VIDEO “Sin? Who, Me?”

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

More people are claiming they don’t believe in sin. With the rise of secularism, the concept of sin is fading. If there’s no God—at least, no personal God—there are no divine rules to govern us. So why feel guilty? One person said, “I came to the realization that I don’t believe in sin. I still admire Jesus a lot.” The contradiction of that statement was lost on the man. He has a form of godliness without its power, purpose, convictions, or realities.

As one preacher said, “You have to get people lost before you can get them saved.” In other words, if people don’t realize they are lost, they won’t sense their need for salvation. That’s why we must preach the “whole counsel” of God, including its demands, warnings, and judgments. In times like these, it’s dangerous to ignore the reality of sin. But how wonderful to embrace the grace of God’s full and free forgiveness!

In spite of worldly success, I felt empty and purposeless. Then…I realized I was a sinner in need of a Savior….I surrendered my life to Christ….I realized that my life was not my own. Rather, I knew I needed to live for Christ. Scott Kedersha


1 John 1:8-10, The Reality of Sin

A Compassionate Father

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

After eight-year-old Gabriel underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, it left a noticeable scar on the side of his head. When the boy said he felt like a monster, his dad, Josh, had an idea: demonstrate how much he loved his son by getting a tattoo on the side of his head with the same shape as Gabriel’s scar.

According to the psalmist, this is the kind of empathic and compassionate love God has for “his children” (Psalm 103:13). Using a metaphor drawn from human life, David illustrated God’s love. He said it’s as tender as a good father’s care for his children (v. 17). Just as a human father shows compassion to his children, so God, our heavenly Father, shows love and care toward those who fear Him. He’s a compassionate father, who empathizes with His people.

When we’re weak and feel like we’re unlovable because of the scars of life, may we receive, by faith, our heavenly Father’s love toward us. He demonstrated His compassion by sending His Son to lay “down his life for us” (1 John 3:16)—for our salvation. With this one act, not only can we experience God’s love for us, but we can look to the cross and see it. Aren’t you glad that we have a High Priest who can “empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15)? He has the scars to prove it.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

How do you mind the gap between knowing God loves you and experiencing His love? How does it make you feel that Jesus, our High Priest, can empathize with every scar you have?

For further study, see Finding Peace by Forgiving Others…And Yourself

Heavenly Father, thank You for your compassionate love for me. May You use my scars for Your glory.

The Danger of Bitterness

Many are hurt when we give in to negative emotions

1 Samuel 18:1-30

Have you ever seen a person overtaken by bitterness? It is very sad to watch someone consumed by that type of darkness. None of us intend to end up in that condition, but unless we guard against it, malice can take hold of us.

That’s what happened to King Saul. He began his reign with great blessings—God’s anointing, the prophet Samuel’s guidance, and the applause of the people. Yet he died a bitter man because he allowed jealousy, anger, and fear to dominate his life.

Instead of rejoicing that God had raised up someone to slay the giant Goliath, Saul became jealous and resented the fact that David received more praise than he did. Soon the king became suspicious and fearful because he knew he’d lost the Lord’s favor, which was now being shown to David instead. In desperation, Saul plotted to kill him.

Although the details of your life differ from Saul’s, the steps to bitterness and ruin are the same. Has jealousy poisoned your mind? Have you allowed unresolved anger to fester? Whom do you avoid because of ill will? If any of these things apply to you, confess them to God. Then ask Him to reprogram your mind and emotions so the bitterness can be removed.

I Charge You

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

The Greek noun parangelia and its corresponding verb paranello appear six times in the book of 1 Timothy, translated as either “charge” or “commandment.” Paul was quite concerned for his young disciple Timothy and went to great effort to remind him of the truth and charge him to keep it and encourage its keeping in the lives of those in his care. Let us briefly look at these charges.

First, Paul wanted to charge Timothy to remain strong in his personal faith. “This charge I commit unto thee…that thou…mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience” (1:18-19). “I give thee charge in the sight of God….That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:13-14).

In a similar vein, Paul knew the dangers of false doctrine. “I besought thee…that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1:3). Following a discussion of specific false teachings (4:1-10) and their refutations, Paul concludes, “These things command and teach” (4:11).

Even those who nominally adhere to proper teaching need direction. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God” (6:17).

Living up to these charges (commandments) brings real benefit in this life as well as in eternity, as we see in our text a pure heart full of agape love, a conscience unfettered by sin and false doctrine, and a strong faith not weakened by hypocrisy. If we would be disciples, we should mind the charges given to Timothy. JDM

Insist on Sainthood

Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.1 Timothy 3:9

The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody of true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.

Clearly we must begin to produce better Christians. We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ. Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values. OGM009

It is well to remember that a new heart is one thing, and a pure heart is another. They are not synonymous. Any man can have a new heart which loves God and yet not possess a pure heart from which self, man-fear, love of praise and other like things are banished. SAN005-006

Prompt Action

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.Romans 10:17

In Ephesians 6:16, Paul refers to “the shield of faith.” Prayerfully, we must ask ourselves this question: How does faith act as a protective shield? First of all, we must understand what faith is and how the word is being used here by Paul.

A little boy, when asked to give a definition of faith, said: “Faith is believing something you know isn’t true.” Well, that is precisely what faith is not! Faith is believing what you know to be true! But it is even more than that—it is acting on what you know to be true.

Some people see faith as something vague and mysterious, but faith is one of the Christian’s most practical commodities. Take this verse, for example: “… faith without works is dead” (Jms 2:26). There is always the element of activity in faith; it prompts us to action. “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Heb 11:1).

Taking the shield of faith, then, is responding to the things the Devil hurls at us by the quick application of what we believe about God and His Word, the Bible. When Satan sends his “flaming arrows” in our direction, we can either stand and lament the fact that we are being attacked, or quickly raise the shield of faith and remind ourselves that the Devil is a liar from the very beginning. We affirm that because we are redeemed by the blood of Christ, the Devil has no legal or moral right to taunt us. But believing this is not enough; it must be acted on—and acted on quickly.

Prayer

Father, I see that when Satan throws his “flaming arrows” at me, I must act and act quickly. Help my faith to be so strong that it will not need a “jump start” to get it going. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jms 2:14-26; Heb 11:1; 1Jn 5:4

How are we justified?

Write out your definition of faith.

Daily Bread

Give us today our daily bread.Matthew 6:11

Jesus often reminded His followers not to worry. He told them not to be anxious about tomorrow’s needs or potential problems (Matt. 6:25). Rather, Jesus stressed a daily reliance on the Father, who provides for His children day by day.

As the Israelites wandered in the desert, they had no way to get food. Miraculously, God provided manna that appeared on the ground each morning. God’s provision was sufficient for one day at a time. Each day the children of Israel received fresh manna as a tangible reminder of God’s love for them. If they attempted to store it for the days to come, they found that it had spoiled by the next day. It was impossible to stockpile God’s provision, because God wanted them to trust in Him, not in their pantry. God’s grace was sufficient for each day.

God wants us to trust Him daily with our needs. This trust does not make us poor planners or careless with our futures, unprepared to face what may come. Rather, it keeps our relationship with the Lord in its proper perspective as He reminds us daily of our dependence upon Him. God is aware of what tomorrow will bring and how we should prepare for it. He knows the problems we will face, and He has already made provision for us to overcome them. He asks us to trust in Him daily. Our faith in Him today cannot substitute for our trust in Him tomorrow. If we walk with Him closely today, we will be in the center of His will tomorrow.