Without a great name!
Without ten thousands of other things!
BUT HE CAN NEVER GO TO HEAVEN WITHOUT CHRIST!
Without a great name!
Without ten thousands of other things!
BUT HE CAN NEVER GO TO HEAVEN WITHOUT CHRIST!
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto my; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
In My Father’s House
There is a view which believes the Father’s house is the church and the mansions are the dwelling places within the church where the people of God now reside because 1 Timothy 3:15 says, “…the house of God, which is the church of the living God…” But although the family of God is presently located in both heaven and earth (Eph.3:14-15), our spiritual citizenship is still in heaven (Phil.3:20). Furthermore, the Father’s house could not be the church since the church did not begin until after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection when the gospel of Christ was first preached in Acts chapter two. However, when Jesus spoke of the Father’s house in John 14:2 he said there “are” in existence, already at that time, mansions/dwelling places in his Father’s house. Moreover he said, “if it were not so, I would have told you.” This is proves unequivocally that the dwelling places in the Father’s house were in existence well before the church came. So the only logical explanation for the location of the Father’s house would be in heaven. Jesus said his Father was in heaven (Matt.5:16,45,48; 6:1,9; 7:11,21; 10:32-33; 12:50, etc.). “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said Father…” (John 17:1). When the Father communicated with Jesus and with others it was from heaven (Matt.3:17; 17:5). Jesus said, “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28). See, it makes perfect sense that the Father’s house, “his dwelling place,” is in heaven where he is (1 Kg.8:39,43). In addition, Jesus spoke of what he knew was in the Father’s house. But Jesus came from heaven (John 3:13; 6:38; 8:23), and went back to heaven (Acts 1:11; 2:32-33; 7:56; Heb.8:1; 1Pet.3:22). Therefore, the Father’s house again must be in heaven. “The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth” (Ps.33:13-14).
God is love (1 John 4:8,16). His agape love is one of his moral attributes which always works in the best interest others and was demonstrated in the sending of his Son in our behalf (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10). His love was not extended because we were worthy or deserving. On the contrary, the entire human race of accountable age has inexcusably transgressed (Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 3:4; 5:17), and deserve spiritual condemnation (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14; 21:8). Since, God is a just/righteous God (Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4; Rom. 3:26) our transgressions must be punished (Ex. 32:33; Nah. 1:3). This alone would have made it impossible for anyone to have a right relationship with him and be saved. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Is. 59:2). However, our loving compassionate Creator made a way through Christ when there appeared to be no way for man to be redeemed. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, vs. 6,10; 2 Cor. 5:21). “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” (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:7).
Jesus, in possession of eternal life and death made the following affirmations: I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35). I am the Light of the World (John 8:12). I am the Door (John 10:7,9). I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). I am the True Vine (John 15:1,5). “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18). Jesus is heaven’s authority who is willing and able to grant salvation to a world that is underserving of it because of his love (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; 4:12). However, his love must be reciprocated.
One asked the Lord, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). His reply, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (10:27). If one truly loves the Lord they will yield to his will. As a matter of biblical fact, it is required. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15,21,23-24; 1 John 5:3). This would entail becoming a Christian the way bible teaches through belief, repentance, confession, and water baptism (Acts 2:36-38; 8:35-39). Then, one would daily affirm their love through faithful obedience (Rom. 16:19; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 5:9). “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Loving the One who loved us is not a difficult thing when you understand. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
After the Sunday evening service we were returning home with our little three-year old grandson. Quitta had just said; “He got a lot of hugs and hugged a lot of people.” There was a moment or two of silence after which the three-year old said: “Grandmother; How do you hug God?”
Sometimes the super-simplicity of a child’s thinking brings a complete principle home. He had spent a day in which there were lessons on loving God. He was impressed by this. He knew that people hugged him because they love him. He hugs people because he loves them. He loves God because his teachers have pointed out what God has done for us and because God loves him. Therefore, it was natural to wonder, “How can I show God that I love him?” This is a worthwhile question for us all to consider.
We live in a decade that has been characterized as spawning the “My generation.” We are in love with things and we want those things to be “our things.” Our generation says; “If a rule or commandment interferes with what we want to do, I will ignore it.” We say we love God because of his bounty, but we will not allow him to interfere with our will or what we want to do. We would like to be able to give him a hug and say, “See you again soon!”
Jesus said in John 14:15 “If ye love me; keep my commandments.” Then in John 14:23 he said, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.”
With Christ it was a simple matter, He is observing by the way we live our lives if we love him.
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR GOD LATELY?
We have not only heard it said, but have also said it many times, “Please pray for me.” The good thing is many people have faith in God and believe in the awesome power of prayer. James, in his fifth chapter of the Bible book bearing his name, used the Old Testament prophet Elijah as an illustration of the might of prayer. He said the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much and then told how Elijah, a person much like ourselves, prayed that it would not rain, and it did not. Afterwards, when Elijah prayed for it to rain, it did (vs.16-18). Elijah’s prayer was not answered because of “who” he was, but because of “how” he was. Elijah was a righteous man which is how all of God’s people should be.
“Please pray for me,” is asked to get others to petition God on their behalf. It is probably the number one thing asked of Christian people. No doubt because most people understand that a prayer is more likely to have success coming from a person with a godly life than a Godless life. They see and believe that God is committed to people who are committed to him. James did say the prayer of the “righteous” avails much (v.16). Peter concurred. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12). One must be righteous (living right) to gain results. But what about the quality of the prayer requests?
Many prayer requests are honorable in nature. They range from health concerns to trying to provide for families. These requests are usually seeking spiritual assistance in obtaining God’s favor. They seek out good Christian people to pray along with them (Acts 12:5,12).
Many prayer requests are with covetous motives. They are lustful and materialistic and only want “things;” [house, car, money] (Lk. 12:15; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). It never crosses their mind that if they requested to be a better Christian and worked at it, God may bless them with those things.
Many prayer requests are without understanding. These are from folks who refuse to obey God but want Christians to ask God to bless them while they live in sin. They fail to see they will never be blessed until they are spiritually able to pray for themselves (Is.59:1-2; Ps. 66:18).
All prayer requests acknowledge God. Asking others to pray to God for you is an admission that you believe in God and that he can help you. This is true, but also conditional. God will do his part when we do ours. We must become and live as faithful Christians (Jn.9:31; Rev.2:10).
Your whole family needs to be in bible study every Sunday. All of you should stay for worship. You all should come back Sunday evening and on Wednesday night. Which of you can truthfully say; we do not need Christian influence in our lives? We should each have the mindset of feeling that the Sunday school class, the morning and evening services and the mid-week bible studies would not be the same if I am not there.
Don’t say, “They won’t miss ME.” Think of the importance that ONE hole in a boat can sink it. ONE fuse blown means darkness. ONE false alarm can cause panic. ONE mischievous boy can break up a school. ONE wayward child can break a mother’s heart. ONE sinful act can ruin a life. ONE lie can destroy confidence in you. ONE backslider can grieve the Holy Spirit. So, YOU are important; EVERYONE is!
ONE visitor brought to every service by every service by every member would DOUBLE our attendance at every service. ONE additional dollar contributed by each member would increase or missionary and benevolent programs. ONE person converted by every Christian each year would mean the world for Christ in ONE generation. ONE prayer and ONE scripture reading every day could make for greater spiritual growth among us.
Yes, YOU count for ONE by your presence, your prayers, your contribution, your influence and your daily life. YOU count for ONE; a most IMPORTANT “ONE”
“The most important statistic is not the number you can count, but the number you can count on.”
“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body” (Ephesians 2:16).
God has been working through Christ since Jesus came from heaven reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). And for people to take advantage of this supreme opportunity to “be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20), the reconciliation must take place God’s way. Notice in Ephesians 2:16 that the plan of reconciliation is for “both.” The context explains “both” as being “Jews and Gentiles” (vs. 11-13), meaning reconciliation is possible for everyone since Jews and Gentiles represent all people. However, observe how all reconciled persons must be reconciled into the “one body.”
There is just ONE body (Eph. 4:4). The church is His body and the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). So, to be reconciled into the one body is to be reconciled into the one church. Jesus only established one church (Matt. 16:18), purchased one church (Acts 20:28) and gave Himself for one church (Eph. 5:25). The one church of our Lord, only soul-saving institution on the face of the earth, has many congregations in various communities all over the world with the same doctrine (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 1:3), same worship (John 4:23-24; Acts 20:7) and same practices (1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 3:16). It is like there is only one McDonald’s, but many McDonald’s stores in various communities that all have the same menu and all makeup the one McDonald’s restaurant.
This one authorized church of the Bible is the only church that people can be reconciled to God through because it is the only church they can be saved through! “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). When people correctly respond to the gospel invitation through belief (John 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:3,5), confession (Matt. 10:32-33) and water baptism (Acts 2:38,41; 8:36-39; 10:47-48; 22:16), the Lord reconciles them by “adding” them to the one body, which is His church (Acts 2:41,47; 5:14; 11:24).
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things”. Philippians 4:8
Here Paul gives us a picture of a peaceful, happy mind, and the formula for making it thus. By thinking on the true, honest, just, pure and lovely things of life, which are virtuous, and of good report, we cultivate a habit of higher thinking which leads us to a higher level of speaking. As a result, the world sees a happier, more pleasant Christian; one who is not proned to be moody and depressed; one that can see God in all that is around him. It is a fact that our thinking controls our speaking, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee”. Proverbs 23:7. Also “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34. Since our thinking produces our speaking, and our speaking governs our influence, it is vitally important that our thinking be under complete control and in absolute harmony with God’s word or the results can be damning. This cannot happen in an instant or in one day or week. Neither does it just “happen”. I believe that the way to think, speak, and render the proper influence, today, is the way the Psalmist learned to do it. He said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11
The person who has the word of God in his heart cannot have hatred in his tongue or mis-conduct in his life, for from the inner man, the outer man is directed.
There are times in life when God feels far away. It is usually when adversity strikes, things are tough, and aren’t going well. But, scripture reminds us that even though God may seem far away, he never really is.
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.” (Acts.17:26-27).
GOD’S IMMENSITY. God is never far away because of his immense size. “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” (Jer.23:24; 2Chr.6:18). Trying to escape God’s sight is like a tiny red ant trying to escape ours. He may be unaware we are watching and even believe we are far away because of our enormous size when we are right there all along.
GOD’S OMNISCIENCE. God cannot be far away from anything or anyone he thoroughly knows inside and out. He knows everything; our thoughts, our ways, and what we are going to say even before we say it (Ps.139:1-4; Jn.2:24-25). “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18). God fully understands how we feel and what we go through (Heb.4:15). Therefore, he is never far away.
GOD’S OMNIPRESENCE. God is not far away because he is everywhere. There is no escaping his presence. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up to heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” (Ps.139:7-8). Wherever we are, God is there. “For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.” (Job 34:21).
God is never far away, but his help and salvation are far from the wicked who refuse to do his will (Ps.119:155; Is.59:1-2). Nevertheless, he is always near and willing to help those who do his will (Ps.34:15-17; Pr.15:29).
I stumbled across an old adage again that is mainly of interest to those who try to grow things but the principle involved has application to everything we do. The saying went like this: “The best fertilizer is the farmer’s footprints.” The message it tries to get across is that to be successful at growing anything the care and attention given is going to have more to do with the success of the venture than any other one thing. You can immediately see all the applications. The best nutrition for a child is the love and nurture provided by loving and attentive parents. The best thing for a marriage or any other relationship is the attention given it. The most important thing for success in a business or profession is the personal attention given. And the most important contribution given a church is the care, love and devotion provided by sincerely concerned members who focus their attention on the needs of all the other members of the church and unsaved members of the community and world.
The book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 16 informs us that the whole body is “fitly framed together by that which every joint supplieth.” In this simile “every joint” is referring to every member. Our trouble often comes from the fact that there are too many members within the church (the body) who fail to provide the help that God is looking for them to supply. When a member, any member, fails to do all he can, the church is going to suffer. There’s no way that the devastation from this lack can be avoided. The best program for the growth of the church is a program that finds every member being concerned and working diligently to find and do everything he can. It can’t be a matter of waiting to be told to do things. We each have different abilities and those must be put to use. It is only in this way that success in the work of the church can come about.
Another adage, or old saying, is in the form of a question: “if every other member were just like me, what kind of church would this church be?” The question is valid because the growth of the whole is dependent upon what is going on with each member.
Each can do something about it, but too many look to everybody else to do the supplying. When we all study, pray, do and say all that God requires, the church will grow and prosper. That’s what we want isn’t it?
A phrase in an old parlor game they used to play said, “Get to work and show your trade.” By your pantomiming you demonstrated who you were. It still works that way.