Monthly Archives: March 2017

Hearing, Learning, and Fearing

Hearing, Learning, and Fearing

Moses is 120 years old.  His voice is still strong, mind still sharp, and his body is still capable.  He is told by God that he will get to peer over and get a peek at the Promised Land, but that he will not be able to go into the land. This was because of is disobedience in striking the Rock.

God gives Moses a “song” to declare to the people.  Following the song and some final words, Moses hikes up Mount Nebo and dies. Amazingly, God buries Moses.  No-one knows where the burial plot is to this day.

Interestingly, we get an idea of effective parenting and effective communication from the instructions Moses leaves with the people in this farewell address:

Deuteronomy 31:12-13  says, “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.”

Please note the underlined words above.  Perhaps you want to underline them in your Bible.  Several times in Scripture this idea of “Hear and Fear” and of “Hear, Learn, and Fear” are found.

In the narrative of Deuteronomy, Moses is giving God’s promises concerning blessing and cursing.  The nation of Israel would be blessed and prospered when they worshipped God alone.  They would be cursed and other nations would conquer them when they would worship false gods.  Much of the rest of the Old Testament is dedicated to this underlying theme of Israel’s blessing and cursing, their wandering and coming back to God.

Consider the teaching points Moses gives: “Hear, Learn, Fear.”

Hear. If you have ever been a teacher in a classroom of students or have taken classes on the subject, you know that you cannot teach someone if you do not have their attention.  The student must give their “hearing” to the teacher.

Limiting classroom distraction, and insisting on a student to focus are part of the “hearing” aspect of instruction.  There are many distractions in school settings today; it could be the glib comments of another student, the immoral seduction of a immodestly dressed girl, or the profane words of a teacher.

In addition, the student must want to focus and the parent must make the student motivated to want to hear the instruction in the classroom.

In much the same way, the Lord wants us to “hear” Him.  God wants us to listen to His Word.  Avoid letting other people distract you from hearing the message of the Lord.  Do not blame others for your lack of focus or lack of attention.

In parenting, be sure to help you child focus on the main things in life, not the inconsequential.  Develop their listening skills.  One reason we listen to many radio dramas in our home is to develop the “hearing” senses in our children.  Being able to give instruction and not having to repeat it several times is a good goal for parenting.  Our children should be taught to “hear” well.

Learn.  Learning takes place in every area of life.  We learn responses to others, defensive mechanisms so others do not hurt us, and reactions to undesirable situations.

When you were in school, you learned both good and bad lessons.  You learned some academics, and you learned some immoral or sinful behavior from other students.  We learn from what we are “hearing” the most.  If you are hearing and focusing on the facts of History or Science, that is what you will learn.  If you are hearing people mock or curse God – that is what you will learn.

Be careful what you are learning and from whom you are learning.  Who we listen to dictates much of what will be learned and what we will end up believing.

Parents have a challenge of developing the “learning” of their children.  From the classroom to the living room, you are responsible to make sure they are hearing the correct teaching and learning the Christian way to perceive and live life.

Limiting TV, controlling social media outlets, and having specific guidelines for cellphones is part of your parental responsibility.  I would not encourage any teen to have a cell phone or computer alone with them in their bedroom at night.  The heart of your teen is the target for many evil people who want them to “hear” them and then in turn “learn” from them.

Fear. Like Moses addressed the “Children of Israel” we can appropriately determine to have the same course of action in our parenting approach.  The goal of “hearing” and “learning” was to “fear” God.

Fear is a term that can be misunderstood today.  Biblical fear of God means “to fear; morally, to revere; be afraid, and to hold in reverence.”  The Lord is someone Who means what He says and says what He means.

Sometimes we are “afraid of being caught.”  That is not the same as the “Fear of the Lord.”  Fearing God has to do with a respect, reverence, and wonder for God – His might, power, ability, and Who He is – the King, Judge, and Savoir.  We should want to please Him.  There are blessings and consequences to all our actions.

Just like a child who loves his earthly father but is afraid to do wrong because he knows he will displease his father and face punishment -we too are to fear the Lord.  Just look at the criminal justice system for an example.  Those incarcerated had a disregard for the law – they did not fear the consequences nor have a fear for the law.

One of the greatest tragedies about many Christian families today is that we can make our kids “Hear” but we do not get them to the “Learn.”  Then others have their kids “Hear” and “Learn” but they never get to the “Fear” part.

The passage does say “Learn to fear.”  It is one thing to learn about God and another thing to learn to fear Him.  Somehow each parent must guide their children to have an overriding fear of God in their heart.  Here are four ideas to help:

  1. Follow through with promises. Be a parent of your word.
  2. Follow through with consequences. Do not rob your child the good (and sometimes painful) lessons that consequences bring.
  3. Focus your family life on pleasing the Lord. Let them see the underlying principles of loving God and others more than self.
  4. Let your kids see your Christianity in such a positive way that they will want it for their lives too. Like Ecclesiastes 12:13 instructs: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

 

 

 

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Snow Day Scriptures

Snow Day Scripture Verses

Here are all the direct references to “Snow” in the Bible.  You could have your own “Snow Day” Bible Study with this…

Exodus 4:6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand [was] leprous as snow.
Numbers 12:10 ¶ And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam [became leprous], [white] as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, [she was] leprous.
2 Samuel 23:20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
2 Kings 5:27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper [as white] as snow.
Job 6:16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, [and] wherein the snow is hid:
Job 9:30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: [so doth] the grave [those which] have sinned.
Job 37:6 ¶ For he saith to the snow, Be thou [on] the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Psalm 51:7 ¶ Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 68:14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was [white] as snow in Salmon.
Psalm 147:16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Proverbs 25:13 ¶ As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, [so is] a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
Proverbs 26:1 ¶ As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
Proverb 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Jeremiah 18:14 Will [a man] leave the snow of Lebanon [which cometh] from the rock of the field? [or] shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? {the snow…: or, my fields for a rock, or for the snow of Lebanon? shall the running waters be forsaken for the strange cold waters?}
Lamentations 4:7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing [was] of sapphire:
Daniel 7:9 ¶ I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.

Matthew 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
Mark 9:3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
Revelation 1:14 His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;

Remember when it snows outside:

  1. Each snow flake is unique and you too are unique and special to God.
  2. Snow is cleansing and causes the air to be clear of many allergens and molds.  Snow should remind us of the cleansing blood of Jesus and how a person who is saved by Jesus is washed “Wither than snow” cleansed from his sin.

Stay safe in the snow today!

 

 

 

 

Be Like Zach

Be Like Zach

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Remember the days when people would say: “Be like Mike.”  On the basketball court, winning and work ethic could be found in Michael Jordan.  Kids would wear his shoes, shoot the ball like him, dress like him, and even walk like him.  I still like to see the shoulder shrug a player emulates on the basketball court after a made shot.

There is a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus, or Zach that can be a help to us today.  With many people searching for meaning and purpose, we can learn from his story the reality we are living in.

Zaccheus was loaded.  He had a large house.  He had the best the day in age he lived had to offer.  He was one of the richest people in his hometown.  His wealth was gotten through hard work, deceit, and a driven personality.

Throughout his whole life, he set out to prove his worth.  Being a man short in stature, he probably felt that if he became a big man in material things, then people would see him as a big man.

No- one likes to be the kid picked on because of size, weight, height, ability, smarts, or lack of athleticism.  Zaccheus was that boy who became an “overachiever” to try to make up for his being shorter than most of the other boys.  For him, he thought, becoming rich was the thing that could help him most.

Zaccheus lived in a place called Jericho.  Hundreds of years before, Jericho was a Canaanite stronghold.  If you read Joshua Chapter 6 you will discover how the Lord knocked the seemingly impenetrable walls down for His people to go in to possess their Promised Land.  During the time of Christ, the city of Jericho was built a short distance away from those ruins of Joshua’s day.

Zaccheus is a big man in Jericho.  He is known to be ruthless, rich, and even as a traitor.  “Publicans” in the Bible is not short for a political party – it is term for the Tax Collectors from the Roman Empire.  Most of the Jewish people saw Zaccheus as a traitor for he worked for the Roman government who controlled Israel.  In addition, the tax collectors were notorious for overcharging the tax rate.  For example, if 80 denari was due, they would charge 100 and keep the rest for themselves.  People did not like the tax collectors because of this. Zach was symbolic of the men who got rich off the backs of their own countrymen.

One day, a Person Who had a large following of people passed through Jericho.  Zaccheus was one to “keep his ears to the ground.”  As the “Chief” publican, he had many people working for him and he enjoyed hearing news of people’s successes so he would know when to increase their taxes.  It was Jesus who was passing through the city, teaching and helping people.

Zaccheus had a big problem however.  Like the Bible teaches, “worry” cannot add to our stature, or make us taller or healthier, riches cannot buy inches or good health either (Matthew 6:27).  Zach could not see.  He was too short and the large crowd was too tall.

Zach runs ahead in the direction he sees Jesus walking.  He climbs up a sycamore tree and peers down to Jesus as He walks in his direction.  Jesus looks up and tells Zaccheus to “Come down.”  Jesus then says he wants to “abide” or spend some time at Zaccheus’s house.

His house was probably one of the larger, nicer houses in Jericho.  The people however were upset that Jesus would sit down to eat dinner and spend some time in the house of a “sinner.”

The truth is – all humans are sinners – not just cheats and thiefs.  Romans 3:23 informs: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 continues, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  We need the gift of eternal life.

As Jesus talks with Zach, he explains the purpose of His mission.  Jesus lets everyone know the purpose for his trip to Earth and His reason for coming into this world.  “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came to earth to find people who were “lost” in their sin.  Zaccheus was rich and powerful, but he was spiritually lost.  There are others who are religious and educated, but lost.  There are others still who are poor or not healthy, and are lost too.

The human condition is a “lost” condition without Jesus.  The first and greatest missionary was Jesus.  He came to earth on a mission of mercy, love and grace.

  • Mercy so we do not get what we deserve – Hell.
  • Grace so we can get what we do not deserve – Heaven.
  • And Love because He values and cherishes us more than new could ever fully understand. Love is a choice. Romans 5:8 teaches, “But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our value as humans does not come from financial status, our last names, the location we live, the job or title we hold, or the abilities we have acquired.  Our value and worth comes from God.  God loves us.  He loves you!  God created you.  He made you and has given you life and opportunity.  Don’t be like Zach in trying to find value in all the wrong places.  Be like Zach when he invited Jesus into his heart and life.

Zaccheus was a changed man.  Jesus said “This day is salvation come to this house.”  When a person is “born again” he has a new life in Christ things are different than before. Love, purpose, and priorities all shift to more meaningful things. Zach paid back 4 times over the money he had stolen.  He started to conduct his life and work in a responsible, loving way. He had eternal life and he now knew that his value was found in God and his value was from God, not his money, stature, house, location, or the job he held.

Three truths to take away:

  1. Know your value comes from God – not your circumstances.
  2. Embrace Jesus, the only Way to Heaven. Trust His work on the Cross and believe in His resurrection.
  3. Serve in the ministry. Missions work and Gospel work is the work of the Christian.  Tell someone about Jesus.  Participate in your church missions program.  Pray for missionaries to go – then help them get there following the footsteps of Jesus.

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 2)

The Gift of God (Part 2)

‘One man in a church was boasting to his friend, “I could give $1,000.00 towards the building and not even feel it.”

His friend replied, “Then give two or three thousand and feel it!”’

Everyone likes gifts.  Receiving gifts is a blessing but it even more blessed to be able and to actually give a gift to others.  Acts 20:35 tells us to: “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

One anonymous person aptly stated: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”  Good thought.  We should give our lives back to the Lord in service.

Let us continue our consideration of the “Gift of God.”  There are 3 more passages with this insightful phrase.  Each of these have more to do with using the gift that God has given to us – to serve and minister to other people.

  • God’s Gifts Cannot Be Bought: Acts 8:20 instructs, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”

Peter is in Jerusalem when the news from Samaria concerning the preaching of Philip and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is spoken about.  Phillip is casting out demons, healing people, and preaching the Gospel – all in the power of God.  Peter and John are sent by the Apostles in Jerusalem to confirm the testimony they were told, and together these two men walk to Samaria.

When Peter arrives, a man named Simon is determined to talk with Peter.  Simon formerly had been a sorcerer, but had renounced demonic powers and had turned to Jesus with faith in the Gospel.

By the Way:  There is much temptation for Christian families to be entertained by evil books and TV.  Harry Potter, and many similar books and movies that portray sorcerers and wizards as the hero should be avoid, discarded, and not allowed to influence our kids.  Demonism is real and is growing in popularity today.  It is now mainstream and even popular.  What kid would not like to have supernatural powers?  Satanic activity is real and we must guard our homes in active ways lest our kids be led astray.

Well, this man Simon, had demonic power before, and now that he was a believer in Jesus he realized that the prestige and power he once had was gone.  I do not believe he was regretting turning to Jesus.  He was however coveting what he saw in Peter.

Part of Peters purpose for this journey was to see how the Holy Spirit of God was working in Samaria.  When Peter laid hands on these people who had previously believed in Jesus for salvation – the Holy Spirit came upon them.  This study could diverge into the doctrine of the Pneumatology (Holy Spirit) but we will not now.   These saved people had not yet received the Holy Spirit.

Simon sees this tremendous moving of the Holy Spirit and he wanted the power to give the Holy Spirit to other people too!  He was still thinking in occultist terms.  Peter directly tells him that the Holy Spirit cannot be bought.

The Spirit of God is a gift that God gives to Christians when they are born of the Spirit, or born again.  The Gift of God cannot be bought.  While Simon wanted to serve others by giving them the Spirit, that is not the way it works.  The Holy Spirit of God worked through  Phillip and Peter and He can also work through you.  Our main problem is that we tend to think in humanistic terms.  We tend to try to live the Christian life and conduct the work of the ministry in the flesh or with our intellect.

Thank God for His Holy Spirit who will lead, guide, direct, and empower you to fulfill the will of God.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Cherished: 1 Corinthians 7:7 teaches, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”

Most of us are not like the man in the following story: “Probably the only man in history who never saw a woman was Mihailo Tolotos, a monk who died in 1938 at the age of 82 in one of the monasteries atop Mount Athos, Greece. As his mother passed away when he was born, Mihailo was taken to Athos the next day and never once, throughout his life, left this monastic colony which has excluded all females, animals as well as humans, for more than 900 years.”  (Signs of the Times)

The context of 1 Corinthians 7 is marriage and family. Paul is teaching the Corinthian believers who lived in a sex-crazed, and immoral society how they should remain celibate if unmarried and how to remain pure through marriage.

While Peter was married, had a family, and a mother in law, Paul was never married.  Paul, the iconic missionary, had tremendous freedom to travel and be away from home for years at a time because he was not married.

As 1 Corinthians 7 develops we find that the gift of God that Paul is speaking of concerning personal marriage relationships differs from person to person.  Consider the following:

If a specific man is supposed to be married and it is God’s will that he has a family – then the wife God gives to him is a special gift from God.  In this case – marriage is a gift of God.

If a particular man is not to be married and it is God’s will that the man remain single – then singleness is a gift of God.

If a man marries and it is not God’s will, or he marries a person that the Lord says not to marry (according to clear Bible teaching) then becoming a husband would become a nightmare instead of a blessing.

By the Way: Living together before marriage is like unwrapping a gift before it has been given to you.  There are many spiritual and psychological reasons this is a harmful practice.  Perhaps that could be a post on another day.  Until you are married – the gifts included in the broader gift of marriage (sex, kids, family, accountability, leadership, and union) are not yours – yet.  Wait until the “I Do.” To unwrap your marriage gift.

Many people are living a nightmare in relationships because they marry outside the will of God, the Word of God, or do not accept the specific gift of God – the gift of marriage or the gift of singleness.  Whichever of these two gifts God gives to you – cherish it.  Both gifts are temporary in nature.  Embrace whichever one God has for you at this moment.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Remembered. 2 Timothy 1:6 encourages, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”

With each gift we receive of the Lord, we should be deliberate to remember, and be thankful for those gifts. Should we not consistently remind ourselves of all that God has given, we will forget.  Human nature is good at tucking blessings away into forgetfulness, and merely thinking on problems or things we do not have.

May God help us to frame our minds with consistent thinking of God’s gifts as Ephesians 1:3 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

In 2 Timothy 1, Paul is reminding young pastor Timothy about how the Holy Spirit of God had called, equipped, and empowered Tim for the task of Christian service.  Timothy was a preacher, a pastor.  Does The Holy Spirit do the same in our lives?  The answer is yes.

Even if you are not “paid time” in the ministry, we are all to be “full-time” in the ministry.  Remember the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8?  The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer with a specific “Spiritual Gifts.”  Do you know what your Spiritual Gift is?  There are 6 Spiritual Gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8.  We have a “Spiritual Gifts” test at our church office if you want to stop on sometimes to discover your specific gift.  Utilizing your gift will help you be more effective in Christian service.

When God’s people all prioritize faithful service much good is accomplished.   Our family enjoys flying kits on warm breezy days.  When a kite is flown into the air, the question could be asked: “Who Flew the Kite?”

“‘I did,” said the wind!

“I did,” said the paper!

“I did,” said the string!

“I did,” said the boy! But in reality they ALL flew the kite! If the wind had lulled, if the paper had torn, if the sticks had broken, if the tail had caught in the tree, or the boy had fallen, then the kite would have come down! EACH HAD A PART TO PLAY!

God has placed you in a strategic role! You are important to your church ministry. Just use your gift to the Glory of God and leave the results to Him.”  (Communicating Biblical Truths)

Be stirred up, excited, and focused on the good work that the Holy Spirit of God can do in your life.  There is much to complain about, and many problems that we could be pre-occupied with, but by God’s grace, you can remained stirred up and focused on the specific ministry and service God has for you.

Thank the Lord for each gift He has given.

 

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 1)

The Gift of God (Part 1)

What is the best gift you have ever been given?  Perhaps there are one or two very special gifts that someone has given to you.  We normally think of large monetary or material things.  Our family has been blessed to have received the gifts of a car and van on several occasions.  Thank the Lord for loving people who have cared for us with such helpful and generous gifts.  A real need was met with a gift.

What about gifts that are non-tangible?  A good name and reputation?  A good work ethic?  An education? A Christian upbringing?

Eight times in the Bible the phrase “Gift of God” is used.  Let’s exam these “gifts of God” and make a personal application to our life.  Here they are:

  • The Gift of Work: Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”

One person wrote about Princess Anne and said: “She is getting married this Saturday…. Her new fiancée could be a real embarrassment to the royal family—Turns out he has a job and works for a living.”  Work is honorable!  Even in retirement, we can find work to do and be productive.

While not everyone can work or accomplish the same production, quality, or have the same skills as another person, everyone has some skill they can excel at.  Work and the ability to work is rewarding.  It is a gift from the Lord.  It could be work for a living, or work to help others, either way – we honor the Lord in our work.

Do the best work you can while you are able.  At the same time realize, once a day is over, we still need to rest, and prepare for worshipping the Lord in other spiritual ways.

Some people “play at their work and work at their play” while neglecting their worship.

  • The Gift of Wealth: Ecclesiastes 5:19 informs, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”

Working hard and working smarter, not harder are both good qualities to have.  Again, the ability to work is a gift of God.

While finances and big wallets or bank accounts are not the goal of the Christian, a side benefit of the hard and smart worker is that he will gain in tangible ways.  Most people that have a job should be able to have money in the bank and live better than merely pay check to pay check.

Part of the reward of work is the power to but his own food, and buy his own portion, or place to live.  Other lessons could be learned then about proper stewardship.  When we apply Bible principled stewardship to the finances God has entrusted to us, we will have more than we need and accomplish more for the Gospel than we can even imagine.

Don’t be a miser with the money God gives you to manage.  Do you know what a miser is?  “A miser: one who experiences a dollar’s worth of frustration when he loses a dime.” Be sure that you do not love money, nor are pre-occupied with the things that money can buy.

  • The Gift of Water: John 4:10 relates, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

Jesus is answering the questions of the “Woman at the Well.”  Jesus revealed to her every sin she ever committed.  When this woman was seeking physical water, the Lord Jesus offered her spiritual water.

She was thirsty and Jesus was able to give to her something that no water, Gatorade, or other drink could ever satisfy: peace with God and the knowledge of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is the “water of life.”   While many people try “Religion” and “good works” to gain salvation, Jesus offers salvation freely to all who will come unto Him.

You can repent of sin, ask for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus made possible when He shed His blood, died on the cross, and then rose to live again.

  • The Gift of Wages: Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the same vein as the “Gift of Water” The Lord gives eternal life – only through Jesus.  As humans, we earn a wage for our sinful actions – death.  Death is what we truly deserve.  Jesus however does not want us to die.  We will die physically, but more important than that is spiritual life and death.

Jesus rose again so we could live forever with God.  It takes being born again.  Jesus completed the work on the Cross.  He paid the wages of our sin.  HE had no wrong and no sin of His own.  He took my sin and paid the price – death with what I earned in wages.

When a person repents of sin and receives the gift of God (Salvation) then he trades his personal wages (death) with Jesus for eternal life.  It is an amazingly good deal for us – because we do not deserve life.

  • The Gift of Workmanship: Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks plainly and directly, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The hand of God (grace) reaches to us and we take our hand (Faith) and place it in the hand of God.  Grace and faith are how a person is saved.  God’s grace is extended and we reach up in faith.   We cannot do enough god to earn maintain or keep our eternal salvation.  Salvation is a gift.  Good works, being baptized, and joining a church can be good things, but they are not good enough for salvation.  No human work could ever earn the person perfection so they could enter Heaven.  It is the work of God that He performed on the Cross.  By God’s grace, we accept through our own volition of faith to receive His gift of eternal life.  Have you been born again? Saved by Jesus?

When a person gives you a birthday gift- you reach out and take it.  The giver presents it to you and you can either accept the gift or say “no thank-you” to the giver of the gift.  The choice is all yours.

Once a person becomes a Christian (When they repent of sin and place faith in the Gospel) the Lord begins a new work in them.  They are now a “Christian” which means = “little Christ-like ones.”  We are to look more like Jesus.

Why does a Christian do good works if good works cannot save him?  Why should a believer in Jesus do Christian service and be a good person if it cannot gain eternal life?  The answer lies in verse 10.  We are God’s Workmanship.

The Lord has called all believers to “walk in good works.”  We do not work for our faith, but “we have a faith that works.”  The Bible, the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and the church services we participate in all assist us in becoming more like Jesus.  Our thoughts, words, and actions begin to reflect His love, compassion, purpose, and effectiveness.

The following antidote from the life of Mark Twain can help: “A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, ‘Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.’

‘I have a better idea,’ replied Twain. ‘You could stay in Boston and keep them.’”

By God’s grace, live the Christian life to the glory of God so others will see Jesus in you and will then place their faith in Him for their salvation.

 

Lord willing, the next post will continue our study of the phrase “The Gift of God.”  Thank you for reading the pages on this site.  Please feel free to add a comment or tell others about it.