew 2:2-3 & 16) There continues to be A STIR within the hearts of  all who have come to know Jesus and the salvation He came to provide. Today, His  reign continues and we are blessed citizens of His eternal kingdom.

    I in no way wish to minimize the beloved addition to the  family of Prince William and Duchess Kate. Perhaps we should keep them in prayer  for the challenges they might face raising a child in the often intrusive eyes  of the world. However, the birth of Jesus — God becoming flesh to live among us  (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-2 & 14) — remains a significant acknowledgment for  the world today, having implications for the present life and for the eternity  to come. Praise God for the Holy Monarchy under which we are presently blessed  to live. Because of Jesus, eternal hope can remain STIRRED UP in our heart. May  we continue to share the Good News so that the hearts of others may BE STIRRED.

    Have a great day REVEALING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS IN OUR DAILY LIFE! – Carl Hanson

    “teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port  Townsend, WA 98368.   http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

    Some previous “teEn-MAIL” focuses may be viewed at http://www.teenmailbiblestudy.org

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:34 am on July 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jesus, , , ,   

    Guest Article: An Astonishing Sermon by Dan Gulley 

    Here’s a great article by a loved brother in Christ that sums up the Sermon on the Mount in a strong way:

    George F. Burns verbalized what many people think about sermons. He said, “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, and to have the two as close together as possible.” That reminds me of the young preacher who moved to his first located work. In a planning session, the beginner asked the elders what they suggested he preach about. One of them spoke up and said, “About Heaven, and fifteen minutes.” In this electronic age of thirty-second attention spans one of the greatest sins a preacher can commit is to preach “too long.” And no doubt some preachers (yours truly included!) occasionally continue to pump after the well is dry! However preachers or people in the pews feel about sermons, Jesus Christ proved two thousand years ago sermons need not be overly-long to be effective. Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 contain what the world has long known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” a title taken, no doubt, from the fact that Jesus “went up on a mountain” near Capernaum in Galilee and preached it (5:1-3). The three chapters are divided into 111 verses (New King James Version) and the entire sermon can be read in less than fifteen minutes. The subjects addressed in it include some of the Lord’s most familiar teachings:

    • the “beatitudes” (5:3-12)
    • a terse and sobering statement about divorce and remarriage (5:31-32)
    • salt and light of the world metaphors (5:14-16)
    • show-time religion (6:lff)
    • the “Lord’s prayer” (6:9-13)
    • laying up treasure in heaven and not on earth (6:19-21)
    • make God your master and not mammon or money (6:24)
    • do not worry about food and drink and clothing to the point those and other physical things become the consuming priority in life, but “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and trust God to give us the things we need (6:25-33)
    • the speck and plank in the eye illustration about hypercritical judging (7:1-5)
    • the few who enter the narrow gate and difficult way that leads to life versus the many who travel by the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction (7:13-14)
    • warning about false prophets in sheep’s clothing (7:15)
    • and ending up with the warning that calling Jesus “Lord, Lord” won’t gain God’s approval unless there is a corresponding obedience to the will of the Father in heaven (7:21-23)
    • and, of course, the famous illustration of the “wise man who built his house on the rock” by hearing and doing the teachings of Jesus versus the foolish man who “built his house on the sand” because, although he heard Jesus’ teaching, did not do them (7:24-28).

    Sermons are sometimes met with a yawn in our secular, digital, over-stimulated age. But Matthew tells us, “when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished (amazed, mystified) at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (7:28-29). Sermons rarely “astonish” and amaze people these days. Do sermons ever ‘astonish” you — not because of the power and personality of the preacher, but because the soul-searching and conscience capturing words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ get inside your heart and mind and cause a stir? When Jesus and His apostles preached, the sermon always left people mad, sad, or glad — but it never left them the same. The most astonishing thing about Jesus’ sayings these days is how rarely they astonish those who hear them. – Dan Gulley

    Dan Gulley serves as an elder and preacher for the Smithville Church of Christ

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:24 am on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, , , , Sermon Snippet from John 3   

    Sermon Snippet from John 3:22-36 

    I preached a sermon yesterday from John 3:22-36 called, “Relationships, Relationships.”

    One of the relationships that I focused on was the one that John the groomsman and Jesus the bridegroom had.

    John may be better known as a powerful preacher than a humble one. After all, he’d tell people to turn the cat around if they told him he was rubbing the fur the wrong way. But in reality he was as humble as any other preacher we can find in God’s word when it came to his work.

    John understood the necessity of humility in God’s people. He knew that the Lord rewards humility (Psalm 149:4), and humility was something that he wanted his own disciples to pick up on from the beginning when it came to his relationship with Jesus. It was John who mouthed the familiar words which say, “…He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” (John 1:27)

    John preached with the power of Elijah but he gave way to the increase of Jesus’ work and popularity with the meekness and humility of Moses. That’s only one reason why Jesus said, “…among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist….” (Matthew 11:11)

    John modeled humility across multiple spectrums in a way that’s worth striving to impersonate when he said, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

    When is the last time that we could honestly say in our relationship with Jesus that we have decreased so He could increase? How long has it really been? It’s something worth asking and answering if we, like John, desire a proper relationship with Jesus.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 12:17 pm on July 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Consolation, , , jesus, , , serving others,   

    Guest Article: The Grieving Consoler by Joshua Gulley 

    Here’s an excellent article written by a good brother in Christ about overcoming setbacks and grief through serving others:

    The Grieving Consoler by Joshua Gulley

     I don’t know what kind of relationship Jesus shared with John the Baptizer. Did their separate callings take them in different paths in which they rarely got to see each other? Did they often visit one another while growing up? I do know that once they began their ministry, they each recognized the other’s role in the will of God, prophesied in the Scriptures. The Bible records compliments paid by each to the other when speaking to large crowds. When John sent messengers to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, Jesus replied in a beautifully poetic fashion: “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not made to stumble because of Me” (Matthew 11:5-6).

    So they perhaps had some personal affection for one another. The Bible doesn’t say directly, but in Matthew 14 when Jesus heard that John had been beheaded, He “withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” We can surmise that Jesus must have been seeking solitude in order to grieve the loss of His friend. Nowadays when a man’s relative dies, we gather to him in crowds to comfort and console him. But in this instance, it was Jesus who we would suppose needed consolation, yet the Scripture says He was the one who felt compassion for the crowd. Perhaps His retreat on the sea, thinking about John’s untimely death, His own death coming a relatively short time in the future, and the temporary nature of man’s time on earth made Him more sensitive to the present needs of His fellow-man. Whatever the case, here we see the ultimate fulfillment of the command to “look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

    And herein might we learn a lesson: perhaps there are some people who seem to retreat from society after loved ones die, becoming bitter and aloof, dwelling on their own sorrow and tribulation. The Master, however, did not do this. Rather, His grief seemed to create more room in His heart for the people who were still there. Lord, help us that grief in our own lives will cause us to count even more precious the ones remaining.

    Josh teaches music at the High School level and he is a member of the Smithville Church of Christ

     
  • Michael Summers 8:50 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus, , , , ,   

    Job’s Friends, Labeling, and Us 

    We label items to help us account for them and use them efficiently. Both leaders and office workers use carefully named folders (computer and traditional) to organize their material. Labels help to find and also help us to understand. The packaging for food and other commercial items will inform us what is inside, whether it has been inspected, what risks it poses to us (proper use, calories, fat grams, etc.), and how to dispose of it after use. Labels sometimes confuse or misdirect. Signs on dumpsters that state, “This is not a dumpster,” clearly misinform. A dumpster (a large container for item disposal) is a specifically designed piece of equipment. The sign-maker perhaps should have written, “This dumpster is for recycling only. Do not place trash in it.”
    We also label people. Soldiers wear uniforms that often have their names and ranks affixed. Soldiers who have trained in special skills may wear badges that identify those skills. Workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries wear uniforms that identify their employer, their name, and their place within the organization. Prisoners today often wear brightly colored uniforms that identify them as such. We may also describe people according their height, weight, skin pigmentation, religious preference, and a variety of other variables. During Jesus’ ministry, a disciple tried to label someone by asking, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born…? We sometimes label people verbally with derogatory descriptions.
    Friends of the biblical character Job also labeled him. They said, “Wicked man (Job 15:20),” “blustering wind (8:2),”deceitful (11:11).” We ourselves find it easy to criticize those friends even when, if we reflected, we might have done the same as they. Job rebuked them for their labeling of him. To reinforce the righteousness of such rebuke, God himself berated the frustrated advisors of Job. We spot some of their mistakes easily. They misjudged Job’s character, despite having known him for years. Job reminded them in the twenty-ninth chapter of Job how his words had commanded the respect of community leaders. Job had rescued the poor and championed the cause of strangers. He had clothed himself in righteousness and justice. Job’s friends no longer remembered those days. The Job they saw before them deserved rebuke, or so they thought. His loss of family, his financial devastation and physical suffering compelled them to conclude that Job must have sinned greatly to warrant such severe punishment from God.
    Job’s friends struggled because their worldview did not allow for a series of catastrophes devastating a righteous person. We too struggle today when we encounter new situations or meet people who challenge the categories we use to label people, events, and religious doctrines. Job’s friends, despite their faults, actually did a few things right. Before they castigated him, they wept with him, tore their robes, and sprinkled dust on their heads to show their grief over his situation. They sat silently with him for several days. They failed, however, to listen; they failed to consider that the origins of Job’s suffering might be more complex than they imagined. They spoke from ignorance.
    Some labels accurately define what they describe. Poison warnings on bottles save lives. Jesus sometimes labeled people, calling some religious leaders “hypocrites” and a devoted disciple who didn’t quite understand his master’s mission “Satan.”
    Labels can destroy lives. People sometimes harm themselves after being labeled wrongly by people who did not know them, or envied them, or just had wrong information. Labels can destroy ministry. Judaizing teachers labeled Paul. I observed on on-line discussion in which a preacher asked if a church fit a one-word (label) description. An intriguing aspect of the ensuing discussion was that subsequent contributors had different definitions for the label or even admitted their confusion as to what the questioner meant by the term. Ignorance makes labels dangerous. We may not know what another believes.
    Job’s friends started well. They grieved with him. They sat silently with him. Still they did not truly understand Job. If only they had listened. Will we?

     
  • Michael Summers 11:55 am on July 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , jesus, , ,   

    Long May Our Land Be Bright With Freedom’s Holy Light 

    An American patriotic hymn’s final verse is a prayer:
    “Our father’s God, to Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing;
    Long may our land be bright
    With freedom’s holy light;
    Protect us by Thy might,
    Great God, our King.”

    When we sing this prayer, written in 1832 by Samuel Smith, we remember passages that talk about Christ’s concern for freedom. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2:
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19). He chastised religious leaders who attempted to go beyond the word of God in binding additional requirements on God’s people. He modeled how freedom works best when exercised with discipline and respect for others. Jesus could converse with people whom others disdained because of their lifestyle because he could see their potential for being God’s people. He could forgive people who tried to hurt him and even people who had committed adultery, but express anguish over others who tried to deny help to suffering individuals because of religious laws. Jesus understood, as they did not, that submission means giving up my desires and wants to serve another, not making another into a clone of myself. Freedom does not mean doing whatever one wants. The same biblical chapter that begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” also warns that those who engage in the acts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, and concludes, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Galatians 5:1, 19-21, 26). Freedom is messy. Sometimes I am bothered by something I observe in a congregation, but when I search the Scriptures, pray, and perhaps check out the history there, I realize they are merely exercising their freedom in Christ. That sometimes is hard for me to admit, because I thought initially that they were wrong and needed to be corrected. On the other hand, some times what people do or tolerate is wrong and should be corrected (Note Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, whom the apostle corrected on several issues. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3) also emphasize that there are limits to individual and congregational freedom in Christ. What helps me is to imitate what Barnabas did at Antioch and look for the grace of God at work (Acts 11). Freedom, whether in our nation or in the church, may make us uncomfortable, but so long as it is in harmony with the word of God, we rejoice because we too are free in Christ.
    We celebrate the beginnings of our nation’s independence and its continuing quest for freedom for its citizens. We moan because someone else’s freedom conflicts with our own. We worry when our freedoms (both as citizens and Christians) seem to be threatened. Let’s keep singing and praying that God will protect us and our nations (for those who live elsewhere), that he will use us to bring liberating light into the lives of our neighbors and our enemies, that we will grow in love and in disciplined use of the freedoms God has given us.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:33 am on June 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jesus, , Skin in the Game, , Vested Interest   

    “Skin in the Game” 

    The phrase “skin in the game” is a reference concerning a personal interest that one has in something of great consequence. Often times the phrase is made in connection to a financial investment made with one’s own resources. Consider that description and it becomes easier to imagine how the phrase could be used to describe other situations of personal interest.

    When it comes to the salvation of our soul, Jesus put his “skin in the game” both metaphorically and literally! He humbled himself by leaving the glories of Heaven, exchanging them for a life contained inside the skin and bones of the human body (John 1:14, Philippians 2:5-7). He made his body available to receive the pain-filled smacks, punches, whips, thorns and nails that ultimately lead to him experiencing a physical death so he could be our atoning sacrifice and compassionate high priest (Philippians 2:8-11, Hebrews 2:6-18, 10:1-10).

    Jesus’ critics can accuse him of a lot of things, but they can never accuse him of not having any “skin in the game” for without his “skin” the “game” would be over for them and us!

    Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

    Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” (Mark 15:12-15)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 8:48 am on May 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alpha and Omega, , Fraternities, , , , jesus, Sororities   

    The Most Important Greek Letters 

    Icon for Greek Alphabet. Used in Vorlage:Griec...

    As many young Christians leave the High School arena and prepare to enter into the college realm they are going to be encouraged to give some thought into joining a fraternity house or a sorority club who proudly identify themselves with the various letters of the Greek alphabet. So what should you do as a young Christian in the face of the promising temptations that they offer? The answer is simple. Remember that the most important letters of the Greek alphabet are the Alpha and the Omega, and if their plans, ethics and morality don’t fit in between those two then you need to remind yourself that the house of the Lord will take you farther than any other house on campus.

    I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:24 am on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jesus, Past Mistakes, ,   

    Don’t Live on the Spiriutal “What If” Street 

    For the past 8 months or so I’ve been working with maps as my daytime “profession.” The other day I saw an “interesting” street named “What If” and thought there are a lot more people living on that street than there are houses!

    Of all the “What If” streets we can live on, the spiritual one can be the roughest, yet we know it can be avoided to an extent. May I add that I believe there’s a difference between wondering “What if I had done this a little better?” and “What if I had done anything at all?”

    Paul encouraged people to follow him as he followed Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1), he wished that all others were as he was with the exception of his chains (Acts 26:29), and at the end of his life he was content with his decisions, labor and destination (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Sounds to me like “What If Street” wasn’t on his spiritual map!

    Did Paul have regrets? Sure he did! But his advice for that topic was move off of “What If Street” and move over to “Press Ahead Avenue” (Philippians 3:13-14).

    Life can be hard, and there will be times when we’re going to make the wrong choices; but we can choose the right Savior. We can choose the Savior who will help us move off of that spiritual “What If Street” and right into a home located on “Heavenly Homes Boulevard” that He has built just for us.

    Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-4 – NKJV)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:39 am on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Conversion to Christianity, , , jesus, ,   

    Where’s the Peace? 

    I was a young, young child when it aired but even I know the restaurant commercial that’s had such a lasting effect with the lady asking, “Where’s the beef?”

    The emphasis, or point, was about how the talk didn’t match the walk, and now the punch line is used to make the same point on various topics. This morning I’d like to take the word “beef” and replace it with the word “peace” when it comes to the topic of Islam.

    There’s a story out there (which isn’t getting a whole lot of press attention due to something about the IRS, Benghazi and something else about the AP and wiretaps, but you can read the story here if you’d like) about two men who may be asking, “Where’s the peace?” One man has been sentenced to receive 300 lashes with a whip and a 6 year prison term, and the other man has been sentenced to 200 lashes and a 2 year prison term. And for what? For helping a woman “convert to Christianity” and escaping the country to find asylum in another nation. With a reaction like that, I “wonder” why she had to seek asylum somewhere??? Hmmm.

    I do not completely agree with the doctrinal stance of the two men or with the stated theological experience given by the woman as a part her conversion, but placing that to the side for a moment I can’t help but ask, “Where’s the peace?” I guess it all depends upon one’s definition of peace.

    When one leaves “Christianity” it’s tears that get shed by others (Philippians 3:18), not blood!

    So where’s the peace? The peace is found in Jesus and in no other.

    May peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives….” (John 14:27 – BBE)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:36 am on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, , ,   

    Tools of the Trade 

    Crown of Thorns

    Crown of Thorns (Doug1021)

    A scourge, striking rods, a crown of thorns, a hammer, some nails and a couple of pieces of rough and scarred wood! What did these things build? Our salvation!

    What a stumbling block. What a moment of confusion. What a time of rejection. What a time of reconciliation.

    To the world then, and to the world today, a crucified savior is a crux, a contradictory statement and a conclusion that just doesn’t add up. It’s good that Nazareth’s carpenter didn’t use the world’s math while building what had been drawn up.

    A few days afterward, an empty tomb would put the pins in the door that had been hung at Calvary and all those who were willing to place their faith in Jesus as the Son of God would have access to the kingdom of God through the very tools of the trade that had tried to destroy it.

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God…But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24, 30)

     
    • J. Randal Matheny 6:39 am on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Pins in the door. The finished product.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:47 pm on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8)

        Finished indeed!

  • John Henson 8:52 am on May 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: deify, jesus,   

    Beware Elevating Men 

    My brethren, we must be careful to avoid elevating men to too high a status.

    Men are mortal and commit sins. If the Old Testament teaches anything, it teaches the hazard of putting men on a pedestal and glorifying them.

    An example of this is Solomon. When he was young, Solomon started life as a good person. But when he became king, he changed. He married a daughter of Pharaoh, strictly forbidden under the Mosaic law, and murdered two men, one of which had been initially pardoned by his father. After Solomon’s life was over, his nation divided and both parts were finally deported.

    Yet, to this day there are people who glorify Solomon for building a temple, something God specifically told NO ONE to do (2 Samuel 7:7).

    If we would glorify anyone who has lived on the earth, let us glorify Jesus Christ. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet who obeyed the whole Mosaic Law. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet that is worthy of praise!

    Humanism has used the educational system in the U.S. to teach people to deify people. In every school in every county of every state there are pictures of presidents and other people children are taught to revere. If the truth was taught along with the fables of these men, then children would know they are HUMANS, not gods.

    We must be the influence that teaches people to worship GOD.

     
  • John Henson 3:45 pm on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jesus, rememeber   

    Reminders 

    My wife has decided to go into a new business. She’s going to start making memory enhancers. You know what a memory enhancer is, don’t you? It’s a piece of string tied on a finger designed to call to mind something forgotten.

     Everyone needs reminders about important things.  The apostle Paul told the young preacher Titus to remind people of a few things. In Titus 3:1-2, Paul wrote, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”

     We are to be subordinate to the powers that be, according to one translation. Christians submit. That’s what we do. Jesus’ life was an example of submission to the will of God the Father. The Lord Jesus went to the cross willingly for our sins. Yes, he prayed that “this cup may pass from me” in Gethsemane, but he submitted to his Father’s will and died for us. Aren’t we glad Jesus did? Where would we be had he not bled and died to save us from sin?

    Paul wrote that Titus should remind people to be ready for every good work. To be ready means to be prepared. It does not mean that good works should be avoided. People will know us as Christians by what we do and what we don’t do (Matthew 5:16). They will either see the light from us in our good works, or they will see no light at all. We need to be reminded how important it is for us to be about our Father’s business as our Lord Jesus was.

     There is also a reminder in Paul’s letter “to speak evil of no one.” This is far from the fashion currently. People these days have so little patience with others. Many people forget we’re all human and we commit sin. Instead of condemning others by using our tongues as a viper uses its fangs, let’s remember we’re all human.The apostle wrote in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous; no, not one.”

    Yes, there are important things for which we need reminders. Let us remember the Christian characteristics of submission, ready for every good work and to speak evil of no one. In doing these things, we’ll become more like Jesus, which is our main goal in life.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:48 am on April 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus, , Trusting Jesus   

    Trusting Jesus’ Judgment 

    Trusting Jesus’ judgment and facing His judgment are two different things. Facing Jesus will be mandatory (2 Corinthians 5:10), but trusting Jesus before we find ourselves in judgment is a decision we must make on our own. Why should we trust Jesus’ judgment? John 2:23-25 says:

    Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”

    Among all the things that the disciples were going to have to learn about Jesus, they were going to have to learn about trusting His judgment. Jesus knows why certain individuals, objects, situations, thoughts and decisions shouldn’t be trusted. He sees things in a way that goes beyond our limited sight, but are we willing to trust what He sees?

    Jesus says certain things must be done to be pleasing to God, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says unless we repent of our sins we’ll perish, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says that marriage is between a man and a woman and it’s meant to be for life, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says the interior must be dealt with before the exterior, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says the merciful and the meek will have far greater rewards than what the world has to offer, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says that self-righteousness will leave us void of His righteousness, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says there is no way to the Father other than Him, but do we trust His judgment? Jesus says He will be the one to divide the nations as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, but do we trust His judgment? At that point will trust really have anything to do with it???

    Jesus doesn’t have to be introduced to us. He already knows us. He knows our name. He knows our situation. He knows why we won’t come to Him as well as why we do come to Him. Every heart is an open resume with Jesus, a resume that can’t be changed or altered to make us appear to be someone we’re not.

    Trusting Jesus’ judgment goes beyond the things that I have mentioned, but just mentioning His judgment is enough to find out what our judgment about Jesus is.

    Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:26 am on March 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus, , ,   

    A Wonderful Old Testament Passage About Hope 

    Hope is definitely a vital thread that contributes to the wardrobe of God’s people all throughout history even though is may not always be seen, but then again there are times in the scriptures where hope by far makes up the largest material percentage on the clothing tag. One such place is Job 19:25-27 which says:

    For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

    The only thing that Job had to hold on to was hope. It’s just as true to also say that the only thing holding on to Job was hope. Job’s situation was unique to him, but Job’s situation is also shared by all people who have hope in God. Our body will fade, our mind may grow feeble, our soul may falter. A Redeemer of body, mind and soul. That’s what Job needed, that’s what we need – that’s what we will all get in Jesus. That’s hope, and it’s wonderful.

    Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

    Related Article:

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:35 am on March 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus, , , ,   

    Simple Answer to a Complex Question 

    Then one of them, a lawyer, asked [Jesus] a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”” (Matthew 22:35-36)

    Imagine how depth that conversation could’ve gotten. On one side you have a lawyer (“expert”) of the Law and on the other side you have the author of it! But the man wasn’t given a complicated answer. In reality he was given an extremely simple answer. So what command was this lawyer told was the greatest off all? The answer was love.

    Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

    Although their subject was wrong, the Beatles had the right answer with their song, “All You Need Is Love.” When all the religious complications are said and thoroughly mixed, tangled and tied, the simple answer to following God always has been and always will be loving him. God himself can be a complex subject, and there are times when spiritual topics can become complex as well, but the path that leads to God, although it may be difficult to follow at times, will always be lit with love proceeding from him, but to follow it we must be willing to walk on, in and according to it by the love that proceeds from us.

    This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)

     
    • John Henson 11:39 am on March 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Let’s put this one in the bulletin, too. Great job!

      • Eugene Adkins 6:13 am on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, John. I appreciate that. I preached a sermon on this topic last Sunday night and it was received well too.

  • Eugene Adkins 7:12 am on March 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , jesus, , ,   

    A Wonderful Old Testament Passage About Jesus 

    There is definitely more than one wonderful verse about Jesus in Isaiah but one that I don’t hear referenced very much is Isaiah 59:17. There the scripture says, “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

    Some may shy away from this verse because of the reference to violence. But one should not be afraid to use this verse in connection with the gospel. Jesus refrained from using justice filled violence while subjecting himself to the justice of God and the unjust violence of men and women here upon the earth, but Jesus’ life here on Earth is over and when Jesus returns it won’t be a picnic for the enemies of God much to contradicting advice given by all the “universalists” out there.

    Jesus is the slaughtered Lamb of God for our sins, but Jesus is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah for unrepentant sinners!

    since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 – NKJV)

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on March 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: harsh, insults, jesus   

         “You’re fat ” “You’re nothing but skin… 

         “You’re fat!” “You’re nothing but skin and bones, walking death!” “Can’t you say anything that is smart!” “If you did anything right, the world would stop!” “You sound like a screech owl!” The insults just come one by one and on top of another. The thickest skinned person will, in time, be worn out by such evil thoughtlessness. How do one endure such words?

    Everyone is different; what may work for one may not work for another, we are told. Is that the case, however? Some things to remember to help us: first, we have not had to endure like the Lord Jesus did. Second, that which we have to endure is minimal in comparison to anything those of the first century who were faithful to the Lord. Third, when your eyes are squarely focused on what is important and not on peripheral things, simply put, Satan cannot knock you off the path the Lord set for you (cf. John 14:6). Fourth, the Lord is your strength and He has given you His power to endure whatever barbed wire is thrown in your way. Note, in 1 Peter 2:18-20, there are harsh things that will be said and done; Peter said it would apply to the individual Christian, just as it applied to the Lord. The Lord,. However, was not knocked off his path. Peter tells us why: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (2:23, ESV). There is a solution in these words. RT

     
  • Eugene Adkins 8:27 am on March 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Immaculate Conception, jesus, , Original Sin,   

    Just a few questions for my Catholic friends… 

    Been thinking here lately (I’m really opening myself up to zingers there!) about the catholic church situation and what the catholic church itself teaches about the pope and even Mary.

    So the pope’s word is supposed to be infallible, right? When does it become so? Was his word as a “cardinal” infallible? And since he’s still alive does his word continue to be infallible? If not, how does one go from being fallible to infallible and back to fallible again? Talk about a rollercoaster ride! And also, is Benedict still the most-holy or is he only normal-holy? Or is he even Benedict anymore?

    Now when it comes to Mary and her conception being “immaculate” from “original sin” how did she come to be that way? Jesus was born in the flesh according to her genetic material, right? Were her mother and father immaculate as well? How about her grandparents? And her great-parents and their great-grandparents? When did this whole “immaculate” thing start in the gene pool? Why didn’t the siblings of Jesus get the same benefits of their mother’s “immaculate” condition? Scratch that last question – seems like I remember something about sex between a husband and a wife not being allowed and no other children being born. But the other questions still stand.

    Thanks.

    And by the way, if you do give an answer in the affirmative, please give a scripture reference that affirms your affirmation along with it :) That would be most helpful.

     
    • Eugene Adkins 11:31 am on March 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      One Catholic did respond in a respectful way, but unfortunately he used scripture by adding the Catholic church’s word to the word of God. Here’s a quick run down.

      As to the questions about the “pope” he quoted Mathew 16:18-19 and inserted the word popes. He quoted John 21:15-17 and again inserted the word pope and supreme pastor. He then quoted Luke 22:31-32 and inserted the words head apostle and head of the church concerning Peter and did indeed refer to the pope as infallible.

      As to the questions about Mary he quoted Luke 1:28 and said highly favored (finding grace) means “full of grace.” There’s a salvation’s span of difference between needing grace (which Mary did indeed need – Luke 1:47) and being made to not need it and thus becoming the only unique person to have ever lived who didn’t need a Savior from sin. Being born of a virgin was a sign to God’s people that the Savior had been born, not that the woman who had borne the Savior was sinless.

      Here is a direct quote from his reply about Mary and his reference to Luke 1: “Because the Archangel Gabriel addressed in this way in this salutation, it gives the “proper name” to Mary as being “Favored One” or “Full of Grace.” This, therefore, must express a unique quality of Mary alone. God favored her / filled her with Grace because of her unique election as the Mother of God. She was prepared by God from the beginning for this role. She is unique in all of the universe…The blessing of God which rests upon Mary is made parallel to the blessing of God which reest upon Christ in His humanity (in her very womb). This parallelism suggests that Mary, just like Christ, was from the beginning of her existence, free from all sin.

      For these simple errors alone I didn’t approve the comment because if one is bold enough to add so plainly to God’s plain word they will not be willing to listen to God’s word if a conversation were had.

      For a further explanation and proof according to the scriptures of how Peter was in no way above the other apostles or that he was even the “pope” check out John T Polk Jr.’s post(s):

      Was Peter the First “Pope?” Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/was-peter-the-first-pope/

      and

      Where Was “Vatican Smoke” In The New Testament Church? Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/please-read-acts-151-31-then-read-the-following/

    • Sandra Moore 12:40 pm on March 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I found this to be interesting. It is from a article in The Huntsville Times on Friday, Feb 15. The questions were asked and answered by “the Explainer,” and I’m not sure who or what that is.

      “Q: Will he still be infallible?
      A: No…and in fact, he’s never been infallible. In accordance with the First Vatican Council of 1870, the pope is infallible only when he makes an ex cathedra statement– that is, a statement concerning “a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church.”

      Most popes never make ex cathedra statements during their papacy; only one infallible statement (regarding the Assumption of Mary) has been made since the first Vatican Council of 1870. Pope John XXIII was quoted as saying, “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible.” Pope Benedict XVI has never spoken ex cathedra, and he will lose the ability to do so once he resigns from the papacy.”

      Seems to me that John XXIII was making sure he never got into trouble by trying to be infallible. ;)

      • Joseph Richardson 3:47 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        HI. Thanks for this quote. I’m from the Huntsville area (Decatur, actually).

        Pope John was right. Few popes have ever spoken, nor ever had the need to speak, ex cathedra. The only time the need at arises is when some aspect of Christian faith or morals has to be defined dogmatically; and the only time that is needed is when some aspect of the faith is challenged. For example, in the first centuries of the Church, the doctrine of the Trinity was only defined, progressively, to refute the challenges of heretics who taught something in opposition to the truth. A heretical sect would teach, for example, that Jesus wasn’t truly God, and the Church would have to reject that teaching infallibly; then another sect would teach that the Father and the Son were not equal, or that the Holy Spirit wasn’t really God, and the Church would have to reject those teachings. By successive hammering out, the Christian faith arrived at the Trinitarian and Christological (having to do with Who and What Jesus is) doctrines that all Chrisians hold today. Every pope hopes that he never has to face the kind of challenges that would require an infallible pronouncement to resolve.

    • Joseph Richardson 10:51 am on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi again. I appreciate that you are interested in asking questions and having a respectful dialogue. It doesn’t look like you’ve gotten any adequate answers here. I do hope you will consider me your “Catholic friend” and, I do hope, “brother.” I look forward to your response to my other comments on the authority of the papacy.

      I’ll try to reply here in brief, and then we can expand if you wish.

      Your question about infallibility again reflects some misunderstandings. I think you are misunderstanding the ways in which the Catholic Church sometimes uses the word .holy. For the sake of discussion, let’s define that word. From TheFreeDictionary.com:

      ho·ly [ˈhəʊlɪ]
      adj. ho·li·er, ho·li·est
      1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
      2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book.
      3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person.
      4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place.
      5. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct: a holy pledge.
      6. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence: The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
      7. Informal Used as an intensive: raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.

      When we call the pope the “Holy Father,” that is an aspect of his office — that office is (1) “belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power,” the Church, and his office is (4) “specified or set apart for a religious purpose”; that office is (5) “solemnly undertaken,” and because of that office, he is (6) “regarded as deserving special respect or reverence.” The pope, as a man, may or may not be holy as in (3), “living [a holy life],” being “a holy person.” Certainly there have been popes who were not!

      To say that God is holy is an entirely different sense of the word. God alone is infinitely holy and (2) “worthy of worship”; He is also, by his nature, (1) “a divine power” and “sacred.” The saints (sanctus, holy, set apart), on the other hand, are holy first and foremost because they (3) lived holy lives, and we believe that after their deaths they’ve gone to Heaven and are with Jesus and are thus (1) associated with a divine power. They are (2) deserving of veneration, not akin to worship but more akin to (6), a special respect or reverence.

      Well, so much or brevity I guess. ;-)

      Now, to your question about infallibility: Again, you are misunderstanding the Church’s claims. Infallibility is an aspect of the office of the papacy, not of the person of the pope. There was nothing “infallible” about Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was pope, or about him now that he is no longer pope. And this is why I got into that about holiness: you ask how holy he is: well, he’s only as holy as the life he lives. Having read his writings and followed his life for the past eight years, I think he’s a pretty holy guy — but there’s nothing divine about him as a person, and never was. Further, there is nothing infallible about the person of Pope Francis, or the former Cardinal Jose Bergoglio.

      With regard to infallibility: the best way to think about it’s not so much about the pope being infallible, but that when he sits in the captain’s chair, it’s really God steering the boat. Literally, that’s pretty much exactly what the Church teaches: by the formal definition of the doctrine, the pope is only said to be infallible when he speaks ex cathedra (“from the chair” of the episcopate) regarding matters of faith and morals (and “the chair” is not a literal chair). Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church into all truth (John 16:13), and it’s only as an aspect of that that the pope is ever considered infallible. And his infallibility only “kicks in” when he invokes it; and it is only formally invoked in very limited circumstances. The pope in his day-to-day life isn’t infallible when he declares his favorite pizza or gives his opinion about football (soccer, you know), or even when he writes encyclicals about Church practice or discipline (which are not considered ex cathedra, but, by analogy, written standing up). He is considered to have authority when he writes such, just as a prominent pastor or scholar is considered to have authority when he speaks, by nature of who he is and what he knows. But papal infallibility has only really been invoked twice in the past couple of centuries. And ex cathedra pronouncements are only ever made in union and agreement with the cardinals and bishops of the Church.

      It all boils down to this: Papal infallibility is an assurance that the Holy Spirit, not the pope, is guiding the Church, when push comes to shove. That is not to say that the pope is the Holy Spirit, or always follows the Holy Spirit, or even necessarily lives in accord with the Holy Spirit — certainly there have been popes who have not. But even in the darkest times of the Church, corrupt popes have never promulgated dogma that is contradictory to the teachings of Christ or the Bible or the Church: they have never declared, say, that the pope is divine, or that Mary is divine, or that Jesus is anything but divine. They have never declared that usury or theft or murder is okay, or that everybody has to give all their money to the Church. The fact that even the most dastardly people who have held the office of pope, regardless of how they lived their personal lives, have never promulgated such heresy or error should be a confirmation of the truth of this doctrine. Infallibility — the guidance of the Holy Spirit — ensures that the Church will never run off the rails. And the fact that in 2,000 years it hasn’t is a sign of the Church’s Oneness, Holiness, Apostolicity, and Catholicity. You and I disagree about interpretations of Scripture — you may even disagree that the Church has never “run off the rails.” But in the 2,000 years of the recorded history of the Catholic Church, the Church has never promulgated any doctrine in opposition or contradiction to its own doctrines, or contradictory to the truth of Scripture. You would be hard pressed to prove that it has.

      As an extension to the doctrine of infallibility: the Magisterium of the Church (Magisterium means “teachership” — the teaching authority of the Church) — that is, the collected body of bishops in communion with the pope, the chief bishop — is considered infallible in its agreement. This means that the ecumenical councils of the Church, from Nicaea to Vatican II, have taught infallible doctrine.

      There you have an explanation of the Church’s teachings on infallibility. I will let you chew that up before I continue with the Marian doctrines.

      • Joseph Richardson 10:55 am on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Correction: Benedict XVI is still pope (he’ll always be our “papa,” just as popes who have passed on from this life are still “papas” to us), only not the sitting pope. He is pope emeritus. And his teachings and writings will not be infallible.

        • Eugene Adkins 11:11 am on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Quick and simple, Joseph. One, the church has already been guided into all truth. The church doesn’t need a pope for that. Listen to the word of God and not the word of Rome and you’ll see that. Two, Benedict is not “pope” anymore for if he were there wouldn’t have been a need to find a new one.

          What the catholic church says, and what the catholic church believes/does are two different things. They say the pope is only a man, but then they fall at his feet (and the feet of statue’s of Peter – idolatry) to kiss them and his ring and look to his golden cross. Nothing you say will change what people can see when they look at the actions of the catholic church.

    • Joseph Richardson 11:17 am on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The Church has been guided into all truth — with 40,000 Protestant denominations who can’t agree on anything? With as many diverse and conflicting interpretations of Scripture?

      “Pope,” as I said before, is an honorific title. You call your grandfather “Gramps” or “Granddaddy” or “Pawpaw.” We call our pastor “Papa.” And even after our pastor retires, he’s still our Papa.

      Also as I said before, what you’re referring to is not “idolatry” (the worship of an inanimate object as a deity) or even “worship” at all, but showing honor to the man and his office, the same way people stand up for the president of the United States or kneel for the queen of England. You may not agree with it, but you’re mistaken if you call it “idolatry.”

      What I hope to change is your perception that what you see is something different from what it is, or something different from what the Church or the Christian faith teaches.

      Now, you asked the questions. Am I wasting my time to reply? Are you even interested in my answers?

      • Eugene Adkins 11:33 am on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        There were people who argued about Jesus’ teachings while He was still alive, Joseph, don’t confuse catholic unity and the spirit of unity with the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). People can be universal in their agreement and still be universally wrong. I’m not a protestant – I am a Christian and that’s where you fail to understand me. I don’t care what people say, people of any religious affiliation. I will only listen to God’s word (1 Peter 4:11), which is found in the Bible and not in the catechism’s of Rome. The mother church started in Jerusalem and not in/at Rome. The source of truth is found in God’s word and not in the pope’s.

        The catholic church does not use pope as an “honorary” title – it’s a title of supposed “authority” and if you don’t believe that then you have a lot of correcting to do with the followers of catholicism who say otherwise. I don’t think your unity is as universal as you think. As I said before, and as the scriptures teach, the church only has one head, and since one means one and that one head is Jesus I guess that leaves the pope and the catholic church claiming authority where it does not exist; at least not outside of the creeds and councils of men.

        Standing up or kneeling out of respect is not the same as kissing, graveling and worshipping at the feet of religious figures. Cornelius made a mistake with that at Peter’s feet and Peter corrected him. Something the so called “popes” fail to do today. Don’t exchange the golden cross of the pope for the cross of Calvary, Joseph.

        I heard your answers, and your answers were not given with scripture. They were given with the doctrines and commandments of men and these answers will never bring a person closer to God; in fact they will push a person further and further away from Him. No, I don’t believe you’re wasting your time with me, but I do believe you’re wasting your time with the catholic church.

        • Joseph Richardson 1:06 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Hi, Eugene. Did you know you are named for a series of well-respected popes? Probably not directly, of course — my dad’s middle name is Eugene, named for his great-grandfather, and I don’t think he was named for the popes — but it is nonetheless a good name. Pardon my slowness; I’m now replying from my iPad.

          I appreciate your kind words. That’s an interesting suggestion, that I am “wasting my time” with the Catholic Church. Would you say that all the followers of the Catholic Church over its history have “wasted” their time, and if so, for how long? What about the ones who led holy lives, whom we proclaim as “saints”? Many Protestants respect, say, St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Augustine, or St. Gregory the Great. What about the early ones, like St. Ignatius and St. Irenaeus, who gave their lives for the Christian faith? St. Bernard of Clairvaux was always my favorite when I was a Protestant. He was an ardent proponent of what you would call a personal relationship with Jesus.

          People who disagreed wih Jesus during His ministry on earth stopped following Him (John 6:66, ironically). He Himself prayed that his followers all be one, as He and the Father are One (John 17) (that is, in complete union and agreement, in one mind and one accord [Acts 1:14]). Jesus was, naturally, the authority on what Jesus taught; any disagreement with Him, and folks were no longer Christians. Now you say that the Spirit has guided the Church (I suppose you don’t mean the Catholic Church but the “Church” in a broader sense that includes Protestants into all truth, and that is a difference between universal (catholic) in agreement and being in unity with the Spirit. Are you supposing that Protestant churches have been “in agreement” with the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ)? Why, then, do they not all agree with each other? Why do they have such different understandings of the Christian faith? Wouldn’t “unity in the Spirit” entail “catholic” unity? That’s certainly the sense in which Paul meant those words in the Scripture you cited (Eph 4:3; cf. 1 Cor 1:10), and what Jesus meant at the Last Supper. (For what it’s worth, you sound an awful lot like you are “Protesting” against the Catholic Church; therefore, by definition, you are a Protestant.)

          So you also reject “creeds and councils”? Do you reject, then, the Holy Trinity? Or that Jesus is wholly God and wholly Man? What about the canon of the New Testament? Are you okay, then, with the teachings of the Arians (that Jesus was not truly God), or the Docetists (that Jesus didn’t have a true human body but was only a divine phantom), or Pelagians (that man is not truly tainted by original sin and is capable of rising to divine favor without the grace of God)? All of these were either agreed upon, or rejected, by “councils and creeds.”

          My Bible (ESV, not any weird Catholic translation) at 1 Pet 4:11, that we should love and show hospitality to all those who serve the Church and speak oracles (λόγια, “sayings”) of God. I’m glad we agree on that.

          You seem to like calling things what they are not. The bishop of Rome is not the “Head” of the Church. Let me ask you, does your church have a pastor? Is Scripture wrong when, through the words of St. Peter, it recommends that pastors “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight [ἐπισκοποῦντες, episkopountes, the same root as ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos, bishop or overseer]” (1 Peter 5:1–2)?

          Holy Mother Church was born in Jerusalem, but, you ought to know, it’s not centered in any one place, but in its people, who are the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13,27, Eph 4:4–5). I quote from the Catechism to you to demonstrate what the Catholic Church teaches, about which you are making incorrect statements. The Catechism is an official and authoritative source of Catholic teaching — what the Church teaches about Christian truth. To say that the Church teaches something different than what is defined in the Catechism is self-contradictory. I quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true. The questions you asked before were about what the Church teaches, not about whether it was true; therefore I quoted from the Catechism. I am doing my best to answer your questions; please let me answer the questions you have asked.

    • Joseph Richardson 6:14 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Regarding your Marian questions: my answers will be brief and simple enough. If you care for a lengthier explanation, I can provide it.

      The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception teaches that by the prevenient (“coming-before”) grace of the Holy Spirit, Mary was spared from the stain of original sin. By that gratuitous grace, because of the love God has for the human race and for His Son, Mary received the same graces that we receive at our Baptism. She, just as human as you or me, and just as much in need of salvation as you or me (cf. Luke 1:47), was “saved” from the moment of her conception. Though the dogma was not formally defined until 1854 — see my comments above about dogma not needing to be defined until they were challenged — the Church has held this belief in more-or-less these terms since the days of the Apostles, and her understanding of it developed over the ages through extensive study of the Scriptures.

      So, no, neither her parents nor grandparents nor anyone else in her family was “immaculate.” And as you should know, sin is a spiritual state, not a physical one, and original sin is not inherited genetically, and has nothing to do with any “gene pool.”

      This was one of the dogmata that I had a harder time with — so I do not expect to get anywhere in arguing with it with you; I only wanted to answer your question about the teachings of the Church.

      And yes, you are correct that the Church believes and teaches that Mary remained a virgin all her life and never bore any more children. This has nothing to do with “sex between a husband and wife not being allowed” — but as the spotless vessel that bore God Himself into the world, she could not conceivably have borne any more. And this is very well supported by Scripture. Aside from the few ambiguous references to Jesus’s “brothers,” you will not find any more explicit statement that these children belonged to Mary. If you care, I can make the case to you.

      You might be surprised to learn that both Martin Luther and John Calvin, as well as nearly all of the early Protestant Reformers, held these doctrines without question.

      • Eugene Adkins 7:40 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Joseph, to put it kindly, yet plainly still, all of your answers to questions like this, like all other catholics, are given by/through the word of “dogma’s and catechisms” and sorely lack the proper dividing of the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15), and that’s even if any scriptures are given at all, which your reply shows to be true. If you will go back and read the original post you will see that I did not ask for the word of the catholic church to be used – I asked for the word of God to be used; and these two things are completely different.

        With your very answer you have failed miserably to show any respect towards marriage and Joseph’s marital rights as a husband, and you have concluded that sex defiles a married person which it does not (Hebrews 13:4). The longer you talk, the farther and farther you get away from the Bible and the closer and closer you get to the words of the catholic church’s “holy father(s)” instead of getting closer to God, the only Holy Father. Everything you just spouted out about Mary cannot be taught with the Bible, hence the catholic church needs to go by the fabricated “oral tradition” because there is no written tradition to defend it with. The only case you have to make is with the words of the largest man-made church ever created and not with the word of God.

        The catholic church promotes and propagates the idolatry of Mary in ways that are clearly blasphemous to spiritual eyes which have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit with the word of God and not darkened, confused and blinded with the words of men.

        “As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother’s rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.” (Pope Benedict XV (INTER SODALICIA)

        This is complete and utterly gross blasphemy! It can never be justly said that Mary redeemed mankind in any way, shape, form or fashion! Jesus alone is the redeemer of mankind, Jesus alone is the Mediator of mankind, Jesus alone is the Head of His church and Jesus alone is the Chief Shepherd.

        For these reasons alone are why catholics and the catholic church condemns people who use only the Bible to learn about, come to and have a proper relationship with God. This is because the catholic church knows their traditions are contrary to the Bible’s and that’s why for hundreds of years the catholic church fought so hard to keep God’s word out of the hands of the “common” man because they prefer sheep who have had the wool pulled over their eyes instead of seeing the light of the glorious gospel. And if you disagree then you need to spend time going around and telling other catholics on Word Press that using the Bible alone (sola scripture) is a completely acceptable way to come to God because there are many out there who teach otherwise.

        There are many things in your replies directed toward me and directed toward the truth of God that I could correct with numerous scriptures, but if you’re not willing to the see the plain blasphemy of idol worship that runs rampant in the catholic church, then for now it would be fruitless to go into other areas of your error.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:43 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I figured this comment would get your dander up. ;-) I would still like you to reply to my earlier post on the authority of the papacy, very well and plainly supported by Scripture, and to my other comment regarding holiness and infallibility.

        • Eugene Adkins 7:45 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          So you choose to ignore the plain idolatrous quote about Mary? Figured you would. I have failed to have any catholic try to defend that one…among many, many other quotes given by the pope(s) that show how the catholic church worships Mary.

        • Eugene Adkins 7:49 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          And if you’ll pay attention to my first reply to the catholic who actually tried to use scripture (but failed by inserting words like “pope”) you’ll find links to articles here in The Fellowship Room that uses an abundance of scripture to show plainly and beyond a shadow of a doubt that what the catholic church teaches about the pope cannot be defended with the Bible…in fact the Bible defeats it.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:49 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I don’t ignore it, but it makes little sense to argue with it at this point. I don’t consider the Church’s Marian beliefs “idolatrous” or “blasphemous” in any way, but I don’t expect you to understand that. You and I would be much more productive, I think, in discussing the things we are closer to agreement on. I am especially interested in your thoughts on the biblical case for apostolic authority.

        • Eugene Adkins 7:53 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Apostolic authority was only given to the apostles. To be an apostle one had to see the resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:8). Nothing more needs to be said about that.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:51 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          So, then, please reply to my biblical argument I made to your other post, if the Bible so well defeats it.

        • Eugene Adkins 7:55 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I have already said once, Joseph, that there are articles here in The Fellowship Room that defeat the catholic church’s teaching about the pope. I won’t reteach what’s already been taught.

          And I am still “tickled” at how you won’t even try to defend the blasphemous words of your pope.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:56 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I asked you to reply to my post, sir. I spent several hours in constructing that argument for you, and your reluctance to address it leads me to believe that you have no answer to the plain truth of Scripture.

    • Eugene Adkins 7:59 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Here, Joseph, take your mouse pointer and click where the words are blue:

      Was Peter the First “Pope?” Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/was-peter-the-first-pope/

      and

      Where Was “Vatican Smoke” In The New Testament Church? Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/please-read-acts-151-31-then-read-the-following/

      • Joseph Richardson 8:02 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Don’t insult me, sir. I have read the linked posts, and they do not address at all the argument I made in the other post. They do not even reference the Scripture I cited to you. Do not pretend they do. If you have an answer to my argument, please make it; if you don’t, either admit you don’t, or I will assume it.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:05 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Joseph, you’re being obtuse now. Much like the popes:

          “O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Pope Leo XIII – ADIUTRICEM)

      • Joseph Richardson 8:08 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You’re the one refusing to defend your own words. If you call me “obtuse” for holding you to them, then I suppose I am. Apparently you have no answer to that or any of the well-meaning questions I asked above, and have no other resort but to hurt baseless accusations and name-calling at me.

    • Joseph Richardson 8:06 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother’s rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.” (Pope Benedict XV, Inter Sodalicia)

      I fail to see what’s “blasphemous” about this quote. Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation. She said “yes” (Luke 1:38). She allowed herself to be a tool of God’s redemption. She gave up her only son, just as God gave up His only Son, so that mankind could be saved. Do you argue otherwise?

      • Eugene Adkins 8:08 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, and so does the Bible. First, Jesus wasn’t Mary’s only child. Second, there is no co-redeemer. It’s a shame that Mary’s name gets drug through the spiritual mud by the catholic church.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:10 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          1. Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation.
          2. She said “yes” (Luke 1:38).
          3. She allowed herself to be a tool of God’s redemption.
          4. She gave up her only son [we'll leave that one alone for now, since it's not relevant to this question], just as God gave up His only Son, so that mankind could be saved.

          Which exactly of these statements does the Bible prove untrue?

        • Eugene Adkins 8:14 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Jesus’ earthly father Joseph cooperated with God’s plan of salvation. He also said yes. He allowed himself to be a tool of God’s redemption. So I guess Joseph is a co-redeemer of mankind too! I’m only following catholic logic here.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:18 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          When you try to prove too much, you prove too little, Joseph. Everything you said about Mary can be said about Joseph, but for some reason the catholic church doesn’t look at him the same way it looks at Mary. You know, the “Mary” that led the pope to say, “O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Pope Leo XIII – ADIUTRICEM)

      • Eugene Adkins 8:12 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not refusing to defend “my words.” You’re the one spouting off here on someone else’s blog, Joseph. There’s no point in rehashing what’s already been taught. Those articles that are linked address and undermine every thing you’ve said about the pope. I’m sorry you feel like your time is being wasted, but I’m also sorry that it takes so long to come up with words to defend error.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:31 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          When did I say my time was being wasted? I’m rather enjoying myself. :)

          Here, I will make it simple for you. Please answer these questions which I kindly asked above, if you are able. So far you have evaded them:
          1. Would you say that all the followers of the Catholic Church over its history have “wasted” their time, and if so, for how long?
          2. Are you supposing that Protestant churches have been “in unity” with the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ)?
          3. Why, then, do they not all agree with each other?
          4. Why do they have such different understandings of the Christian faith?
          5. Wouldn’t “unity in the Spirit” entail “catholic” unity?
          6. So you also reject “creeds and councils”? Do you reject, then, the Holy Trinity? Or that Jesus is wholly God and wholly Man? What about the canon of the New Testament? (etc.)
          7. Is Scripture wrong when, through the words of St. Peter, it recommends that pastors “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight (1 Peter 5:1–2)?

          Here, I will summarize my argument of the other post. I would like you to address it, if you can.
          You argued (your own words) that, “Jesus never installed an earthly head, Jesus never asked for an earthly head nor does Jesus need an earthly head. If the catholic church followed/believed the same gospel they would not transfer heavenly authority to an earthly man . . . ”
          I prove the contrary by showing that:
          1. Jesus did entrust His authority to “earthly men” (Matthew 10:1, 5–8)
          2. He sent these men as His representatives. (Matthew 10:40, etc.)
          3. The powers of “binding and loosing” are a clear investment of authority that would be divinely ratified. (Matthew 18:18)
          4. Jesus certainly, and without a doubt, invested this authority to His Apostles and especially to Peter. (ibid., Matthew 16:17–19)
          5. This investment, or stewardship of His “household” the Church, was prophesied by Isaiah and foreshadowed by Christ Himself. (Isaiah 22:20–22)
          6. This authority, by the plain words of Scripture, included the authority to remit or retain sins (John 20:21–23).

          Now, you can see that this is quite clearly a different argument than the ones addressed by the posts you linked to. If you have an answer to it, I would appreciate you giving it (it would be nice to give it over at the other post since the thread here is already pretty muddy. If you can, you may answer the other questions above here.

          Thanks, and I do wish you the peace of Christ.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:34 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I’ll answer these when you answer whether or not Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is a co-redeemer of mankind. Yes or No? And you if you say “No” remember, Joseph, that he meets all the “qualifications” that you mentioned when it comes to Mary. If you’re not willing to be consistent here, when will you be?

    • Joseph Richardson 8:35 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      By the way, in care you’re not aware: Joseph is the most highly regarded saint of the Church, and is held nearly as high as Mary. He is the patron saint of the whole Church. He is also venerated for His role in the plan of salvation, for taking Mary and protecting her and the young Jesus, and not “putting her away” as the Scripture said. Mary, of course, has a slightly more involved role, since it was through her flesh that Christ was born. (And oh, I’m being consistent; you’re just not being patient.)

      • Joseph Richardson 8:37 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Second most highly regarded, meant to say, but the word got lost somewhere. Mary is a saint, too.

      • Eugene Adkins 8:37 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Nearly as high? I don’t think that’s the same height, is it? Please answer the question with a yes or no. Is Joseph a co-redeemer of mankind?

        • Joseph Richardson 8:39 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Yes, he is, and is often called such.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:41 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Amazing! I never knew there were co-redeemers (at least 2) of mankind’s salvation. Can you give scripture for that? Which is kind of the whole point I was trying to make if you’ll go back and read the original post, Joseph.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:43 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          So Joseph is co-redeemer, but Mary is still, “O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Pope Leo XIII – ADIUTRICEM) right? Because none, except and none and except would seem to infer that she doesn’t share that with anyone else.

    • Joseph Richardson 8:45 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      No, there is no Scripture that says that either Mary or Joseph are “co-redeemers” or even says the word “co-redeemer.” But there’s also no Scripture that says the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit form the Holy Trinity. There’s no Scripture that says that Jesus Christ is fully-God and fully-man. There’s no Scripture that says what books belong in the New Testament. There’s not even a Scripture that says that you have to base everything you believe on Scripture (in fact, no one did until the time of the Reformation).

      [Forgive my poor placement of this comment. Please reply to this one to keep the tread going downward.]

      • Eugene Adkins 8:50 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Until you can give scripture for what your pope infallible taught the conversation is over because my point has been proven.

        And I already replied before you did, sorry. Here’s what I said:

        Different topic, Joseph. Those points can be proven with scripture. And now here comes the true feelings/following of a catholic – “There’s not even a Scripture that says that you have to base everything you believe on Scripture”

        Remember when you said you agree with me about 1 Peter 4:11? Because it’s not sounding like it right now! You see, Joseph, you can’t defend your beliefs with the word of God as a catholic, and that’s why you have to so heavily depend upon the words and traditions of a man-made church.

        • Joseph Richardson 9:01 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I have already said that the word “co-redeemer” is nowhere in Scripture. (For what it’s worth, the word “co-redeemer” was also not in that quote from Benedict XV.) It is a logical consequence (especially in the Latin mind, which likes to stick prefixes on things) of saying that someone cooperates with the Redeemer (co + redemptor = together with the redeemer). Our fundamental difference, as you say, is that I don’t believe I have to base every single thing I say on the plain face of Scripture. I have already explained to you, citing Scripture, how Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation, and you did not argue with that: your answer was that Joseph did, too. And he did. If you believe that a lack of direct scriptural proof proves your point, then you’re welcome to think that. I disagree.

          Now, I have given you my best answer. So far that his looked like a game of chicken, with you doing everything you can to avoid answering my questions, which I asked first, eight hours ago (the argument on the other post, at 2 p.m. yesterday), long before you started this whole line of argument about co-redeemers. If you think this conversation is over, then you’re probably right, but not for the reasons you seem to think, and you’re not the only one walking away thinking his point was proven.

        • Eugene Adkins 9:07 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          For what it’s worth, the word “co-redeemer” was also not in that quote from Benedict XV.”

          Really? He’s not saying Mary is a co-redeemer? Why then you could’ve avoided the whole conversation by not using it yourself.

          And by the way, he said:

          As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother’s rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.” (Pope Benedict XV (INTER SODALICIA)

          Yeah, that sounds like co-redeemer to me. So if the catholic church teaches idolatrous error when it comes to Mary, then why should I be concerned with anything else it teaches?

        • Eugene Adkins 9:11 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Facts and thoughts, like the written tradition that makes up the Bible and the “oral tradition/fabrication” that the catholic church is built upon, are two different things my friend.

    • Joseph Richardson 9:11 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Dude. Chill. I just defended the argument that Mary and Joseph are co-redeemers. I also just said, as an aside, that the word “co-redeemer” is not in that quote. The word “co-redeemer” is not in that quote. And it’s not. It was a non sequitur, a random comment, which is true. You continue to avoid my well-meaning questions with baseless accusations and name-calling. I really do think you don’t have an answer for me. You’re right. We’re done here.

      • Eugene Adkins 9:14 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You defended it alright, but not with scripture…which is/was the whole point of the post. Remember?

        • Joseph Richardson 9:16 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          As I said, again, repeating myself for the third time, the word co-redeemer is not in Scripture. If you feel triumphant about that, then I’m happy for you. You still refuse to answer my questions, but instead keep changing the subject. I will not reply to you again unless you pick up the arguments you are clearly unable to answer.

        • Eugene Adkins 9:19 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          I don’t feel triumphant, but you should feel defeated since, again for the third time, that was the whole point of my post – catholics can’t defend what they believe with the Bible. It’s as simple as that. Why should I answer your questions with scripture if you’re not going to listen to scripture??? You have already said that you don’t base everything you believe in on the scriptures – so what’s the point of me answering with the scriptures alone if you’re not going to listen to them alone??? Do you see my point that I was trying to make and the one that I am making now?

        • Joseph Richardson 9:24 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          Okay. Literally, the very last time I will say this.

          1. I already “defended what I believe with the Bible,” now some 32 hours ago, at 2 p.m. yesterday.
          2. I also quoted Scripture to you in my comment above, “defending what I believe.”
          3. You have refused to answer either post.

          This Catholic is perfectly able and willing to “defend what I believe with Scripture,” but either my arguments were so solid that you have no answers to them, or you lack the good faith to admit that I raised good points. In either case, I have absolutely nothing more to say to you.

        • Eugene Adkins 9:29 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          You said:

          “I quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true.”

          But then you said:

          “Our fundamental difference, as you say, is that I don’t believe I have to base every single thing I say on the plain face of Scripture.”

          Which is it? But anyways, Joseph, back up what you said…quote from the scriptures to show that what “the church” teaches about Mary (and now Joseph) being “co-redeemers” is true.

        • Eugene Adkins 9:36 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink

          You raised no points. All you said was that the Bible doesn’t use the word co-redeemer but you still believe Mary and Joseph are co-redeemers because it’s what the catholic church teaches even though the Bible doesn’t.

          And don’t forget what else the catholic church teaches about Mary:

          “O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Pope Leo XIII – ADIUTRICEM)

          I don’t think you’ll find that quoted in the Bible either…but you can try to prove me wrong if you like since you, “quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true.”

  • Eugene Adkins 7:18 am on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Grace only, jesus, Obeying the gospel,   

    It’s “Funny” Which “Works” Earn Salvation and Which “Works” Do Not In The Eyes of Some People 

    “Baptism isn’t needed for salvation because baptism is a work and if salvation is by works then it’s not by grace!”

    Ah, the old broken record that continuously repeats itself upon the same grove. It’s amazing what some people consider to be “works that earn salvation” while considering other “works that aren’t works” essential when it comes to being saved.

    For example:

    Grace. We all need it. It’s been shown to all, but all don’t want to see it. And all aren’t going to see it in the judgment. It’s the whole “blind before seeing” thing we sing about. Now, if a person wants to receive the gift of God’s grace they’re going to have to do something because if not, then everyone would be going to Heaven and there would be no need for a place called Hell. Simple enough to follow right? But no one wants to call this process “works” because they’re afraid it’ll stain the whole “saved by grace alone” theory. So which is it? Does a person have to respond to God’s grace to be saved or not? Of course they do! An individual person must willingly make a decision to follow God and accept the gift He offers through their own volition through Jesus, not be forced to accept it through something called irresistible grace. Responding to God’s grace is something we must do – responding is a work, an action needed on our behalf per say – but it no way earns the offer of God’s gift.

    Faith. We all need it…to be saved anyways. But everyone doesn’t have it because everyone doesn’t want it. Now some teach that we’re saved by grace alone through faith alone (amazing how you can two “alones” isn’t it???) and that anything else done is a work that makes a person earn his or her salvation. No works people proclaim – only grace and only faith, for works have no place in salvation. But here’s the secret that many people who proclaim this don’t want to hear – having, showing and responding to God’s gift of grace through Jesus is a work! It’s a work we’re responsible for, and it’s a work Jesus discussed with people in the past: “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29). Jesus didn’t say anything about, “Oh, there’s nothing you must do, just simply believe and leave it up to grace because anything else would cause you to earn what I’m going to do.” No, Jesus said we have a responsibility to do something. We have a responsibility to follow God’s will and God’s commands and doing these things in no way places God in our debt and it no way earns the salvation that God offers.

    Repentance. Repent is a command. Repentance is action. Salvation will not be enjoyed without repentance. A change of mind seen through a change of actions. Both of which is something we’re responsible for doing. Repentance is not a work done on us or to us. Not one verse in the Bible teaches this, but many verses teach that repentance is something we must do – a work, an action – or we’ll perish in Hell. “…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Jesus didn’t say, “Well, I would tell you to repent but that would mean you’re earning your salvation, so….” That’s not what Jesus said. Jesus said we, as individuals, are responsible for following God’s command and repenting of our sins if we want to find the forgiveness of our sins. This in no way places God in our debt because it’s something that God requires us to do. He’s not offering wages if we repent – He’s offering His gift of salvation. But we must want to be saved – we must repent.

    Confessing Jesus. We should have a willingness to do so, but everyone doesn’t. Confessing Jesus is a must. It’s something we must do. It’s vital to salvation! It’s an action. It’s a work that we’re required to do. No, you say? I say…rather, I ask, have you not read the Bible? The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). I know many, many people who claim that a person is saved by grace alone through faith alone but for some reason they still teach that a person must confess Jesus to be saved…what happened to that just believing thing? Belief and confession are two separate things! Read Romans 10 again. The very verses used to teach grace alone by faith alone contradicts them both by saying confession on our behalf is essential! Confession is an action required by God on our behalf. It is something – a work – we must do. Confessing Jesus does not earn a person’s salvation because it submits to the offer of salvation made by God through Jesus.

    Baptism. “Now preacher, it’s true that we must have faith, that we must repent and that we must confess Jesus, but even though those are something we must do they’re not “works” that earn our salvation, but that baptism stuff…that’s where the line is drawn!” I hear it all the time. Who drew that line??? I’ll tell you where the line is – there’s a line between listening to God’s will and rejecting God’s will. There’s a line between being saved and being lost. There’s a line between the works of men and women and the work of God. It’s a line drawn in the waters of baptism where the blood of Jesus washes our sins away (Acts 22:16, Revelation 1:5). It’s a line where the old person is buried in the water and the new, born again person is raised out of the water (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:1-4). And until a person submits to God’s work that takes place during baptism then a person is defiantly relying upon their own works, their own system of salvation through faith, repentance and confession that balks at baptism of God instead of walking down in the water submissively and allowing God to remove sin from their heart and replace it with the Spirit of God. A person doesn’t have the Son without being baptized, and if they don’t have the Son they don’t have the Father or His promise of salvation (Galatians 3:26-29). Submitting to God’s will in baptism doesn’t earn a man or woman his or her salvation. Baptism for the remission of sins came from God. He designed it. He ordered it. He requires it. And to say that a person is saved before baptism on this side of the cross of Jesus because baptism is a “work of man” is to say that one does not have to do the works of God to be saved.

    There are works that earn, works that spurn and works that yearn, and no one can show how responding to God’s will and God’s commands to be saved causes God to be indebted to us; that’s because it doesn’t. Following the will of God never has, and never will place God in a person’s debt when it comes to being saved, but if we want to get rid of the debt of sin we need to respond to the offer of His gift. A gift that’s found through God’s will/grace, our faith, our willingness to repent, our willingness to confess Jesus, our willingness to be baptized and our willingness to live faithfully allowing the blood of Jesus to do what it was meant to do when it comes to the will of God – and that’s get us to Heaven.

    It’s “funny” how faith, repentance and confession (all things – works – we must do) doesn’t earn a person his or her salvation but baptism does??? Yeah, if you believe that you might want to stop working on that and start submitting to God’s will.

     
    • Morris 10:14 am on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like it may be the works they want to do that works.

      Another amazing thing is this: If you ask the works people what you can do to go to Heaven, they will give you a list – ask them if I do all these things can I know I am going to Heaven – and almost without fail they don’t know.

      Since Jesus paid it all we can rest assured that a person can go to Heaven by trusting His death and resurrection for their sins.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:52 am on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , jesus,   

    Blasphemy Reveals SNL’s True Understanding of Christianity 

    “SNL” (Saturday Night Live) has targeted Jesus in one of their “comedy sketches” again. It’s not the first time and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last time. Like other forms of “art” and multimedia, SNL finds an easy target to blaspheme when it comes to God’s Son. Why is that? Because this “target” doesn’t shoot back, doesn’t blow up buildings and doesn’t threaten violence through large crowds. In reality, this “target” actually encourages those who blaspheme His name to still seek His love and mercy and hope…these are the very characteristics of Jesus they continually lampooned in their sketch.

    Despite what they might say publicly, the facts reveal that SNL enjoys bullying those who do not bully back. It goes beyond immaturity right down to cowardice. If it is not cowardice then why not target other “religious figures” who are well-known? The answer to this reveals a few things:

    1) It reveals their true disdain for the grace of God.

    2) It reveals the true affection for sin that resides in their heart.

    3) It reveals the hypocritical attitude that would condemn any so-called perceived “bullying” of other religions.

    4) It reveals that they know that the true practice of Christianity is peace, for they do such blasphemous things with no fear of physical retribution by Christians.

    As Christians we are encouraged to pray for those who have this mindset. We are encouraged to have pity on their darkened spiritual condition. We are encouraged to remember how we at times have acted in our own selfish ways, both in the past and even in the present. Christianity will always be “low hanging fruit” for comedians. And we must not forget that Jesus said such things, even worse things, would continue to be directed at His name. But neither should we forget that it is not our place to seek revenge, for the laughter of those who disdain the Savior of their soul will one day exchange their tears of laughter for tears of sorrow.

    Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:25-28)

     
    • Weylan Deaver 9:13 am on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt many Hollywood writers are intimidated by Islam, while feeling free to blaspheme the Lord. What they don’t realize is that the Lord who meekly went as a lamb to the slaughter on their behalf two millennia ago, will come back with an entirely different demeanor:

      “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:11-16, ESV).

  • Eugene Adkins 5:44 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, , ,   

    Sermon Outline for John 1:1-13 

    Here’s a bare bones sermon outline but there’s plenty of room for you to add the meat that’s missing. I may see if I can upload the sermon I did with it here in TFR, I don’t know. Any who, here you go:

    Title: The “Beginning” of John’s Gospel

    John 1:1-5: The Genesis of Genesis

    John 1:6-9: The Genesis of John

    John 1:10-13: The Genesis of Rejecting Jesus

    Preach the word!

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus   

    BEGIN HERE 

                    Last month I heard a brother share this sentiment: “You’ll not talk about Jesus to your neighbor (friends) because you feel they don’t need Him.”

                    That is a rather powerful charge, isn’t it? Think about it for a moment. We live in a society that encourages people to do what they want when they want to do it. If that does not include God, then all the worse for Him (so they think)! It seems apparent that some are not interested in hearing about Him from either you or me. Remember the words of Paul, on the other hand, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31, NKJV). Paul thought it was necessary to proclaim Him; we should think the same. Yet, for some, they don’t. Why?

    People don’t talk about Jesus to their friends and neighbors because there is no real conviction there is a need to. If you listen to any funeral occasion everyone is going to heaven! Intellectually we know this is false, but emotionally we have accepted the “doctrine” and, thus, don’t talk.

    Perhaps all of us are guilty of failing to do as we should in this regard. Our challenge, then, is to resolve to speak more about Jesus to others because of what He means to me. If there is still a problem, then begin here:  “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

     
  • Eugene Adkins 2:12 pm on January 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, , ,   

    Oblivious to the Obvious 

    Patience. Jesus owned the patent on patience…especially when it came to dealing with intentional stubbornness.

    Mark 8:11-12 says,

    Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.””

    The Pharisees had already seen enough signs to believe if they wanted to do so! Nicodemus admitted this much in John 3:2. Now, signs would still be given to these Pharisees, and to the rest of the world, but sadly these signs were still going to “fail their test.” They were oblivious to the obvious fact that they were the ones failing the test by ignoring all that had been done by Jesus up to this point in time in exchange for what they thought should be done. They didn’t have the spirit of Gideon in the making of their request – they had the spirit of their forefathers who resisted God’s Spirit with stiff-necks and uncircumcised hearts and ears.

    Jesus’ sigh alone should have been a sign to them. It would have been obvious through His words. He offered them more patience than they were willing to offer each other when it came to His works and wisdom (John 7:50-52). They had the scriptures to see what signs were being fulfilled; but unless they were willing to see the scriptures, there was no way the signs would convince them or make them see – even if one rose from the dead! (Luke 4:16-21, 16:31)

    Sin can make our heart oblivious to the obvious. Sin darkens our eyes. Sin deafens our ears. Sin hardens our heart. Sin numbs all of our spiritual senses. It can leave us dead while we live (1 Timothy 5:6). And the remedy for sin? It’s Jesus – and it’s obvious, but some sure are oblivious because they are too busy asking for signs instead of following them.

    May our eyes see clearly, may ears hear openly, may our hearts stay tender, may our intentions stay godly as we study God’s word and may we be patient with others as God is with us. It’s a challenge, but if we fail to do these things we may just become oblivious to the obvious things He wants us to see.

    For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 2:42 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Gennesaret, Gospel according to Mark, , jesus, , , Nazareth   

    There Was No Love at Home for Jesus! 

    Mark 6 begins and ends in an interesting way. These verses are like polar opposites of each other in their description of the reaction and feelings people had toward Jesus. Think about these verses with me for a moment.

    The chapter begins with Jesus only being able to heal a few people in his own neck-of-the-woods in Nazareth. This wasn’t due to a lack of interest or ability on Jesus’ part. It was due to a lack of interest on the people’s part. The people had heard about what Jesus was doing, and they had even heard his teaching with their own ears in their own synagogue, but all they could see was a carpenter, a son of Mary and a brother to siblings who, no doubt in their opinion, were no better than Jesus, religiously speaking. They were offended by this blue-collar preacher! To describe their reaction, the Bible in Basic English translates the commonly used word “offended” as “bitter.” They were bitter toward Jesus because this small town man had no proper right to be such a big deal throughout all Judea. They had no love for Jesus, and Jesus’ response to this is interesting. He summed up their treatment of him by saying:

    “…A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4 – NKJV)

    The chapter ends with Jesus coming ashore in a different “section of the woods.” It only took a trip of about 15 miles down the road to Gennesaret for Jesus to be received with a different type of reaction from the people. Jesus was treated like an outcast in his hometown of Nazareth, but while Jesus was in Gennesaret he was treated as if he “had never left.” Instead of being bitter toward Jesus these people were beside themselves in a good way. In Nazareth, no one knew Jesus for who he really was, but in Gennesaret the people recognized Jesus as soon as he got out of the boat. In Nazareth, the hot topic was derogatory rumors, while in Gennesaret the exciting word about Jesus’ arrival spread like wildfire. Jesus got nothing but grief in the synagogues in Nazareth, but in Gennesaret people were joyfully eager to meet him in the marketplaces. In Nazareth, people ran from Jesus, but in Gennesaret people ran to Jesus. Only a few people were healed by Jesus’ hands in Nazareth due to unbelief, but in Gennesaret there were people being healed simply by touching the hem of his robe. Listen to how the scene throughout Gennesaret was described:

    Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.” (Mark 6:56 - NKJV)

    Jesus was the same person at the end of the chapter that he was in the beginning of the chapter, so what gives? What gave was love. There was no love in the ole’ hometown of Nazareth. There was no heart at home for Jesus. The people he grew up around and the people who grew older around him took Jesus for granted, and there are some big lessons in that for the church! I don’t want to make a stretch out of the application, but I must ask, “Is it possible for people outside of the church to have a stronger desire to meet Jesus than people inside of the church?” I must ask, “Is it possible that those who have grown older in the church have failed to grow up in the church?” I must ask, “Is it possible to neglect the “touch of Jesus” while others are more than happy to touch the “border of his garments”?” I must ask, “Is it possible for the church to have no love at home for Jesus?” I could ask more questions, but I think the answers to these should suffice! And lest you think that people in the church can’t be guilty of these things, I would encourage you to read Revelation 2:1-5.

    Let us learn the lesson of how Nazareth and Gennesaret treated Jesus. Let us not be guilty of thinking that we know Jesus in a way that keeps us from knowing Jesus in his way. Let us not be guilty of ignoring his word or the help he can offer. Let us not be guilty of having no love for Jesus in the place where love for him should be found the most – at home in his church.

    Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.“” (Mark 3:31-35)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:50 am on December 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jesus,   

    Too Smart? 

    There are some out there who consider themselves too smart to believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth. The “enlightened” say modern science says it can’t happen and no doctor in the world would ever agree with the idea.

    My answer to such an “educated” stance is 1) science deals with the natural and God (who created the natural) knows how to deal in the supernatural which overrules the previous, and 2) one of the writers who recorded one of the gospels which contains the account of the virgin birth was a doctor (Colossians 4:4)! It’s true there were no MRI machines or even thermometers some 2,000 years ago, but doctors have understood for a very long time where babies come from. Doctor Luke believed in the evidence presented and in the sign promised by God so long ago, so there’s no reason that some “educated” mind can’t do the same today.

    If we want to receive the benefit of knowing that God is with us and that He’ll deliver us (the very purpose of the virgin birth – Immanuel/Jesus) then we’ll have to show our faith in the gospel…including the way it begins. If one can believe that water was turned to wine, that people were healed by touch and great distances, that thousands were fed by a few pieces of food, that people were raised from the dead and that the very child who was born of a virgin, grew up, was betrayed, was crucified, was buried and was risen again the third day, then why should one wonder about and stumble His birth?

    If we don’t have the faith that it takes to believe God and His word then we’ll give into all the skeptics, critics, naysayers, joke makers and unbelievers who will try to drain us of our faith; because at the end of the day, unless we believe in the sign revealed at Bethlehem we won’t believe in the One who the rest of the signs point toward (John 20:30-31).

    There may be some out there who are too smart – but they’re too smart for their own good.

    For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 – NKJV)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:55 am on December 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , jesus,   

    Don’t Miss the Power 

    And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” (John 21:25 – NKJV)

    Were a thousand more books written only a thousand more accusations and doubts would they bring…if one refuses to believe what we have then a thousand more would do not different.

    And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31 – NKJV)

    A thousand books could do no more than the one we hold in our hands…if only we realize the power that it contains.

     
  • Ron Thomas 11:00 am on November 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jesus,   

    Jesus, don’t you know… 

    “Jesus, don’t you know that being confrontational is going to turn a good many people off? Why not take the approach of encouraging people to think differently; give them an encouraging, even instructive lesson in righteousness. I know, Jesus, you have heard the saying, ‘You gain more with honey than you do with vinegar.’ It is likely, Jesus, you will gain more attentive ears and it is also likely that people will want to come and be a part of our church.”

    In the meantime, Jesus stood up in the midst of the congregation and asked those who knew the Law whether it was proper to heal on the Sabbath day or not. He looked around and saw that none were willing to commit to an answer. He became angry at their hardness of heart. To the man next to him He said, “Stretch out your hand,” and at that moment he was healed. Jesus confronted them, and this is a mild case of His confrontational approach with religious leaders.

    I guess vinegar worked. RT (Bulletin  article in HCC bulletin)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:31 am on November 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jesus, Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament,   

    Who is this Son of Man? 

    And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”” (John 12:32-34 – NKJV)

    Who is this Son of Man? That’s still a question that gets asked today! Being the Son of Man was a limitation in the flesh that Jesus willing accepted for our benefit (John 1:1, 14). He experienced life. He experienced the elements, hunger, thirst, pain, sadness, weariness, joy, friendship, love and all the other experiences that come with being human,  but make no mistake – this Son of Man was much than a just a Man.

    This Son of Man was and is…

    The Great I Am: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

    The Bread of Life: “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

    The Light of the World: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    The Gate leading to Salvation: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

    The Shepherd of God’s people: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

    The Resurrection and the Life: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)

    The Way, Truth and Life: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

    The True Vine: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)

    The apostle John answered the question that was asked of Jesus throughout his entire letter. Jesus was the Son of Man, but His own words prove Him to be much more than just a son of man.

    The question that remains is, “Are we going to believe the answer Jesus gave anymore than the people who asked it to begin with?” Jesus wants to know! After all, it was Jesus who asked His disciples (including the apostle John), “…Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Matthew 16:13) What’s your answer? Click here if you don’t know the answer Jesus’ disciples gave.

     
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