Monthly Archives: September 2022

Salt

An examination of the beatitude found in Matthew 5:13

Verse 13

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Jesus declares us to be the “salt of the earth.” Salt preserves and cleanses. From a spiritual standpoint, Believers are to preserve the culture by holding to the truth of Scripture. When we abandon the truth and give in to the spirit of the age we cease to be salt and are not any good to the kingdom work upon this earth.

We are also to be cleansing agents by doing right and loving others. In a world filled with hate, we are to love and help others. We cleanse the world through righteousness and holiness.

Salt also creates thirst. Christians should live their lives in such a way that they create a “thirst” for the gospel. Peter puts it this way, Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)

May we go and do likewise!

Tony French

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Wheat And Tares

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said* to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said* , ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”  Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus is the judge of all things. At the end of the age, He will gather the true Believers to Himself and He will judge those who refuse to believe in Him. This parable gives us insight on these future events. Let us observe three observations from this parable of Christ.

**There are true believers and false believers. Some who claim the name of Christ are true converts and they are the good seed that grows into good wheat. There are others who claim to be a Christian, but, they are actually not a Believer at all. The non-believer may look like a Christian and may even act like one for a time. However, the true and false will be revealed for who they really are in the end.

**True and false believers will inhabit the same space in this life. Both are allowed to grow. It is only at the end that the differences come into focus.

**Ultimately, the true believer shall be gathered to Christ and the false convert shall be separated from Christ. All shall be judged and the true faith will be rewarded while the false faith will receive condemnation. No one escapes the judgement of Christ.

What about you? Have you placed your faith in Christ? Do you believe that He lived for you, died for you, and rose again for you? Are you a true believer? You may fool people for a time if you are not really a Christian. But that ruse will not last forever. In the end, the wheat will be revealed along with tares. Trust Christ today and be saved!

Tony French

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Beatitudes 4

An examination of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:10-12

Verses 10-12

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The last of the beatitudes seems counterintuitive. How can we blessed when we are persecuted, insulted, and mischaracterized in our pursuit of righteousness?  There doesn’t seem to be much blessing here at all. But, take heart.

We can blessed in these things by recalling our reward in heaven. While we believe that God does bless and reward us here on earth, we realize that our greatest blessings are in heaven. We await those blessings as we await the coming of the Lord.

Also, we are blessed by remembering that others were persecuted before us. We are not alone. Others who have sought to live righteous lives have experienced persecution, pain, and sorrow.  They made it through and so shall we.

Blessed are Christians in this age and the age to come. Blessed are we indeed!

Tony French

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Encouragement For Difficult Times

Dear Christian, God is with you!

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6

Christ lives in you!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Our faith will be rewarded!

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Keep serving Jesus, Believer. Your faith is not in vain. Keep striving and living by faith knowing that Christ is with you every step of the way.

Tony French

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Beatitudes (3)

An examination of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:8-9

The teachings of Jesus have a revolutionary feel and orientation. They are only possible as we live through the Holy Spirit each day. They are upside down principles that lead to right-side up living! Let’s see them today as they are recorded in sacred Scripture.

Verse 8

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

God is ultimately pure. In Him, there is no spot, no blemish, and no error. Christians are commanded to be like Christ and He is our example of purity in a sinful world. 

God’s people should seek to be pure in thought, belief, and deed. We do this not to obtain salvation, but as evidence for salvation. Our purity, as the Spirit works in us, should be an example to others that we are truly in Christ.

Only those who are pure will see God. Jesus purchased our purity when he died for us and rose again.  Our sins have been forgiven and we have the righteousness of Christ when are justified through Him!

Verse 9

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

One of our greatest human needs is for peace. We desire peace with others, peace with ourselves, and peace with God. Christ-followers have peace with God and peace through Christ because He gives us His peace. (John 14:27) We are now expected to be peacemakers.

Reconciliation with others is not always easy. Working through divisive problems can be extraordinarily taxing. However, reconciliation is commanded in Scripture (Matthew 18 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-19) and should be practiced as we live life together.

Blessings await those who are peacemakers. Is there someone with which you need to reconcile? Start the process today.

Tony French

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Set Apart

As Christians, our desire is to live holy lives. We want to be like Jesus. But we still struggle with sin. While we want to be holy, we struggle against the world system, the evil one, and our own sinful nature. We can easily sympathize with Paul’s struggle in Romans 7.

What can we do to overcome sin? Is there any help? Thankfully there is. Let us examine three steps to overcoming sin. I’m sure there are more, but, we will limit this discussion to three steps.

**Avoidance. First, let us commit to avoiding situations that tempt us as much as possible. Paul spoke of fleeing fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18) and of avoiding the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Stay away from circumstances that allow sinful temptation to flourish. We can’t always avoid these times. But, we should take every precaution possible to prevent them from occurring in our lives.

**Prayer. Jesus counsels us to pray that we would not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). He also teaches us to pray that we would be spared from temptation in the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).  A consistent prayer life is a powerful defense against sin. Avoiding temptation is not simply running away from sin. That is important, but, it’s not always enough. We need to run towards Christ. One of the best ways to do that is through prayer.

**Trust. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us this: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.  This promise reveals several important keys to escaping temptation.

**God is in control of your temptations.

**He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear.

**God will provide an escape route from temptation. Look for it early in the temptation process and when you find the escape, take it.

**Christ will give you the strength to bear it all to help you overcome sinfulness.

Overcoming sin is difficult and arduous. Sometimes we will lost the battle. When you do, simply confess your sin, ask forgiveness, and move on (1 John 1:9-10).   Stay in the fight. Avoiding sinfulness means escaping the consequences of our sin. And obedience is always worthwhile in the life of a believer.

Tony French

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The Beatitudes (2)

An examination of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:6-7

Verse 6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

Great blessings will flow to those who earnestly desire and seek after God’s righteousness. The righteousness that we are to seek after can be found in God’s Word, in prayer, in the church, and through living a daily of life of discipleship. Growth is sometimes slow and there will be setbacks. Nevertheless, the true kingdom citizen will want to know what God has commanded us to do and how to live.

We live in a day where folks seem to be running from righteousness and sprinting toward evil.  Evil is good and good is evil in our time. God’s people, however are to search for and seek after God’s right way of living.

Seek to learn more about Christ and to obey the Word of God. The blessings of adoption await those who seek after Him.

Verse 7

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

One powerful attribute of kingdom living is the ability of showing mercy. The merciful are promised mercy in return.

This being the case, the opposite must be true as well. Those who will not show mercy will not be shown mercy. Those who deliver condemnation will receive condemnation in turn.

So, what about you? Will you choose mercy or judgement? Will you choose compassion or condemnation? God bless you!

Tony French

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The Church

I love the church! God has given me the privilege of serving churches my entire adult life. I am thankful for the church local and the church universal. With that in mind, let us be reminded of a few vital aspects of the church today.

The church is the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. We need one another and we should fulfill our role in the body. I am thankful for the body of Christ.

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Colossians 1:18

The church is God’s witness to the world. It is through the church that we learn and grow to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world. We are His witnesses and He has sent us into the world to make disciples. I am thankful for the witness of the church.

To me, the very least of all saints , this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.     

Ephesians 3:8-10

The church is a powerful presenter of God’s glory. God’s glory is revealed in many different places throughout the scope of the universe. And it is display powerfully in the church as God’s people meet, worship, pray, and serve together. I am thankful for the glory of God as it is revealed in the church.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.                                                                                                                                       

Ephesians 3:21-22

Dear Christian, are you a faithful part of your local church? Are you fulfilling your role in the body of Christ? Do you give God glory through the church?

Tony French

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The Beatitudes (1)

An examination of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-5

Verse 3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The “poor in spirit” are those who realize their spiritual ineptness apart from Christ. The “poor in spirit” understand their absolute dependence on Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sin. They comprehend their need of a savior and their need of salvation.

The reward for the “poor in spirit” is the “kingdom of heaven.” As Believers trust Christ and are converted, they enter into the kingdom as citizens. This kingdom is now a spiritual reality. Yet, it portends a day when the kingdom will be literal and visible. (Ch. 6:10)

Verse 4

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

Mourning is a part of life on this planet. Due to the effects of sin on our world, death, disease, and pain are ever with us. And because these realities are ever-present, we mourn.

While mourning is common from these causes perhaps there is another variety of mourning we need to see in this verse. We should also mourn for the effects of sin on our spiritual lives. We ought to mourn over the rebellion we have wrought and call to God for mercy.

Let us mourn over sin and turn to Christ for salvation.  May we confess our sins so that we grow in our faith day by day.

Those who mourn are comforted. The proud receive no comfort at all. Find your comfort today through the forgiving power of Christ.

Verse 5

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness is not weakness. Meekness (or gentle in spirit) is defined as power under control. True gentleness requires an extraordinary spiritual power that flows to us from the Spirit of God. It requires power, strength, and self-control.

It takes no power or strength at all to be ruled by our desires, our appetites, and our temper. Anyone can do that.  True meekness absorbs the insults without responding and is contrary to our revenge-filled culture.

Jesus is our ultimate example of meekness. (Isaiah 53) Following His teaching and His example will lead us to a great inheritance that cannot be taken away.

Tony French

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