Tag Archives: Christianity

Texan Arson Targets Churches

Seven Churches have been vandalized by Arson. ICC and the Baptist Press report that since Jan. 1 many churches have been affected. The churches that have suffered damage include:

Lake Athens Baptist Church
Little Hope Baptist Church
Tyler Baptist Church

While other churches, such as Assembly of God and Church of Christ have been hit, the main target seems to be Southern Baptist. If you would like to help or to add your prayers for these churches, you can contact them at www.texanonline.net. I am sure they would welcome your prayers.

Two Questions That Have Always Bothered Me

I came to believe in Christianity the hard way. I rejected all teaching from my youth and searched the Bible and History for answers to all my questions. But two things have never quite been settled for me and I will question again and again until it is completely answered.

The first is: Why do we insist on calling it Easter? It is the Day of the Resurrection and the Sunday after the Passover in all aspects of Christendom, yet the English speaking people want to call it Easter. And as a result we take Christ out of it and put in all kinds of myths, secular traditions and party time attitude rather than Worship the Risen God in Awe and Wonder. It is a time to dress up, feast a lot and play silly games of hide and seek for colored eggs.

The second is: When did Christians stop believing in the Fullness of Christ in Holy Communion? I know that the vast majority of protestants do not believe in the Transformation of the elements into the Body and Blood of Christ yet until the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, all Christians the world over believed that the words of Jesus, “This is My Body,” and “This is My Blood,” where actual fact and not metaphoric.

I suggest that everybody read these three texts from the New Testament and study them:
1:
2: ,
3:


Listen

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread [1] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus [2] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 6:58 Greek lacks the bread
[2] 6:59 Greek He


Listen

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the [1] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 14:24 Some manuscripts insert new


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26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the [1] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 26:28 Some manuscripts insert new


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15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: [1] are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 10:18 Greek Consider Israel according to the flesh

God is Not Unfair Nor Forgets.

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.”

I know that there are many who do simple works in the name of Jesus that get no recognition on earth. Many who do things from their homes, offices and on the streets that nobody knows about except God. To these many brave and loving souls I say, God will remember you for your goodness, love and your obedience to His will.

Because you have welcomed Christ in the service of others, God welcomes you into His love. Jesus said as much in . Because there is a heart to serve God, there is no reward on earth that can justify your actions. Your Justification comes from Heaven. But as unfair is the world so just is God. Our rewards are in eternity, not on earth. We only need to trust that what good we can do on earth is done in the trust of Jesus. reads, “If you trust me, you are really trusting in the one who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.” When you do the will of Jesus, you are doing the will of God. When you are compelled by the Love of Christ to do works, you are compelled by the Father.

God recalls all the good we do and he remembers the righteousness of our actions. The Key is always that we do these thing because we are compelled by the Love that is given to us and the love we share with others. At the last meal shared with the disciples, Jesus said to them, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” () “When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”() If we are in Christ and He is in us, how then could the Father forget us? Why would God not justify our works if they are done in the example of His Son, Jesus?

Continue in the good service to God. Let no mortal confuse you and tell you that they have no value before God. Failing to do the works of Jesus is to fail the Father. Claiming that the works of Jesus are not to be our example of Right Living is to call God a liar.

God is Just and He will judge us through Jesus by our use of the gifts He has blessed us with. We are not to hide them in the ground as the lazy and fearful servant but are to use all the gifts to the profit of the Word. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” () They will see God in their works, in those who they render kindness to and by the grace that is given with the Love they have of God.

They shall receive reward because they are just before God and they have lived as the Lord Jesus, Our Christ, has deemed as fair and holy.


Listen

10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. (ESV)


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40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. (ESV)


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44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. (ESV)


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15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV)


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20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (ESV)


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“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (ESV)

Forty Days of Forgiveness (Day 11 – 15)

Day 11: “For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.”

The whole of tells of the great mercy and loving kindness of God. He treats us as his favored children, He fails to punish us as we deserve. He does not hold grudges or remember how often we fail Him. When God forgives our sin, it is forever. There are no conditions put upon us. Should this be motive enough for us to resolve to forgive others? Wouldn’t this be cause to change our sinful ways for the ways of Christ? “His Salvation” extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to His Covenant, the Covenant that is Christ Jesus.

While we were still living in the rebellion of all that is right, God was there ready to say to us, “You are forgiven! Return to Me!” To Him we are the great pearl that He gave His all to buy. We can live in the forgiveness as we live for His grace each day.

Thank you, My God, for the patience that you bare for me. Thank you for the grace of your forgiving ways. Thank you for continually loving me even when I had no love for you. By Your Grace, Your Mercy and Your Love I am restored into the Family of God. Heal my braking heart as I repent the ways that separate me from Your Love. Amen.


Listen

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (ESV)


Listen

103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame; [1]
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul! (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 103:14 Or knows how we are formed


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47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. (ESV)


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32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 32:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term


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It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (ESV)


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10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (ESV)


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2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander [1] of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith [2] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants [3] to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 2:9 Greek blasphemy
[2] 2:13 Or your faith in me
[3] 2:20 Greek bondservants


Listen

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (ESV)

Prayer Quote for Lent

“The prayer of petition is a part of God’s plan for man. When we say that God answers prayers, we do not mean that prayer caused God to change His mind. God has made the whole world and governs it by His providence. Everything that occurs in the world takes place according to the plan of divine providence. But it is part of God’s plan that certain gifts will be given man only in answer to prayer. We pray, not to change God’s plan, but in order to receive from God those things which He has planned to give us in answer to our prayers.” My Way of Life by Walter Farrell and Martin J Healy

Forty Days of Forgiveness (Day 1 – 5)

Day One: “They refuse to listen, and did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had preformed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt But you are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate; And You did not forsake them

Often we turn away from the grace of God and want to return to the ways of slavery to sin. So many times, we in our weakness, want to return to old habits. Let us use this time of year, the forty days before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave to examine ourselves to see what weakness of faith and obedience to the service of God we can purge ourselves of.

As Our God is a redemptive God, eager to forgive and wanting to ever welcome us, we are assured that when ever we stray from His way He will welcome us back. As we are seeking the easy way or the life that we left behind, He is wanting us to stay on the righteousness path of Salvation. Let us concentrate on the wondrous deeds that Christ has preformed in our lives and choose not to be lead back into the ways of the World. Let us focus on the Way of Christ and the Road of Redemption.

O God, be merciful upon me, a sinner, and waken in me the remembrance of Your Everlasting Kindness. Show me the errors of my walk and quicken my soul into your righteousness. Grant me your peace and comfort me. Confound the ways of the world that I will not stray into them. In all things, I give You praise and Glory, amen.


Listen

17 They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. (ESV)


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18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ (ESV)


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16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. (ESV)


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32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined [1] so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 11:32 Or when we are judged we are being disciplined by the Lord


Listen

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, (ESV)

When a “Friend” says Hurtful Things

My wife got a letter yesterday from someone who was once a friend. It must be pointed out that my wife has been laid up with blood clots in her leg and lungs and we were hoping that this letter would be one to wish her healing. But sadly it was not the case.

It was instead an attack on my Spirituality. To which I felt that it was long overdo to clear the air. I admit that I was accused of “False Teachings” by the church and was removed from the roles. What was hard for me to accept was that it may have been in God’s plan that I leave that church. I don’t like moving about from church to church and I dislike “pew hoppers” but it seems that for a year I was to be one of those.

But now is the time to at least in part be reconciled with those was dismissed me. I am sorry for the grief that I caused them. I regret that we came to “blows” and that our tempers got the best of us. I want to thank you for sending me away, it was the right thing to do even though I could not see it at the time.

Yet I want to say to those who still condemn me, what have I done that is so wrong? Have I loved you or Our God any less than you? Is my fervent desire to serve Christ any less than yours?

I am called to the verse:

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given to me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

So I will still do as I believe the Lord Redeemer directs me. And may God bless those who still dispose of me. As Christ has forgiven me, so do I forgive them. As Christ has blessed me, I ask blessings upon them. And may they grow in the Wisdom and Grace of the Spirit of God, may He shower them with His mercy. May the friendship that was from God be restored between us.

And if we meet on the street or in a shop, may our words be kind to each other. And most importantly, may the Wholeness of Christ be with you all the days of your life.

In the meanwhile, My wife is doing well and the doctors are pleased with her overall well being. Tests show that her oxygen levels are high and the clots are not impairing her blood flow. In time she will heal. In this and in all things, good and for ill, I give praise to My God. In Him all things come to pass and for Him all things are to restore my soul. I’m His for the long haul, I know no end in my love for Him.


Listen

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear. [1]
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me: (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 40:6 Hebrew ears you have dug for me

Persecutions continue in India, Turkey and Now England

It is now evident that in the “Free World” Christians are being attacked for their beliefs and their rights, property, and livelihoods are threatened. But it was a shock that a nurse was suspended for offering to pray for a client and now a professional foster parent has been denied to care for children because a sixteen year old girl chose to convert from Islam to Christianity and be baptized. These events did not happen in China or Iran but is England.

As Turkish Christians (Assyrians) lose property and many fled to Germany, as Indian Catholics and YWAM missions are under attack in India, as Former Soviet Nations create law restricting Faith Based organizations from having bible studies, we must be on a constant prayer vigil to preserve the rights, freedoms and dignity to worship where and how we chose.

It must be remembered that this is how it began in Nazi Germany with the Jews. As we face more opposition from the secular and anti Christians efforts, we must raise up and declare that the belief in a Supreme God is not to be passive but active. Here in the United States of America, we have been fighting secularism and restrictions of Faith because of a “Separation of Church and State” ideal that was designed to prevent a official religion. It has been perverted into becoming a government against religion.

In what ever Nation you live in, you have the God given right to Believe in Him. Man’s law has no authority to deny you that right. If we end up having to worship God in our closets, cellars and caves, as did the early Christians in Rome, we will do it again. But until that day comes, protest the ungodliness of men who deny us our God.

Feb 15: Update: I have been following the upswing of religious suppression in England as of late. First, a nurse was suspended for offering to pray for a client, then a foster parent was removed because a child in her care desided to change religions (from Islam to Christian) and now I read that a parent was threatened with dismissal from a school because her daughter talked with another child about Jesus and heaven and the mother asked her freinds to pray for her, the school and the church on line. This is England, the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the Magna Carta.

PRAY FOR THE CHRISTIANS IN ENGLAND! Pray for all Christians in the “Free World” that they may continue to worship as the desire and that Freedom of religion does not turn into the freedom from religion.

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C.H. Spurgeon on Readiness

I have been rereading sermons by Spurgeon (because a friend of mine finally returned one of my books) and I keep finding nuggets of wisdom that have shaped my life in the past and renew my faith in mighty ways.

This is another one that blessed me. “And even when that faith is given, the right preparation is to serve God always with thoughtfulness and care – not to go blundering on anyhow, hit or miss, as some do. It is a terribly sad thing to pretend to serve God without thought, without watchfulness, without care, for God is not such a one that we rush into his presence whenever we like, without premeditation, solemnity, or reverence. Every holy duty ought to be thought over carefully. Every prayer, every almsgiving, every attempt to serve God, should be done with due consideration and with holy anxiety to do it in the right manner, at the right time, and in the right spirit.”

Strong words to live by. Enter into Christian efforts by these three things: 1) Feel your need of God. 2) Cry unto God for help. 3) Accept God’s plan for you. In every way, make every effort to be a pleasing sacrifice of your life for the Sacrifice of Jesus.

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James 2:14-26 Working in Faith

“What good is it my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?…For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. ”

Many look at these passages as an argument against Paul’s teaching on Justification by Faith but that is not the case at all. Paul states that the ritualistic laws of the Pharisees and the circumcision requirement demanded by the Judean Law had lost its meaning. No longer did it express an obedience to the law of God’s Love and his Blessing on the people but it had become a bondage and a burden on the people. It imprisoned the Jews by resriction and unabtainable regulations that bore no resemblance to Love or Faith in God’s Justice. Instead of being for correction and encouragement to honor God in the fullest, it causes a resentment of God. The “works” that Paul gives reference to are those that make it impossible to please God by strict application and shows no mercy, love or acceptance from God.

James on the other hand complains that faith had been reduced to philosophy and religious theory. Faith had been reduced to meaningless drible. Faith had become an excuse not to observe the will of God and people did not want to walk in the Way of the Truth by Christ’s example. James did not want faith to become a wasted event in one’s life but a catalyst to do as Jesus and as they, the first disciples of Jesus did. While we are no longer bound to the Jewish rituals and rites, we are still to follow the Law of Love that permiates the Old Testament.


Listen)

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

James 2:26 (Listen

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

James 2:26 (Listen)

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV)


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13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (ESV)


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10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)


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31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (ESV)


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14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants [1] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, [2] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. [3] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 25:14 Greek bondservants; also verse 19
[2] 25:15 A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer
[3] 25:21 Greek bondservant; also verses 23, 26, 30


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30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii [1] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 10:35 A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer


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15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. [1] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant [2] of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers [3] who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you [4] with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. [5] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 15:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 22
[2] 15:17 Or rest
[3] 15:23 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 32, 33, 36
[4] 15:24 Some manuscripts some persons from us have troubled you
[5] 15:33 Some manuscripts insert verse 34: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there


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10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; [1] we have only done what was our duty.’” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 17:10 Greek bondservants


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9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, [1] my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, [2] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel [3] be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness [4] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 9:3 Or brothers and sisters
[2] 9:16 Greek not of him who wills or runs
[3] 9:27 Or children of Israel
[4] 9:31 Greek a law of righteousness


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For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (ESV)


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16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good [1] is that? (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 2:16 Or benefit


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28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (ESV)


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30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV)


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14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (ESV)


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24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (ESV)


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You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:18 (Listen

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:18 (Listen)

18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers (ESV)