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I Usually Feel Better Afterwards

Saturday, August 06, 2022

I Usually Feel Better Afterwards

Wade Webster

For the next few weeks, we will be discussing some things that we have learned or can learn about worship from the gym. As strange as that sounds on the surface, and I agree that it sounds strange, I pray that you will stay with me through the series. I am convinced that in just a short time, we will all be in better shape for worship. Although I am thinking outside of the box, I assure you that I am not thinking outside of the book. I promise that the podcasts will be filled with Scripture and Scriptural application. Let’s start with this lesson: I Usually Feel Better Afterwards

I will admit it. Some days it is hard to go to the gym. Days when I am tired. Days when I have a million other things calling for my time and attention. Days when I am still sore from the last time that I was there. Those days are hard. However, when I make myself go, I usually feel better afterwards. Let me give you three quick reasons why that is the case. First, I feel better after I go to the gym because my conscience is clear. I know that I need to exercise. I know that it is good for my health and my heart. I know that exercise impacts both the quality and the quantity of my life. Second, I feel better after I go to the gym because exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are wonderful things. They are chemicals (hormones) that the body releases during exercise and other activities. It is believed that they reduce pain, increase pleasure, reduce stress/depression/anxiety, lessen inflammation, improve mood, boost self-esteem, support a healthy immune system, and improve memory and cognitive function. Third, I feel better after I go to the gym because exercise (perspiration) removes toxins from the body. As you likely know, we live in a toxic world. We pick up toxins in the things that we eat and drink, in the air that we breathe, and in the things that we touch. Exercise helps to cleanse our bodies of some of these toxins through perspiration. Now, you can see why I usually feel better after I go to the gym.

Let’s take this lesson that we learned at the gym and apply it to worship. Do you ever find it hard to go to worship? Likely, there are times that you do. Times when you are tired physically and emotionally. Times when your To Do list is longer than your arm. Times when you are treading water just to stay afloat. Although it is hard to get up and go to worship at times like these, we must push ourselves to go. Usually, when we do, we will leave feeling better. Burdens are lifted at Calvary and at worship. First, we leave worship feeling better because we have a clear conscience. The little prick of conscience that we feel when we miss the gym is nothing in comparison to the big prick that we feel when we miss worship. As much as we need the gym, we need worship more (Mt. 17:4; Heb. 10:25). The gym is good for us physically, but worship is good for us spiritually. It is good for our spiritual heart and health (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Second, spiritual endorphins are released during worship. Perhaps, you are thinking that you have never heard of spiritual endorphins. Well, you have now. I remind you that the New Testament routinely describes the church as a body. The church functions like the body in building itself up (1 Cor. 12:25-26; Eph. 4:16). Let me show you a Biblical context that speaks of the changes that take place within us as we worship - Psalm 73. You may recall that Asaph was very anxious and depressed when he came to the sanctuary. In fact, he was at the point of quitting (Psa. 73:2-15). However, time in the sanctuary changed all of that. Worship provided clarity of mind and focus. It reduced his stress and depression (Psalm 73:16-28). Asaph came weary, but he left recharged. He came confused, but he left with clarity of mind. He came weak, but he left strong. He came depressed, but he left with his spirit refreshed. Worship released some wonderful spiritual endorphins. Third, worship removes some horrible toxins. Although we are striving to stay pure from the world (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 6:17), we still pick up toxic attitudes and behaviors sometimes. Isaiah clearly understood this. When he found himself in the presence of a holy God, he cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts” (Isa. 6:5). Please note that Isaiah described himself as a man of unclean lips dwelling among people of unclean lips. It seems that Isaiah had picked up some of the toxic talk of his times. Likely, until he was in the perfect light of God’s holiness, he had not seen it. Now, he saw it, and it was bothering him. Thankfully, God sent an angel with a live coal to touch Isaiah’s lips and to purify them. The toxins were removed.

As we get ready to worship this week, we must not let anything keep us away. We need to be there. If we will push ourselves to go in spite of how tired or troubled we may be, I am confident that we will feel better afterwards.

Hear Ye Him!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Hear Ye Him!

David Sproule

Who are the most common people that we “listen to” today?  For some of us, it’s our mom and dad, or our grandfather or grandmother.  The wisdom of those generations is something we ought to cherish.  For some of us, we listen to what our friends have to say.  We care about what they think.  For some of us, we listen carefully to what a teacher says or what some scientist has discovered.  We respect those who are trained in certain fields.  For some of us, we listen to what police officers or judges say.  We hold up those individuals who have been charged with keeping and enforcing the law.  For some of us, we listen to what politicians say.  We expect our local, state and national leaders and representatives to look out for our best interests and communicate with us about what is happening.  For some of us, we listen to the media.  We look to those who have insight and access into matters that we do not and assume they will tell us the details of what we need to know.  For some of us, we listen to our inner voice.  We do those things that seem right to us in the moment.  There are certainly a lot of different “voices” that we listen to and pay attention to today.  However, are these the most trusted sources?  How can we be certain that we are not led astray down the wrong path?

In Luke 9, Jesus’ three close friends, Peter, James and John, were listening to Him and Moses and Elijah talk about Jesus’ impending death (9:31).  While listening to them, Peter apparently saw three equals in the conversation and suggested building three tabernacles for them to stay and continue talking, “not knowing what he said” (9:33).  The voice of God redirected Peter’s misstep and said, “This is my Son, my chosen; hear ye him” (9:35, ASV).  There were other great and powerful voices to hear that day (the voice of Israel’s lawgiver and the voice of the mighty prophet), but there was only one voice that mattered!  Hear ye JESUS!

There are many powerful voices out there that desire to be heard (and even demand to be heard, in some cases).  But, when it comes to those matters of ETERNAL consequence—such as holiness, righteousness, faith, salvation, baptism, the church, worship, morality, homosexuality, fornication, the sanctity of life, abortion, sin, etc.—the ONLY voice that matters is JESUS!  He has authority (Matt. 28:18)!  Hear ye Him!  His Word thoroughly equips us for all things (2 Tim. 3:16-17)!  Hear ye Him!  He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)!  Hear ye Him!  He will judge all mankind, at the end of time, by the standard of His Word (Acts 17:30-31; John 12:48).  Hear ye Him!

Don’t get caught up listening to the wrong voice!  There are so many loud ones, it’s easy to do!  Hear ye Him!

Making the Return of Christ Simple

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Making the Return of Christ Simple

David Sproule

The denominational world has surely complicated what the Bible teaches about the return of Christ.  They have added much to the simple information that we have in the Bible.  Let’s see just how simple it is.

(1) The timing of the return of Jesus is unknown and completely unpredictable (Matt. 24:36-44; 1 Thess. 5:2).  There will be no signs to indicate the time is near.

(2)  “All” of the “signs” in Matthew 24 before verse 34 were signs that would happen in that “generation” at the fall of the Jerusalem and destruction of “the temple” in A.D. 70. (24:1-34).  None of them apply to Christ’s coming at the end of time.

(3)  “Every eye will see” Jesus when He is “revealed from heaven” with “a shout” and “with the trumpet of God” (Rev. 1:7; Acts 1:9-11; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:16).  There will be nothing secretive about His return.

(4)  When the “last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:52) sounds on “the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), “all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth” in the same “hour” (John 5:28-29).  The Bible never places any amount of time between the resurrection “of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).

(5) The only people under discussion in First Thessalonians 4:13-17 are the “dead in Christ” and the “alive” in Christ at the time of His coming.  No one outside of Christ is in view.  On the same day, the dead in Christ will be raised, and then the alive in Christ will be “caught up” to meet them.

(6) Once everyone on that “last day” is removed from the earth (the dead and the living), the earth will “pass away” (Matt. 24:35), “with a great noise,” “the elements will melt with fervent heat,” and everything “will be burned up” and “dissolved” (2 Pet. 3:10-12).  Nothing will be left.

(7)  Christ established His promised kingdom in the first century, just as He promised to do (Matt. 4:17; 16:18-19).  The kingdom has been in existence since Acts 2 and Christians are part of it today (Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9).  Christ will not step foot on this earth again (1 Thess. 4:17; Acts 1:9-11) nor be coming to set up and reign over a literal kingdom for a literal 1,000 years.  Revelation is written in symbolic language (Rev. 1:1), including the events and time in chapter 20.

(8) At the time of Jesus’ return, He will “sit on the throne” and “all nations will be gathered before Him” (Matt. 25:31-32).  All will be judged on the same day (Acts 17:30-31).

(9) Christ will sentence the “righteous” to “eternal life” and the unrighteous to “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46).  The eternality of both realms is firmly established.

A lot is going to happen on that “last day.”  But it is not as complex or drawn out as some try to teach.

Fight The Good Fight – Part 4

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Fight The Good Fight – Part 4

Wade Webster

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:11-16).  In the past installments of this study, we examined the contrast, the commission, and the charge of the Christian soldier. In this installment, we will notice one final thing.

The Commander

“Which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:15-16). Imagine serving under Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Patton. What an honor that would have been. We have an even greater honor. We don’t serve under just any commander. We serve under Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. In Revelation, we read, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14; cf. 19:16). We serve under “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Notice the word “only.” This word puts Jesus in a class by Himself. Furthermore, notice that He “alone has immortality.” Not only is He the only King, He is the only one who has immortality or eternal life (1 John 5:11). Other commanders might lead us to physical victories, but Jesus alone can lead us to spiritual victories. Salvation from sin can only be found in Him. Peter declared, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul continues by pointing out that Jesus dwells in unapproachable light and is deserving of great honor. Finally, Jesus possesses eternal power. If He is for us, no one can be against us (Rom. 8:31). We will enjoy victory through Him. Paul wrote, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:57-58).

Since every Christian is a soldier (Eph.6:10-17), these verses have something to say to all of us. Each of us should stand out as soldiers. We should be known for what we flee from, for what we follow after, and for what we fight for. Each of us should honor the confession that we made when we were commissioned. Each of us should keep the charge that we were given to obey the commandments. Finally, we should rejoice that we serve the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Fight The Good Fight – Part 3

Saturday, July 09, 2022

Fight The Good Fight – Part 3

Wade Webster

In the first two installments of this study, we examined the contrast between Timothy, a man of God, and other men, we designated as men of gain. Timothy was different in what he followed after, fled from, and fought for.  This week we will see two more points about fighting the good fight (1 Tim. 6:11-16).

The Commission

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). Please note that Paul spoke of Timothy’s call and confession. You might think of this in terms of an officer’s commission and oath. Like all Christians, Timothy had been called by the gospel. To the saints at Thessalonica, Paul wrote, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:13-15). Timothy had been commissioned by Christ, the Commander in Chief, to be a soldier (Eph. 6:10-17). He had taken the oath or made the good confession (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37). He was determined to keep that confession even if it cost him his life (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 10:23). Timothy was determined to please the one who had chosen him to be a soldier. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).

The Charge

“I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing” (1 Tim. 6:13-14). Please note that Paul was urging or charging Timothy in the sight of God to keep the commandments of God. He was to keep them without spot until the coming of Christ. No doubt, the language reminds us of the meticulous care that the soldier takes in preparing his boots and uniform for inspection. Everything has to be just right. Jesus had made the good confession before Pilate. It had cost Him His life. We read, “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest” (Matt. 27:11). Jesus was perfectly without spot or blame. Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:18-20). Though Timothy would never be as spotless or blameless as Christ, he could pass inspection. Jesus had done all things to please His Father. We read, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:28-29). He had performed all that had been asked of Him. He had kept the Father’s commandments. We read, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:9-10). Now, Timothy was charged to do the same. He was to walk as Jesus walked. John wrote, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6; cf. 1 Tim. 4:16; 6:20). Timothy was to strive to keep the commandments of God without blemish. We might think of the elite military guard that serves at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington cemetery. These soldiers spend hours preparing their uniforms and shoes for their guard duty which lasts only 30 minutes to 1 hour. These soldiers make a life-long commitment not to drink alcohol or swear in public. In like manner, we as Christians have made a commitment to live our lives in holiness.

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