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Posts Tagged ‘commitment’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– To whom he (Paul) expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus – both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning ’til evening. – Acts 28:23

– Desiring to be teachers of the law – understanding neither what they say, nor the things which they affirm. – 1 Timothy 1:7

It is never wrong for any Christian to share single passages or verses from Scripture with those who are lost.  However, doing so in any random fashion does not really help them understand the message of the Cross, any better than if they’d read the same alone. Regular sharing like this is not connecting the dots.  It marks one who isn’t learning how to compare spiritual things with spiritual from God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

It makes it hard for any believer like this to expound Scripture to the lost, and who don’t understand the gospel yet.  To them, it is foolishness and hidden because they are currently perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 4:3).  Expounding presents and explains something systematically and in detail.  It should always leave anyone with a better concept of what is being expounded, and less confused about it.

Expounding is also more convincing.  In regards to God’s Word, it is more capable of causing someone to believe He is true and real, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to stay on heaven’s narrow path (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14).  Expounding is also far more persuasive if we don’t require a Bible in our hands when people ask us questions about it; and we have to flip back and forth between pages to find answers.

Saying things like “Well, I thought that verse was in Jeremiah, but maybe it’s Jude.”  Followed by a long pause as we search unsuccessfully and remark, “I could have sworn it was in here somewhere.  I just can’t find it now.”  How compelling would any of these comments sound to a lost soul?  Wouldn’t it appear we did not understand what we are saying – unable to affirm our words with God’s (second lead verse)?

Remember, if we are Christians, we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have God’s Word dwelling within us at all times through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We have Scripture inside our soul wherever we may go.  So we do not go around saying things as, “I wish I could answer, but I don’t have my Bible now” – if anyone asks us questions about it.  We can still expound quickly, confidently, and correctly.

Our Father does not automatically give us an ability to expound.  We can’t expect or anticipate it to develop without participation on our part, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  We are to study Scripture on a steady basis to show ourselves approved to God – not other Christians.  This is so we can rightly divide His word of truth assuredly.  Without shame, delay, or doubt as to what we are saying (2 Timothy 2:15).

This is not all.  We have to rehearse what we are learning from God on a regular basis as He guides us into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27), teaching us freely how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  This is so we can readily and practically apply the Word to any worldly situation. Sitting in church listening to Scripture, but doing little else with it, does not teach expounding (James 1:22).

There is a worldwide audience today of lost and unbelieving souls in a state of spiritual famine and starvation.  Such people are not famished by lack of worldly water or bread – but out of a longing hunger for hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).  Rehearsing to expound helps us prepare to feed anyone like this properly at any moment.  Providing malnourished souls with suitable spiritual food; if only for a while.

Expounding also helps connect what the lost can relate to, or understand in their world, to truths in God’s Word – a lamp unto our feet as Christians.  It should brighten their path at least a little while with the Bible (Psalm 119:105).  Learning how to expound keeps us ready to answer anyone in this manner with grace and relevance (Colossians 4:6).  It is so they don’t stumble as much and stay so distant from God.

For example, if we should find ourselves talking to athletes, we could expound to them how faith is similar to running a long race.  Moving ahead at a steady and patient pace – perhaps as in a marathon. And, how only person can win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  We could then add in talk about a need for spiritual discipline and commitment, just as one would require physically in the world if they desired victory.

When we rehearse to expound, it’s so we can take a person from point A to point B in Scripture.  Without skipping or forgetting steps along the way – or losing our audience somewhere in the middle.  The book of Acts gives us a great example of this.  Some Jewish believers were in strong contention with Peter about the Gentiles.  People they considered unclean human beings; and not worthy of God’s grace (Acts 11:1-3).

However, Peter had already rehearsed what he was going to say to them, in set order from the beginning (Acts 11:4); just in case a meeting like this ever took place.  As Peter knew how they felt about the Gentiles – a complete and conclusive response had to be ready at moment’s notice.  By expounding everything as to why Gentiles were just as worthy; the Jews held their peace at the end in agreement (Acts 11:5-18).

Because Peter prepared ahead of time, he was able to expound convincingly, and not come across sounding holier-than-thou to the Jews – because he knew he wasn’t (Romans 3:23).  Nor, did it appear to them Peter was showing off his Scriptural knowledge; but sharing little or nothing pertaining to the situation at hand.  We always want to help draw the lost closer to the Cross, not drive them further away from it.

Practice makes perfect just as much in the Word as it does in the world.  It involves rehearsing privately as Peter did for later use in public.  Musicians and actors don’t walk out on stage without rehearsing first, or they are bound to forget and skip some notes or lines. Likewise, we cannot expound the Word if we don’t learn how to rehearse.  It will just sound like we are randomly tossing out verses without rhyme or reason.

As we mature spiritually and learn the discipline to rehearse, we can help other believers also learn to expound more credibly.  There was a Jewish man in Acts named Apollos.  He was an eloquent speaker who was mighty in Scriptures and fervent in the spirit. Instructed in the Lord’s ways and teaching accurately in this manner.  However, his knowledge was limited, knowing only of John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25).

When he began speaking boldly in the synagogues, an early missionary couple of the Christian church heard him.  Their names were Aquila and Priscilla, who had already lived, worked, and traveled with the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18).  The two took Apollos aside and began expounding unto him the way of God more perfectly.  It was so he could go publicly convince other Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:26-28).

Likewise, we should be expounding Scripture more perfectly with each passing year.  We are continually being transformed (Romans 12:2) and perfected by God’s truth, so it becomes a natural progression.  So our expounding sounds more and more complete and connected – and less piecemeal.  Resounding in the souls of others as immutable truths flowing forth from the living water of God’s Word in ours (John 7:38).

If we don’t learn to expound more perfectly, we will likely sound purposeful.  However, we’re not trying to add members to our church – only God can do this (Acts 2:47).  Sadly, some expound as an attempt to do so; or as a way to sell Christian merchandise (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:3).  Although we can persuade others about God with our expounding, we can’t do so to make them be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

However, we can never really learn or expect to expound Scripture without spiritual discipline.  It commands steadfast commitment and devotion to God – for this defines belief in Him.  It takes studying and rehearsing in private, so we always know what to expound with any type of public audience.  It takes exercising our spirit into godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), so we’re not labeled as hypocrites (1 Corinthians 9:14).

Only our Father is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), so our expounding will never be 100 percent flawless. Still, we should eventually get to a point through repeated rehearsing and practicing, where it never sounds to other people as if we’re merely expounding Scripture by reading from a prepared script or crib notes.  Or, as if we’re just ad-libbing without prior preparation.  “Winging it” isn’t the way to expound.

What we should learn is to be like Paul, and be able to sit down and expound Scripture to any number of people from morning until night – without having a Bible in sight.  Talking about any topic from God’s Word in systematic detail as Paul did with the Jews in the lead verse.  Starting from a specific point and leading to a definitive conclusion.  Leaving those who hear to decide if they believe or not (Acts 28:23-24).

In conclusion, expounding explains in great detail, in a set order.  It clears up truths from God’s Word with the lost, or even new believers who still wrestle with Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).  People who often see the Bible as being contradictory or confusing.  In turn, expounding births wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  It’s why God had soldiers pound nails into the body of His Son.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “So then, because you are lukewarm – and neither cold nor hot – I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

– Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin.  They just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. – Francis Chan

Don’t we all like to have our food reasonably hot or cold?  It just seems to enhance its overall flavor.  It brings out the taste of any seasoning better.  Much more so than if such foods were left out on an open table or kitchen countertop somewhere.  There, hot foods slowly cool off, and cold foods slowly warm up to room temperature.  They become lukewarm.

If we try tasting them in such a state, it is often quite unpleasant to our taste buds.  They would send us a warning sign something wasn’t quite right.  We would spit these foods out.  Hot or cold foods may have been sitting out for so long, dangerous and unseen bacteria such as salmonella start multiplying.  Food poisoning might result if we were to digest them.

The word lukewarm has many “not-so-positive” meanings – such as tepid, indifferent, perfunctory, non-committal, apathetic, and lacking conviction. Food fits the first definition – but not really the rest. Those apply more to emotional and spiritual feelings of being lukewarm.  We have all probably heard of someone getting a lukewarm reception; perhaps even receiving one ourselves.

It’s a half-hearted response.  Half-hearted means lacking interest or spirit.  This is not how we are to love the Lord as Christians (Deuteronomy 6:5).  God did not put His whole Spirit into us when we were born again of such (John 3:5), so we would live a life honoring Him with half a heart.  If we do, the rest of our heart has to be somewhere else (1 Corinthians 10:21, Colossians 3:2).

Any lack of passion as Christians can lead to passivity and apathy.  Any lack of commitment can lead to becoming comfortable and complacent.  Any lack of true worship from the heart (John 4;23-24) can lead to wrong works full of confusion, envying, and strife (James 3:16).  Any lack of interest or spirit can lead to indifference and insensitivity (Matthew 24:12). This can develop dull ears (Hebrews 5:11).

Lack of devotion leads to deviance from heaven’s straight path (Matthew 7:14).  Making us targets for the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) and devices; increasing our ignorance of his subtle lies the less devoted we are (Genesis 3:3-4, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  Remaining as novices – lifted in pride like this – and likely candidates to be taken captive at will (1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26).

Any lack of the steadfast, moving forward daily faith God requires us to have unto the end for salvation (Hebrews 3:14) – leads to spiritual stagnation.  It’s a sense of feeling stuck in one place.  Air and water in such states quickly develop impurities from lack of movement.  They become very unhealthy to breath or drink.  Faith poisoning can result from any heart like this.  Bitterness can take root (Hebrews 12:15).

Salmonella can form on food sitting around too long. Sitting around too long as Christians can create problems for our salvation.  God requires us to move as we’re led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  Samuel was of no use to God when he started sitting around mourning over Saul.  God told him to get up and go – there were things still to do (1 Samuel 16:1).

Being in any of the lukewarm states of being above, such as apathy, makes it very easy for backsliding to be birthed among believers who may be stagnating, straying, or stumbling (Hosea 11:7).  This backsliding can feel perpetual (Jeremiah 8:5).  It stems from still being filled with some of our worldly ways – and not all of the Word’s (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s hard to climb heaven’s staircase this way (2 Peter 1:3-11).

All in all, it makes for a lackadaisical, lounging around and lukewarm walk with God for any Christian like this.  Some seemingly unconcerned about a salvation they feel is secure (Philippians 3:12-14).  This is the devil’s deception.  Satan wants people to believe they’ve already received a promise we’re all to wait with patience until the end for (John 3:17, Hebrews 10:35-36, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:9).

This is a very flippant approach to faith.  It is foolishly being nonchalant about salvation – a hope we all have not seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  It all fits the definition of a “devil-may-care” attitude towards God. Not really hot or cold – people professing faith just kind of lukewarmly hanging around waiting for Jesus to return.  However, maybe wondering if this will really happen at all (2 Peter 3:4).

God didn’t hang Christ on the Cross for us to be like this.  Much has been given to us – much is required (Luke 12:45-48).  Just as food sitting around too long in the same place can become lukewarm, so can a faith sitting around in the same place too long.  With lukewarm food, we can just spit it out of our mouth onto a plate.  If our faith should continue this way too long, God could spit us out into the pit forever.

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