The Encourager

The Encourager

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THINK ON THESE by Mike Richardson

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he wrote the beautiful statement quoted above. Paul was instructing the Philippians to think on things that are pure, true, holy, and just. The word says in Proverbs 27:3 “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” So, without any doubt our thoughts are extremely important. Paul said, “Think on these things for without thought and investigation they never could do us any good.” In this article, it is my desire for us to stop and think about three different things are of the utmost importance. I want us to focus our attention and think about some things that are true, and which have to do with our salvation.

(i)Think about God’s Marvelous Bible. The Bible is the word of God! That very statement should make us shout AMEN! for that one statement teaches us all we know about life here and the life to come. Nothing is more clearly established then the fact the Bible is the word of God. God has made promises in this Book to those who obey and the Bible tells us all we need to know to get in a right relationship with God. The Bible is the only Book that tells us what God expects of us, how to be saved from sin. It is the only book that tells us why it was written, so that we might believe (Jno.20:31). It is the only Book that tell us about heaven and hell and life beyond the grave. Some wonder why they waver in faith, is it because we don’t spend enough time studying, reading, and thinking about the Bible. Think of all the people included in the Bible that took fifteen hundred years to write. Amos a vine dresser, Solomon a king, David a shepherd, Moses a statesman, Peter a fisherman, Paul a scholar all guided by the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. Yet, it fits together, consider the Bible and be amazed! (a)No Book ever had so much opposition as the Bible. Every individual who never obeys it opposes it. Men have tried to destroy it, discredit it, and deny it. Evil men hate it and modern day philosophy, science, and such belittle it. Why with all this opposition has this Book stood the test of time? Because it is the word of God! Men have died defending it, they have been burned at the stake, devoured by lions, had hot lead poured down their throats because they believed the Bible. Do you believe is the word of God and will you follow it even if it cost you your life?

(ii)Think About the Salvation of Your Soul. Many think about everything under the sun, but their soul. Consider for a moment what Jesus did to save your soul. Consider the torturous death He died on the cross. How can you not give your life to the One who gave His life on the cross for you? There is a great question Jesus asked in Mk.8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Think of hell where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched. Then stop and consider heaven where the roses never fade, and no tears ever fall. How much have you thought about your soul? This week have you thought more about work than you have your soul? Then you need to stop and rethink your priorities. Think about your soul. Be pardoned by the blood of Christ in obedience to His word (MK.16:16).

(iii)Think About the Judgment Day (I Thess.4:13-18). There will be a judgment day. The Hebrew writer states, “It is appointed unto man to diem then the judgment.” Have you ever meditated and thought about the judgment day? What will that day be like? When the day of judgment comes where will you be? Will you be on the right hand of God among the redeemed or on the left hand among the lost (Mt.25)? Have you thought about it? Think on these things.

OUR LORD’S SEVEN INVITATIONS by Mike Richardson

Sunday, January 08, 2017

 

When you study the Bible, the word of God, there are some things that stand out. You will recall how Jesus would often repeat someone’s name to make an emphasis as He did with Mary and Simon. You may recall a confrontation Jesus had with the religious leaders of that day in Matthew 23. It may be as you have studied you have noticed Jesus’ response to the hurting. There are so many themes one can observe as they study the Bible. However, it is my objective in this particular article to look at seven invitations issued by our Lord.

(i)Come All You That Labor and are Heavy Laden (Mt.11:28-30). This is a very precious invitation to every sin-burdened soul. Jesus invites us to come to Him who is the Sin-Bearer and cast our burdens upon Him (I Pet.5:7). I stand amazed that Jesus wants to take our burdens. He wants us to trust Him when life is hard. There is no burden so great that He cannot relieve us, no sin so great that He cannot forgive and make us as white as snow.

(ii)Come and See (Jno.1:39). On this occasion, we have two disciples who were honest seekers after truth. They wanted to know more about Jesus and converse with Him about His teaching. They had found their true Master and believed Him to be what He proclaimed, “The Son of God.” The closer we come to Jesus, the more we look to Him, the more content our souls will be. Jesus offers this same invitation today to all people-come and see. In others words, investigate who Jesus is.

(iii)Come and Drink (Jno.7:37). Christ knows the soul of man is parched and only the fountain of life can satisfy the thirst. David made it clear in Psa.42:1-2 that he had a great thirst for God. Jesus informs us that likewise we need to have a great hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt.5:6). When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4 He proclaimed Himself to be living water (Jno.4:10). We are called to come and freely drink of the Living Water. Let your soul find contentment in Him (Isa.55:1).

(iv)Come and Dine (Jno.21:12). After His resurrection, Jesus called the disciples to come and dine. Spiritually, He knows the soul’s hunger. He satisfies the hungry soul; He meets our every need. In Jno.6 His followers were more concerned about physical bread than spiritual bread. Jesus said they need to partake of Him. They need to be consumed with who He is, the Christ, the Redeemer of man. How sad it is that He offers and invites man, and so many turn Him down. The passage in John 6 is not in reference to the Lord’s Supper, but stop for a moment and consider the command to partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). We do so in remembrance of Him! How sad some won’t partake of His memorial feast. It is a shame and a disgrace how little people think of Christ.

(v)Come Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me (Mk.10:21). First, Jesus said one is to deny self. Often self is the

hardest one to deny. This means putting to death the old way of life. No longer focused on self, but now our eyes are on Jesus. In Heb.12:1-2 the Hebrew writer states that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We cannot wear the crown if we will not bear the cross. To walk in His footsteps is to carry a cross (Gal.2:20). We are to put to death the old fleshly desires and life in newness of life (Rom.6:3-4). Our desire now is not to please ourselves, but to please our Lord. Wouldn’t that be something today to see people wanting to follow Christ?

(vi)Come Aside by Yourselves…Rest Awhile (Mk.6:31). Jesus knew at this time the disciples needed to rest their physical bodies. Psa.103:14-15 He knows our frame, that we are dust. He knows our weaknesses, and that the body needs rest. However, just as the body needs rest so does the soul. We should desire more time for meditation. We should want more “quiet time with Christ.” Notice in Scripture before the Lord sent His servants to do an important work He usually called them aside for some quiet time. Moses was sent to the desert for forty years to tend sheep to prepare to lead the people out of Egypt. Paul was sent away for three years into Arabia (Gal.1:17-18) before he began most of his ministry. He who prospers most in spiritual things is he who gets alone and spends time with God. God pity the man that only reflects on God’s Word when he is in a church building. David said in Psalms 1:2-3 he meditated and delighted in God’s Word.

(vii)Come You Blessed…Inherit the Kingdom (Mt.25:34). Here is a picture of the judgement scene. Jesus is speaking to the born-again, joint-heirs with Him to enter into the kingdom of heaven. As new creatures, kings, and priests, we are children of God. On the Day of Judgement what a joy to hear COME YOU BLESSED INHERIT THE KINGDOM. To enter into eternal rest: what an invitation! For one to receive this invitation one must answer all the other invitations Jesus has extended. We must accept all invitations that He has graciously offered. Let us not despise our inheritance, but rather let us willingly walk in the footsteps of the Redeemer (I Pet.2:21).

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