Interference with Respect for God

2 Peter 1:10-17

By disrespecting people in authority, God is disrespected (Rom 13:1-2). He (our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) must be considered with the greatest seriousness and respect, because there are severe consequences for failing to do so (Num 20:12).

I. INDIFFERENT TO GOD

A. “I don’t care what He thinks” (Luke 18:1-5)

1. Instead: Fear His word (Isa 66:2)
2. Instead: Neglect NOT His salvation (Heb 2:1-3)

II. HUMANIZING GOD

A. “He thinks like I do” (Psa 50:16-23, 21)

1. Instead: Submit to His mind (Isa 64:8; 2 Cor 3:18; 2 Pet 1:4)

III. CONFINING GOD

A. “He is not relevant to what I’m doing”

1. Instead: Do ALL in His name (Col 3:17, 23-24)

IV. MOCKING GOD

A. “He is not frightening” (Gal 6:7-8; Psa 36:1; Mal 1:6-8; Isa 1:10-15)

1. Instead: Fear His judgment, Obey His word (Ecc 12:13-14; Prov 28:9)

Respect Him with all your being (Matt 22:37)
No respect, no kingdom (Luke 7:57-62)
Show respect for Him (Matt 15:8)
Sustain respect for Him (2 Tim 2:15; 1 Pet 3:15)

“OMG” — Just an Expression?

Reese Witherspoon, the “Legally Blonde” star, recently appeared on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, “Chelsea,” where the guests talked about faith and death. I didn’t see the show, but saw a news clip. Witherspoon discussed the role of faith as she grew up in the South, her Episcopalian roots, and her disdain for using religion to promote hate. She commented that many people “use parts of the Bible to express their intolerance and their hate and they manipulate it.” Chelsea then asked, “Is there any way you feel that religion has held you back?” Somewhat bashfully Witherspoon recalled, “When I first started, when I was really, really young, it really bothered me taking the Lord’s name in vain. Because that’s a commandment! And it really bothered me!” Then she added, “And now I’ve grown as an artist and I understand that expression is a whole different thing.” “So, what do you understand more?” Handler pressed. “That it doesn’t mean as much as it did?” “No, it still bothers me,” Witherspoon responded with a laugh.

I’m afraid Witherspoon is like a lot of other folks, even some Christians, who do things the Bible condemns, but find a way to justify it. Taking God’s name in vain is pervasive in our culture today. “God,” “Jesus,” and “Lord” are often used in a flippant, frivolous, or even facetious manner. His name has become a by-word and an exclamation of shock, surprise, or amazement. What seems to escape so many that using God’s name in an off-handed way is disrespectful and profane. Too often we hear young Christians exclaim, “Oh my God!” OMG is frequently texted, tweeted or posted on Facebook as an expression of delight, alarm, or astonishment. I wonder if they even realize they are using the name of God in an unholy manner.

God was very clear in the Old Testament concerning a misuse and abuse of His name. One of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:7 is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” God’s name is holy and hallowed. “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (Exodus 22:32). It is summed up with God’s command to Israel in Leviticus 11:44. “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”

However, the name of God is more than just a name. Or title. Or designation. It speaks of His divine nature. His character. His personality. His attributes. His Deity. Profaning the “name of God” is more than using “Yahweh” in a flippant, vain, or unholy way. It is a disposition toward Deity. An unholy attitude toward the divine “God-family.” Jesus is called “the holy one of God” (Luke 4:34). The expression “name of Jesus Christ” is referenced 75 times in the New Testament. He is to be honored, respected, and glorified. The Spirit is called “holy” and He can be profaned, despised and insulted (Hebrews 10:29).

Jesus commanded in His mountain message, “Swear not at all” (Matthew 5:33-37). The Bible writer James repeated this prohibition, “My brethren, do not swear…” (James 5:12). Profane people are identified among those who are immoral, unholy and ungodly (1 Timothy 1:8-11). When we speak of Deity in a way that is unbecoming, unholy, or inappropriate we have profaned that which is hallowed. A lack of respect that speaks of the Father, Son or Holy Spirit in crude, calloused, or light-minded manner is not in keeping with our call to holiness.

OMG is not just an enraptured expression, but reflects our lack of respect for the holy name of Jehovah God. It should bother us enough to quit profaning His sacred name. Peter reminds us of God’s desire for his people. But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY” (1 Peter 1:15-16). – By Ken Weliever

Building Materials for Christ’s Church

Matt 16:13-28

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” The church reflects Christ’s interests, it advocates His ministry, it’s founded on His values. His church does not require the assistance of any other “church”. So, what kind of “materials” does He use to build His church?

I. THOSE WHO KNOW JESUS

Many opinions (Matt 16:13-14)

A. One truth (Matt 16:15-16)
1. Revealed by signs (Matt 16:17; John 3:2; 5:36; 20:30-31)
2. Revealed by words (Matt 7:29; John 3:34; 17:8; 14:10)
B. One church, One rock (Matt 16:18; Acts 4:11-12)

II. THOSE WHO LISTEN TO JESUS…

Many interferences (Luke 11:52; Matt 23:13)

A. …have salvation and eternal life (John 3:16; 6:63, 68)
B. …heed the apostles (John 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:13-14)
C. …are released from sin (John 8:31-32; Acts 2:38)
D. …have access to Him and His church (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:41, 47)
E. …enter the kingdom (Matt 18:19)
F. …submit to His authority (Matt 16:18-19)

III. THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE JESUS

A. Accept His cross and your cross (Matt 16:20, 21-27)
B. Accept His death as your death (1 Cor 15:31; Rom 6:3-6)

The wonderful promise of Jesus:
“The gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt 16:16)
The church Jesus is building will stand!
All others will fall!

The Tragedy of a Lost Soul

One of the striking things about the teachings of Jesus is the way He gets to the heart of every issue. There is no better illustration than the following: “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). According to the context, Jesus is talking about the value of the soul of a person, not his physical body. In reality, man is a soul. In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (a living soul, KJV)” (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). The questions Jesus raised in Matthew 16:26 have some sobering implications:

Humans possess an eternal, immortal nature. Mankind has a physical body and a soul or spirit. When a man dies, the spirit leaves the body (Jas. 2:26). Observe that James said, “the body without the spirit is dead,” not the spirit without the body is dead. The word of God teaches us that “the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). Jesus speaks of “both soul and body” in Matthew 10:28. Such false philosophies as atheism, humanism, and evolution deny this truth – that man has a soul or spirit. This makes man merely a physical creature with no more soul or spirit than a rock.

The soul is our most priceless possession. It is worth more than all material things combined. It is of divine origin (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 12:9), eternal in duration (Matt. 25:46); Mk. 9:43-46), and can transcend earthly relationships (Jn. 4:24). Concerning the soul, the Apostle Peter stated: “…you were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…having been born again not of corruptible seed but incorrupt-ible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:18-23).

The soul can be sold or exchanged. Some people exchange their souls for pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4). Others sell out for popularity, loving the approval of men more than the praise of God (Jn. 12:43). Many exchange their souls for the love of the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17). Then there are those who trade their souls for error and the false philosophies of men (Col. 2:8). Others trade their souls for material prosperity (Lk. 12:16-21).

Whatever the exchange, it is foolish and costly. The world and all that is in it can never satisfy the deep, vital need of the soul to be at peace with God. This world and all its material contents will ultimately be destroyed by fire (2 Pet. 3:10). At death, we must leave everything behind. The Apostle Paul stated: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7).

There is no loss as tragic as that of the soul. The loss of health, of a child, of one’s family, of one’s life in attempting to gain the “whole world” would be tragic enough, but they are not comparable to the losing of one’s soul. The damnation of the soul is a multiple loss: the beauties of heaven are forfeited and the agonies of hell must be endured forever. A lost soul in hell is everlastingly abandoned “from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thess. 1:9); there is no help or hope for such a horrible condition. A soul in hell is lost for all eternity!

What could possibly be more important to us than to obey “the gospel of Christ…the power of God to salvation” (Rom. 1:16) and do whatever the Lord commands and teaches in the New Testament for our soul’s eternal salvation. Jesus, while on earth, stated: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). — R.J. Evans

Dealing With Doubt

Matt 11:2-6; Prov 3:5-6

Doubt is a disease, a spiritual disease that can destroy our faith and trust in the Lord. But there is a cure for doubt; and from John the Baptizer we can learn what it is.

I. PROBLEMS OF DOUBT

A. Doubt is prevalent (Matt 8:26; Jude 1:22)
B. Doubt has many forms:

1. Factual (John 20:24-29; Matt 13:23)
2. Emotional (Matt 13:20-21)
3. Willful (Jewish leaders)
4. Honest (Mark 9:14-24)

II. CAUSES OF DOUBT

A. Persistent discouragement (John, Elijah, Many others)
B. Unfulfilled expectation (Matt 11:2-3; 3:12)

III. OUT WITH DOUBT

A. Act quickly (Matt 11:2-3)
B. Listen to the facts (Matt 11:4-5; Isa 61:1-2)
C. Talk with the Lord (Matt 11:3; Psa 73:12-20; Phil 4:5-6)
D. Keep the right friends (Matt 11:2; 1 Cor 15:33)

Happiness comes from dealing with doubt in these ways.
“Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Matt 11:6).