by Roland W. Keith
In many ways the Holy Spirit is the most mysterious member of the Godhead. Also known as the Holy Ghost, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of God, and One Spirit, among other names, He is often referred to as the third person in the Godhead. But what do we know of the Holy Spirit? For one thing He is, in fact, a spirit, not a physical being who exists in space and time as we do. On one of the occasions when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection He made a clear distinction between man and spirit, as recorded by Luke, “But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Luke 24:37-39).
The One Spirit is indeed a member of the Holy Trinity, often referred to in conjunction with the Father and Son, as in Matthew 28:19, when Jesus gave His apostles the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The Bible teaches a hierarchy in the Godhead, that is three beings equal in deity, but diverse in power and authority, beginning with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and then the Holy Spirit. Together they make up “the One True God.” Much as billions of humans, equal in their humanity, make up the one entity known as mankind. However, unlike humans, with all our faults and separations, when we look at the Godhead we see perfection. Three beings of one mind, Whose works overlap, come together and support, in perfect harmony, the will of the Father, Whose authority is absolute (Acts 2:33; Hebrews 1:3; 12:2; Revelation 2:27; I Peter 3:22; I Corinthians 15:24-28).
To understand the Holy Spirit and gain some insight into His attributes we must come to a knowledge of His works, for, as with the rest of the Trinity, what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible is seen in all that He has done since the creation. For one thing the Holy Spirit is the searcher and revealer of the mind. What we can know of God is revealed by the Spirit, as Paul wrote, “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (I Corinthians 2:10-12). For the apostles He would continue their spiritual education, and assist them in remembering what they were taught, according to John, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you… But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 16:13-14; 14:26; also, 15:26-27).
Along with the apostles He gave gifts to other early Christians (I Corinthians 12:7-11), to assist in the spread of the gospel and the establishment of the church. However, when “the perfect,” that is the word of God, had come, these gifts of the Spirit ceased (I Corinthians 13:8). Once the New Testament canon was completed, these gifts faded into history as the last of that generation of Christians passed from the earth. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit is still hard at work in bringing man to God. What the early evangelists taught by the Spirit in their sermons and lessons preachers and teachers are still teaching today by the written word, which was inspired by the Spirit of God for the edification of all men. What Paul wrote the Corinthians is true for us today: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:13-14).
Any person who is at least open to spiritual things can be brought to God by the Spirit, through the power of His word. One of the things the Spirit does by the word is to convict man, as John noted: “And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). By accepting or rejecting the word each person decides his own fate, being either justified by the blood of Christ or condemned by the word he rejects. One of the things we accept or deny is the testimony of both God and man as Paul made clear to the Hebrews: “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will” (Hebrews 2:3-4).
According to Jesus, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). The Spirit gives us life, spiritually, through the word. All we need to know about God and the salvation He promises man is in the word He gave us through the work of His Son and the Holy Spirit. For the lost it is a beacon that brings them to the path that leads to redemption. For the Christian it is the guide that keeps us on that path if we will but remain faithful to it. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. As Luke quoted the prophet, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51). How many today, whether individuals, or entire churches resist the will of God? How many today will suffer God’s wrath because they have grieved or lied to the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30; Acts 5:3-5)?
How many today will turn away from God while claiming to pursue Him through a more enlightened approach, based on their 21st century worldview, rather than on the Bible (I Timothy 4:1)? How many will forfeit their souls because they blaspheme the Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32)? More and more today we find examples of those who resist or twist the Spirit’s words, who attribute the world’s evils to God, or make a mockery of His word, even from the pulpit. They cling to a form of Godliness (II Timothy 3:5), while denying the very word of God. The Holy Spirit was upon Jesus during His ministry (Matthew 12:17-18; John 3:34; Luke 4: 18-19; Acts 10:38), and He claimed the word He spoke was from the Father (John 8:28). In addition, He informed the apostles that the Spirit He would send to them would bear witness of Him (John 15:26), and would guide them in all truth (John 16:13). Therefore, to deny Jesus is to blaspheme the work of the Spirit as well. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Jesus’ word is the Father’s word (John 12:49), is the Holy Spirit’s word (John 14:26; II Peter 1:21). To deny one is to deny all.
If we will turn away from the world to God, the Spirit is there to help us. He fellowships with us (II Corinthians 13:14). He helps us when we are weak, interceding on our behalf with the Father (Romans 8:26-27). Along with Jesus Christ He strives with us (Romans 15:30). The Spirit works tirelessly with our Redeemer to guide and protect us and to strengthen us. Along with the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit acts to ensure that all things work for the good of all those who call on the name of the Lord.
by Roland W. Keith
In his reply to Bildad’s charges in the Book of Job, Job asked, “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living” (Job 28:12-13). He would go on to tell his friend, “God understands the way to it, and He knows its place… And He said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding” (Job 28:23, 28). Many years later King Solomon wrote, “then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints” (Proverbs 2:5-8).
The “fear of the Lord” spoken of in scripture contains a measure of actual fear of God’s power and what He can do to us, as Jesus counseled, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28), however, its focus is on having a sense of “profound reverence and awe toward God” (Miriam-Webster Dictionary). In large measure this sort of fear is both learned and earned. A small child fears his parents. Why? If they are doing their jobs well it is because they are raising their child in a balanced and fair environment of love, understanding, nurturing, and discipline. To the child the parent is this big, powerful, wonderful, and (somewhat) fearful giant who loves and takes care of them. Parents are a source of protection, caring, instruction, and again, discipline. Through their efforts the child learns about the world, their place in it, their responsibilities to others, and they learn what it means to be loved and to love another. A child of such parents has reverence for them, and at least for a time a certain awe of them. This respect is both taught and earned. In comparison, as much as a parent deserves a child’s respect God deserves ours even more. As our Creator and Savior, it is His due. So where do we learn of this wisdom?
To gain this wisdom we must learn of God and come to place our faith in Him. As Paul wrote, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). We can add to this not only hearing, but reading and studying the word, and validating its truth, as well. Of the Bereans, Luke noted, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). As Christians if we want to grow in our knowledge and understanding we must not only hear and study the word, but we must also test it. As John instructed his readers, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1; also, I Thessalonians 5:21).
There are many in the world who claim a relationship with God, yet their real goal is to take advantage of and misguide those who seek after the truth. In regard to this Peter wrote, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (II Peter 3:17-18). In addition to testing the word we hear, we study it to come to a right understanding. The word was written to draw us to God and to guide us in a life devoted to Him as Paul explained to Timothy, “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” (II Timothy 3:16-17; also, I Corinthians 10:11).
As Followers of Christ determined to do His will in our lives and one day enter into the kingdom of God, we must continually meditate on His word. If we do not we are prone to forget and fall into error, and to remain unskilled laborers in His service, a situation that is untenable before the Lord (Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:1). Every football player on team does his best to memorize the play book and know his part in each play. A singer memorizes an entire catalogue of songs to sing on tour, Doctors study the latest discoveries and methods of treatment to stay current as health care providers. Why do Christians have such a hard time memorizing verses, or at least devising a quick reference system to put questions others may ask at an instance recall (II Timothy 4:2)? As Paul admonished his young protégé, Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
We must come to a thorough knowledge of the scriptures. As a skilled craftsman knows the secrets of his craft the servant of God understands the mysteries of God’s word, and knowing its power he is able to wield it with confidence as he puts God’s plan into action ((James 1:21-22). As members of the church we are to band together as a family (Hebrews 10:24-25), and as fellow soldiers in His army. We must be willing and able to put on the armor of God, prepared to fight against the forces of Satan (I Timothy 6:12; Ephesians 6:13). To come to the kind of wisdom and understanding that Job had we must come to know God, and to know God we must know His word. As the Psalmist wrote, “I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:101-105).
Wisdom, then, it not something that is gained by intellectual ability. Many a man with a high IQ have failed to achieve anything close to wisdom. To get wisdom one must come to know God, and to understand His word which leads to a right understanding of good and evil. Knowing these things, the one who has achieved wisdom will use that knowledge in the fear of the Lord, turning away from the evil that surrounds him in the world.
by Roland W. Keith
Do you have the Spirit of God? Or, do you rail against God and all His word stands for? Paul told the Romans:
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Romans 8:7-10).
How can I know if I have the Spirit of God? Or, what is truly in the heart of the man standing next to me? Just because someone is singing praises to the Lord beside me on a Sunday morning is no guarantee of what is in his or her heart. As Paul noted, “For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?” (I Corinthians 2:11). Many a false teacher has walked through church doors and appeared as a true believer even as he has led others astray. The only way to know for certain if we, or anyone else, is on the right path is through the diligent study of God’s word. When we come to a right understanding of the scriptures we can compare our actions, and those of others, to God’s standard and discern whether or not we are on the right path. As Paul also made note, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14. If we are truly spiritually-minded, and discover we are in error in our thoughts and actions we will make the necessary changes to comply with God’s word (John 15:4; 14:15, 21; 15:10).
Not only will we correct our own actions, we will seek to lead others in error into the light, as Paul wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). A few verses later he penned these words, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). When it comes to salvation we have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to others as well. Paul also wrote to Timothy in a similar vein: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (I Timothy 4:16).
Only by obedience to God’s commands will we find our salvation assured. So, as we submit ourselves to God what are some of the other attributes or behaviors will we see developing within ourselves? One thing we will notice as we become more Christ-like is an increase in humility. Humbleness in serving God is so important that Jesus actually washed the feet of His disciples to make the point (John 13:1-17). In addition to this example, Matthew recorded another occasion when Jesus responded to a question about greatness:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4; see also Matthew 23:12).
Not only will we increase in humility, but we will also find a greater capacity for love. John wrote, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17). As followers of Christ the love of God will be reflected in our lives. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). The love spoken of here goes beyond emotional or attractive forms of love (familial, Eros, etc.), expanding to include all men. It is known as agape, the form of love most written about in the New Testament. It is the love that leads us to be selfless and altruistic with those beyond our immediate circle of ‘loved ones.’
As we learn to love our fellow man in submission to our Heavenly Father it will become easier for us to both seek and exercise forgiveness. Here, once again Jesus is our example. Even as He was being put to death He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” God’s capacity to forgive is as unbounded as His love. Moreover, it is an attribute He expects each one of us to fully exercise as well. When Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). No, that doesn’t mean to go out and buy a ledger to start keeping track. Jesus meant forgiveness in its perfect form never runs out, we are to continue to forgive as God continues to forgive us.
God’s love for mankind, and His desire to offer forgiveness for our sins led to His Son coming to earth to deliver a new covenant between God and man, one that was sealed by His own blood when He offered Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 2:9; Ephesians 5:2). Because of all that He has done for us it is only right that we make an offering to the Lord, as Paul instructed the Romans, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service” (Romans 12:1-2). Our willingness to give body and soul to the Lord through the renewing of our minds does not begin to repay what God did for us on the cross, it is merely a part of what is due Him.
As Christians we sacrifice our old way of life to God, and become what He desires for us. As John noted, “And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (I John 3:3). The hope of being like Christ leads us to focus on the best we have to offer, while removing ourselves the old ways of our sinful lives (Philippians 4:8; I Timothy 5:22). For those coming out of the world into the Kingdom of God, it is not always an easy road to travel, as Jesus warned, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” He would go on to say, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:13-14, 21).
The way is difficult, and our adversary is strong (I Peter 5:8). Therefore, in order to survive the spiritual war in which we are involved we must seek to develop the attribute of courage. Fortunately, the commander of our forces is the Lord. As Paul wrote:
He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him (II Corinthians 5:5-9).
God prepares us to fight against the forces of evil through His word, worship, prayer, the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and, yes, testing. And, in the end if we put our faith in Him He makes us able to stand, as Paul wrote:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13; see also I Corinthians 16:13; II Corinthians 12:10; Ephesians 6:10).
The goal of our courage is to honor God and find salvation. Paul told the Philippians, “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). We should seek to please God by obedience even to the point of death. This is no easy thing to accomplish, As Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). In order to find that kind of courage and strength and focus against so powerful an enemy we must sharpen our sword, put on our full armor, follow the battle plan, and keep in constant communications with our Commander. Jesus said if we pray and do not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8), we will not fail to receive justice from Him. In fact, Jesus stated, “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
It takes courage to acknowledge God before our fellow man. But as we work to be more like Christ in our lives by taking on His attributes it will become easier. In this brief study we have looked at a few of the attributes and strengths we are to cultivate in our lives as Christians. I encourage you to see how many others you can find in the scriptures to add to the list, and then work to perfect them in your life.
By Roland W. Keith
Every October our church engages in what we call “Missions Emphasis Month.” Our lessons focus on the need to take the word of God out into the world, and not just our local community. As you know those who make it their work (sometimes a life’s work) to go to other parts of the world and share God’s word face many risks and hardships that we do not always think about back here in the States. A common hardship is the lack of money. Often, in order to afford the expenses that go into their evangelistic efforts, including their own often meager wages, these laborers of the Lord must rely on multiple churches to support them. Hence the annual emphasis to help raise money to aid these missionaries in their endeavors. And every year I am amazed that our small congregation finds it in their hearts to reach down into their pockets and return to the Lord what seems to be a full and overflowing measure of the bounty He gives each and every one of us in our lives. Moreover, they do this without diminishing their normal contributions needed to sustain our work here at home. Naturally some give more than others, but it is easy to see that an effort is given by all to do their part. With the money raised we support several individuals and families in various countries. The question is, why?
To answer that question, we have to look at what has become known as The Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus told His apostles, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (see also Mark 16:15-16). Earlier in His ministry He had told them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48; see also Acts 1:8).
This commission was given directly to the apostles, but it would take more than one small group of men to achieve, and as we read through Acts and the various epistles we see a growing number of men and women involved in various works designed to assist in the effort to proclaim the kingdom of God to the world. This need for willing men to preach the word to the far reaches of the earth was explained to the Romans in this way: “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Romans 10:13-15).
God has chosen to use man in his own salvation, as vessels of the truth. We, that is all Christians, have been charged to involve ourselves one way or another in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. If we do not go ourselves, we must be among those who send. We must support those who do go by whatever means are necessary to assure the work is done. There is no greater challenge or responsibility. Jesus asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The work of the missionary, indeed the work of all saints, is to vie for the souls of their fellow man. To give every man and woman, all those of the age of accountability, the opportunity accept Jesus as Lord, and secure their souls against condemnation.
As members of the church engaged in the work of informing the world of God’s plan our examples are those who went before us counting the hardships and abuses they endured as cause for joy. As Luke wrote, “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:40-42). We should all strive to meet their example, not letting the world deter our efforts. We all know the story of Paul and the things he did prior to his fateful trip to Damascus, as Luke recounted, “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3). The real story here is not Saul, but the reaction of those being persecuted: “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ” (Acts 8:4-5).
After his own conversion Paul would write, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:11-13). Paul went from being an enemy of God to being one of the persecuted himself, writing:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me” (Colossians (1:25-29).
Paul gave up everything to proclaim Jesus as Lord, counting the things of the world as rubbish to be sacrificed to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8). Every time we tell someone about Jesus, every time we mail circulars, donate our time or money or talents to the furthering of God’s word we follow in the tradition not only of Paul and the other apostles, but of Christ Himself. We strive to reconcile man to God, and in so doing to reconcile all men to one another as brothers, as Paul wrote:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:14-19).
Paul also wrote the following to his young protégé, Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (II Timothy 4:1-4).
As we look at the situation in our own country today would it be amiss to say that many have itching ears? Are we doing all we can to reach those who, given the chance, will be willing to give the truth an audience? And if those who resist the truth confront us will we act according to the will of God? None of us know if we will ever be called upon to endure the things first century Christians, such as Paul, did. It should be noted, however, that persecution of Christians, even unto death, is occurring in the world today. Those of us here in the U.S. should not be unaware of the sacrifices being made by brave men and women in foreign countries, because they refuse to renounce the name of Jesus. They need our support, not just during “Missions Month,” but year ‘round. And not just financially, but in every way we can provide for them, perhaps none being more important than including them in our prayers.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.