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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 112)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                           Lesson 112

As we begin to look at this new section that runs from Romans 14:1 thru 15:13, we need to understand that our Apostle Paul hasn’t changed his subject matter.  His theme remains the same as in chapters 12 and 13, which is "Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself, which in effect means seeking their highest good.”

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself (or herself) than he (or she) ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12.3)

Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; (Romans 12:9-12)

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8)

Please open your Bible at Romans 14. 

When our Apostle Paul wrote this letter one of the hottest topics of his day was the eating of meat that had been offered to false gods.  This meat was sold to merchants who re-sold it in the market place where people shopped for food.  The weak in faith chose to eat vegetables rather than eat it and sin against God; based on their beliefs.  Paul’s emphasis in this section is on the weak in faith so he writes instructing the strong in faith not to look down or disrespect the weaker members of this group. 

Verses 1-12 deal with the Believer’s responsibility to respect the personal convictions (beliefs) of one another rather than try to revise them.  Verses 13-23 instruct us to refrain from exercising our own personal liberties when there’s the slightest chance that they will harm another person. 

Let’s read some Scripture together.

Principles of Conscience

Romans 14

1: Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

2: One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

3: The one who eats (meat) is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

4: Who are you to judge the servant of another?  To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5: One person regards one day above another (Friday evening till Saturday evening according to the Law was the Jewish Sabbath but), another regards every day alike.  Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

6: He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

7: For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;

8: for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

9: For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10: But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do regard your brother with contempt?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Paul specifically mentions two groups of Believers in this section namely “the strong” and “the weak.  We need to know who these people were or what it means to be strong and weak in the Body of Christ if we’re to fully comprehend this text. 

The Strong

Without a doubt, these folks are Believers because Paul includes them in this category:  Now we (Paul included himself in this group) who are strong ought to bear (the what) weaknesses of those without strength and not just to please ourselves (Romans 15:1). 

The word strong, as used here is from the Greek word Dunatos (pronounced:  doo-nat-os’) meaning – able, powerful; to be able to do something.  I’ll use one of Paul’s examples:  For if because of food your brother (or sister in Christ Jesus) is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love.  Do not destroy with food him for whom Christ died (Romans 14:15).

The “ability” the strong in faith possess, as suggested by the Bible passage above appears to be in influencing the weak in faith’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ either negatively or positively. 

The strong are predominately Gentile Believers who have come to know Jesus Christ through faith in God’s Gospel without any attachment to Jewish Law or traditions.  They have zero appreciation for the Jewish faith.  They are the same people Paul addressed in chapter 11:  Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear; (Romans 11:20).

So the strong in faith consisted of Gentile Believers, with some Messianic Believers, who regarded unbelieving Jews as enemies of the gospel:  From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers:  (Romans 11:28).

The Weak

The Greek word for weak is Astheneo (pronounced:  as-then-eh’-o) meaning – feeble, without strength, powerless (the literal meaning).   But the question remains who does Paul consider powerless or without strength in this Roman assembly?

We already know this church is made up of both Jews and Gentiles.  Given that; we also know in the 1st century a T-bone steak is just a T-bone steak to a Gentile; they didn’t care from whence it came.  But the Jew on the other hand had 2500 years of Mosaic Law in their history and eating meat that had been sacrificed to a pagan god in a pagan temple was a definite affront to Jehovah:   One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.  (Romans 14:2; Leviticus 11)

*Daniel abstained from eating meat and drinking wine while in Babylonian captivity out of respect for God’s dietary laws even though the king ordained them (Daniel 1:1-21).

The weak in faith’s choosing to eat only vegetables isn’t sinful behavior.  This is actually God-exalting behavior based on their beliefs.  The practices of the weak Paul listed here for us are faith-driven practices meant to please God such as:  He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.  (Romans 14:6)

I have no problem teaching the weak in faith are unsaved Jews, since Gentiles have no hang-ups with either food, wine, or special days.  If you study the Jewish context of this section and Paul’s writings that have come before it, it argues that the weak in faith are not Believers in the Messiah.  They have not fully embraced the Truth about Jesus Christ, as some of their brethren have done.  They are Torah-observant (which is why the still maintain the dietary laws and the Sabbath) but they are unconvinced of the deity of Jesus Christ or that He was physically resurrected from the dead, according to the Scriptures.  (Romans 11:7)

So, Paul instructs the strong in faith to modify their behavior so that the weak in faith are not provoked to speak evil of their “good thing” i.e. liberty found in Jesus Christ: Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; (Romans 14:16).

Personal Convictions and Personal Liberties

A young man went to see his doctor one morning.  When his M.D. asked him what’s troubling him, he replied, “I’ve been misbehaving for months Doc, and I can’t sleep at night.  My conscience keeps me awake.”  “You want me to prescribe something that will strengthen your willpower?” asked the doctor.  “Well, no,” said the young man.  “I was thinking of getting something that would silence my conscience.”

That feeble attempt at humor on my part was submitted to illustrate the “issue” at hand, which according to Paul is the subject of personal convictions (a person’s firmly held beliefs) and their personal liberties.  Disputable matters are areas where the Bible doesn’t give us explicit instructions and there were many disputable matters in this Roman church:  eating meat offered to idols, drinking wine, and venerable days were just a few. 

Unfortunately, disputable issues still exist and divide and harm Believers today:  body piercings, dancing, dress, drinking alcohol, holidays, homeschooling, movies, music, plastic surgery, tattoos, video games, worshipping with uplifted hands, shirt and tie on Sunday morning vs casual dress, shoes and socks vs sandals in church, etc.   

Believers often disagree over matters of personal convictions and one’s personal liberties.  But let’s be careful.  The difference Paul speaks of here is not over Scriptural absolutes or fundamental Church Age Doctrines.  Paul mentioned specifically the eating of meat vs only vegetables (v2), of regarding one day above another while another regards each day alike (v5), and of drinking wine (v21).  These are neither absolutes nor doctrines.

You get a few Christians in a room talking and at least one of them will disagree over whether or not it’s o.k. or NOT o.k. to drink “wine” or alcohol at all for that matter, play cards, wear lipstick, work on Sunday, attend church on Wednesday night, etc.  These are disputable matters.  However, no Believer should ever dispute the fact that adultery, lying, stealing, and sexual immorality are sin.  These are biblical absolutes.  Furthermore, no two Believers should ever disagree or dispute the existence of the Triune God – all equal in every respect, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His deity, His physical resurrection on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  These are doctrinal certainties.  And yet many Christians do…

There are people who claim to be Christ followers who behave as if they’re in a Scriptural orchard picking and choosing what they want to believe from God’s Word.  For example:  I’ve had more than a few Christians tell me they CAN believe that Jesus died on the cross and was buried BUT they CAN’T believe that he was resurrected from the dead. 

Had this been a “disputable matter,” I would have let it go.  But this is a salvation issue. According to Scripture, a person’s salvation is based on believing what God said.  An individual is saved, IF they believe and hold fast that Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that He was raised (from the dead) on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

God’s Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  You are saved by placing your faith in this gospel and not just parts of it.  Asking Jesus to come “into your heart” or asking Jesus, “to come into your life” are not mentioned in the Bible and are not part of God’s Good News!  This individual I was trying to help (not change) held to their belief in regard to this matter and would not listen; they preferred to argue the point instead.  Apparently, they’re not aware they’re not disputing with me over this indisputable Truth; they’re quarrelling with the Author of the book; the Creator God (Colossians 1:15-18)? 

I want to show you how our Apostle Paul dealt with the issue of individual liberties and personal convictions (personal beliefs) when an individual’s salvation was at stake.  Some Jews came into town from Judea and began teaching the Believers it was impossible to be “saved” unless they were first circumcised:  Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; Galatians 5; Colossians 2). 

Paul and Barnabas responded sternly to their false doctrine and rightly so (Acts 15:2-12).  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  (Galatians 1:8-9).

However, the group Paul is writing to in Rome wasn’t like this.  They were not saying they had to avoid meat in order to be “saved;” they simply “felt,” according to their conscience that it was wrong to eat meat, just as it is wrong to lie or to steal. 

There’s another good example from Scripture regarding the circumcision of Paul’s protégé Timothy and his fellow worker in Christ Jesus Titus.  In Acts 16:3, Paul had Timothy circumcised so as not to offend the traditions and scruples of the Jews who knew his father was a Greek.  But in Galatians 2:3-5, Paul refused to circumcise Titus because the false brethren (heretics) insisted circumcision was essential for salvation.

As I reminded you earlier Paul is still dealing with the subject of relationships in this section of Romans both vertical and horizontal - love God and love your neighbor as yourself – which literally means seeking their highest good.  Paul is especially gracious in his approach to this group in Rome because there is no heretical doctrine here, only a difference of understanding in the matter of one’s convictions and liberties.  In other letters, Paul deals harshly with moral sin and doctrinal deviation.  But here he pleads for understanding and love for one another when it comes to spiritual immaturity: 

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.  (Romans 14:19) 

Each of us is to please his (or her) neighbor for his (or her) good, to his (or her) edification.  (Romans 15:2)

When Paul says, “So whatever you believe about these (disputable) things keep between yourself and God,” he is discouraging meddling and encouraging privacy in a Believer’s devotion to God.  The strong in faith should not be micro-managers. 

But whatever we do, our heavenly Father wants us to do it confidently, free from doubt.
In other words, our faith should be a confident faith:  For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, Hebrews 3:14). 

We should gain confidence through prayer:  In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him… For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (Ephesians 3:12, 14).

Consequently, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him (or her) ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (or her).  But we must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  (James 1:5-6)

To clarify Paul’s teachings in this section of Romans it should be stated clearly in order to avoid any misunderstanding his main point is that every Believer should be free to hold his or her own personal convictions on matters of personal liberty, but no Believer is free to exercise their personal liberties at the expense of another’s spiritual welfare. 

The destructive consequence for the weak in faith of which Paul speaks is not the loss of their salvation, for that is eternally secure.  They suffer the loss of fellowship with God as a result of sin.  When the weaker brother or sister “drinks wine” with a troubled conscience and only because the more mature Believer does so, they are acting in doubt and therefore sinning (v23).  The weaker brother or sister suffers harm (v15) because they violated their conscience and sinned. 

Summing Up

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.  (Colossians 2:16-17)

The application we need to make from our study of Scripture and from the passage from Colossians above is that the Lord Jesus Christ is our focal point.   The Sabbath for instance was part of the Law, which was not given to “save us” but to show us our need for a Savior (Galatians 3:24).  Thus, rather than being legalists, going back to the Law and trying to keep it, like so many in the church are doing today.  We are to honor Jesus Christ by living out the law of Christ.  Believers do this by loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves with a selfless love (Galatians 6:2).  If we do this, we, through Christ, provide evidence that we’ve been redeemed and we show the world that we are in it but not of it!

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 18, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 111)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                           Lesson 111

Our society is enslaved to time and by this I mean to say many people believe and operate from the principle that “time is money,” and they pursue this philosophy heartily.  But that is a lie.  Time is your life.  Your life and mine is an ever-evolving manifestation of the present.  Looking away from the deceiver’s world, where we’ve been brought up and trained to function according to the calendar and the clock, and focusing instead on what’s true, Believers should know this life is meant to be more than pursuing money or prestige; life is about establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Ephesians 5:23-33; Exodus 20:12)

God created man in His image because He is a social God.  Our first indicator of this Truth is He is part of the Holy Trinity.  When you review Genesis chapters 1-3, it becomes clear that the primary relationship Adam and the woman were intended to enjoy was their relationship with the LORD God.  This vertical relationship with God would provide the foundation for the horizontal relationship they were to have with each other and then with their offspring.

It’s difficult to pin down the moment you joined the Rat Race; it just sort of happened.
You entered the workforce, doing whatever, and suddenly you needed a reliable car, a home, and the trappings that go along with living life.  But as you accumulated more stuff you discovered you needed a larger home to store it in.  The family grew, so you needed a bigger vehicle to pack all your children and the rest of the soccer team in comfortably.  One day you discovered the more money you earned the more money you spent and around and around she goes… but there’s no getting off this spinning wheel.  So goes the Rat Race.

Why do they call it the Rat Race there is no finish line?  Nobody is waiting at the end to give you the proverbial gold watch or a medal.  You’re not going to get a “pat” on the back or a container of Gator-aid dumped over your head for your efforts.  The Rat Race continues unabated, and the longer you’re caught in the cycle of “consumption” the more “natural” it feels.  You forget once upon a time it wasn’t like this…

People are hurried; their feeling the pressure of time.  They race the clock from morning till night because they have too much to do and too little time in which to do it.  One of the reasons for this is the “Buffet Principle:” They have put too much on their plate.  In their quest to meet all their commitments they forget that life isn’t just about “clearing our calendar” from one day to the next and establishing “shallow relationships” along the way.  Life, according to Scripture, can be summed up in this sentence:  love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  Life is about establishing and maintaining loving relationships and doing the will of our Father in heaven.

Please open your Bible at Romans 13:11 where Paul writes to the Believers in Rome on the subject of “knowing the time…”

Romans 13

11: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

“Do this means what?  Since Romans 12:1, our Apostle Paul has covered these topics:     

We must subordinate our lives to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to Him.
We must subordinate our interests to the interests of others if we are to walk in love.   
We must subordinate our lives to those in authority over us as civil servants.
Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself; love is the fulfillment of the Law.

So, do this applies to all the above.  Every Believer in Christ Jesus is to be actively engaged in these Godly pursuits knowing the time we are to understand the present time.

I took a nap one afternoon and slept so soundly that when I awoke up I was disoriented; losing track of the hour and the day.  Was it morning, afternoon, or evening?  It took awhile to regain my perspective. 

This is Paul’s message to us.  Far too many Christians are living in a spiritual stupor; they’re just marking time on this planet without any real direction or purpose.  They are ignorant of the Church Age Doctrines or the instructions and commands from the risen Lord Jesus Christ given to the Apostle Paul.  Therefore, Paul is saying, “Wake up from you spiritual coma, understand the present time. 

Recognizing the Present Time

We are living in a world that is hostile to the things of God.  We are living in the destroyer’s (Satan’s) domain.  The world’s values contradict with our heavenly Father’s principles and since we’re His children they should conflict with ours.  We need to understand this is not our home; we’re citizens of heaven and God’s ambassadors while here on earth.

Our Lord sternly warned the Jews of His day for their ignorance of “the time,” their Messiah was among them, as promised, and they knew Him not.  Why not?  They did not search the Scriptures themselves or apply them in order to know the time they were in (Luke 12:54-56).  They could have known and they should have known who Jesus was, it was written in the prophetic Word, and He was fulfilling these prophecies one right after the other and right before their eyes.

If our Lord called the Jews “hypocrites” for applying their God-given discernment to the signs of the weather, and neglecting to apply it to spiritual things, and by so doing going blindly to judgment; what does this say about those who choose to be spiritually sleeping today? They have been given greater knowledge and Light, in view of Jesus Christ’s death, and resurrection, the indwelt Holy Spirit; and the certainty of the Lord’s coming – but the uncertainty as to the day and the hour!

If they recognized the present Time, they would realize the Dispensation of God’s Grace, a period of light and Truth, is quickly coming to a close, like sand running out of an hourglass.   And just as this period of God’s Grace is running out so is the time of their lives. 

The country music artist Tim McGraw put out an album titled “Live Like You Were Dying.”  The song is about a man, in his early 40’s, who was told he has a terminal illness.  The rest of the song is how that man lived the remainder of his life with a “new” sense of urgency.  He went skydiving, mountain climbing, and he even rode a bull.  Time and not money became his most valuable asset.   He realized all the money in the world couldn’t purchase one more hour of life for him…  So he rearranged everything in his life that he once thought was important and he spent time with the people he loved.  The oft repeated phrase in Mr. McGraw’s song is this one:  Someday I hope you get the chance to live “like you were dying.”

Each Believer should be living with a new sense of urgency too.  Our souls are eternal our bodies are not.  One day we all have an unscheduled appointment with Mr. Death.  In addition, Our Savior could return at any time…  Paul is saying anyone who understands this fact will change the way they live their life.  He uses the metaphor of changing clothes.  He said we need to change from deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

The Bible doesn’t tell us when our Lord is coming to gather His Church, but if you knew the day and the hour would this prompt you to live differently for Jesus Christ?

Would you rearrange your priorities? 
Would you spend more time in prayer?
Would you invest more of your time serving others in need?
Would you make it a priority to speak to unsaved family and friends about Jesus?
Would you finally decide to forgive those who have wronged you in the past?
Would you spend quality time with those you love and tell them you love them?

I don’t know why people have the impression they have all the time in the world.  Just this week a Kentucky State Trooper stopped to help an individual who appeared to be in distress and two hours later he was dead.  I’ve driven past many a cemetery and I can say this without fear of causing a controversy; I am certain every one of those folks lying there thought they had more time than they actually had.  Truth is none of us own our next breath or heartbeat God does.  The trumpet of God could sound today and the Lord could appear in the air for His saints, so it’s time to live with a sense of urgency; it’s time to live like you were dying. 

Romans 13

12: The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealously.

14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

As long as the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, He was the Light of the world (John 9:5).  Since He left, it has been spiritual night.  But He says:  so that you (Believers) will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you (insert your name here) appear as (what) lights in the world, holding fast the word of life… (Philippians 2:15-16a).

Light and darkness are prominent themes in John’s gospel and in Paul’s letters and for good reason.  Light exposes what darkness intends to conceal.  (Ephesians 5:7-16)

Knowing that life is temporary and that our Lord could return at any time should prompt every Believer to change the way they live.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians today have no idea what Paul is talking about when he says put on the armor of light; because they’re still in their P.J.’s.  They’ve declared their faith, whether that’s in Paul’s gospel or some other gospel is unknown to this writer but it matters (Romans 2:16, 25), they believe they will be going to heaven, but they are not dressed and ready to go. 

Evidently, they’re not aware of the “results” of salvation.  Our Apostle Paul explains it this way:  do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you (now watch this) are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  This is an all inclusive command from God.  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our time is not our own.  Our hearts and minds are not our own.  Our abilities and our skills are not our own.  These all belong to Jesus Christ who paid a high price to redeem each one of us from the pit of hell.  Still, we must decide how to use our lives, our time, our relationships, our abilities, and our skills to serve Him and others. 

Christians are to “walk” in unity and in community with their fellow saints (Ephesians 4:1-16).  They are to walk in a way that is dramatically different from the walk of an unbeliever (Ephesians 4:17:2).  Christians are further instructed to “walk in love” (Ephesians 5:1-6).  Then Paul instructs Christians to “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:7-14).  The latter meaning, once you become a true Believer in Christ Jesus a radical transformation takes place.  It is a change from death to life, from darkness to light – how radical is that?  Therefore, this change should have a radical impact on our conduct.  If our conversion is true, we will never be the same again.  We will never think, or act the same again.  Our thinking and our behavior after our conversion should compare to our former “walk” as though it were night and day.

When I see Christians getting involved with the homosexual movement in America, putting their trust in Planned Parenthood or the abortion industry, committing acts of adultery, drunkenness, disputes, dissension, gossiping, immorality, and sensuality, or supporting people who do these things, I have to tell you I don’t think they’re getting it!  (2 Corinthians 6:14)

First:  Let us behave properly as in the day – meaning we should live our lives as if our mother’s were looking over our shoulder every minute.  It’s called accountability.   The stark reality of Scripture is that every person, the saved and the unsaved is accountable to the Sovereign God (Romans 3:9-19).  The Lord Jesus Christ emphatically taught that a day of “judgment” is coming when every person will have to give an “account” of his or her behavior (Matthew 12:36). 

Second:  we should dump all cancerous behavior – meaning sinful activities that eat away at our souls like a cancer.  These are things that erode our testimony and our fellowship with our heavenly Father.  Paul gives us a short list:  not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealously.

The first four sins Paul lists are indicators of a “free-wheeling” lifestyle and are signs of an individual loving the world and all that’s in it (1 John 2:15).  Then Paul tells us to quit fighting and to stop being jealous.  These are indicators that a person’s focus is on petty things and they are being distracted by them.  These are unproductive endeavors.  Satan intends to distract Believers from the important matters of life – be aware. 

Our responsibility is to “get” focused on what is truly important and there isn’t much time in which to do it.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for (Satan or) the flesh in regard to its lusts.

What does it mean to put on the Lord Jesus Christ? 

It means to engross yourself in Christ Jesus by working hard to know Him and His ways through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship.  It means do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 

The Believer should be asking themselves continually, as they go about living their daily lives, is this something my Savior would approve of?  Would I ask Jesus to join me in this activity?  Above all it is putting on Jesus’ love for others.  If you “clothe” yourself with Jesus Christ each and every morning you will be well-dressed and prepared to face the day – no matter what may come.  (Ephesians 6:1-18)

Paul ends chapter 13 saying, make no provision for (Satan or) the flesh in regard to its lusts.  Basically, he’s saying don’t waste your time by thinking about sinful things, and ways to justify bad behavior; just do the right thing.  All sin begins in the mind (James 1:15).  Thinking leads to acting out, so when we imagine long enough we wear down our resistance and eventually we’ll find ourselves doing something that we really didn’t want to do to begin with (Romans 7).  Learn to say “no” to sin every time.  Don’t try to negotiate with temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

“We must wake up.  The down-grade is a dangerous place to be.  We cannot afford to be indifferent.  We cannot continue our mad pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.  We are all soldiers for Christ Jesus called to fight a spiritual battle, and we cannot win by appeasing the enemy.  A weak church must be made strong, and a needy world must be confronted with the message of salvation, and there may be little time left.”  John MacArthur

Being true Believers means getting up off the bench and into the game of life.  It means no longer sitting on the sidelines in your P.J.’s but deciding to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and then becoming God’s fellow workers; (1 Corinthians 3:9).
(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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