Cleaning the Church

12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. — 1 Cor. 5:12

1 Corinthians 5:6-13 NLT

A few generations ago, when someone in the church membership was known to be living a lifestyle of sin and that fact was affirmed by two or three witnesses, that person was first warned and counseled by the leaders of the church.  If he/she refused to change their ways, they were brought before the congregation for disciplining.  When they were found guilty and refused to repent, they were asked to leave the church.  It is not only scriptural for us to do that but it is our responsibility to do it.  First, we must make sure that there is no yeast in ourselves and then we can judge those of the household of faith.  It is not our responsibility or business to judge non-Christians, that is God’s business and He will take care of it in His own time.  A church body with sin in it is a weak body and it will not attract unbelievers to Christ.  In fact, outsiders will turn away from that body because of the hypocrisy.  We, as church bodies, don’t do this much anymore.  I believe that is one of the biggest reasons for the decline in church memberships and that fewer people attend church.  Let us be sure that we are not living a lifestyle of sin ourselves and then make sure that any yeast or leaven is removed from the church body.  No one wants to be around a body that is going through the process of putrefaction.  We need to clean it up and shine for our Lord and Savior, that light will attract others to Christ.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-20-2019

“Let Your Light Shine”

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For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Cor. 4:6 NLT
 
When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately.  It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches”  or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness.  We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us.  That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.

 
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 
— Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-08-2018

“I AM” – “The Light”

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12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. – John 8:12 NLT

The claim that Jesus made “I am the Light of the world” was true. It was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.-Isaiah 9:2 (NLT)
Where the light shines, it dispels darkness, the two cannot abide together. Those that follow the light of Jesus can walk without stumbling and they will be led to eternal life. When we were being led by the flesh, we walked in darkness and misjudged people just as the Pharisees and the religious leaders did. We were unable to see and understand the truth. When the Holy Spirit shined the Light of Jesus upon us, we could no longer live in darkness. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are now the light that shines in the darkness of the world.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.—M​a​tt. 5:14, 15 (NLT
This reminds me of the old hymn by Philip Paul Bliss. The hymn was inspired by a story told by the well known preacher, Dwight L Moody.
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Chorus:
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

We are the lower lights, we must continue to shine to lead others safely to the shore.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 09-22-2017

Shine and Speak

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God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. — John 1:6, 7 NLT
God sent John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus.  The purpose and plan for John’s life was to tell the world about the Light that was coming.  John understood and accepted his mission wholeheartedly.  John spent his life in the wilderness living on locusts and honey, witnessing to those who came out to hear him.  He was not the Light but was a witness that the Light was coming.  John was so effective in his work that Jesus called him “the greatest man who ever lived”.
Yet,  Jesus said “even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is”.  How can this be that we could be greater than John the Baptist who lived his life for and utltimately gave his life for Jesus?  The word “greater” here is used in the same sense that the word “greater” is used when Jesus said that we would do even “greater” works than Jesus did when He walked here on the earth.  It is not meant to demean or lessen the value of the work that John and Jesus did, but to emphasize the greatness of the Kingdom of God itself.   It is not written to give us illusions of grandeur or self-importance, but to encourage us to work for the Kingdom of God.  It is not as individual Christains that we are greater or can do greater works but it is our inclusion in the Kingodm of God that is emphasized as being of utmost importance.  So, the work we do for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is greater in importance than anything that we do that the world considers great or important.  If we are to be “greater” then we must finish the work that John started.  John was the forerunner, Jesus was the reason and we are the witnesses for this and future generations.  We are here as Light and Life to a dark and dying world.  So, let your Light shine and speak the words of Life to those around you wherever you are and whenever you can. There is no “greater” work to be done.
Post 05-05-2016

Keep the Mirror Clean!

even-smaller-bug-light114 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. — Hebrews 7:14-18 NIV

Under​ the Old Testament law, the priest had to be a member of the Levite tribe. No one else was allowed to serve in the temple and/or offer the sacrifices that were required. Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah.  This was one of the issues that the Jewish religious leaders had with Him.  But knowing the Old Testament, they should have realized that a new order would be established and the eternal priest would come from the tribe of Judah.
 

10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. — Genesis 49:10 NIV

​This new​ order would begin when the law had been fulfilled and Jesus did just that.  He fulfilled the law and established a covenant of mercy and grace. The old law was weak and served only to show us that we needed a Redeemer.  We could never live the life of perfection that it required.  So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to fulfill that law.  His death and resurrection would usher in a whole new way of coming close to God.  Earthly priests were no longer needed as we now could speak directly to God on our own behalf.  Having a living God and a resurrected Jesus to worship is the defining difference in Christianity and worldly religions.  It is why Chrisitanity offers the only hope for an eternity with Jesus.  No religion offers the hope that we have as Christians and that is the real Christmas message that we need to be telling every day.  It started with the birth of a baby in Behtlehem, it continued with the disciples and apostles and has been handed down to us to continue telling the old, old story.  A story that is just as alive and vibrant today as it was when Jesus walked on the face of the earth.  A light shone in the darkness then and has continued and will continue to shine throughout eternity. Our lifestyles should be mirrors that reflect that light every day, not just at this time of the year.
 
Post 12-20-2015

Shine On!!

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3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Cor. 4:3-7 NIV

When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately.  It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches”  or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. ​They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness.  We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us.  That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.
 
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV
Post 09-21-2015

“Praise the Lord, I Can See!”

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Is this the same man — that beggar?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, but he surely looks like him!” And the beggar kept saying, “I am the same man!” 10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” 11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and smoothed it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash off the mud.’ I went and washed, and now I can see!” 12 “Where is he now?” they asked.”I don’t know,” he replied. 13 Then they took the man to the Pharisees. 14 Now as it happened, Jesus had healed the man on a Sabbath. 15 ​T​he Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He smoothed the mud over my eyes, and when it was washed away, I could see!” —John 9:8-15 (NLT)
​The crowd​ was so astounded at this miracle they argued about whether this was the same man or not. These weren’t strangers, these were neighbors and others that had seen this man begging everyday. In their hearts they knew he was the same man, but their flesh rebelled at the thought of admitting it. If they accepted this as a miracle, then they would also have to accept Jesus as who He said He was. We can apply this spiritually if we replace the mud over the blind man’s physical eyes with the sins that blind our spiritual eyes. When we accept the truth of who Jesus is, His blood washes away all our sins and we can see more clearly. It reminds one of the old Hank Williams song’
“Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.”
1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come,
​ ​And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.–Isaiah 60:1 (NASB)

​So, this Christmas morning as you arise, before you starting gifting and eating, take a moment and let the glory of the Lord shine and remember the real reason for celebrating this season.​
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! “For the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth!”:​
​Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year!!​

Post 12-25-14