Resources for Growth

Why and How to Wait On the Lord

May 27, 2017

Isaiah 40:25–31 (25) To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. (26) Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. (27) Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? (28) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (29) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. (30) Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; (31) but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Have you spent a vast portion of your life dragging your feet when God wants movement and rushing through life when you need to wait? Psalms 37:9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. Your faith will be challenged because Satan is active in this world. We may have circumstances of want or need but we can look to the Lord in those times. When we have times of helplessness or anxiety, our trust in God gives us assurance that we will have comfort.

We must also be active in our waiting. If we expect miraculous intervention we will be disappointed. We must allow God to work through His providence so that we are brought to the place where we rely upon Him and then are able to look back and see God working in your life.

When to Wait Upon God?

You jump into the short grocery check out line only to find out they have problems with the register. Traffic jams conjure up unfavorable thoughts. But what about more weightier matters such as waiting for test results or when your child is going astray into a life of addiction? These are the right times to wait upon the Lord.

How Do You Wait Upon God?

Waiting on the Lord requires the passing of time. That’s already a challenge for us in a society of instant gratification. There must be some blessing and benefit in waiting or else God would not have commanded us to wait. We may get through the situation and still not know why. Maybe only eternity will bring us the answer. Sometimes we may find ourselves saying, “I wish I didn’t have to go through this.”

  • Psa 90:10–12 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
  • Eph 5:15–16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Waiting involves confident hope when things come along that we have not planned.

  • Psalm 130:5–6.I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
  • Romans 8:24. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
  • 1 Peter 1:3–4. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

Waiting involves positives and negatives.

  • Heb 12:1–2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Rev 6:10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

We Can Wait on God Because

  • The Lord is Everlasting. Isaiah 40:28 — He has always been there and always will be. The word of the Lord shall endure forever even though all we know will pass away (Isaiah 40: 5–8). We can trust that He will always be there and will be consistent (Matthew 28:20).
  • The Lord is All-Powerful. He is the creator of the ends of the earth (Isaiah 40:28). God’s power is seen in contrast in this passage against the idols of men (Isaiah 40:18–26). How can you compare the Creator of the universe to the carved image that a man fashioned out of wood, stone or metal. How can you compare the Creator to your own understanding or effort? How can you compare Him to the gods and achievements of our age that we rely upon to get through this life? They all decay and crumble.
  • The Lord is all-knowing. None of us know everything but we can wait upon God’s knowledge to come in His time because He knows all (Isaiah 40:28). His knowledge is complete (Isaiah 40:13–14). All that we know and see and have accomplished as a race are a drop in the bucket compared to God’s knowledge (Isaiah 40:15).
  • The Lord is caring and benevolent. God’s number one desire is that you are saved. He is certainly a God of justice and our lives will be required of us in eternity if we decide not to seek God. But that’s our choice and not God’s. He wants each of us to comply with His will, be forgiven of our sins and stand justified before Him. He even helps by giving us strength to do so (Isaiah 40:29). He calls us to cast our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7)! We can endure challenges before us because He cares for us like a shepherd cares for sheep (Isaiah 40:11, John 10:11). Even Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cares for us so much that he died for us.

Waiting teaches perseverance and helps increase our faith. May we learn to wait better upon the things of the Lord.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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The Importance of Strength

May 27, 2017

We all need to be strong spiritually throughout our entire lifetime. As we age, we grow physically weaker but we have the opportunity to grow stronger spiritually. Satan is always after us and if we think we have reached the point where we are strong enough, that’s when Satan has us.

  1. Be Strong. You don’t coast into heaven. Our power to do good is dependent upon the degree to which we allow truth to influence our own souls.
  • 2 Tim 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
  • Col 1:28–29 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
  • 2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2. The source of strength is God and He has given us the tools to equip us for strength.

  • Eph 6:10–20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (12) 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. (13) 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. (14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; (17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (19) and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

3. Teach others. It is not the sole responsibility of the preacher, the elders, the deacons or even just men to teach others. We are required to be faithful and part of our faithfulness is in teaching others. Anything that comes between us and our faithfulness to God will cost us our souls. Not everyone is going to listen and it is discouraging when you have spent so much time with someone and they reject it. Bu we use the strength of God to move on to the next soul until we find someone who will listen.

  • 2 Tim 2:1–2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2) and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
  • Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
  • 1 Cor 4:1–2 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
  • Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
  • Act 4:19–20 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, (20) for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

4. What does it take? We each need the dedication of a good soldier. A soldier enlists for a period of time but the Christian enlists for life. When we become distracted by the cares of this world our effectiveness as soldiers of God is diminished. We also compete as athletes do, taking constant training and prayer to succeed at when the opportunities to strive for God arise. There is no such thing as a spare-time Christian. It takes labor and hard work to receive the rewards of your efforts.

  • 2 Tim 2:3–6 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

The soldier submits to the discipline of his superiors. The athlete trains continually for the prize. The farmer labors continually to see the fruits of his crop. These are sound principles of Christian dedication that will grow the church. Churches that grow both numerically and spiritually are those who intentionally work to strengthen each other. Encourage one another and grow together so that you can carry out the will of God in your life.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Handling A Predicament

Mar 25, 2017

Moses and the Israelites found themselves in a predicament. They were trapped at the Red Sea with the pursuing army of Pharaoh behind them and they appeared to have no escape. They witnessed God’s power through the plagues of Egypt and still did not trust God enough to help them in this situation. There are several things we can learn from their situation.

  • God’s plans have a purpose. In Exodus 14:4 the Bible records that God had a plan in allowing the Israelites to be trapped by the sea. He knew the mind of Pharaoh and He knew the Egyptians would pursue them to that point. Then the purpose is stated, “and I will be honored upon Pharaoh and all his army, that they Egyptians may know that I am God.” Trust God when you find yourself in a time of trouble. We may not understand at the time — like Abraham may not have understood why he was asked to sacrifice his son. But God’s plan is known to Him and it will work for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28).
  • God’s plans are not dependent upon you or me. The Israelites were so afraid they said to Moses that it would have been better for the to stay back in Egypt as slaves. But Moses admonishes them not to be afraid, even in the face of a death trap with an army closing in on them. “Do not fear. Stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah, which He will prepare for you this day.” (Exodus 14:13) The people could have been getting antsy by that point, yet Moses said to stand still — the solution was not dependent upon them. Why? They didn’t need to run or to fight or anything. They needed to let God handle the battle.
  • God’s plans must be trusted. The Israelites had seen the plagues of Egypt and all the power that God brought down and yet they did not trust that God would save them. In Joshua 2:9–11, Rahab heard of what God had done for His people in Egypt and she was convinced that He is God and that He would do as He said He would. She had more faith as a heathen than the Israelites had as the children of God. Jesus told Thomas that people are blessed who believe without seeing (John 20:29).
  • When you follow God’s plans your faith is strengthened. After the Israelites passed through the Red Sea and the army of Pharaoh was destroyed they looked back at what God had done and realized what God had done for them. Then they feared God (Exodus 14:30–31). We should all be able to look back in our lives and see ways in which we came out better off despite hardship in the moment. Faith brings patience (James 1:2–3) so strengthen your faith so that when those trials in life come, you will have the patience to wait on God and trust His plan.

God’s plans are not dependent upon us. He will accomplish them without us. Our role is to develop our faith on a daily basis so that He can work and possibly work through us when we face predicaments. The size of the problem doesn’t determine how able God is to fix it. He can overcome anything if we simply trust Him long enough.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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A Look at Temptation

Mar 18, 2017

James 1:12–16 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (13) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (16) Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

Temptation brings us down and leads to bad things but God is the Great Redeemer who loves us to give us a way out.

The Source of Temptation

  • Spiritual trials and temptations come from Satan and they are designed to bring us down. He’s trying to rip us out of the grasp of God. He works to make life difficult and frustrate us so that we give into temptation.
  • I am also a source of my own temptation. I have a responsibility to keep myself under control as I encounter thing that could tempt me. We are all accountable for our actions. That means sometimes I need to stay away from places and people that would tempt us.
  • God is not the problem. God doesn’t tempt us (James 1:13) but God does allow temptation. We like having choices and that is a result of our design as free moral agents. With the right to chose for ourselves also comes responsibility to make the best choices. If we make bad choices, that’s our fault and not God’s. God could have made us infallible robots who would never sin but that would not accomplish God’s purpose of creating a being that has the ability to chose to love Him.

We have been trying to blame someone else for our shortcomings since the beginning. Genesis 3:11–13 describes the blame game after Adam and Eve sinned. God asked them why they did what God had not commanded so Adam blamed Eve and he blamed God for giving him Eve. Then Eve blamed the serpent. They wanted someone other than themselves to be responsible for their sin. The New Testament reiterates the theme that we have no one to blame but ourselves.

James 1:14–15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

What friends do we chose, what entertainment do we chose, which places to we chose to go? Those choices will influence our level of temptation. As the old saying goes, if you play in the coal pile, you’re gonna get black. Are the people with whom you associate yourself going to be your best friends and confidants or are they going to be people whom you must deal with only in passing?

Sometimes we are naive with regard to the power that Satan has to tempt us. If he were a fisherman and you were the fish, he’d have the right lure for every occasion and every appetite. That kind of power means we have to be on our guard every day. It also means we have to prepare ourselves ahead of time to keep from being caught.

Victory Over Temptation

  • Stay on guard (James 1:16). James gives the commendation not to be deceived. We can be deceived if we are not on our game. Satan is always looking for holes and moments of weakness so we must not let our guard down. Be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8). Satan is described as a lion — and a man-eating lion at that. We know his ways (2 Corinthians 2:10–11). When temptation comes along we have plenty of warning. We just need to pay attention.
  • We need to recognize where blessings come from (James 1:17–18). God loves us and cares for us and we must continue to look to Him as the way out of temptation. If our focus is upon God and His goodness in our lives then there is no room for temptation, evil or selfishness.
  • Be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19–20). It’s easy to get angry when we react quickly and haven’t even given another person the chance to finish what they are saying. This deals with the temptations and struggles that we encounter with our fellow man, which is a frequent challenge.
  • Substitute the Word of God for selfish desire (James 1:21–22). James tells us the way to put away wickedness in a very specific way: to receive the Word of God. That means we have to give in to God. Let yourself be that lump of clay that God can form and mold into a new creation. But that can’t happen until you have decided to put away wickedness by receiving the Word. And you cannot receive the word without spending time studying that Word.

James goes on to describe more about what you do with the Word of God and how a Christian will behave, such as visiting widows and orphans. These are characteristics of the person who walks with God, who is actively on guard against temptation and overcomes it regularly.

We face temptation every day so we need to have God in our lives every day so that we can overcome Satan every day.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Thinking Right about Wrong

Feb 25, 2017

Is is possible to think right about wrongdoing? If I do wrong, I’m going to suffer the consequences of that. God doesn’t treat people differently in this regard (Col 3:25 ).

Some folks think that since humans are weak, we are going to continue to sin so there’s no sense in trying. We are not sinlessly perfect but the Christian strives to walk in the light instead of giving in to a life of sin. Shall we continue in sin? If we have died to sin, we should no longer walk in it (Romans 6:1–2). On the other hand, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves but if we ask for forgiveness, the blood of Christ will cleans use (1 John 1:8–10)

God give us assurance that we can live that good life. 2 Peter 1:3 teaches us that we can live a Christian life because the Bible equips us to do so. Further, the Christian is equipped to all good works by the Bible (2 Tim 3:5–16).

Ways of Thinking about Wrongdoing

  • Thinking Wrong about Doing Wrong. King Saul was the first king of Israel and he gave us a good example about thinking wrong about doing wrong. God had instructed Saul to destroy everything in Amalek (1 Samuel 15:3) but he didn’t. Instead, Saul brought the king back alive and kept the best of the spoils (1 Samuel 15:9). Saul tried to justify himself by thinking he knew better than God to keep the good things instead of destroying them (1 King 15:15). Did Saul think, “God must have not realized how good these things are?” Saul was wrong even though he thought he had a good reason. So Samuel replied with the famous verse, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22). Do we also think we know better than God? Do we ignore God’s instructions on things even in attempt to be pleasing to God? It’s never right to disobey God in any matter and we should never attempt to justify our wrongdoing.
  • Thinking Wrong about Doing Right. Ananias and Sapphira sold land and gave money to the church from the proceeds. Barnabas had done the same thing and was well received. So Ananias and Sapphira also wanted the praise that came from that but also wanted the money. So they lied and said they gave the entire amount to the church (Acts 5:1–11). Jesus addressed this issue directly, instructing that giving is between you and God, not something to be praised for (Matthew 6:1–4). God never wants us to do good for the wrong reason. Jesus also taught that doing things grudgingly, even though their actions are right, is not pleasing to God. Although we serve God out of a sense of duty, it is also out of love and respect for God. Without that motivation, we are empty and useless to God (1 Cor 13:1–3).
  • Thinking Right about Doing Right. Abraham was told to leave the land of his forefathers and travel to a new place that God would show him. Abraham left his roots and his home and had such faith in God that he left everything behind to go to a strange place. God told Abraham that he would have a son at an old age and that all the world would be blessed through him. Yet Abraham was told in Genesis 22:1–2 to sacrifice his only son — that son of promise. God tested Abraham and Abraham had the faith that if God promised that his son would be the seed of a great nation that God would raise him from the dead. So despite the pain, Abraham put his hand to the work that God commanded. He had a relationship with God and trusted what God said. Do you have the proper relationship with God that allows you to think right about doing the right thing, even when it’s hard?
  • Thinking Right about Doing Wrong. We realize that none of us are perfect so we need the right mindset about evil so that we keep from sinning. David serves as a good model in 2 Samuel 11. David committed adultery and killed a man to cover up his sin. With the prophet Nathan confronted David about it, David faced his sin. So he had a choice as to how he would think about the wrong he had done. Psalm 51:1–4 explains that David was sorrowful and penitent. The right way of thinking about sin is to pray and repent of it (1 John 1:8–9, James 5:16). We need to examine ourselves on an ongoing basis to ensure we think right about doing wrong. When we do sin, we have to turn from it and repent in order to get back right with God. Do you examine yourself daily to evaluate where you stand with God? Be diligent to make your election sure so that you do not fall (2 Peter 1:10).

All of us who are accountable to God have a problem of sin. The way we think about it is seriously important because it determines how we are received by God.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Is commitment too much to ask?

Feb 18, 2017

When we first became Christians we made commitments.

  • The greatest is to put God first in everything (Matthew 6:33).
  • To have Christ live in me (Galatians 2:20). That means we decided to die to self (Luke 9:23).
  • To live honest, moral, sober and uprightly in our daily lives (Titus 2:11–14).
  • Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

The Christian’s greatest difficulty is first and foremost within ourselves. That battle is to abhor the evil and cling to the good (Romans 12:9), which is to have such an inward revulsion to evil that it becomes innate. To develop that kind of habit and sensibility requires commitment over an extended period of time. We also face the problem of desensitization when we allow ourselves to gradually ease back into the world.

Christians cannot be the light of the world if we walk in darkness. Is it too much to ask that we seek the kingdom first and put Christ first in our lives? Of course, we have necessities in this life that must be cared for and those things require our attention be placed elsewhere. But we live in such a blessed country now that necessity is rarely considered, instead it is a question of how much extra we can gain in pursuit of the “American dream.” That pursuit can easily take us away from the church and God’s purpose.

Return to your place in the church (Hebrews 10:25) and your first love (Revelation 2:4). Resolve within in yourself that you will support the church so that you can strengthen others and be strengthened yourself (Phil 1:27, Acts 2:42–47).

Parents often expect little of their children and then when they are adults, they are not prepared for life. God expect us to grow, to be committed and to struggle together with other faithful Christians. If you remain committed, you will be prepared when the times of trial come and the church needs you to step up.

Commit to God with your whole self.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Was the Church an Afterthought?

Dec 31, 2016

Some people do not believe that the church was in God’s plan from the Beginning – that God was surprised when the Jews rejected Jesus. The implication is that the church was an afterthought because man thwarted God’s initial plan. These people do not believe that the Old Testament prophesies regarding the Kingdom have anything to do with the church. The question must be answered, did God have a plan for man from the beginning or not? Do we really think so highly of ourselves that we could go against God and defeat Him? Or do we think that the Creator of all things is not powerful enough to see His plans through?

  • 1 Peter 1:18–20 having been foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, He was made manifest in these last times for you.
  • Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love
  • Romans 8:28–30 God predestined the church and the plan from the beginning.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:18 God has from the beginning chosen you (the church) to salvation.
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 He saved us and called us according to His purpose in Christ before the world began!

The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that the church was in His eternal plan all along.

Ephesians 1:3–14 has a capsule of God’s vision and eternal purpose for us and the church. God’s purpose is clearly laid out along with the plan in the past, the present working of it and the future glory. The scheme of redemption was no afterthought on the part of God. Jesus did not come to set up an earthly kingdom. Instead He came to set up a way for man to live his life and be restored to God through the forgiveness of sin. The purpose of the church is to be the collective of people who are restored, forgiven and striving to please God.

Is the church really a part of God’s eternal purpose?

Ephesians 3:8–12 To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (9) and to enlighten all as to what is the administration of the mystery, which had been hidden from the ages in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ; (10) that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies, (11) according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord, (12) in whom we have the boldness and the access with confidence through faith in Him.

Paul clearly explains that the church was intended to be the means by which mankind would learn about the wisdom of God and the plan of salvation in Christ. The church wasn’t an audible called on the line of scrimmage — it was part of His eternal purpose.

The Scofield Study Bible says that the church is a kind of “mystery parenthesis” and goes on to state that God never intended for there to be a church. This completely denies Old Testament prophesy that speak to Gentiles coming to God after the Messiah comes. So let’s be logical about this. If man was able to thwart God’s plan the first time that Jesus came, what is to keep man from doing so again the next time He comes? And if that is the case, then how can the premelinialist have any credibility in thinking that God will win some fantastic battle of Armageddon and set up a 1,000-year reign?

The church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25–27) and the “fullness of Him” (Ephesians 1:22 & 23). In Ephesians 3:20–21, Paul declares that Christ is glorified through His church forever. Knowing these things, it is not reasonable to believe that the church was an afterthought of God, but rather, an important part of God’s eternal purpose that He designed before He created the world.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Keep Your Eyes on the Final Destination

Dec 17, 2016

Why are we members of the church? Because the church will go on to its eternal place with God. Not only is the church a place of encouragement and edification, it is a place of consolation and it enriches our minds as we face the negative influences of the world. The church helps us not only to seek heaven but to think heaven (Col 3:2).

The church is why Jesus came to the earth (Eph 5:23). He set up His kingdom here on earth, which is a precursor to th eternal kingdom. Being part of the church is a choice — it takes determination and perseverance. The successful church keeps in mind the final destination of heaven. Here are a few points to keep in mind to help us stay focused.

  • Realize that heaven is a real place. It’s not some outer space with spirits floating around. Jesus taught that it is a place prepared for the faithful (John 14:1–3). Heaven is a house built by God that is a much better place than what we have now (2 Cor 5:1, Heb 11:10).
  • Heaven is God’s place. The bible talks about the first (atmospheric) heaven, the second heaven (space) and third heaven (the dwelling place of God). Jesus is also there in that dwelling place of God. Not only the Eternal Creator, but the One who willingly suffered and died on the cross for us will be there. Jesus is the light of that world (John 8:12). Hes s the way and the truth and the life (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is also there. He is described as the guide and comforter.
  • Heaven is a rewarding place. No matter how good we are, none of us deserve heaven. We can’t ever earn it, yet God still rewards the faithful with heaven (Matt 5:11–12). The beauty of heaven defies or abilities to describe it. Not even the hyperbolic descriptions in the Bible can’t adequately explain it. Yet, it is the reward of the faithful. We need to remember that we cannot have dual citizenship in the world and in heaven (Eph 2:19). We can’t mix the world and living faithfully to God. We may stumble along our path of faith and fail from time to time with the temptations of the world, but that is different from a lifestyle of conscious worldliness. It’s important that our citizenship be in heaven and sin forfeits it (Rev 21:27). Our treasures are in heaven, not here (Matt 6:19–20). Everything we have in this life will be taken away, either by our own death or when the Lord comes back. So put God first and look to His reward. At some point, our time will run out and the opportunity to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven will have passed.
  • We will have a fuller understanding in heaven. There are so many questions we have in this life that we will never get an answer to but in heaven we will have the best understanding that we will need to have (1 Cor 13:12).

What we will know and experience in heaven is so far beyond what we have here that we can’t begin to comprehend it. To take part in the blessings of heaven, God calls us to be faithful (Heb 3:14) and to be a faithful part of the body of Christ, which is the church (Eph 5:23).

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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Who is A Christian?

Nov 19, 2016

Is it true that every person who claims to be a Christian truly is one? There are some estimates that there are about 33,000 religious organizations under the name of “Christianity.” There are no “hyphenated” Christians or adjectives or other names that need to be added to explain what kind of “Christian” you are.

If I claim to be a Christian, how can that be true if I do not follow the teachings of Christ or honor His Word? Just because someone claims to be a Christian does not mean they meet the standards as set out in the Bible. Who is a Christian?

  • John 12:42 — many people believed in Jesus as the Christ but they wouldn’t confess Him because they were afraid to lose their place in society.
  • James 2:19 — demons also believe and tremble. Can we say they are Christians? They recognize God and know Him for who He is but they refuse to live in compliance with His will.

A Christian is NOT:

  • Just a good, moral person. Cornelius feared God, prayed always and gave (Acts 10:1) but it took a visit from Peter to teach him what he needed to do to be saved (Acts 11:14).
  • Just any religious person. There are plenty of religious people who do not believe in Christ. Paul was in the midst of a group of people in Athens who were highly religious (Acts 17:18–23) but they did not know God.
  • Someone who follows the Old Law. The whole Bible is the inspired Word of God, including the Old Testament that has been fulfilled. When Jesus came, fulfilled the Law and instituted a New Testament, He took away the Old Law (Colossians 2:11–14). Paul taught the Galatians that the Old Law had served its purpose to bring about the New Law (Galatians 3:24).

Who is A Christian?

A Christian is a person who :

  • Has obeyed the Gospel (Romans 1:16).
  • Heard the truth (Romans 10:17).
  • Has believed (Matthew 7:24–25, John 8:24, Hebrews 11:6). Believing means doing.
  • Has repented (Acts 17:30, Acts 3:19). This means turning away from your sin and living a changed life.
  • Has confessed Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 10:32–33, Romans 10:10).
  • Has been Biblically baptized (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3–4). In every example of conversion we find in the book of Acts, we find baptism.
  • Lives under a new standard (Hebrews 4:15–16).
  • Is part of “the vine” and lives in Christ (John 15:5–6).
  • A member of the One Body (1 Corinthians 12:12–13, Ephesians 4:4).
  • A citizen in the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13–14, John 4:1–3).

The Bible makes Christians only and only Christians. To become one, you must do what the Bible says and that’s not always easy. Sometimes it means that friends and family will not accept us. But God tells us that He is the standard and that those who disregard that standard will not enter into the rest He has prepared for the Christian. Be a real Christian because you have read and followed your Bible.

Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.

We can help: HighlandCofC.org
1201 Sycamore School Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134

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