Christ’s Teaching

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

Matthew 5:1-2

This week, let us think about the first section of the Sermon on the Mount, which is called the beatitudes. These are short sayings of Jesus that describe life in the Kingdom of God. These sayings teach us to respond to the ups and downs of life as a Christ-follower.

The key word in these verses is blessed or, as some translate it, “happy.” How can we be blessed despite our circumstances? I’m glad you asked! Jesus reveals truth in these verses that is counter-cultural and meant for us in our time. With our Bibles open to this Scripture, let’s take an abbreviated survey through these verses.

Jesus is our authority. He is our authority as Christians. And He is the authority to which everyone will give account.

Notice throughout Matthew 5-7 how often Jesus appeals to His own authority in delivering His message.  One four separate occasions Jesus grounds His teaching in His own authority in chapter 5 alone.  (Ch. 5:21, 27, 33, 43)

It is important to note the following statement. Jesus did not come to correct the law or create new law. He came to fulfill and reestablish the one true law. The religious establishment of His day had overshadowed the true word of God with their traditions and man-made teachings. Jesus, by His own authority, came to set the record straight.

We give thanks for Christ’s teaching and His authority. Let us follow Christ’s Words and live under His reign all the days of our lives!

Tony French

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Believing In Jesus

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

We will look at the most famous verse in the Bible today. This is verse is also the most memorized verse in all of Scripture. Let us not lose the wonder and majesty of this teaching even though we are very familiar with it. Let us examine it in this post and be reminded of God’s love and goodness to us.

“For God……………………………..

God took the initiative in our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is not incidental or accidental. God made the first move.

“so loved the world…………………

God’s love compelled Him to send Christ for us. He loved us enough to take action on our behalf. He could have simply allowed us to suffer the natural consequences of our sin. But, His love would not allow Him to do that!

“that He gave His only begotten Son….

God sent Jesus into the world for us. The term “only begotten” implies uniqueness and singularity. God sent His one and only Son because He was the only One who could be our sacrifice for sin. Christ was the only acceptable sacrifice and substitute that could pay our sin debt.

“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life………

Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. There are no restrictions on the “whoever.” God loves the people of world and calls them to repent.

You may be asking “what do I have to believe?”

**First, believe that Jesus is who said He is. He is the Son of God who came into this world. He is the Savior and He is the only Savior.

**Also, believe that Jesus did what He said He did. He lived in the world perfectly for our righteousness. He died as our substitute and sacrifice on the cross for our forgiveness. And He rose again on the third day for our justification.

**Finally, believe that Jesus will do what He said He will do. The Bible declares that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. (Romans 10:13) Jesus taught us “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)

Trust in Him today. Ask Christ to forgive you and save you. He loves you. And He desires your presence in Heaven!

Tony French

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Power!

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.

Romans 1:16

Here are a few thoughts about the power of God to encourage us this week.

God’s power is unchallenged. Earthly rulers may yield power to a degree. However, God’s power is unlike anything in the whole of the universe. The Almighty’s power is unchallenged, unrivaled and undefeated.

God’s power is unfailing. The power of the Lord never fails or falters. All of Yahweh’s promises are kept and fulfilled through His unfailing power.

God’s power is unending. Worldly empires rise and then they fall. No power lasts forever on this planet. Yet, the power of the Lord knows no end. Long after this world has passed God’s power will remain.

Hallelujah! What a mighty God we serve!

Tony French

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Service for the King

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”     

Luke 10:30-37

Jesus often taught using parables. Parables were stories from the natural realm that Christ used to demonstrate great spiritual truth. The Good Samaritan is one Jesus’ most famous parables.

It is important to remember that parables were not historical accounts and were used to amplify the truth that Jesus taught. Therefore, we must be careful not to over analyze or analogize them as we seek to understand the message Jesus intended. With that in mind, let us look at three simple lessons from this teaching and apply them to our lives. Jesus gives us a blueprint for how we are to interact with folks in our daily lives. Let’s not miss His message.

**First, God uses unlikely people. Jesus made the Samaritan the hero of His story and that is significant. The Samaritans were descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel who had intermarried with the nations that bordered their land centuries before. They were hated by God-fearing Jews and were considered to be half-breeds. The Jews called them dogs to demonstrate their disgust with these compromising peoples.

It is the Samaritan who stopped to aid the victim. While the priest and the Levite ignored the need, the Samaritan went to the need. Let’s be careful not to discount people. You never know who God made use for His glory. Even unlikely people find their way into His story.

**We ought to see the need around us. The priest and the Levite observed the need, yet, they didn’t really “see” the man and offer to help. This may seem simple but it isn’t always the case. We can become so busy and self-focused that we miss opportunities to comfort others. And the reason we miss them is because we don’t see them.

Let’s make it point to ask God to reveal the need around us. We can’t meet every need. We can meet some if we will keep our eyes open and listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

**Service is costly but worth it. The Samaritan was willing to help physically. He bound up His wounds and took Him to the inn so He could recover. But, he also was inclined to pay a price to help this man by leaving provision for the future.

Service is costly. It is costly to us just as was for Jesus. Serving others is worth it. When we serve others we are following in Christ’s footsteps. Service is not easy but it is rewarding and Christ-like. Don’t the let the price of service keep you from meeting needs. You’ll be glad you did.    

Tony French

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God’s Judgment

2 And He said to me: “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give wicked counsel in this city,3 who say, “The time is not near to build houses; this city is the caldron, and we are the meat.’4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man!” 5 Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, “Speak! “Thus says the LORD: “Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.6 You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the slain.”7 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Your slain whom you have laid in its midst, they are the meat, and this city is the caldron; but I shall bring you out of the midst of it.8 You have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you,” says the Lord GOD.9 “And I will bring you out of its midst, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and execute judgments on you.10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezekiel 11:2-10

The Old Testament prophets prominently trumpeted the theme of God’s judgement to the nations. Ezekiel is no different in this respect as his prophecy foretells the judgement and exile of Judah. A familiar pattern emerges in these prophecies and is apparent in the Bible passage for this week. An examination of this sequence is in order.

First, God reveals the sin of His people (or that nation receiving the judgement). The Lord lays out His case against them in no uncertain terms. The Almighty reveals what sin is in the New Testament age as well in passages such as Romans 3, Hebrews 2:2, 1 John 3:4, and James 4:17. People may not believe the Lord, but, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

Also, God confronts sin in His people. He sent prophets who preached and warned the people. The Lord gave messages to Ezekiel and others and commanded them to write them down. Yahweh safeguarded these message of judgement and preserved them so that future generations could be cautioned about going astray. Our Lord not only reveals sin, He confronts people and calls them to repent. God lovingly comes against sin so that people will repent and turn to Christ for salvation.

Finally, God judges sin when nations fail to turn away from their transgressions. God is patient and kind. He gives people space to repent and return to the Lord. If they to do not turn, however, the judgment will inevitably fall and will be swift and fierce.

As Christians, let us be glad that Christ was judged in our place. Our Savior absorbed the wrath of the Father upon the cross and paid the price for our redemption and the penalty for our sins. All who believe in Jesus and are saved and spared from the wrath of God forever.

If you are an unbeliever, will you believe in Christ and trust in His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sin? Be saved today and be spared the judgement of God. An eternity with Jesus awaits all who will believe on His name!

Tony French

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Waiting On The Lord

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

Waiting is exhausting. Waiting on God is one of the most difficult experiences we will ever endure as a Believer. We know that God is able, but, He doesn’t seem to move on our time-table.

Why does God require us to wait? Why do the answers take so long to arrive? While we can never fully answer those questions, we can know that there are some good reasons that God acts as He does. Let us examine three reasons in the remainder of this article.

**God requires us to wait to increase our trust in Him. If everything arrived from God immediately our faith would stagnate and never grow. Waiting forces us to rely on God all the more.

God used a time of waiting to grow Joshua’s faith. Joshua waited forty years for God’s ultimate plan in His life to unfold. Joshua’s trust in God grew and allowed him to effectively lead God’s people through the Canaanite conquest. 

**God asks us to wait so He can prepare us for the future. Joseph is a good example of this principle. God was preparing Joseph for leadership each step of the way. First in slavery and latter in prison his skills and acumen were being honed and refined. Joseph learned to serve and this lesson prepared him for the time that he would lead the nation of Egypt.

God is preparing you today for something greater tomorrow. God is using your waiting as a time of preparation. Learn from it and grow as a result.

**God uses our times of waiting to remind us that He is in control. Though we have free will, we do not have ultimate dominion over our circumstances. And God reveals that fact to us in the time of waiting.

Perhaps you are in a season of waiting. It’s not an easy place to be. My counsel to you may seem trite. Nevertheless, here it is–trust God, learn from your present circumstances, and give thanks for God’s ultimate sovereignty. When God reveals His path and His glory, it will be worth the wait!

Tony French

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Bless The Lord

We, as God’s people, are commanded in the Bible to bless the Lord. What does it mean to “bless the Lord?” It means to give gratitude and admiration to God —it is defined as speaking well of His goodness and greatness. We have the awesome privilege to bless the Lord.

How are we to do this? The Scriptures shows us the path. Let’s look at three ways we are to bless the Lord!

  1. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

(Psalm 103:1)  We should bless the Lord in the deepest part of who we are.
The soul refers to the center of being. It is the mind, the will, and the emotions within us. We are to bless His name fully and completely. Let our praise not only be external, but, let it engage our inward person as well.

  • I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

(Psalm 34:1) We ought to bless the Lord in everything. In all times, let us bless His name. It good times let us bless the Lord. And in difficult times may we bless the Lord as well. His praise shall continually be in our mouths and on our hearts.

  • The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

(Job 1:21) Bless the Lord when the Lord gives. Bless the Lord when He takes away. This principle is not always easy to follow. It’s not simple to traverse this path when we suffer a loss. If Job can bless the Lord after all he lost, so can we.

May God richly bless you and you bless the Lord!

Tony French

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Indwelling Power

The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit is one aspect of His ministry to believers. Scriptures teaches us that God dwells with us through the Holy Spirit. Where once God abode in Tabernacles and Temples, He now is resides in us as His people.

What does the Scripture teach us about the indwelling power of the Spirit? Let us examine three things that come to mind. And may we be blessed and encouraged in our relationship with God Almighty.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  John 7:37-39

  1. The Holy Spirit is a gift and the Spirit is given to those who believe. A Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Jesus declared it to be so in this passage. Through this prophecy, John declared that all who believe in Him would receive the gift of the Spirit. He would be like a river of living waters flowing through our being. 

In Him , you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed , you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14

  • The Holy Spirit is given at salvation. Paul refers to the fact that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The seal will be opened when we see Him face to face (spiritually speaking). When we believe, we are given an inheritance from Christ and we become God’s own special possession.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

  • The Holy Spirit indwells us permanently. We are sealed to the day of ultimate redemption when we get to Heaven. Therefore, Paul instructs us to listen to the Holy Spirit as He is our guard and guide till we see Jesus.

As we begin this week, may we remember the importance of the third person of the Trinity. He is our gift that is given at salvation. And He will be with us forever. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Tony French

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The Rock

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2

The Lord is our Rock. We shall not be moved.

The Lord is our Fortress. We are protected.

The Lord is our Deliverer. We shall not be afraid.

The Lord is our Refuge. We trust in Him.

The Lord is our Shield. We stand in His defenses.

The Lord is our Salvation. We believe in Him by faith.

The Lord is our Stronghold. We rest in Him.

Child of God, you are blessed. No matter what may come your way, you are blessed. God is your Rock!

Tony French

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The Last Word

Do you ever notice how some people need to have the last word? It seems as if some must get in the last syllables no matter the conversational topic. Such people can be difficult to deal with in life situations.

But, here is the good news. People will not have the ultimate last say about our lives. Your critics and your enemies will not have the final determination about you. Instead, God will have the last say about us Christians. His Word is what will count for all of eternity. Isn’t that wonderful news?

Through the salvific work of Jesus upon the cross, our sins have been forgiven, our hope has been secured, and our eternal destiny has been made sure. Others may harm and hurt us. But, these actions (though painful) will not ultimately determine our destiny. God has made that sure through Christ Jesus.

No wonder David could write these words with full confidence. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? (Psalm 27:1) No wonder Paul could say What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)  Because God has the last word, Jesus reminds us These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

God has the last word, Believer. Trust in Him and obey Him. You will not be disappointed in Jesus!

Tony French

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