Today in Australia we see that many people are returning to the Bible’s teaching. Many are keen to learn what the Bible teaches and do their best to follow it everyday. Churches and Bible colleges are full of these dedicated people.
However in society we see there are many people who are not. They have never been taught many of its truths of love, peace and concern for others. You only have to watch the nightly news to see how some people treat people very violently.
I believe that as a nation we need to return to the Bible’s teaching. Here are three key truths of Scripture that will make our nation a better place.
1. Do not repay evil – the Bible says us in 1 Peter 3:10 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing”. The best way to act when we are wronged is by doing something nice. God promises blessing if we do.
2. Don’t over drink – the Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit”. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a beer or a wine if we chose to, it says not to over drink or get drunk. Many of our problems of violence and road death are caused by people drinking too much.
3. Love on another – many times in the Bible God tells us to love one another (1 John 3:23, 2 John 1:5, 1 John 4:7). 1 Peter 3:8 tells us to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble”. Love, be caring, compassionate and humble. This is what God wants for us and what is best.
I really believe that if we all returned to these three simple principles our nation would be a much happier and much safer place for all of us. We can’t keep on going as we are and ignoring God’s timeless principles that are for our own good. We need to return to the Bible’s teachings.
I have been reflecting on the power the tongue has in our lives lately. It can build up and encourage or it can tear down and destroy. Just a few rightly or wrongly placed words can make a huge difference.
The Bible talks about the power of the tongue in James 3:9. It says, “Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God”. From this we can see the words we speak can go either way. They can be used for good or evil.
As I have reflected on the power of the tounge I have thought of some positive things I can use my words for…
- I can speak blessing into someone’s life
- I can speak encouragement to a troubled friends situation
- I can teach my children something from the Bible
- I can preach a sermon in church
- I can teach a Sunday School class
- I can sing praises to my God
- I can share God’s love and saving message with a friend
- I can bring peace to a hostile situation
- I can tell my wife and kids how much I love them
When you think of these positive things it makes me want to only speak good and not evil. The world already has too many people who are quick to cut others down with their words.
Let’s realise the power of our tongues and chose our words wisely. Let’s purpose in our hearts today to speak only words that will build up and bring life to others.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God”.
I understand this statement completely. Before I came to Christ I didn’t believe in the cross and I didn’t think it had any power for salvation. I was like one of the people who scoffed at Noah as he built his ark. They didn’t believe that the ark could save them…until the rain came.
Now I do believe in the power of the cross of Christ. I believe that Christ’s death on the cross for me is the only way to find salvation (Acts 4:12, Romans 5:8). I realise that I am not good enough to make it to heaven on my own (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that I need to have Jesus as my Lord and Saviour (Romans 10:9-10).
The message of the cross has great power. It has the power to take you and I from an eternity without God, to eternity with God. Forever and ever and then much more time!
If you haven’t taken the step of asking Jesus Christ into your life, I would encourage you to do it today. Right now you can change your eternal destiny and begin a whole new journey with Christ. If you would like to ask Christ into your life, I would encourage you to visit my “Salvation” page here.
James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”.
Let’s break down the words from this verse to help us to understand the wisdom that comes from heaven. I have looked the words up in my kids school dictionary.
- Pure – pure means not mixed with anything else, clean and free from harmful substances, containing nothing sinful.
- Peace-loving – peace is a state of calm and quiet when there is no disturbance, no war.
- Considerate – someone who pays attention to the needs and feelings of others.
- Submissive – behaving in a quiet and obedient way
- Full of Mercy – showing mercy means showing kindness and forgiveness and do not punish someone as severly as you could.
- Full of good fruit – good fruit means when we do good things for others, especially being kind to them
- Impartial – having a view of something which is fair and un-biased.
- Sincere – if you are sincere you say things and do things you really mean, you are honest and genuine.
As we have seen in a previous post, wisdom is about having knowledge and then putting that knowledge in to practice in the right way.
This verse shows that we should use our wisdom in a caring and considerate way that shows shows no favouritsm. If we are doing these things, we will know our wisdom is the wisdom that comes from heaven.
In Romans 15:17-22 the Apostle Paul talks about his commitment to those outside the Jewish faith – the Gentiles.
We see that his heart was “to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation”. Earlier in the book of Romans we that Paul refers to himself as the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13).
Paul’s first focus was those outside the faith. His heart was to bring them to Christ and then plant them in a church. Once it was settled, he moved on to continue his work. Then in time he would either write to them or come back to encourage them in their faith.
Paul’s methods really are a great example for us today. He loved visiting and equipping churches, but his main focus was to those outside. I think we need more people to follow Paul’s example today. Perhaps it might be you?
I heard this quote the other day from the late George Burns. It said, “A good sermon should have a good beginning and a good ending, and they should be as close together as possible”.
It gave me a chuckle as I read it as I had never heard it before. However, I believe there is a lot of truth in it. I have never been one to enjoy long sermons and I have never been one to prepare long sermons.
In todays world we are bombarded everyday with information from so many sources. The news media in all of its forms, Facebook, Emails, Twitter and life in general throws so much information at us. It is so easy to get information overload.
I really believe that if you read a passage of Scripture, give a little background to the time/situation and then bring a few practical points or teaching out of it you have done well.
Yes there are times when a longer sermon is needed, but in general keeping sermons short and simple is the way to go in my opinion.
There is an advert on TV at the moment that shows various people seeking health advice from different sources.
One lady is asking a bus driver about her persistent cough. Another person is asking a man in a laundry mat if she should take the rest of her prescription even though she is feeling better.
The advert is trying to show the importance of getting the right advice or looking in the right place by asking you Pharmacist or Doctor about important health issues. I think it illustrates the point really well.
In the same way I think it is important to look in the right place when wanting to have your question
s about faith and life answered. It wouldn’t make sense to look in a cooking book for answers about life and death!
The same goes for looking at books about Astrology, Tarot Cards, Buddism, Hinduism, Scientology etc, you are not going to find the real answers from God about issues of life, death and eternity.
The Bible is God’s Book and it is the place He wants us to look for all of life’s questions. It starts is Genesis 1:1 where it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Yes God created everything. It ends with the words of Revelation 22:20-21 telling us that Jesus is coming back.
God created the world and in His time, He will culminate history. The Bible speaks of this all the way through. It also talks about God’s great love for mankind and His greatest desire to be in relationship with each of us. It is His top priority.
If you are thinking through the issues of life, death and eternity, you can look at no better place than the Bible. It is the right place to look. If you don’t have access to a Bible you can read one online here at BibleGateway.com.
I was just reading through 1 Timothy 4:13. It is where Paul is encouraging Timothy on what to do in the church until he returns to be with him.
Paul says, “Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them”.
This is a good place to start and a timely reminder of what Paul thought was important for this young Pastor to do. Read the Bible to the church, encourage them in their faith and teach them how to live.
With some many things that seem pressing in our churches I think Paul’s advice is spot on. Feeding and encouraging God’s sheep is a great thing to focus on for a young Pastor.
I have been thinking a lot about gossip lately. This has been because of the endless media reports about Tiger Woods, Michael Clarke and other “celebrities”. It seems as a society we are addicted to gossip and it fuels so much of our media.
So what is gossip? My kids dictionary described it very simply…
- Gossip is informal conversation, often about people’s private affairs
- Someone who is a gossip enjoys talking about other people’s private affairs
- If you gossip, you talk informally with someone, especially about other people
From this we can see it about talking about other people’s private business to a third person or group of people.
But what does the Bible say about gossip? I looked through my concordance to find some verses. They paint a picture of what God says about gossip.
- Gossip can betray confidences (Proverbs 11:13)
- Gossip can separate friends (Proverbs 16:28)
- Gossip makes quarrels last longer (Proverbs 26:20)
- When we gossip we can slander others (Leviticus 19:16)
- People who gossip are wicked (Romans 1:29)
- Christians should not gossip, but should take care of their own homes (1 Timothy 5:13)
Now these are only a few verses, but you can see they paint a very negative picture. They do not help the situation or build others up. If fact they are quite destructive.
So how do we know if we are gossiping? I remember hearing a sermon about it many years ago that has always stayed with me.
The preacher said, “If you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, then it might just be gossip”.
I think in our gossip obsessed society, this is a good place to start. Let’s not involve ourselves in other people’s private business today, unless we are part of the problem or part of the solution.
The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.
That is a great verse. It says that if we confess our wrongs to God them He WILL forgive us. It is a guarantee now matter what we have done or how bad we may have been.
But one thing I find interesting about this verse is the verses just before and just after.
Verse 8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”. Wow that is pretty heavy. If we say we haven’t sinned (or we self justify our lives) there is no truth in us.
Verse 10 goes on to say that, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives”. That is a huge thought, we make a liar out of God if we say we haven’t sinned!
An important thing to remember in all of this is that we all need forgiveness. If we have never made our connection with God, asking forgiveness if part of that process. If we already a Christian, we still need to confess our sins.
The truth is that none of us are perfect. Ninety percent of the time we might have the right attitudes, we might do the right things and we might love and serve God, but sin has a way of creeping in and we get led astray.
The key thing to remember is that confession is an important part of a healthy life. Not only does it keep us right with God, but it frees us up from holding on to unnecessary guilt that ways us down and stops us being all we can be.