The Apple Of God's Eye

January 30, 2011

Vanity: Our Greatest Weakness

communio.stblogs.org

In the epic battle in the wilderness, after Christ had fasted for 40 days and forty nights, Satan thought he could get to Jesus through vanity (Matt. 4:3). Notice he said IF you REALLY are the Son of God, then you aught to at least be able to turn these rocks into bread. Why should you go hungry obeying God when you have the power to appease yourself?

The question was first one of vanity and second of fleshly appeasement. Sure Christ could have been indignant at being called something less than God’s very Son, but that would have been vain. And He could easily have turned the stones to bread to relieve His great hunger, but that would not have helped Him grow spiritually stronger in his battle with Satan. The very purpose of fasting is to draw close to God, for strength in the fight against our adversary. Christ answered by speaking the mind of God:

“….it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).

When Satan tempted Christ a second time by saying He could easily have His angels protect Him if he threw Himself  from the temple, he again resorted to vanity. Surely Christ had the protection of God at His disposal in any situation?

But ” Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Obviously, vanity does not put God first, and Christ set a sterling example of humble submission to His Father. (more…)

Is The Sabbath The Third Or Fourth Commandment?

Filed under: Bible,Sabbath — melchia @ 8:11 pm
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beyondtoday.tv

Remembering the Sabbath day is indeed the Third Commandment, according to the Roman Catholic and Lutheran enumeration. But according to the original enumeration in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, it is the Fourth.

The Catholic and Lutheran numbering comes from virtually dropping the Second Commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” (Exodus 20:4-6, Authorized Version).

By omitting the Second Commandment from the Ten, the succeeding commandments become renumbered so that the Third becomes the Second and the Fourth becomes the Third, and so on. The Tenth Commandment is then divided into two separate commandments — coveting your neighbor’s wife and coveting your neighbor’s goods — to fill in the gap (My Catholic Faith, by Louis LaRavoire Morrow, page 194).

The Bible, however, gives no precedent for dividing this one commandment into two. Jesus referred to just one commandment against coveting in Luke 12:15, and the apostle Paul wrote: “I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’ ” (Romans 7:7).

It is not logical to divide the first two points of the Tenth Commandment (coveting one’s neighbor’s house and coveting his wife) into two separate commandments while ignoring the four other items mentioned (manservant, maidservant, and donkey and ox). The overall principle of not coveting anything of one’s neighbor’s (the last point stated in the Tenth Commandment) adequately covers all potential situations (Exodus 20:17).

Source: The Good News, August 1985

What Is The Biblical Name For God’s True Church

Filed under: Church Of God — melchia @ 8:05 pm
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The Bible gives the true name of God’s Church in 12 different places.

In five passages where the true name of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ — the Church as a whole — is indicated. Thus when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members on earth, the name is “the Church of God.” Here are these five passages:

1.  Acts 20:28 — the elders were admonished to “shepherd the church of God.”

2.  I Corinthians 10:32: “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.”

3.  I Corinthians 11:22: “Or do you despise the church of God…?”

4.  I Corinthians 15:9 — Paul wrote, “I persecuted the church of God.”

5.  Galatians 1:13 — here Paul repeats the statement he made to the Corinthians: “I persecuted the church of God.”

Nowhere is the true Church called after the name of some man or doctrine.

Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true Church is called “the Church of God,” often in connection with the place where the congregation was located. Here are four more passages:

6.  I Corinthians 1:2: “The church of God which is at Corinth.”

7.  II Corinthians 1:1: “The church of God which is at Corinth.”

8.  I Timothy 3:5 — in speaking of a local elder in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy, “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?”

9.  I Timothy 3:15: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.”

In speaking of the local congregations collectively — not as one
general Body, but as the total of all local congregations — the Bible name is “the churches of God.” Here are the final three verses:

10.  I Corinthians 11:16: “We have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.”

11.  I Thessalonians 2:14: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.”

12.  II Thessalonians 1:4: “So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God.”

These verses prove the name of the true Church. Denominations not bearing this name could not be God’s true Church. And of all the churches that do bear the name, only one could be the true Church of God — that one that obeys all the commandments of God and maintains the faith delivered once for all time. All others are counterfeit, even though some know about the true name.

Since Christ is the Head of the Church, Paul also called the various congregations “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). But the actual name is “the Church of God.” It is kept in the name of the Father (John 17:11).

Source: The Good News, February 1986

How Can A Person Bless God?

Filed under: Blessing — melchia @ 7:52 pm
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desertpastor.typepad.com

God rules the universe supreme! He owns everything that exists. Yet each of us can bless God and bring Him pleasure, delight and joy. How?

If we examine the context of the passages that instruct us to bless God, we find exactly what this term means. Notice Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

To bless God, therefore, means to praise Him.

But why do we praise God? Just because He tells us to? No. The true, wholehearted praise God desires is the praise of sincere thankfulness and appreciation for all the blessings He first gives us: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

The awesomeness of God is worthy of continual praise:

“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3).

Psalm 96 shows us that God is also blessed in song and worship, and by declaring His salvation to all the world. Psalm 100:4 shows that we bless God by coming before Him in worship, praise and thanksgiving.

This attitude of reverence, fear and respect for God and the laws He has given carries over into our daily lives as we obey Him and become living sacrifices for Him (Romans 12:1). God wants us to be living witnesses to others around us of the true way of abundant Christian living (Matthew 5:16). In this way we set an example and bear fruit, which glorifies God (John 15:8).

Jesus said there is great joy in heaven over every sinner who, being called by God and seeing the good example of true Christians, repents and begins on the way to salvation and membership in God’s own Family (Luke 15:10).

God created humankind to ultimately become His children (Revelation 21:7). The greatest blessing we can give God is to fulfill our purpose in life — yield to God, overcome and qualify for salvation — become a child of God!

Source: The Good News, February 1986

Why Did Christ Not Marry?

The Good News, February 1984

I Peter 2:21 says, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” If Jesus were not teaching celibacy by His example, why didn’t He marry?

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus confirmed the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God by quoting from the creation account (Gen. 1:27, 2:24). He further sanctified marriage in verses 8 and 9, by strictly teaching against divorce.

But Jesus had valid reasons for not marrying. The harsh physical circumstances surrounding His ministry, prophesied in Isaiah 53, would have prevented Him from being the parent and husband He would have wanted to be to set us an example. And Jesus knew He would die an early, agonizing death that would have left His young wife a widow.

It would have been easier for Jesus to go off, get married and live a “normal” life, forsaking His mission on earth. But His desire to do the will of His Father (Matt. 26:39) made Him willing to forsake physical marriage, a “good thing” (Prov. 18:22), for a better thing. And so He said:

“All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (Matt. 19:11-12). (more…)

Grace: Do You Really Understand It?

Filed under: Grace — melchia @ 4:54 am
The Good News, January 1985

lgatkimson.com

Few people — even professing Christians! — really understand what grace is.

And rather than searching the Bible for God’s teaching on the subject, they get bogged down in debate over whether grace does away with God’s law.

Is grace, as many assume, merely unmerited pardon for sin — or is it much more? Why do we need grace, if we do? Does grace abrogate the need to keep God’s commandments? We need to know! Let’s go to the Bible and let God’s Word answer.

Grace in the New Testament

The New Testament Greek word translated “grace” is charis. Charis was a widely used word in the first century; its primary meaning is “that which gives pleasure or delight.” But, like the English word grace, charis held a variety of associated meanings not dealing with the grace of God toward man. Before we see what God’s grace is, let’s first look at these other uses.

Luke, in describing Jesus’ childhood development, wrote, “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). In other words, God was well pleased with Jesus Christ. Obviously, charis is not used to mean unmerited pardon for sin in this case, since Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15, II Corinthians 5:21). (more…)

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