9 So don’t let anyone lead you astray with all sorts of novel and exotic teachings. It is more beautiful to feast on grace and be inwardly strengthened than to be obsessed with dietary rules[d] which in themselves have no lasting benefit. – Hebrews 13:9 TPT
Any time, we hear a message or read a devotional or blog, the first thing that we must be sure of is that it is aligned with the Holy Scripture. God and His Word are not capable of being changed. Any time, we are listening or reading and feel a little tug at our hearts or minds, we need to stop and check the Word. There are different translations of the scriptures, some better than others. But they should all present the same thoughts. If anyone should say that God has given them something to add to His Word, have them read this scripture passage:
Revelation 22:18,19 (GW) 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this book: If anyone adds anything to this, God will strike him with the plagues that are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away any words from this book of prophecy, God will take away his portion of the tree of life and the holy city that are described in this book.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ does not depend on rituals or the kind of foods we eat. It isn’t the externals, it is what is in our heart. Will we be insulted and offended for our faithfulness? Ask the Christians in Iraq right now. We will have to endure insults just as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
12 Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. – Hebrews 5:12 CEB
When it comes to the Scriptures, I am learning not to say “I have learned” but rather that “I am learning”. Every time I think I have “learned” something, the Holy Spirit opens up more of the Scripture. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get out of kindergarten. But we all have an innate knowledge of right and wrong. That is a good start, but we have to build from there. The basics of God’s Word is the plan of salvation. Paul is saying there is more to our relationship with Jesus than that. After we have accepted Jesus and our salvation is secure, it is time to start to study Scripture and develop habits that will help us to mature in our walk with Jesus. Meditating on God’s Word, prayer and time alone with God is how we grow. The world is our classroom and the Holy Spirit is our instructor. We can take the short route to the Promised Land by studying and being obedient or we can be like the children of Israel and spend 40 years making an 11 day trip. And, remember, of all of those that spent 40 years making the trip, only two actually got to enter into the Promised Land. Let us choose to be like Joshua and Caleb. God has prepared us to take the land and it is time to move out.
30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” — Numbers 13:30
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
16 I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master. A messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you will be happy if you do them. 18 “I am not talking about all of you. I know those I have chosen. But this is to bring about what the Scripture said: ‘The man who ate at my table has turned against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now before it happens so that when it happens, you will believe that I am he. 20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send also accepts me. And whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me.” 21 After Jesus said this, he was very troubled. He said openly, “I tell you the truth, one of you will turn against me.” 22 The followers all looked at each other, because they did not know whom Jesus was talking about.—John 13:16-22 (NCV)
When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are freed from the bondage of sin, but if we are serious about our repentance, we become bond servants to Jesus Christ. A bond servant is not a slave, he is one who chooses to serve his master because of his love for the master. We should serve Jesus not out of bondage or fear, but simply because we love the One who chose to give His life for our redemption from sin. Jesus had set the example of being a servant to those around Him. He expects us to follow that example because a servant is not greater than His master. It should give us joy unspeakable to serve a risen Savior. Again, Jesus lets us know that He is aware that He will be betrayed and that He knows which one will betray Him. The disciples could not imagine that one of them was the betrayer. If we accept Jesus then we accept the one who sent Him and that is God the Father. He was also telling the disciples and us that we will be accepted when we are sent out by Him. Jesus fulfilled His mission, the disciples fulfilled their mission and the Church has carried on since then. Now, it is our turn. Let us not be the generation that fails to continue to spread the Word of God. When Jesus sends us out, He has already prepared the way. We might not get to see the results, but God’s Word never fails. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NASB)
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work-2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NLT)
God has given us the Bible, His Holy Scriptures, for instruction and guidance. They are the inerrant, immutable, eternal Word of God. They are His love letters to us. The scriptures are His letters to us, much like a wise earthly father would write in His will (testament) to his children. Only they are much better because they come from an omnipotent, omniscient Father, our God. They are also better because He sent His Holy Spirit to explain those letters to us. We can read the letters and if we have questions, we can ask the Author directly for the answer. All Scripture is inspired by God. It teaches us about salvation, truth, and how to live holy lives. If we “talk with God” and not just “to God”, His Word will correct us, teach us what is right, and prepare us to do every good work that God planned for each of us to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. Our part is “to seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness”. If we are faithful in doing our part, God will add “all these things to us”. Things like, knowledge, wisdom, righteousness, holiness and everything that we need for living a holy lifestyle.
22 Stay away from lusts which tempt young people. Pursue what has God’s approval. Pursue faith, love, and peace together with those who worship the Lord with a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments. You know they cause quarrels. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone. He must be a good teacher. He must be willing to suffer wrong. 25 He must be gentle in correcting those who oppose the Good News. Maybe God will allow them to change the way they think and act and lead them to know the truth. 26 Then they might come back to their senses and God will free them from the devil’s snare so that they can do his will.–1 Timothy 2:22-26 GWT)
If we worship God with a pure heart, it will cause us to want to pursue faith. love, and peace. One of the quickest ways to turn a non-believer away is to get involved in discussions about doctrines and whether to eat meat, smoke or drink. We must be kind and lead them into a discussion about salvation. Until a person accepts Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, the rest of the Scripture is and will be a mystery to them. We are to offer them Jesus. Once they have accepted Him, God’s Holy Spirit comes to abide in them. It is His job to lead us and them into all truth. As we listen to His quiet, gentle voice, our hearts will turn to the Lord and we will follow Him because we love Him, not out of an obligation to do so. God’s Holy Spirit will free us from the snares of the devil and teach us God’s will.