Author: Michael Heilman

Sin Can Infest Everything

Sin Can Infest Everything

The church at Corinth was a defiled body of believers. Some of its members were guilty of sexual immorality; others got drunk; still, others were using the grace of God to excuse worldly living. To sum it all up, it was a disgraced church.

How did this happen? Corinth was a polluted city, filled with every kind of vice and worldly pleasure and the members of the church permitted the sins of the city to get into the local assembly. So when Paul wrote his first letter to them, he addressed all these issues.

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 5:6, 11

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person.”

Confronting the Sin of Immorality

In chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians, Paul confronted the believers at Corinth of their immorality. Apparently, someone was having an ongoing sexual relationship with his stepmother (1 Corinthians 5:1), an incestuous relationship.

During that time, this kind of relationship was prohibited even among the pagans, yet the Corinthian believers seem accepting of this behavior.

Confronting Sin in the Church
Photo Credits: Pinterest

The Bible declared it sin in Leviticus 18:8, Deuteronomy 22:30 and 27:20, the worldly culture considered it sin but the church at Corinth didn’t seem bothered by it at all.

Paul pleaded with them to mourn over sin (1 Corinthians 5:2). The word used here is the same one used for mourning over the dead, which is perhaps the deepest and most painful kind of personal sorrow possible.

But instead of mourning, the people at Corinth were puffed up. They were boasting of the fact that their church was so “open-minded” that even fornicators could be members in good standing. Sounds familiar? Sadly, many churches today have become so accommodating that they seem to not care that members of their congregation are engaging in the sin of immorality.

As bad as the sin itself was, the apostle Paul was more concerned that the believers at Corinth seemed to take sin lightly. He knew that sin can infest everything and so his solution to the problem was to take the fornicator away from among them in order to protect the fellowship of God’s people.

Purging Sin

The church was to purge sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-13). The image here is that of the Passover supper (Exodus 12). One of the requirements was that no yeast (leaven) be found anywhere in their dwellings. Even the bread at the feast was to be unleavened.

Paul says that just as the Jews were concerned to remove all leaven from their house, so the church should be concerned in removing unrepentant sinners from among them. Yeast is a picture of sin. It is small but powerful; it works secretly; it “puffs up” the dough and it spreads.

Sin infests everything. Like leaven, sin seeps into everything. The church is supposed to be without sin, but even one sin in one person has the tendency to grow throughout. The same is true in a church. As one person excuses sin, more and more people will excuse it.

The Principle of Separation

Paul tells the believers not to expect godly behavior from ungodly people. It’s not surprising that those who do not have a redemptive covenant with God through the Lord Jesus are sexually immoral and covetous.

Christians should not be offended when they see ungodly people committing extortion, are drunkards and idolaters. But they are to expect godly behavior from their fellow Christians and the believers at Corinth were not doing this.

Sin Can Infest Everything
Photo Credits: CrossCards.Com

So Paul commands that they were to be separated from them; they were not even allowed to eat with them. In those days the individuals whom you ate with was significant. Quite often church members ate together. Thus, if you were removed from fellowship and eating together, it resulted in a major barrier in the relationship.

It sounds to me like God hates sin in the church and wants us to get rid of that sin. 1 Corinthians 5:11 states several of the sins that God required a break in fellowship. Some people will not like this list at all but it does not matter what people say. It only matters what God’s word says.

*Related Article: Church Discipline: Correcting Another Believer

The Sin of Compromise

I have heard that 65% of people today believe cohabitation is acceptable. That is scary because that 65% must include many Christians. That is in spite of verses like this that say sex before marriage and cohabiting is sin, which should not happen to anyone that claims to be a Christian. God commands they should be removed from fellowship.

It is a shame that Christians accept any sin. Do you practice or accept this sin? You shouldn’t according to God. This list also included being covetous. Actually, every person commits this sin sometime in their life. The root word implies lust for or a very strong desire for something anything other than God.

If we seriously examine ourselves, we all have those things that we set as a priority over pursuing God. These things take our attention off of God. That is sin in God’s eyes. Have you repented for that sin?

Loving God Above All Else

Idolatry does not only mean bowing to or praying to a graven image. Anything that takes the place of God in our lives is our idol. It can be our family, our job, money, position or possessions.

And yes, it is true that Christians can worship God at church but worship other things the rest of the time. Is God your highest priority all of the time, or do you focus on other things as well? Remember, God said Christians that commit these sins should be removed from the fellowship.

Do you have pet gods? This includes railers, drunks, and extortioners. God does not want sin at your church. It is true you can hide your sin from other believers, but that does not mean you can hide it from God. What haven’t you confessed?

Closing Thoughts

Church discipline is not easy or popular, but it is important. If it is done properly, God can use it to convict and restore an erring believer. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11 indicates that this brother who was having an incestuous relationship with his father’s wife did repent and was restored to fellowship.


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How to Receive God’s Blessings

How to Receive God’s Blessings

Do you want to be blessed by God? I’m sure you do. I mean, who does not want to receive God’s blessings? The question you may want to ask now is, “How do I receive the blessings of God?” Psalm 1:1-3 gives us three things we must do to in order to receive blessings from God.

Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Meaning of the word Blessed

The word translated “blessed” (or joy in other Bible translations) is from the Hebrew word “asher,” the name of one of Jacob’s sons (Genesis 30:12-13). It has the idea of happiness or contentment. When the Bible says “Blessed is the man…” it means supremely happy or fulfilled.

It is important to note that this blessedness is not for the king, or for the rich. “This blessedness is attainable by the poor, the obscure and the forgotten, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame” (Charles Spurgeon).

How to be Blessed by God

1. Do not listen to ungodly counsel (Psalm 1:1a).

To be blessed or happy, we should not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. With all the advice that comes to us from different sources, we must know how to stay away from the counsel of the ungodly. But first, we need to be able to recognize and discern them.

Who are the ungodly? Murderers, robbers, and the like generally come to mind first. However, the Bible tells us that the ungodly are moral people who live their lives without God. These may be very nice people in our communities who have “fine” reputations, but they do not have God.

Whenever we need counseling or advice, we need to remember not to seek it from the unsaved world. The ungodly man thinks and behaves differently from the righteous man so when we go to him for advice, we will surely be led astray.

Instead, we must approach our church pastors and leaders because godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s Word to help someone who needs counseling. We can also go immediately to the Word of God, the only place to find godly counsel (Psalm 119:24). This is why we need to know God’s word because God’s Word is always the best counselor.

2) Do not stand in the path of sinners (Psalm 1:1b).

To “stand” means to take their position and openly accept their sinful lifestyle.

We live in such a permissive society where nothing seems to be considered wrong anymore. Adultery is free love, a liar is an extrovert with a big imagination, a thief is a creative financier, and sin is not what I say it is. But sin is not what the media says it is. Sin is what God says it is, and His labels do not change.

God’s covenant with Israel made it clear that He would bless their obedience and judge their disobedience. Israel was a unique and separate people; they were among the other nations but not to be contaminated by them (Exodus 19:5-6, Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 32:8-10; 33:28).

Romans 12:2 NKJV

So it is with the people of God today. We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:11-17). We must beware of friendship with the world (James 4:4) that leads to being corrupted by the world (James 1:27) and even loving the world (1 John 2:15-17).

Christians need to have different habits than unbelievers. Do your habits show Christ in you or do they appear worldly? Don’t fellowship with those that mock or scorn the Bible or God. They will bring you down just by discouragement.

It is always difficult to talk about God when someone is mocking Him. Are you making good friends that encourage and support your Christian walk?

3) Delight in God’s law and meditate on it (Psalm 1:2).

Delighting in the Word and meditating on the Word must go together (Psalm 119:15-16, 23-24, 47-48, 77-78), for whatever we enjoy, we think about and pursue. They say that if a person delights in something, no one has to beg them to do it or to like it. They will do it by themselves.

“Meditate” in Hebrew means “to mutter, to ponder or to read in an undertone,” for orthodox Jews speak aloud as they read the Scriptures, meditate and pray. God’s word is on their lips (Deuteronomy 30:14).

While meditation in the eastern culture means emptying the mind, the goal of Christian meditation is to fill your mind with the Word of God. This is done by carefully thinking about each word and phrase and applying it in our daily lives.

Psalm 119:15-16

A blessed man enjoys reading, studying, and pondering on God’s word all the time. He does not hear it and forget it, he thinks about it. He is blessed because he cannot get enough of God’s word. Doesn’t that sound excellent?

If you knew there was a hidden treasure buried at a certain location, wouldn’t you want to dig and uncover it as quickly as possible? Well, that is what is located throughout the Bible; you just need to find it. Why aren’t you digging more?

Like a Tree Planted by the Rivers of Water (Psalm 1:3)

Like a tree, the godly person is alive, beautiful, fruitful, useful, and enduring. The most important part of a tree is the hidden root system that draws up water and nourishment, and the most important part of the believer’s life is the “spiritual root system” that draws on the hidden resources we have in Christ (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7).

This is known as abiding, or remaining in Christ (John 15:1-9). It’s a tragedy when a believer ignores the “root system” and begins to wither. We must remember that the tree doesn’t eat the fruit; others eat it. We must also remember that fruit isn’t the same as “results” because fruit has in it the seed for more fruit.

God plants every godly tree in fertile soil. You have a choice to be like a tree planted by a stream of living water lush with green leaves and full of fruit or you can be a handful of worthless chaff driven by the wind (Psalm 1:4). What choice will you make?

Blessings of Prosperity (Psalm 1:3)

The person described in Psalm 1:1-3 is blessed because he is walking uprightly with God. As a result, this blessed individual will always have a constant supply of life-giving water. Not to mention, he or she will produce spiritual fruit.

There are many different types of fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 lists some of the fruit of the Spirit. Other fruits include leading people to Christ. This blessed individual will also be full of life. They will be excited to serve God with joy in their soul. They won’t feel like it is routine or mandatory.

Receiving the Blessings of God

Lastly, this blessed individual will prosper no matter what they do. There will be evidence of God’s hand of blessing upon them. Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful description?

“This is not to say that the righteous man has a ‘Midas Touch,’ and everything he does makes him rich and comfortable. But in the life of the righteous man, God brings forth something good and wonderful out of everything. Even tough circumstances bring froth something that shall prosper” (David Guzik).

If you don’t have it, why don’t you try this prescription out? It’s worth the effort.

Conclusion

Do you walk with the ungodly? Do you stand with sinners? Do you sit with the scornful? Are you blessed and happy? Choose to say no to sin and say yes to God.

True believers are blessed in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-8). They have received God’s blessings, and they ought to be a blessing to others, especially to the chaff that will one day be thrown into the fire.

Let us all seek to win as many of them as we can while there is time.


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The Context is Love

The Context is Love

Whenever asked if we love our family, we immediately say, “Of course I do.” Our relationships in the family need to be marked by love. Husbands are to love their wives and wives must love their husbands. Parents, children, and siblings must love one another.

But do we love one another the biblical way?

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:6-8a (NKJV)

“Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Reflection

Divorced from its context, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 becomes “a hymn to love” or a sentimental sermon on Christian brotherhood. What many people fail to see is that Paul was still dealing with the Corinthians’ problems when he penned these words.

There was division in the church, abuse of the gift of tongues, envy of others’ gifts, selfishness, impatience with one another in the public meetings, and behavior that was disgracing the Lord. Paul tells the believers in Corinth that the only way spiritual gifts can be used creatively is when they are motivated by love.

Characteristics of Biblical Love

1) Love is enriching.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul mentions five spiritual gifts: tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, and giving (sacrifice). The Corinthian believers were captivated with spiritual gifts; particularly the gift of tongues and Paul reminds them that without love, the exercise of these gifts is nothing. 

The Context is Love

A person may speak with the gift of tongues, but without love, it is as meaningless as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. It is just a lot of noise (1 Corinthians 13:1). It is love that enriches the gift and that gives it value.

Ministry without love cheapens both the minister and those who are touched by it, but ministry with love enriches the whole church.

2) Love is edifying.

While knowledge puffs up, it is love that edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1b). The purpose of spiritual gifts is the edification (strengthening) of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:3, 5, 12, 17, 26). This means we must not think of ourselves, but of others; and this demands love.

3) Love encourages.

Christians do not understand love. God hopes that all would get saved, in spite of the fact He knew not all would. God was willing to bear the sin of the whole world even though some would not accept.

Love does not nag. God does not nag people to get saved, even though it is good for them. God knows the best for everyone, but God does not force or nag anyone to do something they don’t want to do.

Challenge & Application

The issue I have with many Christian women today is that they nag a lot. They may know what the Bible says on what godly men should do and they try to play the part of the Holy Spirit in their spouse or significant other. Your spouse wants your love and respect and he deserves it.

Love bears all things. In other words, love does not harp on sin issues in your life. Making certain issues a broken record is the perfect way to become a nag. Don’t do it.

Love believes all things. That is, love trusts your spouse’s word. Your spouse is busy just like you. Whether you like it or not you both have two different sets of priorities. Your spouse is responsible to God first. You are second. Stop nagging about the insignificant details. You want to be a godly wife, trust his word.

Love hopes. God is working on your spouse. Both you and your spouse are sinners with issues. Why don’t you love them enough to watch God work in your spouse’s life? When you try to change your spouse, they get hurt because you are trying to act the part of the Holy Spirit, thus making it harder for them to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Love also forgives, and forgives, and forgives many times over without holding grudges. We do not understand how God changes us or in what order. The path of sanctification is different for every person. You do not get to determine what should change in your spouse. Stop playing the Holy Spirit in your spouse’s life.

The Context is Love

Lastly, love does not end. God never stops loving us. Our love for our spouse should not either. If you have true love for someone, you will not stop showing it in these ways. It is true that since we are sinners, we can’t do this perfectly like Jesus, but we need to strive to love our spouses this way. Love does not have a list of expectations.

It is true that God tells us what is good for us, but He still allows us to make choices, whether they result in good or bad. That does not mean God loves us less. God loves us in spite of us. Can you love your spouse by encouraging without nagging?

God does not nag. God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die on the cross so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

*Read here: The Cross Makes Love Believable

God knows and wants what’s best for everyone, yet He does not force or nag anyone to do something they don’t want to do. God does not nag people to be saved. He wants us to willingly accept His gift of eternal life.

Biblical love suffers long and is kind, does not envy, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity but in the truth, believes all things, bears all things, hopes all things and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Closing Thoughts

Spiritual gifts, no matter how exciting and wonderful, are useless and even destructive if they are not ministered in love. In his letter, the apostle Paul gave great emphasis on love.

The main evidence of maturity in the Christian life is a growing love for God and for God’s people, as well as a love for lost souls. It has well been said that love is the “circulatory system” of the body of Christ.

Are you practicing biblical love?

How Peculiar Are You?

How Peculiar Are You?

The Bible says that God’s people are a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9 KJV). But what does it mean to be peculiar? When we use the word “peculiar” in the English language, it often means “odd,” “weird” or “strange.” And true enough, God’s people do sometimes seem peculiar to the world’s way of thinking.

But in Biblical English, “peculiar people” means a people possessed by God and particularly prized by Him. The word translated peculiar in Titus 2:14 (KJV) and 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) is the Hebrew word segullah which carries the meaning of the saints being the Lord’s own special people or treasure.

We are a chosen generation and royal priesthood

Believers in Christ are said to be peculiar or special people because they were chosen from before the foundation of the earth to be God’s own possession. Born again Christians are different from the world around them because they are being led by the Holy Spirit that dwells in them.

Only God Can Change Us

“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:14 

It is true that personal standards are just that personal. They are between you and God. That is true. It is also true that the attitudes and standards will show as Matthew 7:20 says.

As I have found, it is human nature to not change. That is why salvation is a miracle. It does not happen without God doing it. When we get saved, we were telling God we wanted to change but could not change ourselves. That is why addictions are near impossible to break for unbelievers. It is human nature to go back to what we know and enjoy. That is why we make habits in the first place.

Over the years, God has taught me that as members of the Church, we are not to judge one another nor put a stumbling block and cause others to fall away. Instead, we must work together, encourage and build each other up. We are to keep the peace but not accept mediocrity.

How Peculiar Are You

This is just the reason why Cain was wrong when He said, “Am I my brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9)? As members of the Church, we are each others’ keeper. We all need encouragement. Thus we all need to be encouraged or challenged, because of the mediocrities and sin issues in our lives.

An old pastor of mine had a perfect illustration that fits this encouragement. Challenge each other to be purple people. Challenge each other to be peculiar for God. Not in skin color but in our habits and standards, even down to the clothes we wear. God wants us to be peculiar in every way.

Modesty in heart and clothes profess godliness (1 Timothy 2:10). I know too many people that choose clothes to fit in or to be “normal.” God created all people unique even down to our genetic makeup. There is no definition of normal. God made you unique. Live like it. Since God made you unique and calls us to be peculiar, how peculiar are you?

How Bright is Your Light?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Throughout all time, all people were and are sinners. That does not mean God is any less powerful. We cannot frustrate God’s plan. Sometimes He does change us to fulfill His plan. Before we got saved, we had no light of our own. After salvation, God imputes His righteousness to us so that we may live like it and show His light.

There are many examples in the Bible of sinners that were used to point to Jesus. God uses His fallen creation to point to Jesus. The evidence of a changed life only points to an all-powerful God that can enable anyone, including us.

Without God, our good works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). God changes our rags to a beautiful testimony of what God has done in our lives. Our good works are the evidence of the imputed righteousness of God in our lives. That is the light mentioned in Matthew 5:16.

*Related Article: How to Let Your Light Shine

We can’t take credit for this change. Only God deserves that credit. Do you give all the honor and praise to God for what He has done and is doing in your life?

As we grow spiritually and apply God’s word to our lives, He keeps on changing us more and more into His image. Our mind needs to be renewed continually (Romans 12:2). It is an ongoing process.

Thus, our light needs to become brighter and brighter until we meet God. A candle, a spotlight, headlights, and a lighthouse all give off light but only God gives off the most light. All Christians give off some light, but some give off more than others.

That light points to Jesus, who has changed you. How bright is your light?

Yes, It is Possible

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

Recently I heard the question, “Is love even possible?” I know for a fact that based on this verse it is.

Life is difficult. If we let it happen, almost everyone can become cynical about life. This is also true for Christians. This cynical attitude about life can affect our perspective of everything. Not just life, but also God, society, men, women, police, etc. To me that is a hopeless existence when we doubt God or others. Close relationships end up being nearly impossible because we are not able to trust anyone.

I am here to say God is love. He loves you and will never fail you. He died to save you from your sin. You can trust Him no matter your circumstances. How much do you trust God?

God's Love is Unconditional

On top of that, God is in the people-changing business. People will hurt us in life, but that is not the end of the story. God is changing His children back into His loving image. As we grow spiritually in the knowledge and understanding of who God is, He is changing us into His likeness, starting with how we love each other.

As we give more and more control of our lives over to God, we will be amazed how much easier it will be to love others and live the Christian life. God is not interested in us following rules. He wants to change our heart and this enables us to live the peculiar life.

Are you being enabled as Philippians 4:13 says?

Wait on God

And the firstborn said unto the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.” – Genesis 19:31-32

It is human nature to desire close relationships. More often than not, we look for those relationships in all the wrong places. God created us to have a relationship with Him, but if we don’t communicate, do we truly have a relationship with Him? How is your communication with God?

Lot’s two daughters are a perfect example of a good desire fulfilled in the wrong way. Since they lived in the sexualized society of Sodom, they wanted a relationship now. It would have been impossible to tell them to wait on the Lord. They were worried about the future.

I have done this myself. I am 32 yrs old and have never been married. I have wanted to be married since graduating from college 7 years ago. Most of my closest friends are all married. I have seen the beauty of a close godly marriage relationship. It is amazing!

*Read here: What is the Will Of God in Marriage

Most people in my shoes would think God has forgotten about my relationship needs. I don’t though. God has become more and more precious to me. That is one reason I have been able to write this article. I have the time to do so. Worrying about relationships makes an idol out of relationships.

In Genesis 19:32 we can see where Lot’s daughters made a sinful choice by committing incest with their dad, just because of worrying about their relationships. Trusting God and waiting on Him is true for all of us because we all desire something.

But God has not forgotten about our needs. God wants us to be patient and wait on Him. Let us not be like Lot’s daughters that took the first available choice to have children. We all will make sinful life-altering choices if we do not wait on God.

As a Christian, you have the opportunity to make better choices and be unique for God’s sake. How well are we waiting on God?

Conclusion

What makes believers peculiar is the fact that they are set apart from the world. They have made a deep commitment to God – to obey Him and submit to Him in everything.

Believers in Christ are God’s treasured possession, they are a peculiar people who are not bound by sin and death, and they do not walk, talk, or act like people who are. They are a holy, consecrated people! They are free and they are blessed!

How peculiar are you? 

The Fully Armed Life

The Fully Armed Life

Christians are engaged in a great spiritual battle, with Ephesians 6:10-17 giving the clearest definition of the spiritual war, penned by the apostle Paul. This passage emphasizes a fully armed spiritual life.

We are not only assured of the reality of a spiritual warfare with Satan and his demons but are also warned to never underestimate the power of the devil. The devil is not compared to a lion and a dragon just for fun that is why we need the power of God to be able to stand against him; we need to be fully armed with the whole armor of God.

Be Prepared by Standing Firm

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” – Ephesians 6:10

Paul wants believers to understand that they cannot win the battle through human strength but in God’s strength alone. We are in great danger when we think we can stand in our own strength, rather than in the strength that God provides.

The Christian’s Armour Sermon

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him in heavenly places over the enemy is in every believer because of the Holy Spirit residing in them.

But just like any other warfare, a soldier cannot emerge victorious without preparation. Soldiers would need to undergo rigid training, both mentally and physically before they go to the battlefield. It’s the same thing with Christians – they need to be spiritually prepared.

Sadly, many lose this battle simply because of failure to prepare.

The Full Armor of God

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:11-13

The Christian in Complete Armour
Photo Credits: homedepot.com

Most times when someone refers to being armed, it has the connotation of owning a gun but this passage has nothing to do with it. Christians are at not at war with evil people; our primary opponents are the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We do not wear literal pieces of armor the way the Roman soldiers did, but each piece has spiritual significance that must be “PUT ON” on a regular basis to be effective.

In so many words, this entire list must be part of your lifestyle or else you will be vulnerable to Satan’s methods.

In this passage, God has provided instructions on how to stand for God in spite of the raging war around us. The only question we have to ask ourselves is, do we want to stand for God or be crippled and useless for God?

The Belt of Truth

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.” – Ephesians 6:14a

Roman soldiers had a harness that was attached to all the other pieces of armor. It showed to their observers that the soldier was prepared for battle.

This is also true of Christians. There is a spiritual war for the souls of men. Some philosophers say there is no truth, even though that is an absolute statement itself. That still leaves the question, “What is truth?”

The Fully Armed Life

God’s word is true as Jesus said. Why not believe it and study it as 2 Timothy 2:15 says? This truth prepares us for the spiritual battles we will go through. If we don’t know the truth, our armor CAN’T stay on us.

God does not automatically put the truth in our mind. We must search and study. Bible literacy is at an all-time low. Can we recite the 66 books in the Bible? How can we be righteous without knowing what righteousness is?

What does it mean to live by faith or be faithful? Only biblical knowledge and understanding can answer those questions. Are you girded with truth?

The Righteous Life

“Having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” – Ephesians 6:14b

This verse does not sound like an ongoing action I realize, but that does not mean Christians don’t have to live righteously. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that when we receive Jesus’ righteousness we become new. Since we are still sinners, our choices need to be continuously made new. Aka live righteously.

Some might ask what or who is always right? If you are a Christian, you should believe the Bible is God’s word and always right. If you are not a Christian, I would encourage you to choose to repent of your sin and turn to Jesus. You never know when your last opportunity will be.

Who is the main subject of the Bible? Obviously, it’s Jesus. Jesus is the only man that was perfectly righteous. Why not live according to His words? God’s word is the final word.

The Christian in Full Armor

This is why we should personally know God’s word well. How can we live righteously if we don’t know what is right? Not to mention, why trust man’s words when you could know the truth. Nobody has to trust anyone else’s word if you already know the truth.

Even pastors claim to know the truth but don’t. Go find the truth for yourself. You don’t need to be controlled by any other man if you are controlled by God. God gives us His righteousness when we give Him control. Are we putting on the breastplate of righteousness?

Preparing to Move

“And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” – Ephesians 6:15

Feet were the original form of transportation and many people still use them a lot. The only downside to feet is that people can be greatly hindered if your feet become injured.

God also gave us the Gospel so that we would reach the world so that all would have the opportunity to get saved. As more people get saved, the greater the opportunity to reach the world.

But how do we reach the world without being able to Share the Gospel with others? I am not talking about the different methods of how to share but rather, do you have a method?

*Related Article: Understanding the Great Commission

Due to the fact that the gospel cannot be changed, the only thing that can be prepared is how to share it with others. This verse is specifically saying that without being able to give the gospel for whatever reason, we are removing the protection from our feet.

Since Satan attacks us at our vulnerabilities, the church will end up retreating and thus won’t be able to reach the world as effectively because our feet are not protected. I have heard a statistic that only 2% of Christians know how to share their faith. To me that is embarrassing. God made us His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to tell the world His message.

What is His message? The gospel says that all have fallen short of God’s holiness because of our sin (Romans 3:23). Then Jesus, the Holy God in the flesh, died and rose again to pay the penalty of our sin (Romans 6:23). Just ask for that free gift of salvation and God will change your sinful heart to be like Him.

The question still remains; do we know how to share the gospel to the unsaved?

Faith 1, Temptation 0

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” – Ephesians 6:16

We need to remember that these pieces of armor are to be put on regularly. They are not put on once and done. We do not defeat Satan just because we are saved. Many Christians have been defeated by him by causing them to sin.

The shield of faith is the right response for any temptation. This is why it also might be the most important piece of armor based on the phrase, “Above All,” at the beginning of the verse.

I also know that many Christians do not practice their faith. Either because they are not truly saved or not living like it. Another reason is that so many Christians are crippled by worry.

Philippians 4:6-7 says that we should be anxious for nothing but we should take all of our concerns to God and He will give us peace that passes ALL human understanding. The one thing He always wants us to have is a calm spirit. Is your spirit calm or anxious?

Taking up the Shield of Faith

The shield of faith is also used to protect us from all other fiery darts as. Satan attacks us with many things: compromise, doubt, dissatisfaction, false doctrine, lust, lies, and every other sin.

It takes an act of faith to refuse to act upon those temptations. It takes faith to do the right thing, especially when you do it on your own. Do you trust God to guide you to the right desires or are you just going to compromise at any pressure?

Do you trust God’s promises to take care of His children? Are you satisfied with what God has given you in spite of being surrounded by materialism? Do you trust God enough to study and know true doctrine? Do you trust God with all of your relationships?

Do you trust that God would never lead you in the wrong direction? Putting on the shield of faith is a regular practice. How faithful are you to God?

Do You Know You are Saved?

“And take the helmet of salvation.” – Ephesians 6:17a

Due to the fact that Satan attacks us throughout our entire Christian life, we always need to be prepared. Each piece must be put on regularly. It is not a “once and done” thing. As humans, we take these articles of armor off when we sin. That is why we need to confess and put the armor back on.

This is also true of the helmet of salvation. Not that we could ever lose our salvation, but that we can live like we don’t have it. 1 John 5:13 says we can know we have eternal life.

The Christian’s Armour Sermon

If we can know we have eternal life and yet still sin, we need to actively trust God’s promises for deliverance. It is a lifestyle of knowing you are saved then living like it.

Since God can deliver us from our own sin, is there anything that He can’t deliver us from? Deliverance also implies protection. God just showed me another verse. Psalm 5:12, “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor, You will surround him as with a shield.”

Compass means to protect on all sides, but what was the qualifier? It is only those that live righteously. Aka, those that wear the armor. Do you know you are saved? And if so, do you live like it?

The Unused Weapon

“And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:17b

Without all the practical pieces of armor for born again Christians, we will be hindered or defeated by Satan, if we don’t use our sword.

Why is it important to constantly put on the “sword of the Spirit?” Christians need to be prepared. More and more the world system is challenging us in every arena of life. 1 Peter 3:15 says we need to be ready “always” to answer these questions and threats.

How can we answer these questions or threats without knowing what the Word actually says?

The Christian in Full Armor

Considering that biblical literacy is at a record low among Christians, how do we get to know God’s word? The excuse answer is ‘Talk to the pastor.” The biblical response is found in 2 Timothy 2:15. Study God’s word so we will know the Truth.

Many Christians have no idea that they are in the midst of a spiritual war for their soul and mind. If they are not built up or strengthened, Satan will render them ineffective for Christ. Christians need to be fighting to build each other up.

It’s just sad that too many churches are fighting with each other, rendering one another useless. Not to mention the spiritual war for the heart of America. The Christian heritage of America has been almost erased. Are we going to go the way of atheistic and socialistic Europe or worse the Soviet Union?

At what point are we going to wake up and realize the church is losing because we are not using the only weapon at our disposal?

Does Truth Exist?

The world does not even believe that Truth even exists. Why? We are not taking the truth to the world. We have retreated back into our church buildings because that is still acceptable until it isn’t.

The Truth is still true in politics, education, society, law, the home, etc. God told individual Christians to be light and salt to a lost and dying world, by taking all of God’s truth to them as Matthew 5:13-16 says.

That Truth will convert and change hearts as Psalm 19:7 says. He just wants messengers to take the Truth to the world.

*Here’s a short clip of Dr. Frank Turek answering the question: “Is truth true for you but not for me?”

It does not matter what the world says. The scientists say we evolved. God said He made man in His image then we sinned, which brought death. The ACLU says separation of God and Government.

God says righteousness in government exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34). The Supreme Court says marriage can be almost anything you want it to be. God says marriage is between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). The world says we need to stay in church, God says Go and be my ambassadors and proclaim my message by word and deed (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Closing Words

We are in a spiritual warfare and we must put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against the enemy. Jesus has already won the victory through His suffering, death, and resurrection. But while we are still in the flesh and living here on earth, we are constantly under attack by Satan and his demons.

In one sense, “every piece of God’s armor” is a picture of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), He is our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), and our peace (Ephesians 2:14). His faithfulness makes possible our faith (Galatians 2:20); He is our salvation (Luke 2:30); and He is the word of God (John 1:1, 14).

Putting on the whole armor of God means we are actually putting on Christ.

God’s Generosity and Man’s Jealousy

God’s Generosity and Man’s Jealousy

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16 deals with a very common human problem – jealousy. Contrast it with God’s generosity and the true meaning of pure grace.

The parable emphasizes a right attitude in service. Note that two kinds of workers were hired that day: those who wanted a contract and agreed to work for a normal wage for a day (Matthew 20:2) and those who had no contract and agreed to take whatever the landowner thought was right.

Man’s Jealousy

Technically, the main lesson of this passage is not about government-set minimum wage, but the application still exists. I think it is interesting that Jesus even mentions how the workers grumbled about their wage because other people did less work for the same money. Does that not sound like today?

When we receive grace, of course, we are very happy and thankful. But why is it that when others receive grace our reaction is the complete opposite? We are unhappy and jealous (envious) because we think they do not deserve it.

Note: Grace is something we receive which we do not deserve.

Often times we tend to compare ourselves with other people in terms of our struggles, trials, difficulties, etc. or in terms of the work we do. But who should be our standard and to whom are we accountable?

Learning to be Content

In the parable, the owner was not obligated to pay those who came in late a full day’s wage but he did it anyway. He gave all the workers the same amount. Of course, those who worked the longest complained! The truth is that they had no argument because they had agreed to work for the normal daily wage. They received what they asked for.

There are a lot of discontent workers that want more money but won’t work harder for it. I think it is funny that Jesus gave employers that choice. That is the employer’s prerogative.

God's Generosity and Man's Jealousy

So the next time Socialists say that God wants equal pay for everyone that is not true. Employers have the right to pay what is agreed upon. God would never condone governments requiring certain wages for anyone as socialists say.

Need more money, work more or get a better job. The God of the universe said that employers have the right to determine an employee’s wage. If you don’t like it, get a new job.

God’s Generosity

The main point of the parable is God’s generosity. God is infinitely generous and gracious and will always give us better than we deserve. Had the early workers trusted the goodness of the owner, they would have received far more.

As God’s children, we should not serve Him because we want to receive and expected a reward. We should not also insist on knowing what we will get. Our loving Father is loving and generous. All that we are and have are gifts from Him, which we do not deserve.

What kind of workers are we in God’s vineyard?

Salvation is for Everyone Who Believes

Jesus was also illustrating in this parable that new believers get saved from the beginning up to the end of time. Some will have less time than others yet the reward is still living with Jesus for all eternity even if you have been saved a long or short time.

Heaven is only heaven because it is Jesus’ home. God is welcoming us into His home. That is an amazing thought. If you have been born again, are you glad you are on your way to heaven? Our thankful spirit should show so that the world will know we are glad to be saved.

God did not save us to be an Eeyore. Do you have that joy in your heart? If not, are you truly saved? Why not turn from your sins and accept Jesus as your personal Savior?

Serving Others First

This passage also continued by Jesus exposing a “Me first” attitude in the disciples (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus is anything but proud.

All twelve wanted the best two spots in heaven, but Jesus turned it into a teaching moment. I think it is interesting that Jesus did not harshly rebuke them. He lovingly used it as a way to teach them about humility.

Jesus highlighted being a “servant.” The word here means “slave,” and our English word “deacon” comes from it. Not every servant was a slave, but every slave was a servant.

*Read here: Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Sadly in the church today we have many celebrities but very few servants. There are many who want to “flaunt their authority” (Matthew 20:25), but few who want to take the towel and basin and wash feet.

Many people wrong us, but are we humble enough to try to encourage them in spite of their actions?

God's Generosity and Man's Jealousy

Jesus as the ruler of the universe has every right to be proud but is not. There is no reason for us to be proud toward any other person and yet we are. How humble are you? That humility will lead to showing more and more love and sacrifice for others. How well do you honestly love and serve others?

What We Believe in Life Matters

What We Believe in Life Matters

Do you notice how relativistic our society has become today? Society says that all religions lead to God. Actually, they lead to gods. They say it does not matter that we believe; it does not also matter that we believe different things.

Know what? Jesus came to earth to tell mankind that what we believe in life does matter.

Bible Verse: John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Reflection

The idea that all religious views are equally valid and all that matters is that we’re sincere in what we believe is so absurd. Sincerely believing in something does not make you right. No matter how sincere you are in your belief that the answer to the mathematical equation two plus two is four does not make you right.

In the same way, sincerely believing that you will go to heaven without Jesus Christ in your life because you and your good deeds are enough does not make your claim true.

Good Enough

It is human nature to think that “I am good enough.” They say it does not matter that the Bible says, “You must be born again” (John 3:3). It does not matter to them that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. They think they are good enough.

Guess what, we aren’t. If we were, there would be no need for the Son to come down to the earth He created, live a life of perfect obedience to the Father and suffer and die on the cross to purchase man’s redemption.

The world needs to hear that they’re dead in their sin and they need a Savior. But many won’t listen. They say it does not matter what the Bible says. But it matters!

God will lead a handful to Himself but have you done your part? Have you told someone the truth recently?

The Challenge

The real problem is that the relativistic mindset has gotten into the minds of Christians. It is true that we have been born again, but since we are still sinners, we still have sin issues. Where is our humility to admit we all have our issues?

We would not be able to criticize other believers if we were humble. Each denomination has its members and pastors that brag about being more right than anyone else. That is just pride.

What You and I Believe Matters

Not to mention, it is beside the point. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 says it is pointless to be more right than other Christians if you do not have love. Love translates into humility.

If our walk does not match our talk, we are just as bad as the unbelieving Pharisees, who Jesus called hypocrites in the gospels.

It is not the business of any other church or individual to criticize other peoples’ personal standards. I will be honest. I did that for years till God showed me that they are responsible for themselves.

Closing Words

What we believe in life does matter. More importantly, what we believe about the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit matters. Jesus made a strong statement in John 8:24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Jesus claimed to be God and unless you believe He is, you are not going to heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven and no one comes to the Father but by Him as John 14:6 says.

The next time you hear other people say that it does not matter what they believe, tell them that it does!

Real Joy of the Heart

Real Joy of the Heart

The issue I have seen in the lives of many believers is that they don’t live like they have real joy in their hearts. They have Christ in their lives but they do not seem to be experiencing real joy that is found in Christ alone.

Bible Verse: John 16:22 (NKJV)

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Reflection and Challenge

In context, this verse is a part of a conversation between Jesus and His twelve disciples. Jesus was trying to prepare them for His crucifixion, but they were not getting it. They wanted more clarity and Jesus understood this very well.

But Jesus also knew that they needed more than just information; they needed their hearts and mind to be prepared to endure the crisis that was coming. They would be very sorrowful but only to have a sudden change of heart. Because God, by His grace and power, will turn their sorrow into joy.

While the crucifixion and all that went with it seemed like a bump in the road or some kind of obstacle to overcome on the way to fulfilling God’s plan, it was exactly how the plan would be fulfilled.

God Transforms our Sorrows into Joy

There’s a principle laid out in John 16:16-22 and that is this: God brings joy to our lives, not by substitution, but by transformation. Jesus’ illustration of the woman giving birth makes this pretty clear. The same baby that caused the pain also caused the joy.

In birth, God does not substitute something else to relieve the mother’s pain. Instead, He uses what is there already but transforms it. And so it is in the Christian life: God takes seemingly impossible situations, adds the miracle of His grace, and transforms trials into triumphs and sorrows into joy.

God transforms our sorrows into joy

As Spurgeon put it, “It is most remarkable and instructive that in their sermons or epistles the apostles do not appear to have spoken of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ with any kind of regret. Although the Gospels mention their distress during the actual occurrence of the crucifixion, we hear of no such grief after the resurrection, and especially after Pentecost.”

Their extreme sorrow of heart was changed to joy of heart after they realized Jesus rose from the grave. When a person gets saved, he receives a completely changed heart and he can actually experience real joy.

Unlike just happiness, joy is a heart attitude. It cannot be artificially manufactured by great circumstances. Read the middle phrase again. “Your heart will rejoice.” Do you see the root word joy in rejoice?

When Christians Lose Their Joy

The last phrase of John 16:22 says, “True born again Christians cannot lose their joy” (paraphrase). But why are there so many Christians who are like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh? No enthusiasm, gloomy, depressed, or just going through the motions.

I realized that I am talking about people’s heart since I can’t see their hearts. Actually, it’s possible. We can tell what’s in peoples’ hearts by the way they live their lives. Because what’s in their hearts is how they live.

Throughout the Bible, it says that what you actually believe in your heart will show. So if we don’t act like we have found real joy in Christ, perhaps God hasn’t changed our hearts in salvation yet.

Going Through the Motions

Don’t just go through the motions because your denomination says to do so. I have been called “happy go lucky” and “carefree,” because I have a joyous song in my heart.

Unbelievers can’t understand because they don’t have that joy. If you have joy in your heart, it will show in worship, praise, lifestyle, attitudes … EVERYTHING.

Please inspect yourself and find out if real joy is in your heart. If it is, praise God. If not, find out why. You won’t regret it.

Waiting for the Coming of Our Lord

The world today does not want Jesus Christ or His church. The world is rejoicing while we are suffering, longing for our Lord to return. In fact, all of creation is suffering “the pains of childbirth” because of sin, awaiting His return (Romans 8:22)

While the immediate application may have been to the sorrowing hearts of the disciples, the ultimate application is to all of God’s people as they await the second coming of Jesus Christ.

To us, it seems like a long wait, but God does not measure time as we do (2 Peter 3:8). And while we are waiting, we must deal with our trials and hurts on the basis of transformation and not substitution, if we expect to mature as Christians.

Life is War

Life is War

Watching the movie “Indivisible” made me realize even more how life is like war. The harsh realities of war can really take a toll on the mind, on family and friends. War is difficult and there is nothing easy about it.

Bible Verse: 1 Timothy 1:18-19a (NKJV)

“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience.”

Reflection and Challenge

Timothy was a young man who responded to Christ’s call to help build His church. Along with Titus, he was one of the apostle Paul’s special assistants in the churches that Paul had founded.

Timothy was brought up in a religious home (2 Timothy 1:5) and had been led to faith in Christ by Paul himself. This explains why Paul called Timothy “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).

But in spite of his close association with Paul, Timothy was easily discouraged. So Paul wrote the letter we call 1 Timothy to encourage Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, to explain how a local church should be managed and to enforce his own authority as a servant of God.

The Soldier’s Task

It was not easy to serve God in pagan Ephesus. The city was devoted to the worship of Artemis, the patroness of the sexual instinct. Her lascivious images helped promote sexual immorality of all kinds.

Paul had done a great work in Ephesus during his three-year ministry, and so the “all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). It was not easy for Timothy to follow a man like Paul! Not to forget, Satan has his workers in the city, for wherever there are spiritual opportunities there are also satanic obstacles (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

Life is War

But Timothy was a man under orders, and he had to obey. The soldier’s task is to “please the officer who enlisted him as soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4), and not to please himself. Furthermore, Timothy was there by divine appointment: God had chosen him and sent him. It was this fact that could give him assurance in difficult days.

Engaging in Spiritual Warfare

As children of God, we are currently in a spiritual warfare. We all live in a war. We all have our own trials and struggles. I remember saying just a few days ago that life is difficult. Between money and bills, relationships and breakups, addiction and peer pressures; they are all difficult. Some might have a depressed attitude or “Woe is me” kind of attitude because they feel alone in their war.

That is the wrong way to look at it. Everyone has problems. Each individual might have a different set of problems but we all have them. Even Jesus had trials. Jesus suffered and died. You cannot be more human than that.

Hebrews 4:15

But Jesus has always responded to those trials with the right attitude and did not sin. Jesus loves you and can relate very well with what you’re going through more than you can imagine. Have you accepted His free gift of forgiveness?

Interestingly, I just finished the series on the Christian Armor (which will be published here very soon), but I missed including “why” we need the armor. Let me just say that this armor is not just for spiritual battles but it also affects how we respond to everyday life.

In the Face of Trials and Struggles

Knowing that everyone has their trials and struggles should affect how we respond to others. At the beginning of the movie “Indivisible,” the spiritual leader came alongside those individuals that were hurting and encouraged them because he loved them and cared for them as God loves us.

Jesus is the perfect example of love and encouragement. It does not matter what you have done; Jesus will take you back. After becoming a Christian, we are supposed to be like Christ. Are you that encouraging?

As the movie continued, God used that spiritual leader to see spiritual fruit in others. You never know how you could affect the spiritual life of another individual. Don’t waste the opportunity to bring someone closer to God.

Everybody Needs Encouragement

As the movie was ending, I was also reminded that spiritual leaders are not immune either. The spiritual leader in the movie had to be encouraged by those he had encouraged. We are all responsible for those around us. Nobody is too high up that we can’t encourage them.

Like Timothy, nobody is immune and so we all need encouragement. Timothy was so devoted to Christ that his local church leaders recommended him to Paul, and Paul added him to his “missionary staff” (Acts 16:1-5).

Yet Timothy was easily discouraged and needed encouragement which Paul gave him in this letters.

One way to think about the sequence of development that we experience in the Christian life is that we begin as “Timothys,” with the goal of growing toward “Paul-like” maturity. Even Paul started out as a “Timothy,” stunned by God’s interruption of his life on the road to Damascus. He suddenly needed an older, wiser believer to walk him through the first steps in his new life, and God assigned that task to Ananias.

Concluding Words

Just for the fact that Jesus is also human, you cannot tell me He does not appreciate hearing us say, “Thank you” or praising God for all He has done and is doing.

If you are God’s servant, called by the Spirit, obeying His will, then you can “stay with it” and finish the work. Having the assurance like Timothy had that you are here by divine appointment, chosen and sent by God, will enable you to “fight well in the Lord’s battles” and finish the work.

How well are you encouraging your team members in this war of life?


*Recommended Resource: 

Indivisible: One Marriage Under God, 50 Devotions
By Robert Noland

Indivisible: One Marriage Under God is a devotional that offers hope and encouragement to anyone in a challenging season of marriage. Based on the movie Indivisible – the true story of an Army chaplain and his wife who rebuild their marriage – this devotional offers 50 entries that include an inspirational message, a Scripture passage, a prayer, guided journaling, and a “Take Action” challenge.

An ideal gift for military couples, newlyweds, and those who want to strengthen their commitment.

Jesus, the Rock of My Salvation

Jesus, the Rock of My Salvation

The Bible tells us that God is the Rock and He is the only rock on which we must build our lives (1 Samuel 2:2). Did you know that the title “Rock” is a Messianic and a divine title?

In Psalm 18:2, David called God “my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my strength in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Jesus claimed to be the Rock, and thereby claimed to be both Messiah and God.

This is also clearly stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” When we recognize Jesus as Messiah and Savior we place our lives on Jesus, the Rock of our salvation.

Building on a Solid Foundation

All buildings must be placed upon a strong, solid foundation if they are to endure. The same is true with our lives; if we are to build an enduring life, we must place it on a sure foundation.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus gives an illustration of the two builders, the wise and the foolish, who both undertook to build houses. Both of them persevered in building, both finished their houses, and to a considerable extent achieved the same design. (See also Luke 6:46-49.)

Indeed, each house looked the same from the outside. But the real foundation was hidden and was only proven when the storm came and the floods arose. The house that was built on the rock stood firm while that which was built on the sand fell with a great crash.

The Wise and the Foolish Builder

A man’s character can be likened to a house. Every thought is like a piece of timber in that house, every imagination a window that could be well or badly placed and every habit a beam. All these are gathered together and decide how that house is constructed.

Unless one builds his character on the rock-solid foundation of God’s Word, he will surely be swept away by any storm or flood that will come.

How Strong is Your Foundation?

The storm and the flood represent the trials of life. Often times, the trials of life descend upon us either through our own lack of character or because of events in the world. Is the foundation of your house strong enough to withstand the onslaught of the horrendous events of the end times or even your own weaknesses?

Time and the storms of life will prove how strong one’s foundation is, even when it is hidden. It’s pretty easy to assume that this or that person’s foundation is strong based only on what we see on the outside. But we may be surprised when we see who has truly built upon the good foundation.

We are warned that the foundations of our lives will be shaken at some time or another, both now during difficult times and in the ultimate judgment before God. That is why we must test the foundation of our life now rather than later when it is too late to change our destiny.

Where did the foolish builder fail? Definitely not in deliberately seeking a bad foundation, but in taking no time to consider what kind of foundation he was to build upon. He wanted to avoid the hard work of digging deep to ensure a strong foundation and also took a short-range view.

In the end, his fault was not an error of judgment, but thoughtlessness and inconsiderateness.

Staying on Jesus the Rock

For years my grandfather used to say, “Stay on the Rock.” That saying had a literal meaning but I believe he meant it to have a spiritual meaning as well.

Jesus is the Rock; the only true Rock. He is our firm foundation. A rock does not move or change and the truth is that Rock. Jesus is the Truth as John 14:6 says, but are we staying on the Truth?

There are two conditions to stay on the Truth. One, listen to God and His word. Many unbelievers and Christians refuse to listen to wise counsel. They could not care less about what others say, because they are good enough. Their hearts are full of pride.

Jesus is the Rock of My Salvation

Jesus uses the adjectives wise and foolish. A wise man is a listening man. Not filled with pride. The Jews had disdain for the Samaritans but in spite of that the good Samaritan in Luke 10: 30-37 had compassion on a Jew that was robbed and beaten.

Everyone is our neighbor. How much love do we have for people? Everyone has been robbed and beaten by sin. Everyone needs a friend. Why can’t we be friendly?

The second condition to stand on the Truth is to live your life according to the Truth. Doesn’t that imply applying Scripture to our lives? Doesn’t that imply reaching out to those steeped in sin? Or praying for those that are hurting?

It does not matter where people have been, they are still people that need God’s love. Are you a wise or foolish person as Jesus described in Matthew 7?

Obedience to the Word

Our Lord’s emphasis in His illustration of the wise and the foolish builders is on obedience. It is not enough to simply hear God’s Word and call Him “Lord.” It is necessary that we also obey what He commands us to do.

Our profession of faith in Christ will ultimately be tested, and obedience to the Father’s will is the test of true faith in Christ. True faith does not say, “Lord! Lord!” as if believing but then disobey the Lord’s commands (Matthew 7:21).

*Related Article: Blessing Through Obedience

It’s easy to learn a religious vocabulary and even memorize Bible verses and religious songs and yet not obey God’s will. Those who are truly born again have God’s Spirit living within them and will enable them to know and do the Father’s will.

Those who have trusted Christ and have proven their faith by their obedience will have nothing to fear. Founded on the Rock, their house will stand. But those who have professed to trust Christ but have not obeyed God will be condemned.

Closing Thoughts

Many times, seemingly good people seem to build their lives well and wisely in terms of money, friends, material possessions, etc. And while all these things seem good to the human mind, their end can be disastrous without a Rock foundation.

Some people build on their religion or on their church; others build on an organization, on themselves or on another person. But if we are to build a lasting life we will have to build on something more solid than mere humans or ourselves.

We are to build on a firm foundation, Jesus Christ, the solid rock of our salvation!