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Think On These Things, Issue #003
June 15, 2014
Think On These Things
A Bimonthly E-Zine of Bible Studies With Chris
Table of Contents
What's NewSince the last mailing, these articles have been added to appliedchristianstudies.com
What does God NOT Expect?
Any student of the Bible would quickly admit that God has expectations of mankind. God expects Christians to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4.24). He expects man to conform to the standard of righteousness that He defines. He expects man to love his fellow man and treat him with respect. But did you realize there are some things that God does not expect?
God does not expect that we should make it on our own. No doubt, Christians are responsible for their own behavior and will be held accountable for what they alone do or fail to do (Ezek. 18.20). We must all work out our own salvation (Phil. 2.12). However, the church has been established to help us grow and provides the means by which we can draw strength from one another. Through the assembly, brethren can “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10.24). The strong can “warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted,” and “uphold the weak” (1 Thes. 5.14).
Furthermore, God does not expect us to save ourselves. How often is it held in the hearts of sinners that they are not good enough to become Christians? But who is? We have “all sinned” (Rom. 3.23). And not one of us is ever worthy of the salvation that God offers. Therefore no one can stand before God and demand that He accept him based on his merits. Salvation is by grace (Eph. 2.8), and no one deserves to receive it. Yet God loved us enough that through the death of Christ, we who are ungodly, wicked, sinners have become the righteousness of God (Rom. 5.8-10; 2 Cor. 5.21).
Additionally, God does not expect us to do more than we are able. The commands of God may seem difficult at times, but they are never impossible. They are not burdensome (1 John 5.3). And when compared to the burden of sin, Jesus says that His yoke is light and easy (Matt. 11.28-30).
God has shown us what is good (Mic. 6.8). He does not expect us to do what we are cannot achieve on our own. Instead He has provided His word and revealed how to please Him. Will we submit to God and do what He expects? He has promised us immeasurable blessings when we do His will.
The Stranger Who Moved In My House
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family.
The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later. As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche.
My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors -- Mom taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.
But, the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. The pictures he could draw were so lifelike that I would often laugh or cry.
You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But, this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house -- not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted.
My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.
More than 30 years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years.
But, if you were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and look at his pictures.
His name? We always just called him T.V
There's An App For That
Do you remember those commercials for the Apple IPhone? This amazing device works as a phone, mp3 player, and can do literally thousands of tasks both useful and entertaining. It seems there is nothing it cannot do. For everyone who comes up with a task to be performed, the reply comes back, Yeah, there’s an app for that.”
The Bible is equally as amazing. A book containing writings which span more than 4000 years would seem to be outdated and irrelevant by now, but it still able to make man “perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3.16,17).
Perusing the pages of the inspired word will reveal “everything that pertains to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1.3). It can be readily applied to every aspect of our lives, from our occupations, to our health, to theological, and everything in between. Are you having problems within the family? Yeah, there’s an app for that (Eph. 6.1-4). Are you confused about the nature and structure of the church? Yeah, there’s an app for that (Matt. 16.18). Do we need to know how to invest your money? Yeah, there’s an app for that too (Matt. 6.19-21).
How gratifying to know that we have a Bible that we can carry around with us just like we carry around our mobile devices that will help us to handle every issue that we encounter. Indeed, <>i“all scriptures are given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Tim. 3.16). Do you need salvation and the hope of eternal life? Yeah, there’s an app for that.
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