There is but one Savior of the church. I am not the savior But neither are you. The church is not saved by ideas and inventions which arise out of human ingenuity. Neither is the church saved by carefully-planned classes or programs designed to meet the felt-needs of its members. Jesus is the Savior of His church (Eph. 5:23). While He is.potentially, the Savior of the world; He is, at this moment, the Savior of His body, the church (Jn. 4:42; Eph. 1:22.23)
Well-intentioned people will, at times, step in to “save” the church. To save it from itself. To save it from its lethargy. To save it from its leadership. Often these self-appointed saviors take on the form of preachers. But not always. We have seen it many times. Those who think they have the answers-that they can save the church, if only the church will follow their counsel. What often begins with good and honest motives can develop into a savior complex where attention is drawn to the one who has become, at least in their own mind, the indispensable rescuer of the church Instead, our constant focus must be on becoming a Christ-centered church. For He is Savior of the church and to Him belong all praise and glory (Eph. 3:21).
There is much to be done to advance the cause of Christ. But, we do not save the church. Christ is our Savior. God adds the saved to His church (Acts 2:47). We work together with God in our own salvation as well as in the salvation of others (Acts 2:40; 2 Cor. 6:1-2). We ‘encourage one another” (1 Th. 5:11). We “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hb. 10:24). There are many things we must do for the sake of the body. But, regardless of how much we do, we cannot save the church. We are no more important than anyone else in the body of Christ. Jesus alone holds His place of “honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” and we are but unworthy slaves who have been granted the blessing of serving in His kingdom (Rev. 5:13; Lk.17:10).
We tend to be serious and exclusive when dealing with serious matters. When you go to a physician for treatment, the doctor doesn’t outline four or five arbitrary therapies, asking you to choose the one which “floats your boat.” Rather, a physician seeks the greatest precision in addressing the patient’s situation.
In the same way, but even more profoundly, Jesus claims to address the central elements of life, putting Himself forward to be the answer to our most profound needs. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus invites, “and I will give you rest.” This loving call invites us into a new way of life filled with blessings and with responsibilities. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,” is the Savior’s commandment and promise, “for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30) The power of the gospel is transformational. It moves us from the way of the world into the way of salvation in Christ. Receiving the blessings of Jesus as your Savior entails entering into a relationship with Jesus as your Lord.
In contrast to the transforming power of the gospel, much of today’s popular religion is accommodating rather than confrontational. Worldly religions reinforce rather than challenge worldly behavior. In contrast to the world’s message of indulgence, the church must continually reinforce the Lord’s call to
We’ve been thinking much about the state of our country. Economic woes, fear of enemies, health concerns, natural disasters, spiritual decline, and confused morality call for our attention; and we continually ask what God’s will is for this country.
We are perplexed but not surprised that the fastest growing religious group in America is the group that identifies themselves as having “no religion.” According to the American Religious ldentification Survey taken in 2001, adults who do not subscribe to any religious identification has more than doubled from 14.3 million in 1990 to 29.4 million in 2001; their proportion has grown from just eight percent of the total in 1990 to over fourteen percent in 2001. Only 77 percent of Americans now claim to be Christians.
Many of those who claim to be Christians have convictions far different from the teaching of the New Testament. For instance, the Pew Forum recently released a survey saying that 65 percent of American Christians say that many religions can lead to eternal life, a fact that contradicts Jesus’ plain statement in John 14:6 (see also Acts 4:12; Ephesians 4:4-6)
What America needs most is the gospel, the old story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. That divine story will lead them to change their hearts and lives repentance and to unite with Christ in baptism. The gospel will open their hearts to faith, hope, and love.
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:4-5 NASB). serve as priests.
Under the old covenant, only the Levites could Priests had two functions: (1) they offered up sacrifices in worship, and (2) they were to “to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses (Lev. 10:11)
Under the new covenant, however, every Christian shares in the priesthood. Every Christian has the responsibility to worship and to teach others the unsearchable riches of Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10 ESV).
There are souls all around your neighborhood that needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God has asked every Christian to be involved in proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Because we love the souls of men and want them to go to heaven, we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul knew this burden and said, “l am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So l am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:14-16)
Because we love the souls of men, we are not afraid to speak out against sin. We know that passions of the flesh “wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
Because we love the souls of men, we preach the need to follow Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Because we love the souls of men, we point people to what is best. The Lord Jesus came to bring us an abundant life (John 10:10). His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He is “our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We can do no better than to preach Jesus and Him crucified to every soul in every place who will hear.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil 2:3 NKJV).
One of the greatest struggles for humanity is the discovery of our own value and self-worth. People often feel so very empty and insignificant. The cares of life tend to batter down our self- image and leave us with a sense of meaninglessness and even self-loathing. This is part of the reason why so many people turn to so many vices-alcohol, drugs, sexuality-in an attempt to “fill the void.”
The world is quick to offer solutions. The self-appointed therapists of afternoon talk shows and the mega-rich attitude coaches of late-night infomercials tell us that we need to practice “self love,” and engage in more positive “self-talk.” They tell us that we have to love ourselves first before we can ever learn to love anyone else. Yet, however quaint their advice may be, it is as far from truth as the east is from the west.
The Bible tells us that positive self-image does not come through believing we are wonderful, but through the knowledge that God loves us. We don’t need better “self-esteem,” but need a better understanding of God’s estimation of us! In fact, the Bible tells us that the first step to wholeness is understanding and accepting our own wretchedness and turning in utter dependence to God’s awesome grace. Perhaps the old children’s song has more practical advice on developing self-esteem all ot today’s pop-psychology: “Jesus first, yourself LAST and others in-between.”
1. LISTEN without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)
2. SPEAK without accusing. (James 1:19)
3. GIVE without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)
4. PRAY without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)
5. ANSWER without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)
6. SHARE without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)
7. ENJOY without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)
8. TRUST without wavering. (Corinthians 13:7)
9. FORGIVE without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)
10. PROMISE without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)
As to the expression “inherit the earth,” the
following facts should be noted:
1. God is the owner of this earth (Psalm 24:1).
2. Those who obey Christ become children of God (Galatians 3:27; Hebrews 5:9), and joint-heirs” with the Lord (Romans 8:17)
3. The Father supplies all our needs (Philippians4:19), we therefore enjoy this earth and its blessings more than all others.
4. Mainly, however, our inheritance is spiritual (Acts 20:32); we are heirs in the kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:5), and citizenship in that John 3:3-5; Colossians 1:13).
5. Finally, we also look for an inheritance that is reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), because we are aware that the earth will be
destroyed when Christ returns (2 Peter 3:10).
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country
Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. (U.S. Dep. of Labor)
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. (Psa. 128:2)
There are those little things that we take for granted. When we are
faced with a life without them suddenly life is so much more difficult,
and we mourn the loss of what was once so common. Electricity, A/C
and running water are among those things. Another more infinitely
simple blessing that we often overlook is light.
It is more than obvious that we would not exist without the light of
the sun. It supplies heat that keeps us from freezing the atmosphere
of space. It keeps all the vegetation alive which keeps us alive. The
light of the sun is an impartial blessing to all people. In the context of
loving your enemies, Jesus spoke of God sending sun and rain upon
the good and evil as an example of His love. “He causes His sun to
rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and
the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). In like fashion, God sent His Sun to be
the light for all mankind. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I
am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the
darkness, but will have the Light of life’” (John 8:12). John also
describes the power of the source of this light. “In Him was life,
and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). In this
description of Himself, we see the usefulness of the Christ as a light
for the world. The Christ is a light that can’t be extinguished in any
way. He is a light that is to guide us through the darkness of this
world. We also need to be filling ourselves with that light, “for you
were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as
children of Light” (Eph 5:8). The life we lived before we became
Christians was a life lived in darkness. Now, we can pattern our lives
after Him. Not only can we be children of light, but we can also put on
the armor of light. “Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). We are to be an
influence of light as we shine the light of the Son into the darkness
around us. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they
may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven”
The Son shone upon the world and brought the blessing of eternal
life to all who would believe and are obedient to His word. However
Jesus spoke of a time when those who are unfaithful will be separated
from His light. “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the
outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of
teeth” (Matt. 8:12). A time of utter darkness is coming. Those who
have not prepared and not kept their lamps lit will not be blessed to
be in the presence of the Light. “We must work the works of Him who
sent Me as long as it is day” (John 9:4)