Big Words of the Christian Life: Omnipotence (Part 1)

March 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 7 Comments
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If you’ve ever seriously studied your way through Jesus’s model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), by the time you finished the part about being delivered from evil you may have felt a little overwhelmed. To say that there is “a lot to” this short prayer is a massive understatement. However, hopefully you didn’t stop until you reached the very end. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever” is a statement, in and of itself, that contains a wealth of information about God. Recently, as I prayed my way through it, I was struck by the placement of the word “power” in between God’s kingdom and God’s glory. If we think about the awesome power of God, we are reminded of the attribute of God that we call “omnipotence,” and if we study the implications of this attribute we can see that:

1. God’s power is limitless.

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Genesis 18:14

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Jeremiah 32:17

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:27

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Luke 1:37

“Omnipotence” comes from two words: omni, meaning “all,” and potent, meaning “power.” The omni applies to other attributes of God too: “omnipresence,” meaning that God is everywhere all the time at once; “omnscience,” meaning that God knows everything; and “omnibenevolence” meaning that God (and what He does) is always good. We use the idea of “potency” when we think of someone with great authority, and, hence, the power to carry out his will: a “potentate.” We think of it antonymously when we talk about someone who lacks the power to do something: “impotent.” And we even use it to describe health supplements when we somewhat hyperbolically refer to “high-potency” vitamins. To say that God is omnipotent is to say that He’s all-powerful. And He is!

There is nothing that goes beyond His ability. He has the ability to bring forth everything from nothing. He has the ability to carry out His will in the minutest details. He has the freedom – the truest freedom – to choose what He will do, apart from any intrusive or coercive influences, and to do it either by Himself as the primary cause, or through His agency in utilizing as many secondary or intervening causes as He wishes.

It is one thing for even the most powerful human being to come up with an idea for a project, plan the project, labor intensively on the project, and see it through to a hopefully successful, possibly even “perfect,” conclusion. But it is a whole other matter and realm of power to simply speak the words, “Let there be light,” and see a whole universe of matter spring into existence. We can talk about God’s omnipotence, and attempt to define it, and perhaps understand a small measure of it, but to truly comprehend a being with truly UNLIMITED power is beyond our grasp.

That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

I Timothy 6:14-16

Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Revelation 11:17

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

Isaiah 40:25-26

2. God’s power is logical.

It is important to remember that, when we make a statement like, “God can do anything,” that we are prepared for skeptics to try to use basic logic to create nonsensical contradictions. “Can God make an object so immovable that He Himself cannot move it?” “Can God make a square circle?” “Can God make Himself cease to exist?” “Can God Himself commit the sins which His Word says He cannot do?”

It is tempting, when addressing these types of challenges (which are essentially just word-plays rather than legitimate questions), to respond with the argument that “logic” itself is a thing outside of God, and that even God can’t perform a true logical contradiction, nor can His power be exercised in logically “impossible” ways. That might be a valid response, but I think it overlooks the bigger picture that, to the extent logic can be considered a “thing,” it is something that arises from the nature of God Himself, as the Creator of all principles, rules, and precepts that exist, “natural” or otherwise, and that, while it might be possible in some way that we do not understand for God to overcome a logical contradiction, He does not in fact do so.

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:17-18

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

II Timothy 2:13

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

James 1:3

Next time we will see that God’s power is also laudable and looming.

Anchored Upward

November 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 4 Comments
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As Christians move on toward greater maturity, secure in our salvation, growing in Christ-likeness and bringing glory to Christ instead of shame, the thorns and briars in our lives are removed.

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:8

As we draw nigh unto God, the things in our lives that prevent us from drawing nigh to God have to be burned away. You draw nigh unto God, and the parts of your life that are not bearing fruit – briars and thorns – draw nigh unto cursing. You are the field; you belong to God. God does not curse His own. The briars and thorns get burned. Land won’t burn.

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Hebrews 6:19

Earthly anchors don’t always hold perfectly, but Jesus Christ is the perfect anchor, and we are not anchored, like a ship, down to the bottom of the sea. We are anchored upward – our Anchor is in Heaven. Our anchor is both sure (it will not slip) and steadfast (it lasts forever).

The assurance of salvation should not lead to laziness.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Hebrews 6:11

Once we move past the milk, to the strong meat, and start to grow up – be big boys and girls – we don’t have to squabble about who’s more spiritual than whom. We have “full assurance.” Assurance by itself should be enough, but our assurance is full. It is assurance plus bonus benefits. And it is shown by diligence, not slothfulness. Eternal security provokes growth, not childishness, because when you know in Whom you have believed, you draw closer and closer.

Partakers Overtake Undertakers

November 6, 2015 at 10:36 am | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 3 Comments
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In my opinion Hebrews 6:4-6 is one of the more difficult passages of Scripture in the Bible to understand.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 6:4-6

I have encountered people with different views as to what it means:

1. Some people believe that this passage teaches that it is possible to truly trust Christ for salvation, receive eternal life, but then later willingly to turn from that salvation and voluntarily give it up. I disagree with this interpretation, though. In order to try to make Hebrews 6:4-6 fit into a doctrine that teaches that truly saved, born-again believers can make a mistake and lose their salvation, then the verses would also have to be teaching that, once this happens, these now-former believers could never get eternal life back again. Most of the people who deny eternal security instead teach that believers may lose it and get it back, lose it and get it back, many times. These verses teach just the opposite. They are saying that it would be impossible if someone were truly saved, and then could “fall away” out of salvation, to renew them again unto repentance.

2. I have also encountered the teaching that the people being described in Hebrews 6:4-6 were never really saved at all. Certainly there are some who profess to be saved and are really not, but that’s not who these verses are talking about. These folks are “once enlightened.” They “tasted” the heavenly calling, which means they actually experienced it, the way Jesus was said to have “tasted” death back in Hebrews 2:9. These people were “partakers” of the Holy Ghost. He had sealed them unto redemption. Verse 6 speaks hypothetically concerning what would happen if God’s seal could be broken, and it is clear that an unsaved person could not put the the Son of God “to open shame.” True Christians are His sheep. Wild goats don’t bring shame to the shepherd; they’re not in his care.

3. As indicated already, I believe the true meaning of these verses is that they are describing a hypothetical situation to prove the point that only true Christians can bring shame to our Savior by refusing to grow up, but can a baby stay a baby so long that his father is no longer his father? No, as true Christians, we’ve been “born again.” Once you’ve been born, any manner of things might happen to you, but you can never be “unborn.”

I might also note the significance that Hebrews 6:4-8 use the pronouns “them,” “those,” and “their,” whereas the rest of Chapter 6 uses “us” and “we,” which is another indication that a hypothetical situation is being described.

When the Foundation Ceases to be Cute

October 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 3 Comments
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Most people, for the most part, claim to love babies. For some people, this is a basic emotional response. My wife and daughters, upon seeing a baby, will often say, “That baby is SOOOOOOOOO cute!” When I hear this, I take a look and see that the baby in question has one ear that is bigger than the other. He is screaming like a banshee. His diaper is leaking down one leg and onto his pacifier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful he’s healthy and full of life and he’s a wonderful little fellow, God’s creation, created in God’s own image. But is he cute? My wife certainly thinks so, and when I ask her why, she says, “But he’s so little.” Apparently, for most women and girls, little things = cute – except for when it’s a “giant” spider.

Babies are generally considered adorable, even when their behavior is somewhat annoying or inconvenient. Babies wearing diapers are cute, but an eight year old wearing a diaper – not so much. Babies sitting in high chairs are cute, but finding a high school student sitting in a high chair would not be so cute. Similarly, a 47 year old living with his mother who can’t balance a checkbook, doesn’t know how to go grocery shopping, and sometimes calls late at night to say, “Mom, come bail me out of jail,” has zero cute factor.

The same principle applies to our spiritual lives.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Hebrews 6:1-2

New believers are still cute when they are still questioning some of the fundamentals of Christianity: how we were saved, why we’re supposed to be baptized, etc. When I coached tee-ball, we started with the fundamentals. It’s sort of cute when a four year old hits the ball and takes off running for third. It’s not cute at all when a when a ten year old does it.

Hebrews Chapter 6 starts off with six things you need to get straight, as a Christian, so you can start moving toward maturity:

1. Repentance
2. Faith
(Both of these deal with our relationship to God.)
3. Baptism
4. Laying on of hands (This deals with our relationship to each other.)
5. The resurrection of the dead
6. The final judgment (This deals with our relationship to the future.)

The Hard Work of Encouragement

May 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical farming, Hebrews | 9 Comments
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Hebrews Chapter 6 is a good reminder to Christians to “grow up.” It’s natural to start off life as a child, and it’s natural for new believers to start off their Christian life as spiritual children. But there should come a point in time when every believer begins to mature. And, even beyond that, there should come a time when mature believers are actually aiding immature believers in the growth process.

Proper growth comes about from:

1. Feeding (on the Word of God)
2. Exercise (getting involved in Christian ministry or service)
3. Instruction (heeding warnings to stay away from what is dangerous)

I believe God is pleased when we show love and encouragement to new believers. First of all, it is the right thing to do. Second, it stimulates growth.

In order to encourage others to grow, we need to make sure we’re growing ourselves.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Romans 2:21

If the people you are ministering to start to outgrow you spiritually, that is not the ideal situation. One solution for this is staying grounded in the Word of God. When you encourage someone, encourage them from the Word. Experiences can be good, but the standard by which we judge our experiences is the Bible. Study your Bible.

When you minister to immature believers it is also important to find out where their interests lie. If possible, find out what’s going on at their homes. This is especially true with children.

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Proverbs 20:11-12

God gave us eyes and ears not just to entertain ourselves, but so we can observe who needs to be encouraged, and then do it.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

Proverbs 24:30

The “slothful” is like a farmer who is too lazy to work the field God has given him. He is purposely ignorant, willfully ignoring the vineyard.

And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

Proverbs 24:31

The vines are not growing like they are supposed to because of all the useless weeds that have come up and stolen the nutrients that should be causing good fruit to grow. The wall around the vineyard is no longer in a condition to stop wild animals or vandals from coming in and destroying the crop.

Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

Proverbs 24:32-33

The farmer says that he will get around to it after he’s a little more rested – after his schedule clears up.

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 24:34

The lazy farmer will be robbed of his opportunity.

If you have been a Christian for a while, God has put you in a position to encourage someone. You have an opportunity to build someone up – to keep the fences of protection mended, to stimulate growth in someone, to feed someone, to pull out the weeds and thorns, to get in on the job of raising up mature Christians.

We’re not going to be able to do that if we don’t encourage them. And we won’t be able to do it by just checking in with them for one hour on Sundays. We’re going to have to call, to send cards, to invite them to activities, to visit them when they’re sick. Immature Christians tend to, for good or ill, base what they think about the Lord on what they think about other Christians. If I’m always late for church, I’m sending a message to someone that church is just not all that important to me. If I don’t know some basic truths from the Bible, I’m sending a message that preparing to live out God’s Word is not that important to me. If I speak to my Christian friends only when I see them at church Sunday mornings, I’m sending the message that I am only pretending to care about them.

Let’s strive to encourage other Christians, especially new ones.

The Certain Hope

November 8, 2010 at 9:42 am | Posted in Hebrews, Romans | 9 Comments
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Christians can experience great power through the in-dwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. He can empower us in ministry, in prayer, in understanding the Bible, in preaching the Truth, and in forgiving and loving one another.

One area, though, which is often overlooked, is the power of the Holy Ghost in helping us to have hope. Biblical hope is not the “hope” of the world. The world’s hope is a well-wishing uncertainty: “I forgot my umbrella; I sure hope it doesn’t rain today.” The Bible’s hope is a looking-forward with longing to that which is sure to come:

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Hebrews 6:18-19, emphasis added

In fact, the Holy Ghost calls our God “the God of hope.”

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:13

To “abound” means to “overflow” or “to exceed that which can be measured.” There should be an attitude of both certainty and expectation among Christians: certainty that our Lord is our steadfast hope, and expectation that He can go beyond anything we have known or seen before.

Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security

October 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, Eternity, John | 16 Comments
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I. Will God or someone else take away the salvation He has given me?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

We must never base our beliefs on this subject on our experience or the experience of another person. We must let the Bible speak for itself. Consider the testimony of Jesus Himself:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:37 (Emphasis added.)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 (Emphasis added.)

II. Can I lose it on my own?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

If we had to do anything to keep it, we would lose it easily.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:10

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10

But we do not “keep” the salvation that God gives us. Christ keeps it.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

II Timothy 1:12 (Emphasis added.)

If we could get it – or keep it – ourselves, then Christ died in vain.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 2:21

III. Can some other power or condition take away from me the salvation given by the Lord?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

According to John 1:12-13, when God saved you, He became your Father, and you became His child. Your biological father can never not be your biological father. Likewise, once you are made a child of God, your Heavenly Father can never not be your Father.

There is almost always a record made of physical birth, but there is always a record made of Spiritual birth.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (Emphasis added.)

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:13 (Emphasis added.)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (Emphasis added.)

Ephesians 4:30 would have been a perfect place to say that if you grieve the Holy Spirit, He will leave you, but instead it says right there that He seals you unto the day of redemption.

We are not saved by feelings, and feelings do not affect the objective truth of the Word of God.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

IV. Questions

A. Does I John 5:13 teach us that God wants us to be secure or insecure about salvation? Secure.

B. Does I John 3:20 teach that we can trust our own hearts and feelings about whether we are saved? No.

C. Find three Bible Verses that promise that God cannot lie.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:18

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

V. Memory Verses

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Next time: Discipleship Lesson Three – Baptism

Tips for Teachers

August 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, II Corinthians | 6 Comments
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Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

II Corinthians 3:1-3

Christian teachers are to strive for excellence – to be the very best teachers we can be – not necessarily the best there are – but the best we can be. We may not have the most expensive materials or the fanciest facilities. Our students may not have read the lesson. In fact, they are more likely to read the teacher than the lesson. So we must make sure we are good “letters.”

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

“Fervent” is more than “not slothful.” We are to prepare our lessons while being mindful that we are serving the Lord. Don’t prepare just for the students – do it for the Lord.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Colossians 3:23

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Planning ahead of time makes for smooth-sailing on the day of the lesson. Take some time thinking about and planning your routine.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I Corinthians 4:2

As a teacher, be reliable. This is more than not missing the teaching time. It includes being trustworthy as a person. We want our students to grow in number, in knowledge, in maturity, and in fellowship and closeness.

For the body is not one member, but many.

I Corinthians 12:14

The Body of Christ is alive. A living body is an organism, but a disorganized organism will die. Therefore, teachers need to work together with each other and with those in other ministry positions. We need to work together and meet together. Not only are we valuable to each other, but we are valuable to the Lord.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:31

Right after Jesus proclaimed His authority He proceeded to allocate His authority to His disciples. But their enthusiasm must have been somewhat dampened when He told them what this authority meant, and how they were to use it. Our “value” lies in our willingness to serve. God doesn’t “need” me in the sense that He needs my permission to accomplish His will. Teachers have a target on them. We may only influence our students for an hour a week. They may be “taught” by someone else all the rest of the week. That’s going to lead to conflict once in a while between us and their “other teachers.” Just like some parts of the body protect other parts, we need to be loyal to each other. One of the reasons we value each other so much is because we know the Lord values us, and we are under His protection.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:10

It’s natural to start off life as a child, and it’s natural for a new believer to start off as a child. But teachers, like good parents, not only love their students, but want to see them grow up, too. Proper growth comes about from feeding (the Word), exercise (getting them involved in service), and instruction (the teaching itself.) To encourage others to grow, we need to make sure we’re growing ourselves.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Romans 2:21

If students outgrow teachers, teachers are going to have trouble teaching them.

S.E.R.V.E. the Lord in Children’s Ministry

June 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching | 4 Comments
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Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11, emphasis added

S.erving the Lord: Prepare for each week’s service as though you are serving the Lord – not just for your pastor or leader, or even the kids, but like you are doing it for the Lord.

E.arly: Don’t just be on time – be early! (at least 15 minutes)

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs 8:17, emphasis added

R.eliable: Try not to miss your turn to help unless you absolutely have to.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I Corinthians 4:2, emphasis added

V.aluable: You are a valuable part of your church family and of the team. Make it a priority to come to meetings.

For the body is not one member, but many.

I Corinthians 12:14

E.ncouraging: Encourage the kids all through the week. Call them, send cards, meet their parents, etc.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:10

S.erving
E.arly
R.eliable
V.aluable
E.ncouraging

The Degrees of Estimation

January 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Posted in I Peter, Uncategorized | 15 Comments
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Christians have clear instructions from the Word of God on how to relate to the authorities the Lord has ordained to govern us. These instructions can be found in numerous passages of Scripture, but I Peter 2:17 is a good summation: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

Notice that Christians are generally to esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3), but to different degrees, and with different types of deference. All men who are worthy of honor should be honored (Psalm 8:4-5). Other Christians (“the brotherhood”) are to be loved (Ephesians 1:15). Christian love is an active love, a giving love, and a love which carries a sacrifice of self, and a true desire that the recipient of love will grow in Christ-likeness (Hebrews 6:10). The king, or, in modern terms, the high-ranking government official, is to be honored in his office, regardless of personal politics (I Samuel 24:6-8).

The highest esteem – fear – is reserved for God (Matthew 10:28). This encompasses all the other forms of esteem – honor, love, reverence, etc. – and speaks of a very real desire to please a loving Father who wants to give good gifts to His children, but is not overly hesitant to chasten in love. Biblical fear of God is an often misunderstood and unpopular concept in today’s culture, but it is a great comfort for the true believer and lover of the Living Word. After all, the fear of God is both the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10), and the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).

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