Faith at Newtown Blog

The Urgency of a Christian Walk – Romans 13:11-14

Most of us are pretty lethargic when it comes to living biblically and living to please God. We have been lulled into a sense of complacency by Satan and his lies and feel no urgency to live our lives as a representative of Christ. Instead, we live fulfilling the desires of our flesh. But the apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome warns the believers in Rome that there is an urgency to live our lives as a representative of Jesus because salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. He warns them (and us today) that there is an urgency to live biblically, to guard our actions and to abstain from the desires of the flesh.
The pleasures of sin last only a season but the pleasures of Christ are eternal! We have been chosen by God and with that calling comes the command and responsibility to live according to the Spirit, not the flesh, so that we will be living testimonies to those around us. We are to stand apart from the rest of the world because we are not of this world. We are God’s children, and we must live as God’s children. We are to clothe ourselves in Christ’s righteousness and live as representatives of Him, abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh. Paul reminds us that there is an urgency in standing firm against the spiritual warfare that is surrounding us each and every day. We are in a constant spiritual battle with Satan who is out to destroy us, and we need to be prepared! Every day we are in spiritual warfare, and we must wake up and put on the armor of God, so that we can stand strong against Satan and his schemes. We need to step out of the darkness that Satan is luring us further into, and we need to stop our sinful behaviors and step into the light of Christ, clothing ourselves with His righteousness and living to please Him. We each have a season in which we have been called to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and in which we are to witness for Him. There is an urgency because time is short and is getting shorter with each passing day. We must rid ourselves of our lethargy, and we must replace it with a new sense of urgency. We must turn from our sinful behavior, turn from living for our fleshly desires, and live to please the Lord before our season is over.
(Romans 13:11-14)

Another Graduate!

Making the move as a pilgrim from this world into the residency of heaven is a promotion like no other! I write this post as I was just informed of another prayer warrior and saint of God that just met their Maker. Currently, I also am talking with a person who just received some bad news about their health.

It reminds me that the greater task I have is to walk, teach, and pray with people here on earth so that they may be prepared for their life of eternity. Life is short. Relationships with loved ones are cut off way too soon. The only thing that should capture our focus is the preparation for “forever.” Forever is a long, long time.

Our Savior came to earth and spent only 3 years in a public ministry setting. But, His life, death, and resurrection prepared the way for all of our eternity! (John 14:6) So losing another dear friend in Christ creates a heaviness of heart. Yet I know that the only things that we can take with us to heaven, are the eternal relationships we build through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May we all focus on the eternal days of our lives, and not so much on the temporary arrangements! My dear brother of encouragement will be missed! Happy Graduation!

Be Alert, Stand Firm

Having recently preached through the Armor of God, I have been reminded of a few important items. This series has reinforced for me some important pillars of the Christian life.

One of them is the fact that the adversary will go to any degree to keep you from living and pleasing our Lord. Ephesians 6:11 states, “… that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” He is scheming to confuse the believer about the way and things of God.

A second thought that impacted me is that the Word of God, the Bible, is critical to spiritual warfare. The one who is defeated, is not reading the Word! Every single one of the six pieces of armor are fused to the Word of God. Truth is anchored in the Scriptures. The Helmet of Salvation comes from knowing the Bible. Having genuine salvation, faith, readiness, and truth all comes through and from the Holy Scripture. All six pieces of the armor are directly related to the Scriptures! Therefore, if you are going to live a victorious Christians life, your words, thoughts, and actions must be anchored in the words of the Bible.

The final thought is the key verse that we as a church memorized together.
V.13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day …” This “evil day,” is the day of satanic influence and attack upon your life. It is not some huge event in the future. It is the day that Satan or his dark forces are after you. If you haven’t spent time in prayer, in his word, do not have him as the focus of your life, and are not controlled by the Spirit of God in that time, you are going down to defeat. And, it will affect many, not just yourself. That time of attack is different for all of us. One may be attacked financially, another with lust, and someone else with discouragement. We must be ready as a good soldier of Jesus Christ to know how with Scripture to win the battle.

Friend, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10

Lifestyle, Convenience, or Profit?

2Cor. 2:17 “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

We live in a day where people have taken the Word of God and have made it profitable for themselves. Purchasing private jets, money making books, and enormous salaries or benefits are just a few ways people have profited from the Bible, preaching of the Bible, or talking and writing about the Bible. I certainly do not oppose Scriptural resources, conferences, and good Biblical books. I use them and am grateful for how they feed my soul.

But there are some who are in the ministry for the wrong reasons. It is our duty as Christians to be discerning, alert, and aware of those who might deceivingly lead people in order that they may profit. We all remember David Koresh and the followers of his kingdom.

In the Apostle Paul’s day, it was no different than today. In the verse above, he shares that there were men who were “peddlers of God’s word.” The word “peddler” is to retail or adulterate. Today, there are ones who profit from the teaching and preaching of the word. We do well to discern, study, and test the hearts of those whom we follow. We are told that in the last days there will be teachers who turn the hearts of people away from Biblical teaching. (2 Timothy 2 & 3)

Personally, be certain that the Bible is your lifestyle! And, make sure that those whom you may listen to or follow, are not in it for convenience, profit, or personal agenda.

It is my prayer to be faithful unto the Lord till my last breath. Rewards are laid up in heaven. Our Savior told us, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)  If we keep our heart focused on the Kingdom of God, our riches will be tied to Christ’s plan and agenda, not a personal agenda.

What Really Matters?

Another Christmas, another year, and another birthday have passed. For each of us, time marches on. It goes by so quickly and waits for no one. As time passes, what are the things that really matter?

We occasionally sing a song by Geoff Moore and Jeff Silvey titled, “When All is Said and Done.” It asks a few questions about our life after we are gone. Will they say I loved my family? Was I faithful friend? Did I live to tell of God’s own Son? These are all pertinent questions.

Entering a new year, always brings me to a point of asking, “What Really Matters?” Most likely, the Christmas gift you received this past Christmas will have no effect on your life next Christmas. As a matter of fact, you probably will want a better one.

In life, relationships are what matters! First, your relationship with the Lord is most important. Secondly, your relationship to your family is of great importance. And lastly, all your relationships matter. It goes back to that old acrostic of Joy: Jesus – Others – You. How do you have joy in this coming year? Keep Jesus first, others second, and put yourself last.

Just When You Think He Isn’t There

Studying through the life of Moses and the Book of Exodus, I came across an important truth of Scripture. Our sovereign LORD, during the Exodus, (Exodus 14) purposely positioned the Hebrew children with their backs against the Red Sea. This caused the Israelites to murmur and believe that they were going to be killed.

God had them wait a whole evening before crossing the sea. The enemy was coming upon them. At that time, Exodus 14:19-20 tells us that the LORD, their personal Jehovah, moved from before them to the position of behind them. And the end of v.20 tells us “the night passed.” The LORD moved from a position of leading to a position of protecting!

What an awesome LORD we serve! At times can’t see the way, we do not know the path to take, but it is possible at those times He has moved from a leading role to a hind-quarters role of protection. The lesson we must learn is that whether the path is clear or if there is uncertainty, we must trust and believe that He loves, cares, and is protecting us at all times.

The Plagues of Egypt

As we study through the life of Moses, I have come across some interesting thoughts and perspectives on the 10 plagues. Recently in a sermon, I studied the plagues from the perspective of Pharaoh.  I found 14 different characteristics of sin, and the depth to which it will take a person. Two very interesting things struck me as I studied it.

1.) Sinfulness creates in you a scenario that you do not like what you are doing. You want to change it, but you do not make a choice to change it immediately. When Pharaoh was posed with a choice to have the plague of frogs removed, he asks Moses to take them away “tomorrow.” He did not ask for them to be immediately gone! This is just like the person caught up in sin. They wish to get away from it, but they want to enjoy one more night of their sin.  (Exodus 8:9-10)

2.) A person overwhelmed with their sin will not be able to free themselves, do not repent, and yet still want the blessing of those who are under the Lord’s care. After Pharaoh chooses to let the Hebrew people go, he says, “be gone, and bless me also!” Isn’t that great? After all the pain and the plagues inflicted upon the people, which he could have stopped at anytime; he wants the blessing of the Lord and Moses! (Exodus 12:32) What I find, and this Scripture confirms it; is that sinful man does not enjoy their sin long term, but truly desires to be freed from it and have God’s blessing.

It is so important for us who follow Christ, to point others to repentance and the hope that is found in Jesus Christ!