The Encourager

The Encourager

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Moses' Sin - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Moses’ Sin

by Jeff Curtis

 

After reading about Moses’ problems during the years during the years of wandering in the wilderness, we may share in his great sense of loss when God didn’t allow him to enter the Promised Land. Even more, we might be disillusioned by the fact that this great humble man of God sinned. Thinking about Moses’ failure shouldn’t cause us to worry, but it does call our attention to four important warnings.

  1.  Obey God exactly. When God said to “speak to the rock” and Moses struck

it instead, he disobeyed. We night think that Moses’ failure was a small thing, but God didn’t think so. Of His word requires us to do something, we shouldn’t even consider anything else. For example, God requires baptism, or immersion, for people today to be saved. We cannot expect to substitute anything else for that requirement and still receive the gift of salvation that God provides to the obedient (Hebrews 5:8,9).

  1. Honor God in everything. We should give God the glory for all that is good

in our lives. We cannot take credit ourselves for what God does through us and receive God’s approval. Rather than saying, as Moses did, “See what I can do,” we must instead say, “Look at what God is doing or has done” (Acts 14:27). We can, as Christians, “do all things” – but only through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We should give God the glory in everything we do.

  1. Be compassionate like God. In trying to be God’s people, we should learn to

be compassionate as He is. Perhaps God rejected Moses because of his impatience with His people. Moses was angry with the Israelites when he should have endured their mistakes. The New Testament requires us to share God’s love for the lost and forgive others as He forgives us (Luke 15). Just as Moses seemed to be too hard and impatient with the people, we can also be too critical and judgmental (Matthew 7:1-5). We can’t take judgment into our own hands.

  1. Realize that even good people can sin and suffer the consequences of sin. If

Moses believed that the years he had served God made him immune from sinning, he was mistaken. If he thought his close relationship with God guaranteed that he could never be the subject of God’s displeasure, he was wrong.

 

God could and did forgive Moses for his sin. We can be sure of that because Moses is in heaven (Matthew 17:1-5). However, Moses still had to experience the consequences for his sin. That is why he was taken up on the mountain to look into the Promised Land, rather than entering into it.

 

We can sin also, no matter how close we have been to God, no matter how much we have done for Him, no matter how long we have served Him in His kingdom. Paul warned Christians, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1Corinthians 10:12). God can and will forgive our sins, just as He forgave Moses’ sin (1John 1:9). Nevertheless, we want to be careful so that the consequences of sin will not hurt us or bring pain to others.

 

Numbers 20 paints a gloomy picture of sin, death, and defeat, but the next several chapters tell of Israel’s victories over the nations to the east of Canaan. Eventually, the people would enter the Promised Land. Their story reminds us that, no matter how dark the night, there will be “a shout of joy… in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Christians must hold on to hope, no matter how bad the circumstances seem to be at the present time. Even if we were to be disappointed in everything we try on this earth, “there’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar” (Sweet By and By; Songs of the Church). We should be looking forward to entering the land, our Promised Land.

Seeds and Soils - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Seeds and Soils

By Jeff Curtis

 

The earliest Christians knew that the key to teaching others was to sow the seed, a figure Jesus used to stand for the Word of God (Luke 8:11). The parable in which He used that figure contains three principles for teaching others about Jesus and His way.

 

  1. Expose all soils to the seed: The four soils that Jesus included in His parable 

– hard, rocky thorny and good – made up every kind of soil. Jesus said that all of the soils would have seed thrown on them. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John show that the seed was sown on all four soils. While one soil was accepting of seed, the other three types were shallow, distracted or hard.

 

  1. Acknowledge that the power to change is only in the seed: For seed to be

sown, there must be a sower; but Jesus shows that the true power for change is not in the sower or the way he sows. The real power is in the seed, God’s Word, which is the gospel message. Paul wrote that “the Gospel… is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). Often, good sowing of God’s seed means that we must patiently look for the right time to teach needed truths. The Christian faith is a taught faith. That teaching must take place before baptism, but additional teaching is required to nurture those who are baptized so that they will become full grown disciples who are then able to teach others (Matt.28:19-20).

 

  1. Accept that we cannot control the soil: What do the four soils have in

common? None can be controlled by the sower. We must never forget that the teaching of even the best teachers will often be rejected. Jesus’ own ministry proves this to be true. Many refused to hear the Master Teacher, but many others accepted Him, they told their friends and relatives about Him, and ultimately changed the world.

Everyone should have the opportunity to receive the Word. So, we need to keep sowing the seed.

 

Encourage One Another

by Jesse A. Flowers

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11, ESV).

A divine instruction given to every single Christian is that we are to give encouragement to our fellow brethren; that we are to strengthen one another in the faith of Jesus Christ; and if we are presently doing so, then we are to continue to do so. And here’s the thing... EVERYONE is in need of encouragement. We all need to receive it, AND we must be actively giving it to others. This was such an outstanding quality in our first century brother Joses that the apostles changed his name to Barnabas, meaning “son of encouragement/consolation/comfort” (Acts 4:36). In other words, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the apostle Paul is calling upon every disciple of Christ to be a son or daughter of encouragement to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Since every child of God experiences temptations, trials, sickness, death, disappointments, discouragements, and weariness, we all are in need of regular, genuine encouragement. Let us encourage our older members - those who are faithful in coming but often in pain; widows and widowers; our shut-ins. Let us encourage those who are married to non-Christians or divorced but remain faithful to the Lord. Let us encourage those who battle chronic illnesses and diseases. Let us encourage our Bible class teachers. Let us encourage our children and young people to put God first in their lives. Let us encourage elders, deacons, preachers (and their spouses) as they serve. Let us encourage younger men to be preparing themselves to be elders and deacons. Let us encourage those we know who are presently struggling with discouragement. And finally, as our brother Barnabas did, let us encourage all of our brethren “that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (Acts 11:23)

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