Many in the religious world are confused in thinking that the kingdom of God has not yet been revealed, but such thinking would have been a shock to Paul and the first century Christians. The brothers and sisters at Colossi were told:
“giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,in whom we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12-14).
Through faith in the gospel of Christ, the citizens of Colossi had become present-day citizens of God’s kingdom, and we can do the same (Philippians 3:20).
The kingdom of God is present in the world today, but it is not a kingdom that originated with the world (John 18:36). God’s kingdom is not limited by physical borders (Luke 17:20-21), nor does it suffer from political turmoil as the leadership remains the same at all times (1 Timothy 6:15). It’s a kingdom of citizens who seek to serve (Luke 22:24-26). It’s a kingdom open to all but entered into by few (Matthew 7:21; John 3:3-5). It’s a kingdom started by the love of God and kept by the strength of God so you can be a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:28-29). EA
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
The church and the world have not always gotten along. Actually, a church that follows God can never get along with the world (John 15:18-20; 1 John 2:15-17). The word “church” literally means the “called out.” Called out of what? Out of the world! That means separate, distinct and different from the world (1 Peter 1:13-19; 2 Peter 1:1-11).
Despite the stark contrast desired by God between the church found in the New Testament and the old dying world (Philippians 2:12-16) there are churches today that the world loves because the love of the world is rooted deeply within them. Some have gone as far as to send out surveys on how to make the church more “attractive” to the public! A warm relationship between a church and the world is usually an indicator of a cold relationship between that church and God.
“O you who are false to God, do you not see that the friends of this world are not God’s friends? Every man desiring to be a friend of this world makes himself a hater of God.” (James 4:4 – Basic English Version)
The church that Jesus loves and the church that the world loves are two different churches in holy behavior and sincerity. Many may disagree but the second and third chapters of Revelation clearly show this to be true when Jesus talks to His churches. The gospel of Christ is meant to be preached with love but also with a call for repentance and separation from the ways of the world (2 Corinthians 6:17,18) and the scriptures plainly teach that the church and the world are meant to be on two visibly different courses (2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 2:11,12).
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
The church is not taught to withdraw itself from the world in love, concern, mercy, guidance and compassion so that the gospel of Christ is kept hidden from the lost but we are taught to withdraw in a way so that the lost can see a difference in the desires of the church and in the desires of world. What I am saying is that the Bible teaches that the church is called to love the individuals of the world, but churches have confused that with wanting to be loved by the world. When the world loves a church there is something wrong with that picture. (more…)
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.” (Mark 6:1-3)
There were no parades for Jesus when He returned to His hometown of Nazareth. He came to build up their faith but they had too poor of a foundation to work with. The hands that built the world (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15,16; Psalm 95:5) were looked upon with disdain in His own neighborhood simply because, in their eyes, they belonged to a lowly Carpenter. But did you know that is exactly what made them so special.
Jesus’ reputation was spreading and His lessons were impossible to refute but the eyes of most in Nazareth were blinded with prejudice. He was only a simple man to them. No one else in His family was special as far as they were concerned. Why should Jesus be any different from them? But He was different for the very reason that Nazareth thought He was same as them…it was because of His hands. (more…)
Time to get a little personal but I’m going to keep this as short as possible. Today is my wife’s birthday! If there is one birthday that I can appreciate because of the effect it has had on my life it’s hers. God has used her in so many ways to bless me in my relationship with Him. She is in my life because of His providence. Google “providence” and you’ll probably get Rhode Island…ask me about providence and I’ll tell you about my wife.
Her family for the last several generations has lived in the exact same area that we now live. She has never lived further than a mile away from the place where she was brought home as a baby. I on the other hand am a different story. My family did not come from where I live now. At least the last 5 generations of my family started in West Virginia and because of hard times the whole family up and moved all the way to Chicago to find work (and unknowingly to my family even my future father-in-law did for a while too). They settled in and made a living. Big city Chicago is where my father met my mother and when they were both around twenty I said hello to the world (unplanned on their behalf I might add). Thankfully Chicago is not the place where my wife and I would meet though. Right about now is when I can see and really appreciate God’s providential picture for my life. (more…)
Can a person do enough good deeds to be considered a saint? Can a person be a saint but still sin? Can a person be considered a Christian but not be considered a saint? Should saints be prayed to? Who decides whether or not a person should be called a saint? Is the only saint you can think of a player for the New Orleans football team? Do you know the answer to these questions? Within this relatively short article it is my aim to answer the above questions clearly and scripturally…except for maybe that New Orleans one.
Can a person do enough good deeds to be considered a saint? No. A person does not earn the title of saint like they earn a merit badge. A person can no more earn his or her “sainthood” than he or she earns their salvation. Saints make good deeds a part of life; good deeds in life, in and of themselves, do not make saints and that includes “working miracles” (Romans 12:13; 16:1,2; Hebrews 6:9,10).
Can a person be a saint and still sin? Yes. Being a saint does not mean being perfect! Saints are not perfect people – saints are people being perfected through the work of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:8-17). Was Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Silas or any of the other apostles perfect? Who (biblically speaking) would dare not to call them a saint? (Ephesians 3:7,8) Saints are not sinners, but saints are not sinless through their own actions (1 John 3).
Can a person be considered a Christian but not be considered a saint? (more…)
Many homes in the church are suffering from a bad dose of worldly thinking when it comes to the family and the arrangements God has given. His design has been clear for thousands of years despite the political, cultural and even “religious” attempts of the past and present to cloud it up. God takes the family and the roles He has designated seriously whether we decide to or not.
Marriage is meant to come before “shacking up” and “baby-making.” Playing house will never be the same as the real deal (John 4:16-18). The wrong attitude toward this is dangerous and calling it whatever we want will not change what it is; it can and will cost a person their soul! (Hebrews 13:4)
Biblical marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman alone! One at a time! Designed to last a lifetime! Fornication is the one and only exception! (Matthew 19:1-9) God is more concerned with holiness than with happiness. A match made in heaven must first have heaven’s blessings. (more…)