Thursday, June 27, 2024

Who Taught You That?

"But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
For I neither received it from a man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Galatians 1:11-12 (NKJV)

In the different schools I have attended, I have been taught many things.  And not only have teachers in school taught me things, but I have also learned things from friends, from pastors, and various other people, in different settings, seminars, and conferences.  But, while what I learned and what someone taught me might sound good, was it true and accurate?  If someone was just giving me their opinion, and it was wrong, that would be bad.  For what I was taught to be good and helpful, it had to be true.

Once, as I was talking with a friend, they told me about something they said they were taught by a pastor, and this friend asked me what I thought about it.  My first reaction was that I did not think this idea was something that could be proven from the Bible, and I gave my friend some verses that I believed would be helpful, to show them the truth about the topic.  Later on, I had this thought, "Well, you had to be taught that by some pastor, because you certainly were not taught that from the Bible."

In Galatians 1:11-12, Paul said that he learned the Gospel message from God, not man; his source for what he believed was not just some man.  While God does work through people to teach us things, we must focus on what God is saying to us through these people and not on the people themselves.  Just because someone says something that sounds exciting, new, nice, or whatever, it does not mean it is correct, it must agree with the Bible.  For what people teach us to be good and helpful, it has to agree with the Bible and biblical principles.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

What Do You Do With It?

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life - "
1 John 1:1 (NKJV)

It is one thing to have something, but it is another thing to make use of what you have.  You might own a nice car, but never drive it, you could have some music and never listen to it, or you could have food in your home and never eat it.  Just the fact that you have something, or you have seen something, does not mean it is a part of your life or that it is of any benefit to you.  It would be strange to have something useful and then just put it on a shelf or ignore it.

The Apostle John was one of the twelve disciples who was with Jesus during His earthly ministry.  John did not just have a relationship with Jesus from a distance, John spent time with Jesus and did things with Him.  John had a personal relationship with Jesus, and John followed Him and did the things that Jesus told him to do.  John did not just know about Jesus or spend some time near Him, John had a living relationship with Jesus that was a vital part of his life.

In 1 John 1:1, John talks about his relationship with Jesus saying that Jesus was someone he heard about, he had seen, he gave his attention to, and he had direct contact with.  John did not just have knowledge about Jesus from some textbook, John was in a living relationship with Jesus.  Our relationship with Jesus, with God, and everything Jesus provided for us, is not just something we should have on a shelf, so to speak, or something we only deal with on Sundays or in an emergency, it needs to be an active, living part of our life.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Filled With What?

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

If you had a container of some kind, you could fill it with whatever you wanted to.  If you had a bottle, a box, or something similar, the space in this object could be filled with one thing, or a mixture of things.  For example, you could fill a bottle with water, milk, or some other liquid.  If you had a bottle already filled with water, you could also add milk to that, and that bottle would still be full, but it would no longer just be filled with water.  Once you fill the bottle with something, it will be full.

In Colossians 1, Paul prayed that the believers in Colosse would be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  In Colossians 1:10-11, Paul talked about the results of being filled with the knowledge of God's will: a life that is worthy of God, fully pleasing God, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, and being strengthened with all might by His power.  If we have a mixture of God's will, our will, and something else, will we have the results Paul prayed about?

If we are filled with the knowledge of God's will, as Paul prayed for the believers in Colossians 1:9, then we would not really have room to be filled with something else.  Paul prayed that these believers would be filled with the knowledge of God's will, not that the knowledge of God's will would just be an optional addition to their own will.  God wants us to know His will and to live the life He has planned for us, but the only way to do that is to know and be filled with the knowledge of God's will, and then do His will.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

That Is Not A Real Lion

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV)

Recently, I was out taking a walk, and as I went by some trees, some birds came flying out making a lot of noise.  My guess was that they had a nest nearby and they did not like me getting too close to their nest.  While this chirping that the birds were making was a bit annoying, it only lasted for a minute or so as I walked by, and there was never any real danger.  The birds were not going to swoop down and carry me away or really hurt me somehow.  The noise they were making was just to try and scare me away, but they could not do me any real harm.

The Bible makes it clear that we have an enemy, the devil, who will do everything he can to keep us away from God's Word and the plan of God for our lives.  The Bible also makes it very clear that Jesus defeated the devil, and while the devil is still out there, he is actually powerless to destroy us, because Jesus stripped him of his power.  The devil still exists, and although he cannot really harm us, he will make as much commotion in our life as he can to try and get us off course.

Some Christians fail to understand the point that Peter makes in 1 Peter 5:8-9, that while the devil walks about as a roaring lion, he is not a real lion.  The devil would like us to believe he is big and powerful and ready to destroy us.  He will "roar" by bringing thoughts of defeat and failure to our mind, but, as Peter tells us, we need to resist the devil and stay firmly rooted in God's Word.  As we stand in faith on God's Word, knowing that Jesus won the victory for us over the devil, we can resist the devil and not allow his work to hinder us in our walk with God.