We can all see what is going on in our country and all about us, but how do we respond to it? Can we do anything at all!? Certainly we and our families are all individually affected. Maybe we just find it a chore to stay inside all the time, or maybe we are fearful that we or somebody in our family will get the virus. Maybe we are concerned about being able to provide for our families.
Beyond that, many are fearful for our country. Will we ever get back to where we were before the virus appeared? Will we enjoy the same freedoms we have been accustomed to? What about our financial situation?
The current environment certainly arouses a plethora of questions, many of which we do not know the answer to. And yet, we do have a source of knowledge, a knowledge that is sure and comforting. It is the knowledge we can learn from the Word of God, the Bible. This time that we are going through as a nation is new to us, but it is not new to God or the world we live in.
Our world, our country, our family, and each one of us have entered into a different phase of living we couldn’t have imagined two months ago. Our normal way of life has been greatly influenced and changed by the now familiar coronavirus. Many employees have lost their jobs or in numerous cases are working from home. In many cases, it is mandated that people stay at home with little or no access to the normal conveniences of life such as restaurants, concerts, or sporting events. Of course, most schools in the country are closed. In Woodville, even the Sytende Mai celebration has been canceled!
Most of us have never faced a situation like this before and the result is that many are perplexed and, in some cases, fearful. We don’t know what a week, a day, or an hour will bring forth.
Christians and non-Christians face the same dilemma in different ways. Yet, the Christian has a definite advantage in many ways. The purpose of this article is to point to some of the comforting passages we can go to in Scripture, passages that will encourage and comfort our hearts with truth that cannot be found in any other place in the world we live in. Of course, we need to take all the necessary precautions in seeking to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and those about us.
December 29th, 2019, was a normal winter day. It was cloudy, a fairly cold day with much ice about because of an ice storm the previous day. BJ and I got ready for Sunday school and church and proceeded to drive to our church, First Baptist of Woodville. I let BJ out under the canopy, helped her into the church, and went to park the car, just a short distance from the entrance. When I was getting out of the car, I reached to get my Bible and a few notes in the back seat as I was to preach in the morning service. Then I noticed something unusual. I had forgotten my Bible on the kitchen table at home. Then I thought, well, this will be a little different today, but no matter. I can use another Bible and the notes were not essential. I got out of the car and proceeded to walk to the church. Yes, there was much ice, but I had walked on ice countless times before. Then it happened!!
Decisions have consequences. We see that in our personal lives, our families, and in our nation. The life we live today is in great part the result of the decisions we have made. Again, this is true personally, in our families, and in our nation. God, in His grace, has given us Biblical truth by which we may live our lives for His glory and our benefit. When His truth and instruction are either disobeyed or ignored, we suffer the consequences.
A major part of our problems come from the fact that many churches, as well as our nation, have removed very significant Biblical landmarks. In the name of progress or political correctness, we have set aside God’s Word for our own self-righteous ideals.
God, in rebuking the nation of Israel for their defections, said, “The princes of Judah are like them that remove the bound [the landmark; the barriers between right and wrong]: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water” (Hosea 5:10). The boundaries God sets are very significant and very important because they are from God! To remove or change them is to bring the certain displeasure of God and often his serious chastisement.
Christmas means different things to different people. Perhaps most of us have special memories of Christmas that we seek to reproduce during this very special season. On a social level, Christmas often means a time of openness and friendliness that is more rare in other times of the year. For many, it is a time of generosity, a time to express special thanks to those who we love so much and who have been a blessing to us during the past year. Of course, food, fellowship, and fun constitute much of our time and effort as well.
All of the above are a normal part of Christmas, at least for most people it would seem. The problem is that we can participate in all of those things without giving much thought to the real significance of Christmas, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and all of the attending blessings of His birth.
Actually, the birth of Jesus Christ is an open door to so many things, so many things that so many people ignore. The truth is, His birth is the open door to the most important and significant things of life. Let’s consider some of the wonderful things the birth of Christ opens to all who will look to Him and trust Him.
Introduction: I don’t think it is an understatement to say that the church, that is, many of individuals in it, are in need of a spiritual revival. I’m not talking about churches that don’t proclaim salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone, but about churches that proclaim the salvation the Bible teaches. I’m thinking of people who have professed faith in Christ and attend Gospel preaching churches. My concern is that many people who endorse Bible doctrine and are faithful to their churches know little of an intimate relationship with their Savior. Many are satisfied with what they know and have no desire to really experience the reality of God in their lives. This certainly is not true of all, but of a great number. If that were not true, would we not see a greater emphasis on prayer, Godly living, and a genuine desire to see others come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ?
One of the great blessings of the Christian life is to know something of the will of God for our lives. We are not left to try and figure out for ourselves what God would have us be and do. Granted, He does not give us every detail of life, but He gives us the overall plan of what it means to be a believer and how we can please and serve Him.
It seems to me that, if we want all the details spelled out for us, that we miss the point of what it means to be a Christian. The Christian life is not a list of dos and don’ts, but it is rather a life. It is the life of Him who loved us and gave Himself to die for us. He gave Himself to die for us that He might live His life in us! I know that sounds contradictory, but we must remember that He is the crucified, risen Savior! For any who are not believers, this truth is beyond comprehension.
In seeking to more fully understand God’s will for our lives, we will look at some significant passages in the New Testament, beginning with the book of Colossians.
To begin with, Paul is writing, “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which be at Colosse...” v. 1. These people are not just random folks from off the street. They are people who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They are genuine recipients of the grace and peace that only God Himself can give.
The world, that is, the world system, that part of humanity that does not believe in God, seeks constantly to break down the Christian’s defenses and thus cause him to lose his unique identity. This is illustrated in the messenger’s approach to Micaiah to get him to prophecy as the false prophets did.
“And the messenger gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good” (I Kings 22:13).
Of course, Micaiah did not conform to the false prophets and he suffered for it. He was put in prison and fed with bread and water. But of course, his prophecy came true.
The question for us is how the world seeks to get the believer to conform to its standards today. Consider the following ways.
By breaking down the lines of difference between right and wrong regarding such things as:
After the resurrection of Jesus, we read, "then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him..." (Matt. 28:16-17). That was a specific, historical occurrence. What an experience that must have been for the disciples.
By application, let's make a few observations about seeing Jesus today. How can we see Him and how should we see Him today so as to offer Him the worship He deserves?
First of all, we can only see Him by faith. Jesus does not walk the earth today as He did in the days of His incarnation. However, the lives of believers may and should reveal His presence in their lives. When we come to see ourselves as undone sinners in need of a Savior, it is then that we begin to see Him as the Savior presented in the Bible. Many people know much about Jesus, but mostly as an historical figure rather than as a personal Savior. It is clear that, "by grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). There is no other way to know God and enter into a relationship with Him.
Then, when we do see Him as our Savior, we also begin to see Him in many other ways as well. The following are but a few we will consider.
The Bible is clear that the Lord is going to return. This return is in two different phases. First, He will return in the clouds for His own, all those who have trusted Him by faith and are truly born again. Paul wrote, “ For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then they which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17).
The second phase of His return is when He returns to the earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords as promised to the nation Israel. His reign on earth at that time will be for a thousand years.
This article is about Christian living in light of the Lord’s return at the time of the rapture. His return at that time is imminent, that is, it could happen at any moment. The Apostle Paul looked for the Lord’s return in his day.