Is Your Heart Right with God?Thursday, February 23, 2023
By Sheldon Smith
When we look at the Lord's Supper in the book of 1 Corinthians, the concept of self-examination comes to mind.
1 Corinthians 11:23-29 reads:
"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself."
To further examine the concept of self-examination, let’s read Galatians 6:4:
"But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load."
Let us examine ourselves by testing our own works against the scriptures:
- Are we sewing from the Spirit?
- Are we harboring ill feelings for a brother?
- Are we talking to people about Jesus?
- Are we engaging in unfruitful conversations about others?
- Are you doing good works to Christians and neighbors?
- Are we hiding sin?
- Have we even put on Jesus in baptism in the first place?
- Are we worthy of the sacrifice Jesus made for us?
Of course, none of this matters if we are outside the Body of Christ. Through a comprehensive study of the scriptures, we will find that there are five things we must do to be saved:
- Hear the Gospel (Rom 10:17)
- Believe it (Mark 16:16)
- Repent of your sins (Acts 2:38)
- Confess that Jesus is the Christ...the son of God raised from the dead (Rom 10:9, 1 John 4:15)
- Baptism into Christ to wash away your sins (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 18:8, Rom 6:3) and add you to His church (Acts 2:47)
In baptism, we are buried with Christ putting the old person to death. The bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:11, "If we have died with him, we will also live with him..."
Is your heart right with God? If not, and if we can help you in any way, feel free to pay us a visit. You can also message us on Facebook or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putting God FirstMonday, January 16, 2023
By Sheldon Smith
We often hear people around us say they put God first. It is true that we must seek Him first but many people don’t know how to do that. It takes study, meditation and prayer. That means reading scripture, contemplating who the message is being given to and how it affects you, praying to God for wisdom through the Holy Spirit, and applying what you have learned to your life. It’s more than just an outward expression of faith but rather a true inward transformation.
If we put God first, He will provide. Matthew 6:31-34 reads, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
One cannot seek God without study. Proverbs 1:5 tells us,
“A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel…”
The Bible, God’s Word, is the wisest counsel of all and shows us how to put Him first. We cannot go wrong by learning through study and abiding by it.
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 3:14-17 tells us, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Through study, we achieve the level of learning necessary to impact our conduct. Matthew 11:29-30 reads, ”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.”
Ephesians 5:6-11 tells us, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;”
Are you truly putting God first? If not, would you like to discuss how you can become closer to Him? Feel free to pay us a visit. You can also message us on Facebook or send us an email to email@example.com.
Are You Driven by the Spirit of Christ?Wednesday, December 21, 2022
By Sheldon Smith
If we are driven by our desires for worldly gain, stature, and the pleasures of life, we cannot please God because our preoccupation is with pleasing ourselves. If we seek Him, learn about His will, and seek to please Him, only then can we inherit eternal life. What does the Bible say?
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
What is your preoccupation?
As a Dog Returns to Its VomitSaturday, November 19, 2022
By Sheldon Smith
One day while watching television with the kids in the family room, our dog – apparently having eaten something that irritated her stomach threw up on the carpet right in front of one of the sofas. The kids reacted in horror and even my wife was disgusted at the sight. But I decided to use the occasion as a teachable moment. I told the kids to leave the regurgitated dog food right where it was and that the dog would return to it. One of my daughters said, “Daddy that’s gross,” to which I replied, “Dogs return to their vomit – the Bible says so.” (Proverbs 26:11)
However, the more important message the bible is trying to teach us – one I had to take to heart as a young man – is this: Christ did not redeem me from my sin for me to return right back to it.
My Bible tells me to not be in bondage to sin.
2 Peter 2:20-22 reads:
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Once repenting of our sins and being redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ through baptism, we are freed – no longer in bondage – to that sin as the Israelites were free after fleeing from captivity in Egypt (Exodus 14).
Romans 6:1-14 reads:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
If we have sincerely put on Christ, then we have died to sin. The above scripture paints the picture of a believer – having repented of his or her sins – being buried in water as Christ was buried in the earth and rising up a new creature as Christ was resurrected. In this picture, the old sinful man who was in bondage to sin was put to death and a new, redeemed person rises having fellowship with Jesus through burial in water.
The grace provided to us by our Lord and Savior is part of a New Covenant between God and us. This covenant brought an end to the repetitive animal sacrifices required for sin under the Old Law or Covenant through the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made with His blood as His body hung on the cross. Each Sunday, we remember Christ’s death through communion (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34) and are reminded by the scriptures that our participation in this Lord’s Supper must be done in a “worthy” manner. To do so requires constant reflection and an understanding of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.
One way to make sure we are worthy is to walk vigilantly. Ephesians 5:15-21 tells us:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Are you tired of living in bondage to sin? Do you desire to walk in a newness of life? Are you interested in being baptized into Christ?
If so, feel free to pay us a visit. You can also message us on Facebook or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Being More Like SheepFriday, November 11, 2022
By Sheldon Smith
People tend to take that which is good and make it bad, and the concept of sheep has fallen victim to that tendency. The Bible tells us we should strive each day to be more like sheep. This world is not our home, and we should not spend the time we have left tangled in worldly affairs but instead choose to let our lights shine and try to influence others toward the narrow path that the Bible says few will find (Matthew 7:14) – likely because of prideful selfish desires that lead to factions and strife.
Hebrews 13:20-21 reads, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
We have a Shepherd in Heaven and in the church, we have shepherds. Our relationship to those shepherds is to be as sheep. As we submit to Christ, our Heavenly Shepherd, the scriptures equip us to do works that please Him, not ourselves (Colossians 1:10, 2 Timothy 3:16).
But what about the worldly activities that have so much of the world embroiled on controversy today? James 3:13-18 tells us, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
The world thrives on catering to the pride of life and the lusts of the flesh. The bible tells us in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
To be effective disciples, we must reject the ways of the world that tend to be divisive and self-driven and truly submit ourselves to our Heavenly Shepherd. We must strive to love God more than we love the world which will one day cease to exist. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, emptying ourselves of ourselves.
As disciples of Christ, we must bear good fruit based on God’s standard, not man’s. The Bible tells us what good fruit looks like. Galatians 5:22-26 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
Are you living by the spirit? If not, we are always glad to help wherever we can. Feel free to message us on Facebook or send us an email to email@example.com.