The New Testament teaches that every age group of the church is important and each group has their duties and each group needs encouragement. Paul made it clear to Titus that no group was to be overlooked. Paul gave the duties of the older men in Titus 2:2. In verse three he gave directives to older women and beginning in verse 4 he gave directions to younger women. Beginning in verse 6 he instructed the younger men and beginning in verse 9 he gave directives to bondslaves. No group was to be ignored as each group has responsibilities and needs encouragement to fulfill those duties. This week make an effort to go visit and spend time with those in the different age groups. Learn from those older than you how to live a godly life. Share wisdom with those who are younger than you and share your experiences. Encourage each other and do not all any group of the Lord’s body to be overlooked.
In 1876, a survey was completed which showed people only considered 16 items to be absolute necessities in life. Only 84 items were listed as items of comfort. In 1976 the same survey was completed, but the number of necessities had increased to 92 items (superseding the number of comfort items in 1876), and the number of comfort items was 484. Can you imagine what the numbers would be now in 2012? We are an extremely blessed people. As you consider these numbers and the items you own which are necessity and comfort items, consider your weekly contribution to God.
Would Paul use you as an example of giving as he did the Macedonians to the Corinthians (II Corinthians 8 and 9)? Are you giving generously, purposefully, and freely? Worship to God includes giving as you have prospered. This Sunday, instead of reaching in your pocket and giving the spare cash you have on you, or instead of just giving the same amount you have for years, consider your worship of giving and purpose in your heart to give generously, freely, and cheerfully just as the Macedonians did (II Corinthians 9:6, 7).
As Christians, we are to let our light shine in the world (Matthew 5:14). However, there are many who allow their Christianity to be hidden. Essentially, our candle is lit when we are baptized and become Christians, but many then hide their light under a basket (15). Some hide their light because they are ashamed and do not want to be judged. Others hide their light as an effort to be humble, as they do not seek the credit for their good deeds. Yet we are called to allow our good works to be seen (16). Not that we get the credit, but so we can glorify God (16). This week make an active effort to glorify God by allowing your light to shine through your good works. Place your Christianity on a lampstand this week for all to see (15).
In Matthew 25:31-46, Matthew records the words of Jesus as Jesus describes a judgment scene. The righteous are the sheep who are placed to Jesus’ right and receive eternal life (Matthew 25:32-33, 46). The goats are placed to Jesus’ left and these were cast away into eternal punishment (Matthew 25:33, 46). No doubt all those reading desire eternal life and to be considered righteous, but if one is going to do this, he/she must be doing the deeds of the righteous.
Jesus described the deeds of the righteous as those who feed the hungry (35), gave a drink to the thirsty (35), showed hospitality to strangers (35), clothed the naked (36), and who visited those in prison (36). We all want to hear those words of Jesus as he calls us by name and says “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (34), but if we are going to hear these words then we must also be doing the deeds of the righteous. This week find someone who is hungry and thirsty and is without food and drink and provide him/her with proper nourishment. Perhaps you know of a family who cannot afford to purchase clothes for their kids, give their children clothing. If there is a guest at worship services this week and you do not know this person, invite them to your home for a warm meal and spend some time getting to know them. Call the local jail and ask about their jail ministry program and how you can get involved in studying with the inmates and communicating with them with letters. The world is full of those who need food and water, clothes and shelter, and inmates who are in and out of the jail cells in your community. Take the time this week to do the deeds of the righteous, and if you do you will surely get your reward in heaven of eternal life.
We live in a society where we are quick to share our thoughts. Twitter and Facebook consist of individuals posting their daily thoughts concerning their life. Technology has brought about the information age and each person believes they know whats best and they have all wisdom. Yet the truth of the matter is that “he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Think about it, when you are speaking, the only things you hear is that which you already know, but when you are listening, you may hear something you already know, but there is always the chance you hear something you never knew. This week, be slow to speak and be quick to hear, you may be surprised about how much you will learn and how much closer this exercise will bring you to those around you.
As Christians, we have a hope (a confident expectation) of going to heaven when Christ returns. Many in the world do not understand why we have such confidence in our eternal home and do not understand why we place our entire beliefs in one book. Peter wrote, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (I Peter 3:15). In a world where so many place little to no stock in the words of the Bible, and in a world which teaches there is no God and no absolute truths, it is vitally important to be able to take hold of an opportunity a friend, co-worker, or stranger may give you as they ask you why you believe you are going to heaven? Why believe in the words of the Bible?
There are many “Christian Evidences” one could use to say why they believe in the Bible. You may point to archaeology, teleological and cosmological arguments, or fulfilled prophecy. While all of these are great, consider the power of “Scientific Foreknowledge” in the Bible. If you are not familiar with these, then do some studying but these are powerful arguments which prove the Bible came from God. Only God would be able to state scientific truths thousands of years before they were ever discovered. There are several of these truths found in the pages of the Bible and none will be discussed at length here, but consider three of these truths and how using these to give a defense can lead to a greater Bible Study.
First notice Genesis 17:12. In this verse, God commands Abraham to circumcise Issac on the eighth day. Scientifically this is the perfect day to perform a surgery (you will have to do the research to understand why), but how would Moses or Abraham have known this? Because God spoke to them and recorded this truth. So offer this verse as a defense of “Scientific Foreknowledge” proving the inspiration of the Bible, but then state that if the Bible was right about when to have a major surgery then the Bible must be right about God keeping His promise to Abraham to multiply his seed, that being Christ (also in Genesis 17). This is the perfect way to make the discussion a lesson about Christ. Secondly notice, Isaiah 40:22. In this verse, Isaiah states that the earth was a circle, something which we know today, but in his time they believed the world was flat. If Isaiah was right about the earth then wouldn’t he also be right about the voice of John the Baptist who pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God which would take away the sins of the world (also in Isaiah 40)? Once again, make your defense for Scripture but then take the study to a study of Christ. Finally, notice Psalm 8:8. In this verse, David writes concerning the “paths of the seas”. Do your research to see how this is an example of “Scientific Foreknowledge”, but once again after giving your defense of the Bible’s inspiration, you can study Psalm 8 and talk about Christ being God but being made flesh (lower than the angels) and all things being placed in subjection to Him.
This week, study a few examples of “Scientific Foreknowledge” in the Bible, and then memorize this information in order to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you”, but then be ready to start in that same text in order to teach them about God, His word, and the sacrifice of Jesus to make forgiveness of sins possible. Remember, had these texts been wrong in these scientific areas then one would have reason to doubt the spiritual areas of these texts, but since the words have always been proven true in areas of scientific truths, one can be assure that they are also true in areas of spiritual truths.
I graduated from University of Tennessee in 2009 with a bachelors degree in Sports Medicine. In the field of medicine there is a saying: Watch One – Do One – Teach One. Watch One – For example, our professor would teach us the anatomy of the human knee and how to provide appropriate rehab to an injured knee. As students we would watch and learn this process. Do One – The students would then demonstrate they had paid attention by performing/doing the process themselves. We would palpate the injured knee, diagnose the problem, and then administer the appropriate rehab techniques. Teach One – To show we had a full understanding of the human knee and the process, we would then teach others how to do what we just learned and performed. Not only do we repeat the performance of diagnosing the injury and prescribing treatment, but we explain to the class how and why we are doing what we are doing. The principle of Watch One – Do One – Teach One proved to be a great learning exercise, a learning exercise which is described in the Bible
Ezra 7:10 reads, “for Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel”. Notice, after Ezra received the Scriptures, the text says he “set his heart to study the law of the Lord”. Ezra purposed in his heart to study and learn from God’s word, in other words, Ezra Watched One. Not only did Ezra Watch One, but he also Did One. After studying the law, Ezra put the words of the law into effect in his life, he practiced the law. Finally, after learning about what the law taught, and after applying it to his life, Ezra then Taught One. Ezra began teaching others of what he learned from God’s word. Christians today should follow Ezra’s example of Study One – Practice One – Teach One. This week spend some time studying God’s word. Take what you learn and put it into practice and then teach someone else what you learned, and don’t forget to tell them to Study One – Practice One – Teach One.