by Ken Bibee
by Patrick Steele
Our tendency to sin must never deter us from striving to be more like Christ. Christ calls all of his disciples to excel, to rise above mediocrity, and to mature in every area, becoming like him. Those who strive to become perfect will one day be perfect, even as Christ is perfect (1 John 3: 2-3).
NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Study Notes on Mathew 5:48
‘“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.’
The comparison with salt has always been interesting to me. Salt has the properties of a flavor enhancer, a preservative, and it stings in a wound. Likewise, we are to bring out the best in people, encourage the continuation of what is good, knowing that our conduct will be like salt in a wound to those who oppose us. Salt losing it’s saltiness speaks to me of losing your integrity or moral purity. Once that happens, your ability to act as an enhancer and an agent of preservation are compromised. Once compromised, we can’t fulfill our destiny. I don’t think this is to say we can’t be forgiven and have a new start, but the world is slow to forgive and stains on our character follow us, reducing our effectiveness.
John the Baptist called people to more than words or ritual; he told them to change their behavior. “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins” means that God looks beyond our words and religious activities to see if our conduct backs up what we say, and he judges our words by the actions that accompany them. Do your actions match your words?
Publishers, Tyndale House. NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 145150-145153). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
God has given each of us a purpose for living, and we can trust him to guide us. John did not have the complete Bible as we know it today, but he focused his life on the truth he knew from the available Old Testament Scriptures. Likewise, we can discover in God’s Word the truths he wants us to know. And as these truths work in us, others will be drawn to him. God can use you in a way he can use no one else. Let him know your willingness to follow him today.
Publishers, Tyndale House. NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 120642-120645). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Part 2
Speaking in Tongues
by Sean Todd
The Baptims of the Holy Spirit, Part 1
Every Believer’s Birthright
by Patrick Steele
An Introduction to the Book of Acts
by Ken Bibee
When Stephen forgave those who stoned him in Acts 7:60, he may have opened the door to the eventual salvation of some of them. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said that whatever the apostles bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven, and in John 20:23 he said “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” This is the same behavior we see from Jesus on the cross. Perhaps an integral and necessary part of our salvation was his release of us for the sin of crucifying him. Perhaps his declaration that “they know not what they do” wasn’t limited to those who crucified him. Perhaps it was in reference to all sin, for he did bear the sins of the entire world in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Do we ever really know what we give up when we choose sin over deeper relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we ever really comprehend the cost, either in what we lose or in what He suffered? I think not. And while we do know that we are sinning and choosing to sin when we do make that choice, I dare say that we don’t really know the cost, either in our loss or his suffering.