Lucia's Blog: 2017
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A HOUSE BUILT BY GOD

 "By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."   
Proverbs 24:3-4


On the fifth day of God's creation, He filled the oceans with sea life making it swarm with fruitful life, but it was not good enough. The next day He made man and all of the dry land creatures that breathe oxygen and exhale CO2. There was but one problem: He made only one man. He said, "It is not good that the man should be alone." He made the woman so that he and she could form a family, and fill the earth with the creature that He loved the most, mankind. The ultimate expression of that love is found in His ideal of the godly home.  One of the most beautiful sounds on this earth is the laughter of children. The sound of children playing in the yard or in the street is the sound of a neighborhood that is still alive. We take much for granted. Happy families are no accident. From beginning to end, God has a plan. He is our Creator and Judge. He knows what is best for the men and women that He created.

Lately, I've been reflecting on the fundamental role that the home plays in our society, the church, and the nation.  I grieve that many homes are crumbling before our eyes.  Our godless culture is breaking down the most fundamental unit of society, the home Strong, godly and healthy homes are the only hope for the survival of our people.  The home is the laboratory and the incubation chamber for the next generations of our nation.  The identity of our culture is found in the character of our homes.  

One of the most damaging factors in the break-down of our homes is fornication, sexual intimacy outside of divinely authorized marriage.  Our godless culture accepts the widespread practice of couples living together, even raising children, without the holy bonds and commitment of marriage.  These couples give a number of excuses, for not getting married.  The truth is they don't want the lifetime commitment!  They boast about their love for each other, but they insist on defiling that love by fornication, mocking the public marriage contract that would render their union holy before both God and man.  Our culture not only accepts this arrangement, but celebrates it.  It is outrageous!  So, if they truly love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, like they claim, why don't they get married?  When one raises such a question, they stutter or keep silent.  But the truth is they are not truly committed to each other and their vows.  They know they can get out of the relationship without the legal complications of a marriage license.  Such relationships don't usually last.  They don't last because they willfully ignore and disrespect God's laws on sexual morality and His principles of righteousness.  I must stress that living together or being engaged as husband and wife outside of marriage is fornication or sexual immorality in God's Law, His Word.  It is condemned in the Bible and brings the wrath of God, (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; Col. 3:5-6; Rev. 21:8).  Those who practice living in such sinful relationships will not be in heaven. They will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  They bluntly insult such a standard or principle of morality, saying that Bible morality is outdated and old-fashioned.  But guess what?  God's laws, His Word, never changes.  It is just as relevant today as when it was first written!

When children are born out of wedlock, they are handicapped both socially and morally. When they grow up without the godly example of a faithful dad married to their mom, they themselves are ill-equipped to establish a stable family in which to raise their own children. They form another dysfunctional homeThe parents pass their sinful behavior onto their children who likewise live in fornication. They cycle continues generation after generation.  These sins of immorality bear many terrible consequences.  So, what happens then to a society or nation where there is no fear of God, their young engage in sexual immorality out of wedlock and reject God's marital vows?  Nothing but chaos and collapse, ungodly and unhealthy homes to support the ongoing integrity of our culture.  When the home breaks down, it weakens its ability to strengthen the culture.  So as our culture goes, so goes our nation.  It is alarming to watch the progressive break down of the home in our nation.  The breaking down of the home has now reached the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood.  

The Lord's church is impacted deeply by the break down of the home.  Strong and godly homes have a tremendous power to raise strong and faithful children who in the long run can become strong, faithful Christians when they become adults.  As faithful adults, they build strong and godly Christian homes whose Builder is Jesus, He whose kingdom is righteousness.  A home that is built by God's wisdom can produce godly, strong and faithful Christians.  Such godly souls are a blessing to the Lord's church!  They strengthen the church.  These are the type of homes that produce leaders who will serve in many vital roles in the church.

  1. Today, the Lord's church needs such men who are earnestly devoted to learning and applying God's Word in their daily lives, that they might be faithful to His teachings.  
  2. The Lord needs godly role models who can be the salt of the earth in His church, the home, and the world, (Matt. 5:13; Phil. 2:15-16).  
  3. The church needs men and women who can be strong and sound Bible teachers, (2 Tim. 2:2).
  4. The church needs strong and godly adults who will teach the young the fear of God, and a compelling desire to serve and love Him faithfully.  
  5. The church needs elders, deacons, and preachers who are strong in the faith and thus provide righteous leadership to the flock, (1 Tim. 3:1-3; 1 Pet. 5:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).  
  6. The church needs members who can love one another the way Christ has loved us, (John 13:34-35).  
  7. The church needs members who can exhort, encourage and strengthen one another constantly, (Heb. 3:13; 10:24).  
  8. Finally, the church needs members who can love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, (Matt. 22:37) and can be devoted and committed to Him and His church.  
You see broken, dysfunctional homes do not often raise up such amazing Christians.  The saddest thing is that the Lord's church is suffering immensely because of the breakdown of the home. Instead of overcoming the world by our saltiness and devotion to Christ and His kingdom (being godly examples), we are overcome by the world and its lawlessness, and darkness.  We must take responsibility at once for things are turning our homes upside down.

Another major factor in the breakdown of the home is that men are not living up to their God-given responsibility of being the head of the home.  (Eph. 5:22-24).  It is not a question of equality or who is inferior to whom.  Rather, God has given men and women different roles in the home.  (More on this later).

Divorce is another huge factor that is contributing to the breakdown of the home.  There is one divorce expected for every two marriages performed in our nation.  Unfortunately, it has been this way for many decades.  I cannot understand why people do something that God hates so much!  The answer is, that so few people know God or care about the Bible.  Faith is developed by hearing and heeding the teachings of God's Word, (Romans 10:17).  Those who care little about seeking the Lord and His Word will indeed have very little knowledge of His laws or teachings and will carelessly violate His teachings or laws.  Hence their faith will be weak.  That is why we must stress the need for spending time studying God's Word diligently and teaching it to others that they might be equipped to do good and righteous works, (2 Tim. 2:15).   Some married couples decide to seek the Lord only to find out that their present partner is still married to someone else making them adulterers, according to Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage. (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:8-9).  They were ignorant and didn't know God's will for marriage and the home.  Often this becomes a stumbling block for their faith, so they find themselves in trouble and being accountable to God.  Paul stressed to the Athenians that ignorance of God's Will is not an acceptable or a justified excuse, for God will hold us accountable in the end, (Acts 17:30-31).  Sexual immorality is the only exception to God's law regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  And whether our society agrees and respects God's laws on marriage, in God's eyes the marriage commitment is for life until death except for sexual immorality, (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:39).  It is God's intention from the beginning, (Matt. 19:8; Mk. 10:4-9).  His design for marriage is simple, one man and one woman together for life.  

Today, the marriage vows have no value anymore and are commonly ignored by couples who seem to care little about marital commitment and God's divine design for the home.  Such design must be based on love.  Unfortunately, our upside-down culture has developed a careless and flippant or irreverent attitude toward marriage and divorce.  Instead of couples working out their differences and problems, they often give up on their marriage.  The consequences are devastating for the home.
  1. Children must be raised in a single parent home, a dysfunctional and broken home.  
  2. Children are raised without godly role models in a strong and stable home.  
  3. Young boys grow up without fathers who can teach them by example all about manliness and godliness. 
  4. Young girls grow up without learning virtue, chastity and what to expect in a husband.  
As a result of this break down of the home, our society is weakened and our culture disintegrates.  They don't realize that God hates divorce, (Mal. 2:16; Matt. 19:9; Matt. 5:32).  The only grounds for divorce is adultery.  Outside of adultery, there are no other Scriptural grounds for divorce.  Like I said before, God's divine design for marriage is one man and one woman married for life.  Sadly, our society and culture has ignored and keeps ignoring God's laws on marriage and divorce.  As it is stated in Hosea 8:7, we have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.  We must turn back to God and His divine design for the home.  

Consider some good and wise counsel about the marital relationship and rules of thumb for a godly marriage and home.


I.   WALKING WORTHY IN THE HOME:
  • Wives Yielding in the Home:  (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.  7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you  of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."  (1 Peter 3:1-7).

Peters begins with the phrase "Likewise, wives."  What do you suppose Peter is implying here?  He is stressing the need to live our lives in such a way as to glorify God with our good and righteous deeds before the world, (2:12).  The central point is to live in such a godly way as to encourage others to obey God, (2:15).  Thus, Peter is commanding wives to yield as well.  In doing so, they are subject to their husbands yielding to them.

Our culture has often challenged and made it almost difficult for wives to obey the command to submit to their husbands.  Our society places "headship" as "dictatorship."  The only truth is that the wife must voluntarily yield to her husband, seeking out his best interests.  Her yielding is what God demands of her.  A godly wife wants her husband to lead her and the family without her attempting to do it.  Our society has failed us in reversing the rolesWe see passive husbands and domineering wives.  Men don't want to lead, provide for their family and are content being lazy.  Thus, the lay the responsibility of leading their household on their wives.  Many even send their wives to work and are content by not providing for the needs of their family.  Husbands, God has made you responsible for your family, not your wife.  As the heads, the buck stops with you!  How can you ask your wife to yield and refuse to the lead?  Step up and be the leader!  Wives, you are commanded by God to encourage your husband's leadership or headship.  Don't try to seize your husband's leadership just because you think he is not leading.  You still must continue to have a yielding spirit and encourage your husband's leadership.

In Ephesians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul is urging wives to "submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."  That is walking worthy of their calling in the marriage by voluntarily submitting to their husbands.  In our twisted society, the word "submission" has become an unpleasant and ugly word.  It presents a picture of being dominated and oppressedThey have completely corrupted the meaning of the word and the concept of what the Bible teaches.  Jesus has never asked us to do anything that He did not do Himself.  Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and yielded to His Father's interests.  He wants wives to voluntarily submit to the leadership of their husband.  Husbands, remember that the Lord does not want you to abuse your leadership by forcing her to submit, using punishments or other consequences.  If the wives refuse to yield, I believe there is nothing that you can do but be accountable to God and expect Him to judge the wives if they refuse to repent.  She must voluntarily submit to the husband's leadership without the husband forcing them to do it.  Wives who fear the Lord will submit to the headship of their husbands without enforcement.  Their primary desire must be that of submitting to God's will and that of their husbands.

Ladies, if you do not desire to submit and follow a man's leadership, then you must not marry, but you cannot escape your obligation to submit to male authority by remaining single.  To please God, you still must learn to submit your will to the divine will. Period!  Remember, submission does not mean you are inferior.  Do you suppose Christ was inferior when He submitted to the will of His Father?  I don't think so!!  Why?  Because submission or yielding shows strength and godly meekness.  Submission must be praised not belittled and defamed.  Remember, that when you submit to your husband, you are showing reverence and service to the Lord.  That is, you are serving Christ by yielding to your husband's will and not yours.  For the husband is the head of the wife.  There is only one head in the marital relationship.  God created both, husband and wife, as one flesh to function together under one head.  They are not to be autonomous but live together.  God has made the marriage relationship to be as beautiful as Christ is to the church.  Wives, submission is not doing what you always want to do or get your way.  Submission is choosing to submit or yield your will and desires to the will of your husband.  This is walking in godliness and love.  It is devotion to the Lord!  Submission honors and affirms the husband's leadership and encourages him to carry it on.  Submission is not begrudging and does not undermine the leadership of the husband, (1 Peter 3:1-2).  Wives, you are obeying Christ and submitting to His will when you submit to your husband's leadership or headship.  Remember, you will be rewarded for your yielding and loving service to your husband and the Lord.

It is vital that we stress the importance of wives behaving in a holy way outside and inside the home.  In 1 Peter 3:1-2, he illustrates a wife whose husband is not obedient to God's Word.  She is commanded to win her husband by her godly and holy conduct.  Wives, your godly, righteous lives speak more than words.  But if you behave like the world, you are not obeying God and submitting to His rule.  Period!  You must behave in a godly way regardless of how he acts toward you.  If he does not act like a godly man, the way he must, it gives no permission or right whatever for you to refuse to submit to him.  Period!

Holy women in the past placed their hope or trust in God and adorned themselves inwardly and outwardly.  They clothed themselves with a yielding or submissive heart toward God.  Sarah is the best godly and yielding example for all Christian wives and we must learn from her example.  You see Sarah showed a yielding, submissive spirit in the way she treated her husband even her conversations with Abraham.  By following her godly and holy example, we are children of Sarah.  We cannot be heirs of the promise when we behave in an ungodly and unfaithful way.  A yielding wife trusts her husband and acts in his best interest.  She yields or submits to her husband because she fears God and wants to submit to Him, doing what is right.  She is godly and has a quiet and gentle spirit, for she obeys Christ.

Sisters and friends, remember that we must not focus on the externals only.  Our beauty must not be how we look externally but it must be a spiritual beauty as well.  Our beauty must reveal a gentle and quiet spirit.  Our hearts are precious to God, and so it is a character that is gentle and quiet.  In Matthew 5:5 all Christians are commanded to be meek, i.e., gentle just like Moses who is praised for his gentleness or meekness of heart toward all, (Num. 12:3).  Wives and sisters remember that our most excellent beauty comes from our godliness.

  • Husbands Walking Worthy of Their Calling:   
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'"  (Ephesians 5:25-31). 

Husbandswalking worthy of your calling means to love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  Loving your wives means giving up your interests and desires for those of your wife.  Loving your wives is to do everything for the benefit of your wives.  This is the love of Christ for His church.  He did not do what He thought was best for Him but for us.  Husbandsyou must love your wives in all circumstances and not when it is convenient for you.  You are to love your wife as your own body.  The husband is commanded to be the headship of his household.  He is accountable to God for his family.  He is responsible for the welfare of his family in all aspects, mainly spiritually.  When husbands love and submit to the headship of Christ and his rule, then they will lead them properly.  It is vital that we stress the importance of leading them with love in a godly way.  Paul stresses the kind of love husbands are to have toward their wives in Ephesians 5:28-29.  They are to love their wives as their own bodies.  That is they must love and cherish them, for she is his body and the two are one flesh.  Thus, if he indeed fears the LORD, he will not lead her in a nasty, spiteful and bitter way.  Instead, he will cherish her since they are one.  Therefore, the husband must see his marriage relationship in a godly way, treating his wife with care and love.  There is no other way to be pleasing to God.

In 1 Peter 3:7, husband are to treat their wives with understanding in a considerate way, showing honor to her as the weaker vessel.  The husband must treat his wife as a delicate and fragile vessel.  Treat her with respect, for she is not inferior and because she is a partner of the grace of life with you.  It means that he must treat her as equal since she is an heir with him and not a slave under him.  Husbands, when you mistreat your wife and fail to show honor, you are not showing understanding and compassion.  Thus, you're running the risk of hindering your prayers.  God will not listen to you and you will not have a relationship with Him.  This is extremely serious!  You cannot treat your wife as a slave, mistreating her and still expect to commune with God.  When you behave in such an ungodly way, you are separated from God, for you are in sin.  Therefore, it is vital that you show her honor and kindness Show respect, understanding, and compassion in your actions and words toward her.  Treat her as an equal heir in your walk with Christ so that your prayers are not blocked or hindered.  Take heed!
  • Unconditional Love In Marriage:
What is love?  For most people love is subjective and is based on personal feelings and experiences.  It is impossible to define such love objectively.  Indeed, it is much easier to describe love than to define it.  But the most inclusive definition is found in the Word of God:  "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."   (1 John 4:8). 

Although most people would agree that love is the fundamental basis for marriage, emotion is usually what drives a couple to get married.  The problem is that when love is only emotional, it will diminish or lessen within a very short period of time.  As a result, their marriage is in jeopardy.  I don't deny that emotion is vital between a husband and a wife who love each other, still, the only love that will sustain the marriage relationship must be based on more than mere emotion.  Unconditional love, commitment is vital for a marriage to endure the wiles of Satan.  The type of love in Paul's treatise of love in 1 Cor. 13:1-3, is "agape love".  It is often described as the most excellent form of love in the New Testament Greek language.  You see, "agape love" is not based on emotions or physical attraction.  It is a devoted, willful and committed love that one person extends to another person he chooses to love.   He extends that love even when he is not loved in return.  He is determined to love even when that other person is not worthy of his love.  He loves that person even when that person is unlovable.  He is practicing agape love.  In an upside-down culture, this kind of love sounds rather strange.  Everyone wants to get something in return for their investment (money, time, emotion, etc.).  Often, I hear that marriage is a 50-50 proposition and each spouse is required to meet the other one-half way.  With this kind of mindset, there are a lot of problems in the marriage relationshipMarriage is not a 50-50 relationship!!  For a marriage to work the way God has designed it (to be rich and fulfilling and rewarded by God), there must be 100% commitment from both husband and wife to the marriage relationship.  There will be times when the marriage relationship is put under extra strain. Here is where "agape love" must come into play.  
    1. Agape love will sustain the marriage relationship in the face of trial.  
    2. Agape love kicks in when the other spouse is unlovable.  
    3. Agape love refuses to give up on marriage when the world shouts, "Walk away, get a divorce!"  
    4. Agape love continues to love unconditionally!!  
    5. Agape love prevails.  
    6. Agape love, unconditional love overcomes evil with good, (Rom. 12:21).
  • Fathers, Bring Up Your Children in The Discipline and Instruction of the Lord:  
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Ephesians 6:4).
The word "discipline" implies the activity of education.  Some translations use the word "training."  The word "instruction" is the verbal part of the education.  Thus, fathers must verbally train and instruct their children by their actions and words.  Both are necessary.  The most important teaching a father can do for his children is based on God's instructions.  When he follows God's instructions, he will teach them to love God above everything, obey Him, fear Him and worship Him joyfully.  But words and actions are necessary to be successful.  

Christian parents play a foundational role in teaching their children daily the fear of God.  Unfortunately, many Christian parents don't serve God faithfully and end up raising children who as adults don't serve God either.  Their children grow up and are lost.  Other reasons could be cultural influences combined with a lack of proper Bible teaching.  The power of cultural influences is stronger than ever with the rise of media and the many technological devices (TV, movies, video games, music, social media, internet, texting, etc.).  Most of these influences are ungodly.  Even those children who were brought up in a Christian and godly home spend most of their time with other children who are not being raised to fear and love God and His Word.   All Christian parents must fight tooth and claw all negative cultural influences.  They must instill principles of righteousness and God's Word in the lives of their children.  It is not enough taking our children to church weekly.  It is not enough to feed and clothe them well without teaching them the fear of God and obedience to His Word. Attendance alone (when we gather together to worship God) is not enough and the central pillar of life without proper Biblical teaching or instruction.  It is how we live our lives, our actions, that will teach our children do what is right as genuine children of God.  Our children can indeed see where our priorities are.  Fathers are not to provoke their children, for they will become discouraged.  Fathers, you are giving the ultimate responsibility for the training of your children without wrath and discouragement.  You must train your children to save them spiritually.  Under no circumstances abuse your authority.  You must not be oppressive but rather exercise wisdom and discernment.
    • Saving Our Children:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."  (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
God has put us, parents, in charge of our home and we must lead appropriately according to the will of God.   Our lives must be ordered and determined by God's kingdom and God's righteousness if we indeed are faithful followers of Christ.  In doing this, you can rest assured you will be equipped to teach your children the fear of God and defeat all negative cultural influences that exist.  We must be earnest about the souls of our children and learn from the wisdom of God written a long time ago, (Deut. 10:12-13).  It is crucial that we as Christian and godly parents walk worthy of the Gospel if we want our children to obey God.  It is a foundational truth in saving our children.  We cannot expect our children to be faithful to God if we are partially committed to Christ.  When both parents fear God, are devoted, dedicated and zealous to the Lord and His work, their children most likely will follow their parents' lead successfullyThe church cannot save our children.  Parents are the only ones who can save them with the Lord's help.  No Bible classes and sermons at a church building weekly will influence our children's lives and save them.  Parents must walk the path of righteousness and practice what they teach their children that they may see the way to heaven.  The power of godly example from both parents is vital for them to be saved and go to heaven.  (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).

Indeed, this Scripture is full of practical wisdom about the godly home that does not forget God.  When one loves God, he will also love His Word.  When it comes to child-rearing, parents must practice what they preach.  There must be a personal example and spiritual teaching and training.  Bible study with their children is a priceless opportunity.
  1. Parents must teach their children to love, respect and obey God supremely. 
  2. They must teach them a love for their neighbor.
  3.  How to respect and submit to all authority. 
  4. They must teach them to humble themselves, exercise self-disciple and do hard work.
  5. How to be gracious and merciful to all.  
  6. They must be reminded that God is watching and that they will reap what they sow.  
  7. And that they must keep learning and growing in the fear of God.  
These are fundamental and priceless truths that will save our children.  Remember that our primary goal is to teach our children how to walk with God as we are endeavoring to do it also.  Leading by example is not enough sometimes since we must also invest time to properly teach them, (Eph. 6:4).  Without Bible knowledge, the wisdom of God and the path of righteousness in their lives, our children are most likely to be lost in this world of darkness (the culture around them).  May we never allow this world's constant distractions to squander these precious opportunities to teach them what really matters, the fear of God, love for His Word and obedience to all of His commands, (Deut. 6:8-9).  Parents, do your children know well the Word of God?  For example, do they know where to find the Sermon on the Mount?  Love?  Faith?  Salvation?  Heaven?  Hell?  Judgment Day?  Remember, our time with our children is limited!  Therefore, we must train them well in the way of the Lord.  Please, don't abandon your God-given duty!  Please, teach your children God's riches found in His Word that they might hear and understand it to bear abundant fruit for the Lord, (Matt. 13:22-23).

Let 's purpose in our hearts to train and raise godly children.  Let us train these precious souls to become faithful and zealous disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ because God has entrusted their soul to our care. Remember, our job as parents is first to bring up godly children even while we prepare them to make a living.  Why not start using our time God has given us to manifest our faith in our children so that they might also be firmly established in their faith?  Why not teach them loyalty to Christ and His church, the one He purchased with His own blood?  Since God cares about our relationships, it is vital that we walk in a manner worthy of our calling, Eph. 4:1 in our homes and Christian life.

  • Children, Obey Your Parents:  
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise)."  (Ephesians 6:1).
Children are commanded by God to listen and obey their parents in everything, for this is the will of God.  Children, especially teenagers, you are walking worthy of God when you obey your parents showing honor and respect toward them.  Obedience to your parents is your service, submission, and worship to Christ and His rule.  You must obey your parents in the Lord, for in doing this, you are serving the Lord through your obedience.  It is pleasing to the Lord.  When you rebel against your parents, you are rebelling against your God.  You are commanded to honor your father and mother, (Ephesians 6:2-3).  When you honor your parents, you are reflecting your relationship with God.  And whether you like it or not, your parents are wiser than you.  Your life will be better when you submit to their counsel and instructions.  Remember, they're giving you rules and instructions for your own good and keep you from many headaches in life and destroying your soul.

In Matthew 15:3-6, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for breaking the commandment of honoring their parents.  They failed to take care of their parents financially, saying that their money was given to God.  They failed to show respect and honor for a lifetime, forgetting that it never ends.  And though your parents might not be worthy of honor, because they have behaved dishonorably toward you, you still must show respect and honor toward them.  It is God's will that we honor, care and respect them and keep from behaving sinfully toward them.  God will judge us in the end.  Take heed!

  • So Why Should You Get Married?
"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."  (Hebrews 13:4).
Why should a man and a woman get married?

A man and a woman should get married because marriage is honorable, righteous and ordained by God.  Also, God will judge those who live in fornication or adultery, (Heb. 13:4).  God designed and instituted marriage.  It did not happen by accident.  God created the woman, Eve, from a bone out of the man's body.  He then brought her to the man, Adam, (Gen. 2:21-24).  A man and a woman should get married because they honor, respect and love each other.  People should get married because they want childrenMarriage is the relationship in which God designed children to be born in this world, (Gen. 1:28, Ps. 127:3-5).  Children must never be viewed as a nuisance or inconvenience. Unfortunately, that is exactly the modern view in our society.  Children are a blessing from God, (Ps. 128:3-4).  Don't ever forget that!  Men and women should be married because God blesses the marriage relationship emotionally, physically and spiritually.  As husband and wife strive together, they help each other get to heaven, but only when both are Christians, and faithful to God.  A wife should love her husband enough to be in subjection and submissive to him and respect him as her head and husband, (Eph. 5:22-24, 33).  A husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church; enough to die for her!  He must love her as his own body, nourish and cherish her, (Eph. 5:25, 28-29).  Therefore, those who are entering marriage must be careful in thought and prayer to do God's will in their marriage relationship.

Preparation for marriage begins with Mom and Dad walking together and modeling a godly example in their marriage relationship on a daily basis.  God-fearing parents must teach their children God's principles of righteousness in the marriage relationship.  They must instill such principles of righteousness to guide them to be godly husbands and wives the way God designed them to be.  Parents must raise and train their children to fear God and be faithful to Him because when they fear God and are faithful to Him, the marriage relationship will be blessed as each one works diligently to make it to heaven, (Phil. 3:11-14).  Parents must teach their children by example, that marriage is a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week commitment.  Such commitment must be filled with joy rather than bitterness and grudges


CONCLUSION:

Marriage is one of the greatest blessings that God bestowed upon mankind.  God created man and woman to be together and to complete one anotherIt is fascinating to me how God fashioned the woman from one of Adam's bones, (Gen. 2:21-23).  It is amazing how God personally brought the woman to the man and how He recognized such a union as marriage from the beginning, (Gen. 2:24).  Marriage is not a byproduct of some supposed social evolutionary process.  It was God's purposeful design!  Unfortunately, mankind has messed up big time such a wonderful blessing.  God designed marriage to be a blessing in which husband and wife can fulfill or complete each other in all aspects of life. Today our godless culture disregards God's will for them to remain pure and innocent virgins, until marriage.  Today, we are supposed to believe that it is unusual for couples to remain virgins until marriage.  The saddest part is that this ungodly behavior is polluting the Lord's church.  More and more Christians lose their virginity before marriage.  God has repeatedly warned us through His Word concerning sexual immorality which includes fornication, sexual relations, before and outside of marriage, (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:8-9; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-4; Col. 3:5-9; Rev. 21:8).

Living together or cohabiting as if husband and wife, yet without being married, is sin.  Even raising children without being married is very common today.  Adultery is justified and explained away and even sanctioned as a means of finding fulfillment and happiness.  Marriage has become a commodity that one can throw away when it is no longer wanted.  As a result, the family structure is catastrophically degradedThe home is the lifeline for developing and maintaining the character and strength of a society.  There is no other viable substitute!  The morality, strength, and stability of our culture and society are bending downward because of the careless, godless and irresponsible way our culture looks at marriage and the home.  When the home is at the heart of a strong and God-fearing culture, marriage will indeed be at the heart of a strong and godly home.

Ephesians 5:32-33, shows a beautiful picture for us of the relationship between Christ and the churchA godly marriage and home will reflect such a relationship.  When we walk worthy of our calling in our marriages, wives, husbands, and children will behave properly according to the will of God.  Husbands will love their wives with love, honor, and respect.  He will lead his family, reflecting his best interests for the well being of his home, because he wants to please and honor ChristWives will respect and honor their husbands also even when he is not worthy of it.  She does it because she loves Christ and wants to submit to Him and His will just as He did so when He submitted to His Father in heaven.  The wife will honor the headship that God has given to her husband by helping him.  She will be his helper and companion for life without wavering, just as God is faithful to His faithful children.  She will help him in that role. Neither the husband nor the wife will hurt the other with words or actions, for they want to be pleasing to Christ.  The wife will show respect toward her husband in public and in private, yielding to his best interests above her own just as Christ did for us.

Only when wives, husbands, and children submit to Christ and His headship, will the marriage or home be a joyful blessing.  But when the marriage or the home is self-centered, focused each on his own way, God's beautiful picture of the home will be destroyed, and sin will rule the home.  This is why divorce exists.  Remember, divorce is a sin and is not worthy of the calling that God has called us to.  When we love Christ, His kingdom or rule, we can live for Him and joyfully do His will to love and yield or submit one to the other.

A house whose foundation is built on wisdom through God's knowledge and understanding is a haven filled with boundless treasures.  These treasures by no means are earthly nor will they rot or rust.  Instead,  they are eternal treasures such as godliness, character, peace, wisdom, and love.  A stable home must be built on virtue and learning to stand firm.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain." (Psalm 127:1-2).

Those who truly belong to Christ and whose lives are hidden in Him have put to death anything that hinders them from their love for Christ and His kingdom of righteousness.  They have put on the new self as God's chosen ones.  A life that is hidden in Christ will behave in a godly way in all relationshipsIt means that as God's chosen people, our relationships must show Christ in us as to how we deal with one another.  The problem is that many ignore God's design for relationships, especially in the home, and end up with catastrophic relationship problems.  Our Lord and Savior, must be all and in all even in our relationships.  Difference of role does not mean inequality of worth or value.  We must keep our eyes on Christ and apply His principles of righteousness in all our relationships.

God cares very much about our relationships with one another and what happens in our lives even behind closed doors.  He cares about our submission to Christ and to one another, husbands, wives, parents and children.  When we submit to one another the way God intends, we are showing the beauty of submission.  Only when we submit to Christ and His rule in the fear of God, can we be pleasing to God as children and parents, walking worthy in the family.  Walking worthy of our calling in the home means honoring our parents, and teaching our children the fear of the Lord.  God cares a lot about life in the home.  Parents must train their children in that which is the most critical education: God's education in the home.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine... to a wise man, who BUILT his house upon the rock.  And the rain descended... and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock... a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house, and it fell, and great was its fall."  (Matthew 7:24-27).   
A home that is built by material and earthly possessions hold no valueA home must be built on seeking God, His instruction, His love and His principles of righteousness. This will eventually be seen in the family.  Unfortunately, today many homes are built on money and materialism.  Our homes have become more like showpieces rather than what God demands for our homes.  Sadly, many homes look like showpieces because no one is ever there!

Therefore, it is vital to stress that our primary goal must not be to have an earth-centered home.  We must not let ourselves become enslaved to material things, given to the newest electronic gadgets and devices.  What isolation!  Let's spend true time together reading our Bibles, meditating on it, loving and encouraging one another.  No wonder our churches and our culture are so messed up!   It is regrettable that all these treasures have been replaced by gadgets, devices and yes Facebook.  We spend too much time on Facebook and online.  Let's redeem the time!  Let's be wise and not replace the blessings of our homes with worldly things, lest we forget to cherish what God has entrusted us with, our family unit, that He has designed for us.  Lest we forget, He will judge us.  Therefore, we have the responsibility to make our homes a lasting impact on this world of darkness.  Although our children may grow or leave, the memories and lessons taught and learned are going to build them up inside for life.  Our children can spread all these blessings into the world.  You could call it EVANGELISM.

At times, I wonder if we, Christians, have forgotten the true definition of what a home must be. A home is supposed to be our "haven."  It is here, home, where our haven is made.  It is where our dinner conversations are full of joy, questions, and answers.  Oh, how much I treasure this!  It is where life is put in order, birthdays are celebrated and the Word of God is studied with its big questions and answers.  It is where love is built and cherished.  It is the most sacred place.   It is where we show  "hospitality" to others, which in the Bible means love of strangers, (Hebrews 13:2).  Sadly, so many can't wait to be anywhere that is not home by avoiding being there.  To build a home on God's wisdom requires daily work and time. We must set an atmosphere of peace, learning, love, and godliness.  We cannot make the mistake of providing an atmosphere of worldliness, humanism, and ungodliness.  Instead, we must provide an atmosphere whose fragrance is Christ, (2 Corinthians 2:15-17).  God must be the center of our homes.  He needs to dwell there.  Of course, this requires a lot of investing in those we love and care.  It takes being fully present,  making the effort of connection.  Let's slow down and make memories by speaking God's words of wisdom, love, kindness, and life into the lives of our children. The world needs to see the Light shining in the midst of so much darkness and what better place than our homes.

"The curse, of the LORD, is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous."  (Proverbs 3:33).  
A godly marriage and home does not happen by accident.  It is developed and sustained through careful focus and diligent commitment from both husband and wife because they know that it is a blessing from God.  Consider some rules of thumb that can serve as a guideline in the marriage relationship.
  1. Always put God at the head of your life, home, and marriage, (Matt. 22:37-38).
  2. Do not allow Satan to hinder your marriage, (Jas. 4:7-8).
  3. Love your spouse deeply enough to cheerfully accept and fulfill him/her without resenting your God-given role as husband and wife, (Eph. 5:22-25).
  4. Be committed to faithfully lead your family in the fear of God, (Eph. 6:4).
  5. Always be honest and loyal to each other, (Prov. 12:22).
  6. Don't surrender yourself to anger, bitterness or evil speaking in your marriage relationship, (Eph. 4:31).
  7. Be kind and tenderhearted toward one another, (Eph. 4:32).
  8. Forgive, forget and move forward in your marriage relationship, (Mark 11:25-26).
  9. Be supportive and bear one another's burdens, (Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 13:7; Gal. 6:2).
  10. Take your marriage life and everything to God in prayer together as husband and wife, (1 Thess. 5:17).
  11. Never stop counting your blessings together and be grateful for what God has done for both of you, (1 Thess. 5:18).
  12.  Above all love each other deeply and unconditionally ("agape love," 1 Cor. 13:8, 13).

There is a song that describes God's ultimate expression of love found in His ideal of the godly home.


GOD GIVE US CHRISTIAN HOMES
By B.B. McKinney

God give us Christian homes! 
Homes where the Bible is loved and taught, 
Homes where the Master's will is sought, 
Homes crowned with beauty Your love has wrought; 
God give us Christian homes; 

God give us Christian homes! 
Homes where the father is true and strong, 
Homes that are free from the blight of wrong, 
Homes that are joyous with love and song; 
God give us Christian homes; 

God give us Christian homes! 
Homes where the mother, in caring quest, 
Strives to show others Your Way is best, 
Homes where the Lord is an honored guest; 
God give us Christian homes; 

 God give us Christian homes! 
Homes where the children are led to know 
Christ in His beauty who loves them so, 
Homes where the altar fires burn and glow; 
God give us Christian homes; 
God give us Christian homes!


May our LORD give us wisdom as we build our homes on Him and His Truth. May we rule our little corners of God's kingdom honorably and well. May we seek His wisdom and faithfully persevere in our God-given role, as godly parents. May we enthrone our LORD in our hearts as godly parents that all might see His glory shining in us. May all wives love their husbands and submit to them like Christ. May we make our homes a joyful blessing given to us by our Father in heaven. May we show the world God's beautiful picture of the home rather than destroying it because of the sinfulness that rules our marriages. May we walk worthy of the calling of our Father in heaven, living only for Christ by loving and submitting to each other. May we show respect to each other in the home by our actions and words. May wives show their beauty inwardly and not just outwardly. May we reflect a gentle and quiet spirit by our pure and godly conduct. May all husbands show compassion and understanding toward their wives, showing honor to them as their most precious and valuable possessions. May the world see Christ in us in the way we behave as wives, husbands, parents, and children. May we apply God's principles of righteousness to all of our relationships, especially in the home.

Luci

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher."
2 Timothy 1:7-11


The voice of wisdom calls out in the streets to the children of men, offering truth and righteousness, but most men hate her. Those who hate wisdom love death. "But he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death."  (Proverbs 8:36). The voice of Jesus also calls out to a lost and dying world, but they hate Him also because they do not know Him, John 15:18-25.  It is because of that almost universal hostility that we tend to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.''' (John 15:18-25)

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul begins his treatise on justification by faith boldly declaring,
"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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'"

I.   WE MUST NOT BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL:

There is only one way to be forgiven and justified by God.  For that reason, it is vital that we stress the importance of upholding and defending God's great Message, the Gospel.  Christians must never be ashamed of the words of the Master, especially when in conflict with the ungodly.  We Christians must not compromise our faith and convictions because of pressure and persecution (as the first century Christians) or out of a desire to conform to this world, (Rom. 12:1-2).  Jesus warned His disciples saying,
"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26).

Paul told Timothy,
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God."  (2 Tim. 1:8).

Apparently, there were some Christians who wanted to avoid controversy concerning the Gospel.  Today is no different.  Many are afraid to confess their faith and give the testimony of our Lord in defense of His Gospel.  They remain silent about their faith, the Gospel that they profess to believe.  They are afraid to enter any discussion of the Gospel.  They ignore what Jesus said,
"So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."  (Matt. 10:32-33).  

It means to stand up for the Truth of God's divine Word even if that involves persecution, being scorned and ridiculed even put to death.  There is no need for us to fear since our God strengthens us with His living Word.   

We are ashamed of the Gospel when we refuse to speak of what must be the heart and center of our lives.  Some just don't want to upset non-Christians, so they avoid the confession of their faith.  In doing this, they never attempt to teach even one soul.  We cannot be counted as faithful to the Lord and His will when we are afraid of the Gospel of Christ and His Testimony.  Isn't it something how the devil shuts the mouths of weak Christians!  Another way Christians show they are ashamed of the Gospel is by failing to stand for the Truth, (Gal. 2:5).  Sadly, many Christians don't have a strong faith, nor do they have strong convictions, so they undermine the uniqueness of the Lord's church and fail to confirm and defend the Gospel, (Phil. 1:7).  And since the Gospel is a very narrow way which excludes many (Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 4:12), many Christians are uncomfortable with the Truth. They compromise the Message and deny their Lord, His Lordship, and His church.

We must never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and of His testimony.  The apostle Paul confesses and gives testimony of his faith in Christ in Romans 1:16.  The early Christians are an inspiration to me since they courageously confessed their faith in Christ even when they knew it would cost them dearly.  It was impossible for them to be silent.  Many paid the high price of prison and death.  The apostles were not afraid to speak of the riches of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They chose to obey God and not men!  This is what we read of Peter and the apostles in Acts 5:27-33,

"When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’  But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.’ But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them."   

The apostle Paul is another excellent example of one who had courage in speaking of his faith, hope and defense of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  He declared, 
"According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."  (Philippians 1:20-21).

Paul was willing to suffer all and not be ashamed of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior,

"For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."  (2 Timothy 1:12).  
Such commitment and determination to defend Christ, His Gospel and His Testimony amaze me.  I am in awe!   

Let us never forget that the central part of our Christian faith is to confess Christ and His Testimony.  
"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'"  (Romans 10:9-11).  

We confess that Jesus is the Son of God and we must continue confessing until we die.  We cannot hide our faith and keep it to ourselves!  In 2 Corinthians 4:11-14 Paul stated, 
"For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you."'

We Christians must hold fast to our faith and hope, 
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."  (Hebrews 10:23).

God does not allow us to have a "silent faith." He demands that we have a "speaking faith."  Let us not become fools by being ashamed of the Truth.  We must act against all deception!  We must not be ashamed to speak of God's testimonies before men even if that includes kings and rulers, 
"I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed."  (Psalm 119:46)  

Are you ashamed to carry your Bible everywhere you go?  I am always bewildered at how few Christians carry their Bibles today.  I know that in this age of technology we can have our Bibles on our iPads, iPhones and Smart Phones. I believe that there is nothing more personal than the Sacred Book in our hands.  I know I am old-fashioned, but I want to keep it that way.  The saddest part is that many don't even carry their Bibles to church!  No wonder we are not impacting anyone with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus!  No wonder our nation is in such terrible shape spiritually!  We are no longer people who love the Word of God, the Bible.  We don't care anymore if we know the Truth and teach the Truth.  We have become very comfortable in our bed of ignorance.  We have become easy prey to deception and are easily deceived by sin and false teachers.  We must refuse to be ashamed of our faith in Christ.
"Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments."  (Psalm 119:6)

It is about time that we awaken from our slumber and become Bible believers in word and deed as well as Bible carriersI wonder what would happen if each of us Christians should start carrying our Bibles everywhere we go?  We would not think of going to church without our Bibles.  After church, we would share the Word of God with everyone and make the best use of the Book with friends, family, and neighbors.  Such people don't compromise their faith nor are they afraid to share the good news of the Gospel.  They love the Sacred Book because it is their standard for living a godly life.  So I encourage you to carry the Book everywhere you go and wait to see the difference it makes.  I assure you, you won't regret it!  This Sacred Book is the power of salvation for every man who believes in it.  This is loving our neighbor as ourselves.  We want to rescue them from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  But to do this, we must carry this Sacred Book with us at all times.  We must be prepared to confess and give a defense of our faith!  We cannot afford to be wishy-washy Christians, because wishy-washy Christians usually fall away, (Luke 8:13).

I genuinely believe that the reason why many Christians don't carry their Bibles with them wherever they go is that they don't value the Word and the Truth enough.  They just don't care enough!  They don't even read their Bibles at home.  Do we care if we read the Word of God, the Bible even to our children?  If your answer is NO, maybe you are telling your children you are ashamed of the Word, and it is not essential in your life after all.  Let us encourage our children to carry their Bibles with them to church.  Encourage them to open their Bible, take notes and follow the Preacher as he speaks the Word of God.  But we must start at an early age with them, 

"You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."  (2 Timothy 3:14-15).  

You will be surprised the impact you may have on the church as well as on the world of darkness.

 "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."  (Mark 8:37-38).  
"May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, so that I will not be ashamed."          (Psalm 119:80).

Let us be thankful to God for the freedom we have to read, teach and preach God's Divine Word in this nation.  Remember we must hold fast that which we have, lest it be taken away,  
"Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name." (Revelation 3:10-11).  

We must purpose in our heart, soul, and mind to be boldly faithful to speak God's Truth all the time:  in season and out of season!


II.   THE GOSPEL DECLARES THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD:  

Paul was never ashamed of the Gospel because he knew well it was the only way to save men.  God's power for salvation is a proclamation of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, King over all, Ruler of land and sea, who was raised from the dead (this is the Good News).  Jesus is the only way of salvation to this world of darkness.  So are you ashamed of the Gospel?  I heartily hope you will be able to say, "NO"!  Remember, Jesus can only claim you as one of His when you are not ashamed to confess Him and His Gospel before all men, (Heb. 2:11; 11:16). The Gospel calls us from the shame of our past sins. That shame or guilt causes us to be pricked in the heart and accept whatever terms that God might demand for our forgiveness. The righteousness of God and our shame go hand in hand, helping us to be convicted and make a commitment to obey, love and serve the Lord our God.   You see salvation is offered to anyone who believes the Message of Christ. Thus, we are responsible for hearing the Good News that Jesus brought.  God saves through the Gospel and the Gospel alone.  Jesus is the only way to salvation, and it is available to all who believe in Him and His Gospel.

The Gospel which brings salvation was given to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles. The Jews heard the Good News of Jesus' Message and saw the power of God through His works,  (John 3:2,  4:54, 9:3, 14:10, 12; Matt. 12:28, 14:28-35; Lk. 4:36-37, 40-41, 7:22). It was Jesus’ purpose to go to the Jews first, to the lost sheep of Israel. This Message was not exclusive to the Jews.  The great theme in the Book of Romans is that the Gospel is for all people. The Gospel reveals God’s righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:  “The righteous will live by faith.” So, what is the righteousness of God?   It is God doing what is right, what is just, what is fair, and what is morally upright. Justice, fairness, and uprightness are built into the concept of righteousness. Indeed, the Gospel declares that God is just, fair, and right.   In the Old Testament, God’s righteousness was bringing salvation to His people Israel.
"Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations."  (Psalm 98:1-2)
“Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.” (Isaiah 46:12-13)
"Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed." (Isaiah 56:1)

In Isaiah 56:1 God declared that His salvation was coming soon and his deliverance (as a synonym for salvation) would be revealed. Paul was speaking to the fulfillment of these prophetic messages. Paul declared that God’s righteousness has now been revealed through Jesus (the Gospel Message) which gives salvation to all who believe.

The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith.  Paul quotes Habakkuk to prove his point. In chapter one of Habakkuk, the prophet begins by crying out to God over the wickedness of the nation. God answers the prophet by declaring His intention to use the Babylonians as His instrument of judgment against them. A stunned Habakkuk thought that could not be right, for the Babylonians were worse than the nation of Judah.  So, how was God going to be faithful to the covenant He made with His nation if He was going to bring the Babylonians against Judah to take them captive?  In chapter 2, God answers by declaring “the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4).  You see, God is faithful to His Word.  This is God’s righteousness. God will do what is right, just, and fair. God is reassuring Habakkuk that He will be faithful to the faithful. In effect, He calls on the prophet to trust (have faith) that God will keep His Word.  Habakkuk showed his trust in God when he remained faithful to Him.

Now Paul's message in Romans 1:17 is that God has revealed His righteousness and faithfulness in the Gospel of His Son.The Gospel brings the salvation and reconciliation that He had promised from the beginning. God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith since God is faithful to His word (the first “faith” in Romans 1:17). We are called to put our trust (faith) in God by being faithful (the second “faith” in the sentence) to God’s commands. So, when God declared in Habakkuk, “The righteous shall live by faith,” He meant that faith and faithfulness are inseparable. Therefore the proclaiming of the Gospel is the revealing of God’s righteousness to mankind.


CONCLUSION:

The Gospel is God’s power God’s power is Jesus as Messiah and Savior of the world. God's power for salvation is the news about who Jesus is, what He has done for our salvation and the way of life that He taught.  God’s salvation is accessible to all who will believe that Message. No one is forbidden or excluded. God does not show favoritism or partiality in salvation.   All humanity can be saved and transformed into the image of God. Jesus was not the Savior of the Jews only, but the Savior of the world.

God has been faithful to His promise to save all people, and He continues to keep His words. The righteous live by faith. Will you trust God? Will you put all of your faith in Him? Will you be faithful to God as He has been faithful to you and His promises?  Will you be ashamed to proclaim faithfully the riches of His Gospel which is God's power for all who will believe in Him?

May our Lord help us to never be ashamed of His Testimonies, Precepts, and Statutes which are life to the dying soul.  May we proclaim faithfully and boldly the riches of His Gospel which is His power unto salvation for everyone who believes in Him.  To Him be the glory!

Luci