While He Lingered...

Our daily bible reading schedule for this week includes a glimpse into the heart of Lot just prior to God’s execution of judgment upon the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  This revealing passage says, “And when the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up, take your wife and your two daughters, who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city” (Gen, 19:15,16).

Sadly, too many people make the mistake today that Lot made many years ago.  They linger in sin.  The bible tells us sin separates man from God and its wages are death (Isa. 59:1,2; Rom. 6:23). With one’s soul at risk of eternal loss, why would he linger?  Perhaps he does not consider the following results of lingering in sin:

His Heart Grows Hardened.  The Spirit explicitly warns that some will fall away from the faith, having a seared conscience (1 Tim. 4:1,2).

He May Run Out Of Opportunities.  Our lives are but a vapor  and we don’t know what tomorrow brings (James 4:14).  We should realize that now is the acceptable time to repent and obey (2 Cor. 6:2).

His Condition Remains Hopeless.  Lot’s condition was hopeless if he remained in the city.  Such is the same for the man who remains in his sins (Eph. 2:11,12).

Let the example of Lot convince us that lingering is folly and will result in eternal loss of our soul.  If you have sin in your life, please heed the advise of the old hymn we sometimes sing.  Your Savior is longing to bless you; There’s danger and death in delay.

Worthy Of The Gospel

Paul’s letter to the saints in Philippi overflows with joy and thanks- giving. Although it appears that the church was sound and doing a good work, Paul does not forget to encourage the Christians to walk along the straight and narrow path. He says, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27). This is earnest advice that we should heed today.

Paul was telling the Philippians that the way they conducted their lives should be good enough or adequate enough to be compared favorably with what Christ taught concerning such. Paul goes on to say their worthy lives must be evident. He says he wants to know, whether in their presence or away from them, that their conduct is becoming the name Christian. That leads us to a most important question: What does a worthy life look like?

Paul describes three characteristics of a life worthy of the gospel. First he tells the Philippians it behooves those who profess the gospel to strive for it. He wanted them to be “striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (1:27). Striving involves struggle, and may even involve fighting at times. Christians fight evil when they strive for the gospel. If our religion is worth anything, it is certainly worth everything. There is much opposition in this world and there is a great need for Christians to strive.

Secondly, Paul says unity of Christians (one spirit and one mind) is a necessity. He directs disciples to strive together and not against one another. A church will suffer and even die if unity is not maintained. The Corinthian church is a good example of a contentious church. Paul told them Christ was not divided and neither should they be. He said they were “of the flesh and behaving only in a human way” (1 Cor. 3:3).

Finally, Paul says the Christian’s steadfastness becomes the gospel. Back in the Corinthian letter he says, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Co. 15:58). Those who are on again, off again with the gospel and not fixed in their minds will never abound in God’s work. However, those who are steadfast can be certain their labor is not in vain.

Let us all heed the instructions of Paul. We should show a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ. We must strive together, steadfastly working, being unified in spirit and mind. Our salvation depends on this!

Foundational Scriptures

We talk frequently about being disciples and making disciples. The gospel tells men of the good news of salvation, and yet many do not accept the invitation to be Christians. The following foundational scriptures define the nature of the disciple.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they wor- shiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:16-20).

Discipleship is not an option like choices in a cafeteria. Jesus, speaking with heavenly authority, says he wants all men to be His followers. Something is lacking in all of us if we do not desire to be his children. Discipleship is open to all, but not all accept. Jesus says being a child of God depends on obedience (including baptism). Furthermore, being a follower of Christ means we obey all His commands as they are given.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:29)

In becoming disciples, we are conformed to His image; we be- come Christ-like. Obedience in baptism allows us entrance into he family of the redeemed and makes us brothers to Christ. Earlier in the chapter (8:12), Paul says we become heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. In Christ we have redemption, forgiveness and the inheritance of a heavenly home (Eph. 1:3-14).

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, 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" (Matt 11:27- 30).

Jesus offers to be our guide and instructor. He simultaneously offers us rest. If you’ve ever tried to learn a new language or skill, or tried to change a habit, you know it is hard work. Ironically, Jesus offers us rest while he helps us with the work of transforming our lives! Furthermore, becoming and being a disciple takes no special intelligence, high level of secular education or worldly wisdom. If we come to Him with simple open minds and soft hearts, Christ will reveal the Father to us.

Considering these passages, it’s puzzling why everyone doesn’t want to be a true disciple!

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