Excel Still More

Arrows

Paul wrote a very complimentary letter to the brethren in Thessalonica. He was mindful of their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). He acknowledged their willingness to suffer and to spread the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; 2:14). He expressed thanksgiving for the fact that they “accepted [his message] not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). He described them as his “glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:20). He received “good news” from Timothy regarding their “faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 3:6). Yet even though Paul praised them so highly, he encouraged them to excel beyond this.

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2).

We need to be faithfully serving the Lord today – as the brethren in Thessalonica were – but we are not to remain in our current state. We also must “excel still more.” Let us consider Paul’s statement above and see how we should apply it to ourselves.Continue Reading

You Have Become Dull of Hearing

Ear, static

In making a point about the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the priesthood of Aaron, the Hebrew writer cited the priesthood of Melchizedek. Since Jesus was “a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:10; cf. Psalm 110:4), His priesthood was superior. He would go on to explain why this proved the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood later in the epistle (Hebrews 7:1-10).

However, he paused the discussion about comparing the priesthoods because it was “hard to explain” (Hebrews 5:11), even though it was certainly not impossible. The problem was not that the facts were difficult. Instead, the problem was that these brethren were “dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11). As the Hebrew writer would explain, this problem affected more than just their understanding of Jesus’ priesthood – it had the potential of costing them their souls.

We need to understand what it means to be “dull of hearing,” what the result is of being in that condition, and how to fix it.
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Progressivism

Pointing - shadow

My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those who are given to change” (Proverbs 24:21).

The wise man warned about those who are “given to change.” These are ones who want change for the sake of change. Sometimes change is good and necessary, but other times it is not. However, change is inherently part of progressivism – the idea that we must continue to move forward and not remain as or where we were. In this article, we are going to discuss progressivism in religion – what it is and why it is dangerous.
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The Psalm of the Word (Part 13): Understanding

The Psalm of the Word

O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.

I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.

How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

(Psalm 119:97-104)

God meant for His word to be understood and it can be understood by anyone. Furthermore, with the right attitude, we can continue to progress in our understanding, even to the point that we surpass those who might be expected to be “older and wiser” than we are. So let us consider what the psalmist said about the understanding we gain from God’s word.
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Mediocre Christianity

Swamp

The church in Laodicea was condemned for being “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16). They thought they were in “need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17), but they were not healthy spiritually. Jesus told them they needed to “be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

At times, we may be like the Laodiceans – not what we should be as Christians, but not completely unfaithful either. We may not be zealously serving God, but are also not willfully rejecting Him either. Instead, we are in a state of spiritual mediocrity. What does this look like in our individual lives? When we find ourselves in such a state, how can we change it? That is what we will consider in this article.
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If You Have Been Raised Up with Christ

Sun and clouds

The resurrection of Christ is one of the matters “of first importance” in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It provides us with hope beyond this life (1 Corinthians 15:17-22). We should always remember and give thanks for this event.

As Christ was raised, we must be “raised up with [Him]” (Colossians 3:1). When Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians, he was writing to those who had been raised with Christ. He explained what this obligated them to do. Let us consider what our responsibility is after being “raised up with Christ.
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The Future of the Church

Pews

This phrase is often used to refer to children growing up in the church. All parents – and everyone else involved – want to see these children grow up to be Christians. But even if they do, they are only part of the future of the church. In this article, I want us to consider the future of the church – in particular, as it relates to each local congregation – and notice what we can do in the present to help the future church.
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