Some History Concerning Ephraim Who is Named in Hosea

Some History Concerning Ephraim Who is Named in Hosea
The Book of Isaiah was written between 701 and 681 B.C some eighty years after Hosea was written between the years of 786-746 B.C. during the reign of Jeroboam II. History is oftentimes important when we read the Word of God.
The prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 7:8, “For the head of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin (now within another 65 * years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people ),”
All the metaphors found in Hosea’s prophecy were intended to illustrate the serious condition of Israel (which is referenced as Ephraim in Hosea) and of which His words of warning were intended would lead to judgment.

Because the Northern Kingdom did not heed the message of God’s coming judgment they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Most of these folks did not return.
In their distress we find these words, “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where * the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey * Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where * the LORD your God has scattered you.” Deuteronomy 30:1-3 NASB.
Historically, Israel’s twelve tribes were named for Jacob’s children or, in the case of Ephraim (and Manasseh), his grandchildren. Ephraim was born in Egypt to Joseph’s wife, Asenath. Joseph named his second-born son Ephraim, Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named * the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” He named * the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:50-52. Jacob blessed his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh and he decided to bless Ephraim first even though he was not the oldest. Joseph, of course protested this, but Jacob said that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh .
In the Old Testament we find that Ephraim oftentimes refers to the Northern Kingdom even though the name Israel is most commonly used. Israel/Ephraim was taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Southern Kingdom known as Judah was conquered by the Babylonians nearly 140 years later in 587 BC.
The name “Israel” was named “Ephraim” in Genesis 48 and this is tied to God’s blessings to Abraham which Followers of the Christ may inherit. “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” Galatians 3:8.
Sadly, most of us are ignorant of the biblical Truth concerning Israel and God’s promises to Abraham. God made them to Abraham which remained in place for a very long time before he separated from Jacob who was later called Israel and passed these blessings to his sons as he was dying. ” The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” Genesis 18:17-19 NASB.
In Hosea we find a picture of sinfulness of humankind in Ephraim and the anger and forgiveness of Almighty God. We can read that Ephraim disobeys God and commits horribly evil things before Him. In 2 Chronicles 23 we find powerful words from the prophet Obed for the tribe of Ephraim who was standing before ‘the burning anger of God” and they suddenly recognized their need of repentance and obedience by following the words of the prophet Oded.

What we learn by reading the history of Ephraim is that God loves us and does so in spite of our sin. He is patient and merciful beyond our best comprehension of Him. He knows of our sin, disciplines and guides us and hears our cry for repentance. But, most of all He desires for us find relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the history of Ephraim demonstrates flawed and sinful nature of every human just as Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” in Romans 3:23.
“O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; From Me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.” Hosea 14:8-9 NASB.
Does God absolutely hate the sinner and not the sin alone? Absolutely, for the Word of God is true in all that it says and tells us that fact. Must I understand this in order to believe what I read? No. Should I accept this as truth? Only if I understand the Word of God to be absolutely true in spite of what I think or feel about certain things that I do not understand or wish to believe.
Tomorrow I will move to Psalm 5:5-6, “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.” NASB

Jesus is Lord.

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Give Ear to My Words

 

“Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning.
2 Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray.
3 In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.
6 You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
7 But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.
8 O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.
9 There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue.
10 Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You.” Psalm 5:1-10 NASB.

I am hopeful that each of these 10 statements have been read.
This is a prayer howbeit a somewhat strange one, we might think. This is also a cry for help for the one who is praying is in terrible anguish and surrounded by those who hate him. Verse 3 is fascinating, “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” In v 10 he is spectator who is about to witness his God do some really bad stuff to those who are intent on doing him harm, “Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You.” Why does he pray for such a conclusion? Let us see….

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Basic Doctrines of Christian Faith

Question: “What are foundational doctrines?”

Foundational doctrines of the Christian faith are plain and simple explanations of what we believe. But, sometimes this may be difficult to pin point exactly what they may be because there are so many different ‘faith groups’ out there whose ideas vary widely. For instance, I am a Southern Baptist and we have a clearly defined  statement of faith entitled “The Baptist Faith and Message” which is derived from the Word of God. However, there are a few doctrines which are seen as ‘common denominators’ and are found among every group. Among them there seems to be 5, and perhaps, 6 basic doctrines that all major Christian faith groups hold to. I have added a 6th which is God’s Word. The 6 are: The Scriptures, the Trinity, the deity and humanity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, Man is sinful, and salvation by grace through faith.

  1. The Scriptures: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life. The authority of Scripture is a foundational necessity because without it none of the other truths could be affirmed.  All doctrines are defined from of the authority of the Word of God. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:14-16 NASB..
  2. The God of the Bible is a triune God, one God in three Persons.  I would think that one of most widely used texts to demonstrate this is from Matthew 28:19-20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.”

Paul gives us insight into the fact of the triune God, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14.

And again he writes in Colossians 2:8-10, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made complete , and He is the head over all rule and authority; See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells.”

From the Gospel of Luke we find this statement, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Luke 1:30-37.

 

  1. The Deity of Christ and His humanity.  One must believe not only that Jesus is the Son of and that He was crucified, buried and arose on the 3rd day. One must believe that Jesus is the Messiah. 1 John 2:22-24 says, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” John does not mix words there. The Apostle also writes in 1 John 4:2-3, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”  Later in 2 John 1:7 we find these words, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” Jesus seems to hint at the necessity of that in John 8:23-24, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

God’s Word contains harsh words for anyone who denies Christ as the Messiah.  “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”  1 John 2:23-24.

  1. The bodily resurrection of Christ. “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-13.

And Paul writes in Romans 10: 8-9, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

  1. Man is sinful.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Frankly, the issue of salvation is that you get forgiven because you’ve sinned.  If you say you haven’t sinned and man has no sin 1 John 1:8-10 has this to say, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”  Yes, lost folks are sinners and those who have been born-again are saints. Just a thought.
  2. Salvation is by grace through faith just as Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Everyone must believe in the grace of Christ in order to be born-again.  Romans 11:6 tells us concerning this grace, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. “This is the response to Him that we are to have, believe in Him whom He has sent,” Jesus tells us in John 6:47-51, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

I hope this helps. As has been stated, there are many more doctrines which are important, but these may be what one may refer to as being foundational a ndis the basis of your question. No doubt there may be a few more that can be added to these 6, but the list could be quite lengthy.

 

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Authority Over Satan

“This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:2-4. HCSB.

“Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1 Corinthians 15:53-57.

Yes, every Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ does have authority over Satan. However, I must qualify my statement by saying this, It is Christ in us Who gives us this authority for we do not have this power simply because of our relationship with the Son of God. We are given this “because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:2-4. We MUST recognize this statement for what it is. We are in Him and without Him we can do nothing. Jesus is quite clear about this, “Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:4-6.
We must also be reminded with this statement in Jude 6-9 that we cannot face the power of a Fallen Angel without the authority of the Lord, “ And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

We must hold a deep respect for the authority of Satan because this power is allowed him by God. “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12. However, this respect for his power should not bleed over to his person. We are only human beings who are not able to stand up without the indwelling Spirit of God. It is God, not we alone who will fight our battles. What we do know is that our daily conflicts are spiritual in nature, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13.

Are we able to defeat Satan? Yes, but not in our strength. Just as Paul was content with who he was in Christ Jesus because He empowered him for His glory alone. And when we boast, just as Paul did, we boast in Christ, “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:28-31. But let us not stop there for Paul also writes, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:14-16.

Jesus is Lord.

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Are You ‘Integrity Challenged?’

The Word of God clearly demonstrates the importance of integrity for every Follower of the Christ. In this sinful world it is obvious that the Believer’s integrity must fulfill the righteousness of God. The example of  sinless integrity can only be found in Jesus. However, the ability to accomplish the impossible is present in every Follower of the Christ. It is absolutely imperative for every Believer to follow the steps of the Spirit of Jesus, “Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:8-11 HCSB.

There are those among us who claim to be Christian and challenge those who are able to demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives with consistency. Do these folks sometimes sin? Absolutely, but the consistency in their walk will always overshadow the weaknesses that are in every Believer. What we must understand that no one among is perfect. I wish this were not the case, but, “Hello, we live in a fallen world and sometimes the best of us will commit sin.” I hope that you are not surprised by this.

Please note this admonishment coming from the pen of the Apostle Paul, “And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him. Therefore don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.” Colossians 2:13-17.

What we now understand from the message of the Gospel is that the Law was/is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Jesus made the complete sacrifice for our sin which was/is the revelation of God’s will for everyone who believes in what Jesus did on the Cross. Jesus made possible everything possible for salvation which was completed on the Day of His resurrection. By this one event we have in Christ what is required and by faith we are in Him.  There is now the circumcision of the heart because of the crucifixion of the flesh of the Christ, the death and burial the defeat of sin, and the resurrection to newness of life proves that our sins are forgiven.  Everyone who now chooses to Follow the Christ is delivered from the curse of the Law. Through Christ we who were dead in sins, are now made alive in the risen Christ. Christ’s death was the death of our sins; Christ’s resurrection gives the Believer’s soul life everlasting. What more are we able to say? I am certain that I may have missed something. But this is the reason that

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11:3.

 “And who will harm you if you are passionate for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17.

For this reason, the death burial and resurrection of my Lord, I am able to live a victorious life in the Holy Spirit every day that I live. I do not understand why every Follower of the Christ does not live like this and I want to encourage every Believer with the words of the Apostle, “Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:4. This is the foundation of our walk of Christian Integrity, the Spirit of God lives in you. Jesus is Lord.

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What Does ‘Putting God First’ Really Mean?

What does it really mean to put God first in your life? Perhaps, to answer that question, we might begin by answering from a biblical perspective. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we find these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Quickly review Exodus 20:5-6, “You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.”HCSB. ‘Them’ refers to ‘other gods.’The first order of the day is to love God primarily as the first 4 Commandments tell us and the remaining 6 are a result of obedience to the the first 4.
 
We cannot love without first loving Him in the Person of Jesus Christ for in Him we are a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”2 Corinthians 5:17–21 HCSB. What we are now able to do is to love as He loves because we are in Him.
Because we are ‘in Christ’ we will follow Him and not the desires of our hearts. John writes in 1 John 2:3-6, “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.”Verse 6 is the operative phrase which simply tells us that Followers of the Christ will walk as Jesus walked. This is not as difficult as one may think. Remember that Paul spoke of his ability to accomplish difficult things, “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13. His strength to endure and accomplish is found in Christ Jesus. We also know that our relationship with the Christ has foundation in two inseparable stones of spiritual truth: “For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:6-21 and “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you. Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” You might think that v 18 is the operative statement here, but not so. Vv 15 and 16 introduce the thought of being filled with the Holy Spirit; “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Followers of the Christ, we must not neglect who we are in Him, but take care of how we walk in Him because our environment is deceitful.
We will love one another and without question, but a lost person cannot love apart from the love of Christ which comes by faith expressed in His grace. Jesus is Lord.
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Confronting Absolute Values in Morality and Ethics

Many movements of immorality within our culture have allowed sexual activity outside of the biblical standards of morality. Homosexuals simply have an “alternate lifestyle” and a different “sexual orientation.” Cohabitation without marriage is a “domestic partnership.” Seldom do we hear words like “fornication” or “adultery.” However, the LBGT movement has become so accepted that those who do believe and hold to biblical morality have been marginalized to a great degree and within the local church there seems to be a growing number of folks who wish to protect those participating in immoral activity.
Questions such as, :”How should we determine what conduct is moral or immoral?” and “What principles should determine what is morally right or wrong?” For thousands of years the Word of God has stood as His absolute standard of morality around the world. Until recent decades mankind has generally agreed that the Bible has revealed God’s will and has been the manual used to understand and apply it
We are presented with the question of what standards or standard should be used to to determine what is right and what is wrong. Many think that local or national government should set the standard for moral correctness. History tells us that often times governments are morally corrupt which results in horrible atrocities And it is historically true that mankind discovers over and over again that just as Peter claimed in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men“No matter the opposition we must hold to the teaching of God’s Word.

Many believe that immoral practices must be acceptable because a certain group approves them. What we must understand is that the majority point of view may very well be displeasing to God. Let the biblical record speak for itself, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.”1 Corinthians 10:1-5. What we do know is that Jesus said most people are on the road to destruction, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

Some folks wish to justify sin simply because people they know are involved in it. But if we are honest we will admit that we are sinful and fallible lot then we must also admit that we are wrong. IN the end we must obey Jesus even though we do not agree with those around us. Look at these powerful words of the Christ, “Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:25-27.

Absolute values are determined by the God of the Universe. Because He is God and Creator He rules over this creation. And like it or not everyone in the room will be judged according to whether or not we have repented from our sin and conformed to His will. “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31.

Right here lies the end of our dispute. If we believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, our conclusions about moral issues will always be in conflict with those who do not believe in the biblical record. Jesus is Lord.

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