Saturday, August 30, 2014

NO GOLD CAN REMAIN

"No Gold Can Remain" is the title of a book that caught my attention. Instead of reading the book, I started thinking about losing God's blessings. When a city has been sacked by an invading enemy, as with Babylon's first invasion of Jerusalem, all of the precious things were collected and carried away, 2 Kgs 25:13-17. NO GOLD REMAINED.

It is like this in a man's life when his home and very soul is invaded by the evil world. NO "GOLD" WILL REMAIN. When a man leaves the precious things of God in favor of fleshly pursuits, NO PRECIOUS BLESSINGS OF GOD WILL REMAIN.

"36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mk 8:37
It is foolishness that he can't or won't see that he has traded away the jewels of a heavenly crown for the momentary pleasures of wood, hay and stubble. Loving the world and thing in the world comes with great costs of soul and much more. Family happiness and unity can be destroyed. Morals are weakened and boundaries are crossed that can cost spouse, children, jobs, health, and life. God's blessings vanish.

When a man gives away his soul to enjoy the sinful indulgences of this life, he also opens his house and home to be sacked of everything that is golden.

I'M NOT A PHARISEE; I'M JUST DOING WHAT DEVOTED FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST DO

The desire to follow the Bible, word for word, neither adding nor taking away from it, is not an attempt to establish one's own righteousness. Jesus said, "he that does the will of my Father in heaven" will have salvation, Mt 7:21ff. And he said as a final charge to the Apostles to make disciples, baptizing them, and "teaching them to observe all that I commanded." So Christians strive to do all that Jesus commanded and they consider adding or taking away from His word to be anathema.

To do God's Word to be seen by men and receive their praise IS seeking one's own righteousness, Mt 6:1ff. Making rules for men to follow that promise to help men walk in God's law is establishing one's own righteousness: this righteousness is rooted in man pleasing man by following man's teaching, Mt 15:2. When the work is done to be declared righteous by men it is Pharisaism. When the work that is done is man's doctrine and not God's, that is Pharisaism, Mt 15:7-9. To nullify God's Word and replace it with man's teaching and then assuring everyone it is right, that is Pharisaism.

Devotion to Jesus' words is not legalism, not Pharisaism, and so why is the church of Christ accused of being such? Because the accusation is coming from those who assert the rightness of their teachings and they don't get an Amen from the church. They assert,

"You can play musical instruments in worship because adding to the worship is truth as long as it is done in the right spirit. You can divorce and remarry as many times as it takes to get it right without consequence. And women can lead in worship as long as the authority appears to be delegated by men."

When they confidently assert these things and don't get an Amen from the church of Christ, it infuriates them. And so they tack right with the charge of legalism. They are wrong. To do God's will with the right spirit of faith in Him could never be wrong.

To read God's Word and strive to do "all which Jesus commanded" is very good when one's faith is not in the works but is in the saving grace of God. Stop and look at Jesus. Focus on Him and be thankful for His grace. Do you see His example? Imitate it. Do you hear the remarkable teaching from His lips? Do them? This is what people of faith who love Jesus Christ do. To call such people "Pharisees" or "Legalists" is the tactic of the father of lies.

HINDERING THE GOSPEL

There is no more grievous sin than that of hindering the Truth from being heard and spread to others.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mk 10:14

The disciples were literally hindering parents from bringing their children to Jesus. For doing this they got a serious warning fr...om Jesus who then had the children brought to His arms for a blessing.

Men do not always value what is valuable. Children are of immeasurable value to Jesus. But there are other ways that we can fail to value what is valuable. If Christians act hypocrites in front of children, they encourage children to not follow Jesus. If Christians are selfish and uncommitted to the work of Christ, they encourage others to be half-hearted by the power of their example. If children are not disciplined, then they are like illegitimate children, without parents who love them, Heb 12:5ff.

We can hinder the Gospel by the negative influence of our lives, 1 Cor. 9:12. There are those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Rom 1:18. They will use their power to silence the Truth of the Gospel. There are those who give people encouragement to practice sin, Rom 1:32. It's a shame and a terrible sin to silence the voice of truth.

Today I heard about a young high school student from Dyer County, Tennessee who received an in-school suspension for saying "bless you" after a classmate sneezed. This isn't liberal New York or California where we've come to expect some hostility against Christianity: it's the so-called Bible Belt where a girl can't say, "bless you". Imagine if she had mentioned Jesus Christ or if she asked someone to come to church!  This is soft persecution the suppression of religious talk. Today it's an in-school suspension. Tomorrow, who knows. I tell you that a society is not practicing freedom of conscience, speech, and religion that can limit something so harmless.

As there is no sitting on the fence on such important matters. All people are either for or against God and our actions either help or hinder the spread of the Gospel. Are we helping or hindering?

When I doubt God's word, I hinder. When I act with prejudice, and make judgments that are evil, I hinder, James 2:1ff. When I suggest the Gospel is about something other than the salvation of souls, I hinder. When I spend all of my time for me, I hinder. When I'm a hypocrite, I hinder.

Paul talked to the Galatians and asked them who hindered them from obeying the truth, Gal. 5:7. False teachers hinder Christians when Christians listen to them. John warned the church about the man Diotrophes who was hindering God's preachers from coming to speak and he was hindering the Christians from embracing God's preachers, 3 John 9,10. Arrogant pride hinders the Gospel. Even the best of God's people can get off track and hinder. Peter removed himself from eating with the Gentile Christians and he hindered Barnabas and others, Gal. 2:12. This was so severe an issue that Paul publicly rebuked Peter for his error. Jesus talked about the hypocritcal Pharisees who would travel the world to make a proselyte only to make the convert twice a son of hell as themselves, Mt 23:15.

I wonder if my words here are considered a hindrance? If I speak the truth, I may hinder men from going the wrong path. And if I speak the truth, but don't have love, then I'm just a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal, 1 Cor 13. I certainly don't mean to hinder anyone from following Jesus Christ. But I write this for myself and for thoughtful and sincere people who want to aid others in coming to Christ. And let us be especially mindful of our children. Exemplify Christ to them. Be consistent and dedicated to the work of Christ. A disciple or train the children to go the right way. I say this in love. Sincerely, Dan

Friday, August 29, 2014

PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION, by Dan Mayfield

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." Jas 1:27.
People say they are against religion. Why? Because they don't know the Scriptures and so when they are told "Jesus isn't about religion", well the gullible person says that makes sense and begins to parrot the same line. Just watch.

"But Dan, most religion is corrupt and that's why they say they are against 'religion'."

Let me ask you a question. If 99% of Medicine was bad and dangerous, but 1% was good as it should be, would you say you were against medicine? Certainly not! You are only against the bad medicine.

Likewise, when Jesus brought to us "pure and undefiled religion", do you think his religion should be rejected because 99% of religion is bad? I hope you know the answer.

If a baby is bathing in a wash tub. When finished, do you toss out the baby with the bath water? Of course not because you know how to distinguish between dirty water and a baby. Therefore God wants you to discern between his religion and bad.

When you hear that smart Street Preacher with his vain tattoos and belching megaphone telling how he's bringing "a relationship, not a religion", I want you to toss him out with the bath water and then go find the church Jesus built which is true religion.

Sincerely, Dan

WHEN WAS SAUL SAVED: ON THE ROAD?

The following is the introduction to answering this question "When was Paul actually saved" by "Let us Reason" website which believes Saul was saved on the road and not three days later when Ananias taught him. Notice the crafty error right from the start.
****************
I believe the Scripture proves Paul was saved on the Damascus Rd. not afterwards when he was baptized. Why? Because He, and the Scripture says so. We need to distinguish that one being baptized in water is not baptized in Christ by the spirit- Jesus said so in Acts 1:5 and was proven in Acts 2 when they were in the upper room. This distinction is made later by Peter who recounts what the Lord said about the difference between water baptism and spirit baptism that they witnessed with the Gentiles in Acts10. Acts 11:16-18 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. "Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" http://tinyurl.com/mhhxezz
****************
VITAL INFORMATION IS LEFT OUT
First, there's some very important information left out from the "let us reason" article which can only pretend to make its case: it does not once quote from Acts 22 which says,
"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’"
This is Saul/Paul's own retelling of his conversion and the article never mentions it. Ananias is telling the guy that saw and heard Jesus 3 days earlier, when he was supposedly saved on the road to Damascus, to get up and be baptized so his sins will be washed away! It makes sense though. If you have a weak case, don't bring up scripture that would destroy your position. The article quotes Acts 26 and Acts 9 to show when Saul was forgiven but leaves out the verse that is most pertinent to the question. And if Saul was saved three days earlier, there would be no sins to wash away. The article chooses not to deal with that troubling information.
MISDIRECTION IS CRAFTY TOOL
Now why do I say this was a crafty error at the beginning? Instead of dealing with the text, ignoring important information about the conversion in Acts 22 and the verse where Ananias commands Saul to get up and be baptized and wash away his sins, the "let us reason" first redefines baptism into a spiritual baptism. Thus the reader is diverted into a confusing and half-truth discussion on holy spirit baptism and away from reading how Saul needed to first be taught by Ananias to get up and be baptized to wash his sins away. Holy Spirit baptism is not commanded by Jesus; water baptism is commanded (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:16). When "let us reason" website diverts the attention to a discussion of water versus holy spirit baptism, the point is craftily diverted from the clear bible verse. Water baptism is commanded but holy spirit baptism is not commanded. Saul was commanded.
Saul was NOT saved three days earlier because Saul still had his sins.
By the way, there are other dodges, out of context references, overstatements of the facts and such that I could address but it's just too tiring to deal with these people. Read it and see if you find more errors.
Sincerely, Dan
_____________
1. http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp215.htm

YOU BLESS IT BY GIVING THANKS FOR IT

"6 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well." - Mk 8:6,7
When we talk about prayer and eating, we hear it called "saying the blessing". Or when the Lord's Supper is being prayed over, people will ask God to "blessed this bread" or "bless this cup". What does that mean?

In the passage above we see a clue. When he first prayed, it said he gave thanks for the bread. Then he took the fish and blessed them. Is giving thanks the way to have the food blessed? And if it is blessed, what does that mean?

Paul says something in 1 Corinthians 14 that gives us some insight. "Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the 'Amen' at your giving of thanks?", v16. It sounds like the "blessing" and the "giving of thanks" are one and the same, or at least are closely related.

When we think of something being "blessed", we think of something like a gift that is given. God blesses us with salvation and we bless others by kindness and christian love. "You blessed us with your gift of love and just by being here", someone might say. So what is the gift when giving a prayer of thanks for food or over the Lord's Supper? The gift or blessing is from God which we acknowledge in a prayer of thanks.

Paul indicates this is the case when talking about food that is given to be eaten. He said to Timothy, "4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.", 1 Tim. 4.

When we sit down at the table, we stop and say "grace" or "say the blessing" by giving thanks to God for what we are about to eat. And the eating of it is holy and acceptable to God because it is received with gratitude. We ought to give thanks to God for all of our blessings, including the meals He gives to sustain our physical lives.

Whether it is Jesus, or the assembled church about to eat the Lord's Supper, or whether it is a family seated at the dinner table, we ought to give thanks for it.

If we say we are "blessing the bread", we are giving thanks for it. This corrects the idea that many have at the Lord's Supper that the bread and the cup are somehow altered in substance and supernaturally blessed to become holy substances. They remain bread and fruit of the vine. But the eating of them is sanctified and blessed by God when we give Him thanks. So at the Lord's Supper, be sure to say "thank you" for the bread and for the cup. Then they will be blessed.

Sincerely, Dan

WHEN IT COMES TO TEACHING ON MARRIAGE AND REMARRIAGE, MOST CHURCHES CLEARLY ARE NOT TEACHING THIS

"1 Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them. 2 Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7 “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8 AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 10 In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11 And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” MK 10

It does not take a PhD in Theology to understand that Jesus is teaching a very strict standard for marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Jesus' teaching is rooted in the very founding of the family at the beginning of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. While the Pharisees look for loopholes, Jesus denies them any satisfaction. For many who are married and divorced, if they marry again they are living in sin even if men say they are lawfully married.

Instead of ignoring this hard teaching, we must be teaching it for the sake of young people so they will be more careful with their choice of life partner and will work harder to keep their marriages together.

I say this with love Dan

TO MINISTER LIKE JESUS WITH CONVICTION, COURAGE AND LOVE

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is confrontational. It is the heaven's Truth confronting the lies of the sinful world. Every Christian is called to be light and salt in a dark world which puts him smack dab in the middle of the conflict. Jesus came into the world to be light and truth and He called for men to repent and turn back to God. Some heard and accepted and many rejected Him and they did so with violence. Jesus said, If they hated me, they will hate you, Mt 10:24.

In Matthew 19 Jesus ministers to a rich young ruler who wishes to inherit eternal life. Jesus not coincidentally list off several of the commandments which all have to do with one's relationship with man: don't commit murder, adultery, steal, bear false witness, honor mom and dad, all of which Jesus summarizes by quoting the second great commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself", Mt 19:19. I say I don't believe it was coincidental that Jesus listed these because they don't have to do with the young man's real problem. Money is a god and the young man had lots of it. By human appearances, the young man was pretty good in his dealings with his fellow man. But Jesus isn't done until he gets to the real problem. With conviction and courage, Jesus tells the young man he must give up all of his possessions, come and follow Him, and then he will have treasures in heaven, Mk 10:21. Jesus knew it was a "where are your treasures" thing.

Jesus had warned against laying up all of your treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, Mt 6:19. He later said that a man can't serve God and money because his money gets all of his love and God gets what's left over. The rich young ruler was taking care of the second great commandment, being able to say that he had kept them all from his youth up, but loving God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength was neglected. He was keeping part of the commandments, but the first of the 10 commandments that included , warnings against idolatry and worshiping other Gods is where he fell short. Money was his god, and likewise it is the pursuit of money that has led many away from God and into spiritual ruin, 1 Tim 6:9.
"But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction."
Jesus knew the man had a problem with materialism and that he could never inherit eternal life as long as he continued to worship these idols. And so Jesus with conviction and courage told the man to do the unimaginable thing to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor. The man proved his love for things was stronger than his love for God when he walked away sad, Mk 10:22. Mark records that Jesus loved the young man but when he walked away Jesus said, "how hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God." Jesus was not mean or unloving to let the man walk away without salvation. We learn here that we can love the sinner while being uncompromising on the need to put away sin. We must love our neighbors as much as we love God, but we must also have the conviction that men cannot remain in their sins and we should have the courage to call for men to put them away.

To minister to people requires that we know the Truth and that we know what people's needs and problems are so that we can show them what they must do to inherit eternal life. This puts Christians smack dab into the middle of the conflict. In truth, though the answer to the rich young ruler seems extreme, it's the same answer that is given to us all. All who have made the decision to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, Mt 7:13,14, have put away their idols so that God is where He should be in their lives. The rich young ruler was unwilling to pay the price of discipleship. How about us? Jesus said to be his disciples we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Can we say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ and it's no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me", Gal 2:20? This would never have happened unless we had someone minister to us with conviction and courage to tell us what we truly needed to do to repent and turn from the perverse world.

The Gospel of Jesus is confrontational. There is no other way to God but by Jesus, Jn 14:6. The path is exclusive and it is not the easy path. When a Christian teaches the rich young rulers of this world that they must put away sin and make sacrifices to inherit eternal life, it is confrontational. It takes courage and conviction to tell people what they must know and do to go to heaven. And it is not a coincidence that in the same chapter the Holy Spirit records Jesus' stringent rules regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. The part about "let no man separate" is neglected by so many who call themselves Christian. "Well, I think God would want me to be happy." This excuse is common but it ignores that you can be happy but you must also be holy. A person should not be happy while he's ignoring Matthew 5:32; 19:9-12; Mark 10:9-12; Luke 16:18.

"31 It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery", Mt 5:32; "9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. 10 The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11 But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”, Mt 19:9-12; "9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. 10 In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11 And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”, Mk 10:9-12; "18Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.", Lk 16:18.

A person should not be happy while he's putting away his wife. A person should not be happy living in a marriage that God does not approve of and you can be sure that God does not approve of all marriages. Jesus' words are so severe, not unlike the words given to the rich young ruler, that He counsels that celibacy, remaining single and without sexual relations, is the only way to have treasures in heaven, cf 1 Cor. 7:10,11. But this hard teaching is largely ignored today. Paul's words "remain in that condition in which you were called" are twisted to include an adulterous condition which they do not allow! God made marriage to be for life. It's therefore not something to be entered into lightly because unless our mate committed marital unfaithfulness, one does not have a shot at a second marriage. To tell people they are living in adulterous marriages is so hard. We must love them the way Jesus loved the rich young ruler. But we must also have the conviction and courage to tell them they must put away their marriages, that it is not lawful for them to be married, so that we are counted faithful by God and so that God's institution of marriage will not be defiled, Heb 13:4.

Yes, following Christ calls for exacting discipleship and sometimes at great costs. "Truly I saw to you, there is no one who has left house OR WIFE or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom fo God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.", Lk 19:29,30. Are we faithful ministers who call for men to leave behind their riches? Are we faithful ministers who call for men to leave adulterous marriages? To be a faithful minister, we must love souls, but love does not negate the need to teach the hard things with courage and conviction. Said in love, Dan

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THE FOCUS ON THE GODLY: NOT THE EXTERNALS


"there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him." Mk 7:15
These are the words of Jesus He spoke to the religious Jews who took special care of washing hands, pots and pans but who were clearly defiled in their hearts and souls. 

The words of Christ remind me of something G.K. Chesterton said that, "while saints can afford to be dirty, seducers have to be clean." Chesterton, What is Wrong with the World, p.76.

Hypocrisy in a man must be concealed by outward washing and polish on the exterior. These fool the carnal man who will support the seducer. It is why many charlatans dress in the very best of clothing.

I am personally leery of preachers who wear the finest in clothing and who speak in affected and flowery speech. They use these to cover and conceal the true self which they cannot allow to be seen. But the beautiful dress does fool many men who support these hypocrites.

Jesus said, "you blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also." Mt 23:26.

It is not that the outward presentation is to be neglected, but God's people focus their efforts first on making the inside clean. Clean inside then has a way of becoming manifest on the outward appearance. The eyes are brighter. The tongue cleaner. The lifestyle purer. The appearance less offensive to the eyes, nose, and ears of the world.

So give up seducing and trying to fool people that you are something you are not. Become pure and godly on the inside. This will make you genuine and a more useful servant of Christ Jesus.

Humbly I offer this. - Dan

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DEPRESSED?

DEPRESSED?

"25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Mt 6:25ff

The text above is from Jesus' "sermon on the mount" where Jesus had just warned the people of trying to serve two masters and of having two gods. But people try to all of the time. But the duplicity represents a divided soul which necessarily means conflict. This conflict will feel like the worst kind of depression.

If a person is depressed, there might be a very simple explanation for why. When God wants you to walk to Jesus but you keep walking to the bar, you are going to be depressed. When God wants you to be content and practice self-control, but you spend, spend, spend to the point of bankruptcy, you are going to be depressed. When God wants you to read His Word and hide it in your heart, but you can't find a single Bible verse you know, you are going to be depressed. When God wants you to love your neighbor as yourself but you continually allow your tongue to gossip and spew venom, you are going to be depressed.  When God wants you wives to respect your husbands but you talk about him behind his back, you are going to be depressed. When you have a laundry list of chores to do at home and the house is in disrepair because you are lazy, you are going to be depressed. When you never miss your favorite recreational activity but skip out of worship and fellowship, you are going to be depressed. When you receive from others but hardly lift a finger to help others, you are going to be depressed. 
Depression, anxiety, and worry is going to happen when your inner self is in conflict with the outer self. When you smile at a man but inside you seethe with hatred and ill will, you are fighting a war in your own being that will destroy your spirit. A war in the mind that wants to do evil and professes to do good is a mind in turmoil and you are going to be depressed.
Jesus said to focus on today instead of tomorrow. Worrying about clothing, food and shelter is unproductive and takes a person away from functioning today, Mt 6. Jesus said, "don't worry" and I think He meant it.
Get right with God on the inside and you will be happy. Be true to God and to yourself and you will rejoice. Focus on the finish line with Jesus Christ and take your eyes off of the vain things of this world and you will have the abundant life Jesus came to give.
"4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-8
Instead of getting defensive and throwing up a wall of excuses that your bad feelings have nothing to do with you, and that there's nothing you can do to affect them, do the self-examination and find the conflicts in your own mind and soul.
I say all of this with humility and love, Dan

Saturday, August 09, 2014

THE ONE BAPTISM THAT UNIFIES

There is one Baptism that unifies the church, Eph. 4:5. As there is one body, which is the church (Eph 1:22,23), and one lord, even so there is only one baptism. It is pointed to by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6 where he says, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.", Romans 6:3,4. The one Baptism is the one that Jesus commanded for all to receive when becoming a disciple, Mt 28:18-20; cf Mk 16:15,16.
When it comes to knowing the Truth, do you know why Jesus commanded sinners to be baptized but churches choose to sprinkle babies instead? Who is sinning: babies or adults? Do you know that it was men and women being baptized in Acts 8:12; it was not infants? Who needs baptism: the innocent or sinners? When it comes to knowing and understanding, explain why did Philip "preach Jesus" to the Ethiopian and instantly the sinner asked to be baptized in the water, Acts 8:35,36? Do you understand that preaching Jesus includes the command to get in the water? Do you know why Peter said, "Baptism saves you", 1 Pt 3:21? Do you know why Paul tied faith and Baptism with the blessings of being God's children and with being clothed with Christ? These are important matters. Why did Paul tell the Colossians they were raised up with Christ (3:1) and then why did he tell them they were raised when they were Baptized, Col. 2:12,13?
Do you know why people say water baptism isn't necessary for salvation but they still insist on Baptizing with water? And when they are shown passages from the Bible that contradict their assertion that it has nothing to do with salvation, passages which link Baptism and forgiveness, they say that is talking about Holy Spirit baptism? So they insist that Holy Spirit Baptism is necessary for forgiveness of sins? Do they command people to be Holy Spirit Baptized? Jesus said to go out and make disciples and baptize them? And which verses do they use to justify water Baptism and what verses do they go to to show the purpose of water Baptism? Since Baptism is commanded, are they saying there are two Baptisms commanded? Paul said there is only one baptism.
Holy Spirit Baptism was a miraculous event which came upon people in the Bible without warning or control. It was not commanded. Water Baptism was commanded and for a specific reason. In Acts 2 the sinners were pricked and wanted to know what to do? Peter didn't say, "stand back and wait for the Holy Spirit Baptism." No, he told them to repent and be baptize in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Here we see Baptism is obeyed and the gift of the Holy Spirit is received afterward. Acts 10 tells of the time when the Holy Spirit Baptism fell upon Cornelius and family. It did not save them, but it was a sign that God was opening the door for Gentiles to come into the Kingdom. Cornelius and his family still needed to be Baptized in water to be saved, Acts 10:47. Do you know why the Philippian jailer got baptized the same hour of the night that he heard the Gospel, Acts 16:33? I know why. He was lost and wanted to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. A sinner is first introduced to the saving grace of God when he gets in the water.
Baptism isn't a work of the flesh. It is an act of obedient faith (see Romans 1:5; 16:26) which is necessary for salvation. Until you go to the water to have your sins washed away, you are unsaved. Have you received the one baptism? Jesus said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.", Mk 16:16.

EVERY EYE WILL SEE...

The Scriptures tells us the world is going to end and that when Jesus returns will be like any other day with people eating, drinking and marrying and they will be working, grinding at the mill, Mt 24:36-42. So the dire predictions by the worshippers of Gaia, Mother Earth are not to concern Christians.

Want to know the real story on "global warming" or "climate change" or whatever they will call it next? Just follow the money. When Al Gore makes money off of the production of CO2, also called air, you know you have the making of the biggest con-job ever perpetrated upon mankind.

Question: Let's say for a moment that we accept the unproven theory (now we are told there's a 'hiatus' of temp. change) that the earth's temperature is rising, That leads to another question.What is the "normal" temperature? When global earth temperatures have been measured for a hundred years or so, how do we know whether the earth's temperature is rising above normal OR that the earth's temperature is rising back to normal?

The NASA guys are now saying that there is a "hiatus" in rising temperatures. But how much would you like to bet that the public school children this fall will read about the dangerous rises and how something must be done right now but will hear nothing about the "hiatus"? This is a con-job on the global scale. Chicken Little lives.

What is our mission and focus? Stay faithful to God until Jesus returns. Don't buy into the hype and fear that humans are making the earth too hot. God is going to make it too hot when His judgment comes. Until then, just be faithful and do His will.

"11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" 2 Pt 3:11,12

KNOWLEDGE IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVING ETERNAL LIFE

If all that is knowable in all of the universe is X; what I know is
But I know there is a minimum amount of knowledge a sinner must have to received eternal life. This takes searching and diligence to know what God expects us to know for eternal life. The rolling stone gathers no moss and the sleeping brain gathers no knowledge. And yet we know that many human beings are, spiritually speaking, fast asleep. They are ignorant of God and yet there is no excuse for their ignorance, Rom 1:20. Paul makes it very clear that those who do not know God and those who do not know and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ are going to be eternally damned, 2 Thess 1:6-9.
How much knowledge is necessary for salvation? Paul said to the Ephesians, "Do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.", Eph. 5:17.
There is a level of knowing that is essential to have eternal life.
It boils down to loving Jesus Christ and being obedient to Him. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Jn 17:3. And John further writes that this "knowing" of God entails knowing His will and abiding in it. "3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.- 1 John 2:3-6.
When I see the emphasis God puts on obedience to Him and then hear so many religious, so called Christians, saying or equating obedience with works of the flesh, thus discouraging obedience, I think these people must be of the devil, the father of lies.
We must know God to be saved. And to "know" God is to know what His will is and then do it. Yes, it's true that we can't possibly know all that is knowable, but we can know what is God's will for us to be saved. John said, "I have written these things so that you may know that you have eternal life.", 1 Jn 5:13. And the Hebrews writer said, "Faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things not seen." Knowing you are saved is possible better than only have a high degree of certainty and way better than being "pretty sure" you are saved. God has given us "everything that pertains to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and excellence.", 2 Pt 1:3.
Do you know that children are innocent and born without any sins? Do you know that God offers salvation to all sinners? Do you know that baptism is something adult sinners receive for the remission of sins? Do you know that "going to church" is not an option? Do you know that confessing Jesus is essential and that being silent is displeasing to God? Do you know that most people are going to hell? Do you know that ignorance of God's will is not an excuse?
I have good news. The New Testament is available. It's easy to read. And if you live by it, you will have confidence on the day of Judgment. I humbly say all of this. Dan

Thursday, August 07, 2014

NEW BIRTH AND SALVATION ARE THE SAME

John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:3,23 are good places to show the need and reality of the new birth.
"3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is BORN of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Jn 3:3-5

"
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be BORN AGAIN to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pt 1:3

"22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been BORN AGAIN not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." 1 Pt 1:22,23

The new birth happens when God's grace meets an obedient faith that is obedient to the truth with repentance and immersion into Christ. This new birth is is synonymous with being a new creature in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17. The old is passed away and new things have come! Paul talked about this reality in Galatians 2:20. The old, sinful Paul is dead and buried and now Christ is alive in him. Paul talked to the Romans about being raised to walk in newness of life, Romans 6:3-5. This transformation happened when he and the Romans were buried with Christ in Baptism and were raised by the power of God to walk in newness of life. When the Christian's sins are washed away, he was is newborn baby in Christ, 1 Peter 2:2. That's the beginning and a baby in Christ needs to keep growing. But to be specific and to give glory to God, being born again and being saved are ways of describing the blessed reality that is the work of God's grace. "We were saved by grace" is the everlasting song we will sing before His throne. God bless you.

Monday, August 04, 2014

THE PERFECT EXAMPLE TO OTHERS... 1 Thess 2:10, by Dan Mayfield

We do not want to leave any impression that our faith in Jesus Christ isn't sincere. So that Paul could have the best opportunity to teach the Thessalonians and make them complete in Christ, he says, "You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;...", 1 Thess 2:10. The three words "devoutly, uprightly, and blamelessly, can be looked at as a triangle where the three points together make for the strong and perfect example to others. DOING RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD The first word, 'devoutly', is the Greek word PHOSIS (#3743), for piously, holily. It refers to the godly manner in which the Apostle and others conducted themselves among the Thessalonians. Strong's Dictionary says it is from the Greek HOSIOS, #3741, what is sanctioned, as in what God has sanctioned versus what men approve. DOING RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF MEN The second word, "uprightly", is the Greek word DIKAIOS (#1346), for just, proper. In a legal sense, they always strove to do what was right in the sight of men, Rom. 12:17. The last thing a Christian wants to do is what men know is wrong. It makes it hard to bring glory to God. STRIVING TO BE ABOVE REPROACH, BLAMELESS, SO EVERY ACT IS DEFENSIBLE The third word, "blamelessly", is the Greek word AMEMPTOCE (#273), is the adverbial form of Strong's (#273) which is free from fault or defect. This is striving to not only being technically legal, but striving to be blameless. This is beyond the legalism of merely being right, but it is the spiritual pursuit to do all things in a defensible way.

This careful detail to personal behavior created for Paul the best environment for the teaching, admonishing and exhortation that followed.  I am impressed by the economy and use of words in the Bible. On the surface reading, a person might think Paul is "repeating himself", offering the triplet "devout, upright, blameless" the way people write with synonyms to say the same thing again and again. But we have learned here that each word has it's own meaning and power.  We do well to focus on those words so that we are the best example we can be for the ministry to souls.

Sincerely yours, Dan

To email Dan Mayfield: Click Here