Monthly Archives: December 2007

News year resolution and resolutions for the new year

My New Year’s Resolution: “Keep Striving!”

Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).

“Strive” is from the Greek word “ahg-oh-nidz-oh-my.” It is from this word that we get our English word “agony / agonize.” The same word describes the fervency with which Jesus prayed in the garden that resulted His sweat dropping to the ground as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The Greeks also used this word to describe the energy needed for a wrestler to hold his opponent to the mat for the three-count. The Greek / English Lexicon says this word means: “strain every nerve.”
According to Jesus, no accountable human being will accidentally go to Heaven. There is a deliberate effort (called “striving”), to be put forth on the part of each soul that will be saved.

Next, Jesus warns of those who will “seek” to enter into Heaven, but will not be able to do so. The Lexicon defines the word “seek” as: “to investigate, to examine, consider, or to deliberate.

Jesus is saying that many will investigate going to Heaven, they will examine, consider, deliberate, desire and even wish to go there, but will not be able. Why? Because they did not “strive” to enter in. Perhaps after their inquiry they decided the gate was too narrow. Or, they just figured that everyone would be saved and all they needed was to sit back and wait.

Matthew 25:31-46 teaches there will be many surprises on Judgment Day. Many religious people will be surprised to discover that it took more than wearing a wwjd bracelet, or a cross around their neck, or periodically going to church.
As we close out this year, it is good that we “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith” (2Corinthians 13:5). Are we striving in the narrow way, or walking with the majority in the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). — Toby Miller

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under jesus narrow gate, mathew 25 judgment day, Mt. 25:31-46, new years resolution, strive to enter heaven

The miraculous gifts of tongues – speaking in tongues

You probably suspected it, but the Internet is not limited to English.

There are Hispanic search engines, German search engines, Asian search engines, etc. There is a Japanese Google, a German Yahoo, AOL in Spanish, and MSN in Chinese.

Computers help break down and overcome language barriers, but such technology did not exist when Christianity began. This is why God gave the miraculous gift of “tongues” (the ability to speak in known languages). Giving people the ability to speak in languages they had never studied allowed the gospel to more rapidly spread throughout the ancient world.

Notice how the gift of tongues was directly associated with evangelism (Mk. 16:17-20): “And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.”

Tongues, like the ability to handle snakes without harm, were a sign to “confirm the word.” Since the word has now been confirmed (we know it as the New Testament), the gift of tongues and the other abilities listed by Jesus are gone.

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under ability to speak in tongues, can we speak in tongues today, gift of tongues, gift of tongues ceased, tongue speaking, tongues

In Jesus Christ, all are equal

In Jesus Christ, all are equal. Paul affirmed this simple but profound truth in 1 Cor. 7:21:

Wast thou called being a bondservant? Care not for it: nay, even if thou canst become free, use (it) rather. For he that was called in the Lord being a bondservant, is the Lord’s freedman: likewise he that was called being free, is Christ’s bondservant.

Consider, too Galatians 3:28: There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one (man) in Christ Jesus.

Far too often some Christians have been regarded as “second class citizens.” Such thinking is completely foreign to the New Testament.

Hear what Paul told the Colossians in Col. 3:11:

where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under christian unity, galatians 3:28

When was Jesus born? Is it right to celebrate Christmas?

Christmas: Was Jesus born on December 25th? Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

The Bible mentions nothing about the specific date Jesus was born, nor the setting aside of one day per year when Christians should celebrate His birth. The most knowledgeable guesstimates are that Jesus was born in late September.

Is it wrong to celebrate Christmas? No, as long as the celebration does not cause one to violate any command or principle in God’s word. Cheerful and unselfish giving is certainly a Biblical principle (2Corinthians 8:1-7; 9:7). Remembering the poor, family gatherings, and even esteeming one day above another for spiritual purposes, does not violate Biblical principles (Romans 14:5).

But is that really the picture our society portrays at Christmas? We love to contemplate God coming to us (Matthew 1:23) in the form of a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and being laid in a manger. But when we see Jesus hanging on the Cross, well, many would just prefer to keep their distance. The Cross was more important than the manger. Jesus came to bear His Cross, in order that we may bear our cross (Luke 9:23), in hope of salvation (1Peter 1:4-5).

Let’s not allow all the bright lights and glitter take our focus off the fact that Jesus came to earth with a mission to make it possible for us to have a mission of going to Heaven. We should not only remember His coming, but remember where we are going (Matthew 25:46)– Toby Miller

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under celebrate Christmas, Christmas, Christmas celebration, Christmas holiday Christians, December 25, December 25th, shepherds in the field Christmas, when was Jesus born

Is it wrong to call a minister "Father"?

Question: “Why doesn’t the church of Christ use the title: ‘Reverend?'”

Answer: First, neither Jesus nor his apostles used such titles. In fact, the Bible warns against using “flattering titles” (Job 32:21-22 – KJV). Secondly, Jesus said, “be ye not called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, and ye are all brethren. And call no man your father on the earth, for one is your Father, even He who is in Heaven” (Matthew 23:8-12). Thirdly, such titles imply that preachers are in a class different from other Christians. The Bible makes no such distinction. All Christians are described as members of the “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

In view of the above, we refer to our preachers as “ministers” (1Timothy 4:6), and “evangelists” (2Timothy 4:5).

We do not refer to our preachers as “pastor” because that term is used in Scripture to refer to men who are selected to be elders or overseers of the congregation, an office different from that of a preacher. This is demonstrated where Paul speaks to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17) observing that the Holy Spirit had made them bishops (overseers) and describes their work as “feeding and protecting the flock of God” which is the duty of a pastor or shepherd (verses 28-29). When men today meet the strict qualifications given in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 by the Holy Spirit, it can be said of them that they are “appointed by the Holy Spirit.” If they don’t meet those qualifications, the Holy Spirit did not appoint them.

Since our commitment is to follow the New Testament pattern, we observe these things regarding our preachers.—Toby Miller

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under call no man father, catholic priests, father, only god is our father, religious titles, Reverend, reverend god only

adulterer and adultery – moichos

Kittel’s entry on “adulterer” (moichos, 4:733-734) includes these interesting comments: “The right of a man to sexual freedom is denied. Like the wife, the husband is under an obligation of fidelity” (4:733). “From the religious standpoint adultery does not consist merely in physical intercourse with a strange woman; it is present already in the desire which negates fidelity (Mt. 5:28).”

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Filed under adulterer, adultery, kittel, moichos, sexual sin

Sowing the seed – the parable of the sower

Have you ever carefully studied Mt. 13? This is one of the three places where we read about the “parable of the sower.” We know the story. Jesus spoke about a farmer who sowed some seed, and the seed landed in four types of places. There was the hard, beaten earth. Some seed went into rock places. Other seed found its way into thorny ground and the remaining seed fell upon good soil.

Jesus then gave another parable related to “sowing the seed” (verse 24 of Mt. 13). He showed that while good seed can be sown, bad seed will also be sown in the same places. Satan (verse 39) wants to sow “tares” (verse 25). If we combine all the information in Mt. 13, we find that Satan is not content with 75% of the world’s population. He wants to keep the people he has in his kingdom and also destroy the seed in the “good soil” of Jesus’ parable.

How can a person defend against Satan? The answer is in Mt. 13:31-32. A small seed (the “mustard seed”) turned into a great tree. Birds came to live (nest) in this tree. There have been attempts to misapply this passage. One silly explanation is that it describes denominations. Such cannot be right because there were denominations for many years after the church was established. Too, if the mustard seed parable teaches denominationalism, the image is a single tree that has multiple branches with various kinds of fruit. Imagine a single tree with a branch for applies, another branch for oranges, another branch for pears, another for cherries, etc.! Such an explanation makes a mockery of Jesus’ words.

As birds find safety in the branches of a tree, so the “gospel seed” provides safety to man. God’s power is in the gospel (Rom. 1:16), though not all believe it (1 Cor. 1:18).

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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Filed under evangelism, four types of soil, mt. 13 sower parable, parable of the sower, sow the seed, spread the gospel, tares in parable of sower

Must we keep the commandments of God?

Lots of people say no. preachers tell people “commandment keeping is not required.” We are also told God “is a God of love” and “obedience does not matter.

Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe God has told us the truth?

Listen to what God has said (1 Cor. 7:19): Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God.

God says YES! There are commandments to keep! Jesus will only save those who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9). Saying it is not necessary to keep God’s commandments is a “false gospel” and will condemn people. Such people are “blind guides” (Mt. 15:14). Do NOT follow them!

In order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

For more helpful Bible study information, please visit www.abiblecommentary.com

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Filed under god's commandments, how to be saved, how to become a christian, new testament obedience, obey

The Bible book of Romans – information about the book of romans

Romans was written from Corinth while Paul was on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23f). Paul’s third journey took him to Ephesus for two years and three months (Acts 19:1, 8-9). He left Ephesus and entered into Macedonia (Acts 20:1). Then, he visited Greece (i.e. Achaia, Acts 20:2). Corinth was located in Achaia. Paul remained at Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3), and during this time he wrote this letter. We know this because of the information in Rom. 16:23. Gaius was Paul’s host when this letter was written, and since Gaius lived in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:14), this letter was written from Corinth. Someone had to take this letter and the likely messenger was Phoebe (Rom. 16:1), a Christian who lived in Cenchrea (a seaport of Corinth).

Want to learn more about the book of Romans? Visit www.abiblecommentary.com for help!

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Filed under acts 19:1, acts 20:3, book of romans, cenchrea, gaius, greece, macedonia, missionary journey, phoebe, romans 16:23

Looking for FREE sermon outlines or Bible study materials?

Visit the blog by Mark A. Copeland. This is a place for gospel preachers and others who may be interested as a place to share things that may be helpful in their work for the Lord, such as information on books, preaching, evangelism, software, websites, and interesting news. Plus an occasional muse of my own.

Mark’s sermon outlines and Bible study materials are also easy to find and use.

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Filed under Bible study guides, single textual sermon, single topical sermons, textual sermon series, topical sermon series