Last weekend, Franklin, Tennessee had over 15 inches of rain within 30 hours. In my 53 years, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed as much water in such a short period of time. There was flooding all over the Middle Tennessee area causing death and devastation affecting so many people. With it comes so much uncertainty about life on earth. Relatives and friends are sick and dying, people losing jobs, children and spouses abused, divorce all over the globe, and I could go on and on. You can get so easily discouraged if you let this world fill your thoughts with all the suffering and misery that goes with it.
One thing is for certain and for sure, God loves mankind and proved it by sending His one and only begotten Son to the cross.
Although people change over the years and relationships come and go with friends and family members , Jesus hasn’t and doesn’t change, and never will. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Is there anything more comforting than the thought of God never changing! Man has always been able to count on God for every situation in life. That is such a comforting thought in this day and time.
Even though we have been blessed in this country and have so much, life is a challenge and we are constantly facing the temptations of life. We have decisions to make every day, and God is the only one that we can count on daily, 100% of the time, to be there with us and for me as I trust in him and serve him. No matter what I encounter in this life, through today’s challenges and victories, and tomorrow’s losses, the Bible tells me there is a foundation and anchor in my soul whom I can count on. That person is Jesus Christ, who is with me, and getting me through every situation and temptation in life.
So, as the Hebrew writer encourages the Christian in chapter 13, and verse 6, by writing, “so that we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). I can’t state it any plainer than the Bible.
P.S. The house pictured above is David and Jennifer Barlar’s. They are members at Franklin. If you would like to help the Barlars, contact Ryan Thomley at email@example.com. You can also go to the Facebook page he has set up to find out more info about how to help– A Flood of Love. (ELC)
Sometimes it is easy to get sidetracked and miss the real point behind what we are supposed to be doing and teaching. Because we hear so much error in the religious world these days, we can easily get caught up in simply trying to correct common errors. Then it may readily seem the purpose for our teaching and action is to fix some particular error.
Paul explains a different goal for our teaching and toil in Colossians 1:28—“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ Jesus.”
Please notice what it does not say: “Baptism we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone baptized into Christ Jesus.”
Because the mainstream religious world believes in Jesus but usually misuses, abuses, and misunderstands baptism, we have spent a great deal of our teaching trying to correct their error. Certainly, part of presenting everyone mature in Christ Jesus will include baptism. After all, we cannot present anyone in Christ Jesus except through baptism. Galatians 3:27 says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Also, Romans 6:3 says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
However, this is simply part of being mature in Christ. It is not equivalent to being mature in Christ. We are not done simply because someone has been baptized. Our job is not simply to present them in Christ, but present them mature in Christ. When someone is baptized, we must continue pursuing our purpose.
Further, because of the many errors we have fought over the years we might think that maturity in Christ equals having the right take on the hot button issues over the past years, i.e. institutionalism, instrumental music, speaking in tongues, divorce and remarriage, etc. Certainly, Bible knowledge is part of maturity in Christ. Peter says we must add knowledge to our faith in II Peter 1:5-8. However, our goal is not to make sure young Christians grow to answer all the questions about hot topics to our satisfaction as if they are a catechumen who must memorize our special catechism in order to be mature. Sadly, I’ve met some who can answer these questions correctly but are far from mature in Jesus. They are hotheaded, quarrelsome, arrogant, self-centered, Diotropheses who would have the pre-eminence in a congregation. That is not maturity in Jesus, no matter how doctrinally correct they are.
Would you like a picture of maturity in Christ Jesus? Would you like to see the goal we are striving for everyone to reach? Take a look at I Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Certainly, someone does not have to be a man to be mature in Christ. Nor do they have to have been married or raised children. However, in general, the picture of the shepherd is not some special qualification list. It is simply a picture of mature Christianity.
Mature Christians are above reproach, humble, peaceful, sober, content, hospitable, lovers of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, respectable, able to teach, gentle, experienced, and well thought of even by non-Christians. Are we working to present everyone like this in Christ? Or are we simply satisfied with getting them baptized and letting them work out the rest on their own? Paul said he toiled to present folks not just in Christ, but mature in Christ. May we work on the same goal.