Growing In Godliness Blog

Growing In Godliness Blog

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The Lamb of God

Friday, February 09, 2024

The Lamb of God

By Paul Earnhart

After His temptations in the wilderness, Jesus returned to the Jordan river where John was baptizing.  As Jesus approached, John exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). 

How was Jesus the Lamb of God?

There are several significant things about a lamb.  Lambs are harmless.  Perhaps for this reason they have become a symbol of innocence.  Among intelligent human beings, Jesus was the truly innocent person who ever lived.  Peter, who knew Him well, was guided by the Holy Spirit to say that He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth (1 Pet. 2:22).

Sheep, and lambs in particular, are noted for their complete submission to domination.  Isaiah predicted that Jesus would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, He would not even open His mouth ( Isa. 53:7).  Jesus fulfilled this prophecy toward the end of His life when He allowed Himself to be arrested and tried.  He spoke only when spoken to and never raised His voice in His own defense.  He submitted to wicked men because He was completely submissive to God and realized this was God’s will for Him.

But the primary reason for calling Jesus a lamb was He came to be a sacrifice.  Through the years, millions of innocent lambs had been sacrificed upon the altars of sinful men.  The lambs had died that men might not have to be separated from God…the lambs died in their stead.  Of course, the death of lambs could not substitute for the death of sinful men.  Those lambs were but a symbol of the eventual sacrifice that would be sufficient as a substitute for all sinners of all time (Heb. 10:11-14).  Jesus came to be that sacrifice, and so He is called “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” 

Is He your sacrifice?  He is only if you obey Him.

Success in Temptation

Friday, February 02, 2024

Success in Temptation

By Paul Earnhart

One of the most significant conflicts in the history of mankind was the temptation of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 4:1-11.  Satan did his best to cause Jesus to sin.  His approaches were cleverly devised so that there would be nothing immoral in his proposals and there would appear to be some beneficial result in everything he asked Jesus to do.  But Jesus was wise enough and good enough to see the error in each temptation and to avoid it.  Had He sinned, He could not have been our Savior, and mankind would have been forever lost.

What accounts for the success of Jesus in resisting the temptations?

  • First, there was a complete knowledge of scripture.  Every temptation was answered with a quotation from scripture.  This knowledge enabled Him to draw from everything the scriptures said revealing the mind of God.  It also enabled Him to know the full context of the scriptures Satan misused.
  • Second, His whole life’s goal was to do the will of God.  Every proposal of Satan, whether direct or indirect, was considered in the light of God’s word.
  • Third, He was determined to do ONLY the will of God.  This is clear from the first temptation.  Doubtless His hunger for food made Him want to turn those stones into bread.  That would have been His own will.  But since He had no instructions from God to use His powers in this way, He refused. 

If mankind’s most significant conflict was between Jesus and Satan, our own most significant conflict is between us and Satan.  Despite the victory of Jesus, we still can be lost if we allow Satan to have control of our life.  Satan still tempts through the same avenues he tempted Jesus…through the flesh, through pride, and through the desire for things (1 John 2:15-17).  If we are to be victorious as Jesus was, we must exercise the same defense…a thorough knowledge of God’s word, a strong determination to do God’s will and ONLY His will. 

Avenues of Temptation

Friday, January 26, 2024

Avenues of Temptation

By Paul Earnhart

The scriptures teach that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet He was without sin (Heb. 4:15).  This does not mean that He faced every minute decision that we face.  He did not have to decide whether to break into a computer system or whether to go to an immoral movie.  But He was tempted through every channel that we are tempted.

In 1 John 2:16 we have described the three avenues through which all temptations come: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.”  Jesus was tempted through all of these as we read in Mt. 4:1-11.

The temptation to turn stones into bread appealed to His physical appetite.  Doing this would have made Him feel better.  Many of the sins in which people engage today are designed to satisfy some desire of the body.  Hunger is the strongest desire of the body, and if Jesus controlled the desire for food after 40 days of fasting, He demonstrated that He could control any other appeal to His fleshly desires.

The temptation to jump from the pinnacle of the temple was an appeal to pride.  For one thing, Satan said, “If You are the Son of God.”  This was kind of dare and many a sin has been committed in response to a dare.  Furthermore, Jesus would have become instantly famous if He had successfully jumped from that high point and survived.  But Jesus refused.

When Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world, he did not just mention those kingdoms by name.  He took Jesus up on a high mountain and in some way showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.  He was appealing to man’s natural desire to have what he sees.  This was the ultimate visible prize; if Jesus overcame this temptation, He could overcome the offer of any lesser prize that might come in view.

Every temptation that we face comes through one of these channels.  Jesus is our example in resisting temptation.  Let us follow Him in all things.

Our Worship Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

Our Worship Service

By Arter Gary

It seems our worship services have become routine to many of us. Some seem to just be going through the motions in many of our activities. Some leave our services no better than when they came. 

Some members do not know what God expects of them when they assemble with the saints.  If we do not follow the scriptures and worship God in spirit and truth, we miss the whole concept of our worship services, John 4:24.  From the view of some, our services are boring. For others the services have become unbearable as they have quit attending.  Then you have those who say, “I didn’t get one thing out of the worship service today.”  The question becomes, “What did you put into it?”  Then you have those who feel the high point of the week is being able to gather together with other saints to worship God each time there is a service of the church.  What are some things we can do to make our worship acceptable?

The first thing is to make the necessary preparation.  As with everything there must be some preparation.  A good night’s sleep would be the place to start.  Prepare lessons and meditate upon them before leaving for the services.  Arrive early.  Greet each other and have time to speak to the visitors.  Find a seat and start meditating and praying about our worship.  Then each will be blessed because we have properly prepared to worship.

Then we must participate in each act of worship in the manner God has commanded.

When we sing, we must look at the words of the song.  Each song that we sing has a message in it.  Our song service does two things – we are offering praise unto God, and we are teaching and admonishing one another, Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12.  We must be an active participant in this.  Just sitting and listening is not sufficient if we are physically able to sing. 

When we pray, remember we are talking to our Father in Heaven.  We are either giving thanks to God for what He has done for us, or we are asking God for things we want or need.  The Christian life should be centered around prayer, 1 Thess. 5:17-18; John 14:14; Matt. 7:7-11 and 1 Pet. 3:12.

When we give, remember we are giving back to God a portion of the blessings that He has given to us.  Think about the material things God has blessed us with – jobs, homes, families and the portion of health that we enjoy, Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3: 10; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 16:1-2.  Then give as we have prospered and with the right attitude .

When we partake of the Lords Supper, remember Christ died for us that we can have the forgiveness of our sins.  Remember when we eat the bread, Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice for us; and when we drink the fruit of the vine, remember Jesus shed His blood for our sins.  We are to remember His death and resurrection until He comes again, Matt. 26:26-29; Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7.

When we are studying the word of God, remember God gives us instructions on how to live in this world acceptably to Him, John 7:16.  We should take every opportunity to study and meditate upon His word.  In our worship service we should follow along in our Bible to make certain the teacher or preacher is teaching the Word as God would have it taught, Acts 17:11.  Then make application to our lives, Rom. 1:16; Acts 2:42; 1 Thess. 2:13;  2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet 3:15.

Our worship must be offered in Spirit and Truth, John 4:24.

Bow Down and Worship Me

Friday, January 12, 2024

Bow Down and Worship Me

By Paul Earnhart

The third temptation of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 4, beginning with verse 8: “Again the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things will I give you, if you fall down and worship me.’” (Mt. 4:8-9)

Our response to this is immediate.  We say, “Surely Jesus would not do that!”  But before we go further, let me ask you, “Would you do that?”

If Satan offered you the opportunity to be king of the world, would you bow down and worship him?  Maybe you don’t care to be a king; but if he offered you all the wealth of the world, would you bow down and worship him?  Think what you could do with all that money.  Jesus was all alone with Satan; maybe no one would ever know.  Furthermore, Satan only asked that it be done once.  Is it possible that you would bow down and worship Satan just once in a private place if you could have all the world for your own?  Really, we are worshipping Satan rather than God whenever we do what Satan wants us to do instead of what God wants us to do.  Most of us on some occasions have done Satan’s bidding for much less than what Satan offered Jesus.  Perhaps we have told a lie to make a sale, or perhaps we have taken a drink with the boss, feeling that we had to do that to keep our job or get a promotion.  For just a short period of pleasure, many have committed fornication or adultery.  All of this is really worshipping Satan.

Jesus had come into the world to establish a kingdom.  The road before Him was the way of the cross.  But He did not consider for a moment Satan’s offer.  He replied, “Away with you Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Mt. 4:10)

How thankful we should be that Jesus remained faithful to God.  Had He bowed down to Satan just once, He could not have been our Savior.  If Jesus resisted Satan for us, we must resist for Him saying, “Away with you Satan!”

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