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Who Are You Going To Believe—God Or The Devil?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Who Are You Going To Believe—God Or The Devil?

David Sproule

The devil lies!  You know that, right?  You cannot believe or trust anything that the devil would have you to believe or trust!  What he tries to convince you to do is completely contrary to whatever God wants you to do.  Would you like some evidence?

In Genesis 2:17, God said, “…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Then twelve verses later, the devil boldly proclaimed, “You will not surely die” (3:4).  God said, “You shall surely die” and the devil said, “You shall not surely die.”  Who are you going to believe?

In Matthew 3:17, God announced from heaven (for the benefit of the witnesses and Jesus Himself), “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  A voice boomed from heaven and declared, “THIS IS MY SON!”  That’s not hard to understand.  Who could miss it?  Three verses later, the devil said to Jesus, “If You are the Son of God…” (Matt. 4:3).  What do you mean “IF”?  God just declared it to be so!  Who are you going to believe?

Do you see?  The devil lies!  He always lies!  Truly the devil “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).  You cannot trust him, and yet how often do we fall for his lies?

God said that there are only two genders, which are permanently identifiable and distinguishable from birth—“male and female” (Gen. 1:27; 5:2; Matt. 19:4).  But the devil says, “Don’t be so naïve and closed-minded!  Be respectful of how someone feels and let them be true to themselves!”  Who are you going to believe?

God said that marriage is only between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 7:2).  But the devil says, “Don’t be such a prude!  Marriage is for those who love one another, regardless of whether they are the same or different genders!”  Who are you going to believe?

God said that sex before marriage (i.e., fornication) or outside marriage (i.e., adultery) is sin (Heb. 13:4).  But the devil says, “What’s the big deal?  Don’t be so old-fashioned.  There is nothing wrong with it!”  Who are you going to believe?

God said that there is an eternal heaven for those who obey Him and an eternal hell for those who reject His will (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:46).  But the devil says, “Who cares about heaven and hell?  Nobody’s ever seen them!  Just live the way that makes you happy!”  Who are you going to believe?

God is truth!  The devil is a liar!  Who will you follow?

Jesus Spoke Faithfully

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Jesus Spoke Faithfully

Wade Webster

In last Sunday’s lesson, we examined how Jesus spoke that we might learn to speak like Him. We noticed that He spoke graciously (Lk. 4:22), boldly (John 7:26), plainly (John 10:24), authoritatively (Mt. 7:28-29), and wisely (Mt. 13:53-54). I intended to notice that Jesus spoke faithfully, but time and memory failed me. To complete the study, I am including it here.

Many verses in the gospel narratives reveal that Jesus faithfully delivered God’s word. Consider a few of them with me:

  • “Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things”:(John 8:28).
  • “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak” (John 12:49).
  • “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
  • “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me” (John 17:8).
  • “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).

This specific characteristic - faithfully speaking God’s word - had been prophesied concerning Him. Through Moses, God declared, “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).

If we are going to speak like Christ, we must also speak faithfully. Jeremiah declared, “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:28). In like manner, through Ezekiel, God declared, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-21). Paul is a good example of one who spoke faithfully just like Jesus. To the Ephesian elders, He declared, “How I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house…Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20, 26-27). Paul would encourage Timothy, his young son in the faith, to do the same. He wrote, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Timothy 4:6). Timothy was not to be like those who changed the message to fit the crowd. We read, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

Jesus spoke faithfully. He delivered the message that God gave to Him. If we are going to speak like Him, then we must do the same.

The Brunt of Our Infidelity

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Brunt of Our Infidelity

Wade Webster

Infidelity has long-lasting consequences. An interesting statement is found in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Numbers. “And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die’” (Numbers 14:26-35). The adults that failed to trust God and to take the land of Canaan felt the sting of their infidelity. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years or until they died, whichever came first. However, God said that their sons would bear the brunt of their infidelity. I couldn’t help but think of how true this is in multiple areas of life.

If we as Americans don’t remember the grace that God has shed on us, our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. The Bible warns, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). If we fail to make good moral choices, our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. Solomon declared, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). If we fail to remember the tremendous price that has been paid for our freedom, then our children will again bear the brunt of our infidelity (Lam. 1:5).

If we as husbands and wives fail to honor our marriage vows, our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. Malachi wrote, “And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?”Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously” (Mal. 2:13-16). Children that grow up in homes broken by infidelity often struggle in their own marriages. They often have trust issues and self-esteem issues. Parents, especially those guilty of infidelity, like to argue that their actions do not adversely affect their children. However, this is not the case. Sin shares its sorrows with the sinner and many more.

If we as Christians are not faithful in our relationship to God, our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. If we don’t make time for worship, for prayer, and for Bible study, our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. That is just one of many reasons why we must make these things a priority (Heb. 10:25; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:17). If we don’t seek God and His kingdom first, then our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. Jesus declared, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mat. 6:33). If our affections are not on things above, then our children will bear the brunt of our infidelity. Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:1-5). Infidelity to God will cost us our souls and may cost our children theirs through our negative influence.

Each of us must carefully consider the cost of our infidelity. It will cost us, but it might cost those who follow us even more. Our children may bear the brunt of our infidelity.

Returning to the Scene to Strengthen Souls

Saturday, January 07, 2023

Returning to the Scene to Strengthen Souls

Wade Webster

One of the most amazing scenes in the book of Acts is recorded in the fourteenth chapter. We read, “Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed” (Acts 14:19-23).

Jewish zealots pursued Paul everywhere he went. They had almost stoned him at Iconium (Acts 14:1-7). Somehow, he had escaped their grasp. At Lystra, they would catch up to him again. This time, they would succeed. (well, almost). Believing that Paul was dead, they left his mangled body in a bloody heap. These Jewish zealots must have strode away satisfied that they had finally silenced Paul. However, when the brethren gathered around Paul to collect his body for burial, he rose up. Battered and bruised physically, Paul departed from Lystra, and preached at Derbe. One can only imagine how sore and stiff that he was in the days following his stoning. There must have been deep bruises, painful abrasions, and broken bones. He must have looked like he had been run over by a dump truck.

Just as soon as Paul was well enough to travel, he was back on the road to Lystra. Why would he go back to the scene of the crime? Why would he go back to where he was stoned and left for dead? It wasn’t about him. It wasn’t a matter of getting back on the horse. It was about them. It was a matter of getting them to heaven. Having regained his physical strength, Paul was going back to strengthen their souls. After all, they lived among the rock throwers. Paul was going back to exhort them to be faithful, explaining that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God. It must have been encouraging for them to see Paul again. No doubt, when Paul limped out of Lystra after being stoned and left for dead, they must have thought that they would never see him again. Yet, here he was. He had not given up. He had not gone into hiding. It would take more than a few rocks to stop him. If Paul had not quit, how could they?

When we are tempted to quit (and we will be), let us remember Paul. Let us see him rising from that pile of rocks. Let us see him returning to that very spot to encourage others to remain faithful.

Twenty-Three Things To Do In 2023

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Twenty-Three Things To Do In 2023

Wade Webster

  1. Pray - “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Lk. 18:1).
  2. Read - “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim.4:13).
  3. Search - “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
  4. Meditate - “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psa. 119:15-16).
  5. Abstain - “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).
  6. Cast - “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
  7. Seek - “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
  8. Forgive - “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors” (Mt.  6:12).
  9. Invite - “Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’” (Mt. 22:9).
  10. Grow - “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18).
  11. Love - “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mt.22:37).
  12. Follow - “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:” (1 Pet. 2:21).
  13. Listen - “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Psa. 34:11).
  14. Trust - “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass” (Psa. 37:5).
  15. Forget - “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil. 3:13).
  16. Visit - “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (Jam. 1:27).
  17. Encourage - “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith” (1 Thess. 3:1-2).
  18. Serve - “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
  19. Purify - “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jam. 4:8).
  20. Thank - “On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the LORD: Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (1 Chron. 16:7-8).
  21. Add - “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:5-8).
  22. Obey - “He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9).
  23. Abide - “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

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