Gospel Meeting with Ed Harrell (Spring, 2013)

Ed Harrell (Jacksonville, FL) taught Christians Simple Truths from the Bible. Here are the lessons for your benefit.

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Faith: The Foundation of the Christian Life

One day I was talking to a man that builds houses. I told him I have seen houses in a certain area that were not all that old, but had problems with cracks in the brick walls, sagging roofs and other structural problems. I have also seen other houses in the same area that are much older but have no structural issues. He said the difference is the houses with problems probably have a bad foundation and the ones without problems have a good strong one. I found this same principle in the Bible. Luke 6:48-49 says, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was build on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who builded a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

The Christian life is built on a foundation of faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8). What is faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We also read in Romans 8:24-25,“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Faith then is believing in something you cannot see or touch. To illustrate this point, I have personally not seen the beautiful country of Scotland, but I believe it exists, or I have faith based on evidences that it exists. I believe or have faith that the Bible is the inspired word of God, based on evidences that we find in the Bible, as well as ancient manuscripts found and read by Bible scholars.

When we read the Bible we must have faith.From a human standpoint, we cannot explain how God spoke the world and all the universe, as well as all animals and mankind into existence. We cannot explain how Noah could build a craft as large as the ark where two or more of all kinds of animals on the earth as well as eight people lived for over a year. Without faith I cannot explain how a man could have been swallowed by a great fish, live inside it for three days and survive. Without faith I could not understand how a man who had been dead for several days was raised from the grave to live again.

The Christian life must be built on a strong foundation of faith, Paul summarizes the topic of faith in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” If you have a strong faith in God and his teaching you will be able to withstand the temptations placed on you by the devil, but if you have a weak faith or have doubt you will never be able to overcome the many temptations placed on you by the devil. Faith can grow and mature by a regular study of the Bible and applying the principles found therein to your life.

–by Don Adair

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Why Are We Here?

Walk into a doctor’s office and look around. Why is everyone there? Because they’re sick and they need a physician to get better. Walk into a Toastmasters club and look around you. Why is everyone there? Because they want to get better at speaking in front of people and they need help. Walk into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and look around you? Why is everyone there? Because they are struggling with alcohol and they need help overcoming.

Here is what is interesting about the above organizations. No one tries to hide their sickness in a doctor’s office. No one tries to hide their fear of public speaking in Toastmasters. No one tries to hide their struggles in an A.A. meeting. Why? Because in these settings they all know everyone is there for the same reason and they are all too desperate for help to hide it.

Now, walk into a church’s assembly and look around you? Why is everyone there? The reality is everyone is there because they are all sinners and need a Savior (Romans 3:23-24). They are all there because they’ve learned without God they can’t make it and they need Him to help them win the victory over sin in their lives (Romans 7:14-25).

This is where we start having trouble. Even though that is where every single one of us is. When we come into a church’s assembly, we often perceive something different. Instead of seeing a group of people who are struggling with sin and have gathered to get some help, most of us see ourselves as struggling with sin but see everyone else as really good people who are just coming together because they are so spiritual. When we’re at a doctor’s office, we don’t care if everyone knows we’re sick, but when we’re “at church” we try to cover up any spiritual sickness we have going on. We don’t want others to see. We’re afraid they’ll look down on us.

Sadly, some Christians are like that. Some are like Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-50 who actually don’t realize how sick they are. If asked why they are there, they really might say, “Because I’m so spiritual,” while in their mind adding, “Too bad everyone is not as spiritual as I am.” Having met too many of these Christians, many of the rest of us put a lid on our real struggles and try to fight them alone until they become too big to hide. Sadly, in those situations some folks just give up the spiritual fight entirely.

In this situation, the ones who should really be ashamed are not the ones who have continued struggles. Rather, the ones who should be ashamed are the ones who think they’ve got their lives under control on their own and aren’t being honest about how sinful they really are, how much they need a Savior, and how humble they really ought to be as they’re dealing with people whose sins are different. Remember, in the parable of the prodigal son, it wasn’t the prodigal son who was the bad guy. It was the older brother who was too good to go in and celebrate with the returning prodigal and the father.

Please, take a good long look at yourself. Why are you here?

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