Sin has created a separation between God and man, and no work of mankind can every bridge that gap. But God has made a way, through Christ, for us to be reconciled to him, for us to recieve atonement and be made “at one” with him.
“Pray without ceasing.” That is what Paul had written in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Not only did he write it, he lived it, and we see that come out throughout his letters. There are many times that Paul records specific things for which he is praying. In Eph. 3:14-21, we notice three specific things that Paul prayed for. Join us as we study God’s Word Together.
This past Sunday at the Orangeburg church of Christ, we talked about Christmas. I know that there are many different beliefs regarding the Christmas season, but however one views this time of year, that does not change the importance of what happened in the small town of Bethlehem about 2000 years ago. Bethlehem matters. What happened there matters because it was what was Prophesied, because of the Person that was born there, because of the Purpose for which he was born, and because of the Promise that has been given to those who believe in him, eternal life. I hope that at this time of year, you will use the unique opportunity that Christians have to teach people that whole truth about Jesus the Christ.[audio https://ia902708.us.archive.org/30/items/WhyBethlehemMatters/Why%20Bethlehem%20Matters.wav]
Hoping that after the new year I will be able to return to recording at least one podcast a week. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
When we talk about Jesus we have a number of titles that are given to him. Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, The Great Physician, and The Good Shepherd are just a few of the names that refer to our Lord.
All of those make sense to us. Another one that we know well is Messiah. But what does that word mean? The word Messiah (from the Hebrew mashiach) and its Greek counterpart (Christos from which we get the word Christ) literally means, “Anointed one.” It was used to refer to those under the Law of Moses who had been anointed with oil (usually having it poured over his head) in order to serve in a particular way within the nation of Israel.
There are examples in the Old Testament of anointed being down in three specific instances. Kings were anointed (1 Samuel 15:1). Priests were anointed (Exodus 30:30). And we also read of a command for a prophet to be anointed (1 Kings 19:16).
In Hebrews 1:1-3, we have a description of Jesus that describes him in all three of these roles. The Hebrew writer says:
 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)
God spoke through the prophets of the Old Testament in many ways, but in the last days he speaks through his Son, making Jesus a prophet.
The priests under the Law of Moses were charged with offering animal sacrifices in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice, once and for all making purification from sin, something the blood of bulls and goats could not do (Heb. 10:4), so Jesus is a priest of the highest order.
After making purification for sins, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God to reign for eternity. He is a king, and his kingdom is his church.
Jesus is the Messiah; he is the Christ, the anointed one. He is prophet, priest, and king, and his way is better than all other ways, because only his way leads to the Father (John 14:6).
Jesus said in John 4:24 that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in Truth.” Worship is more than something we just go to once a week on Sunday. It is more than a set of actions that we just go through ritualistically. Worship is truly a blessing for the Christian. It is about giving praise and honor to God, and that in and of itself is a blessing that we receive from it, among many others. Unfortunately there are many who don’t really understand worship. In this podcast I endeavor to take a Biblical look at worship. There are three things that must be present in worship, people, practice, and purpose.
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Are you ready to give up everything you have? Are you ready to be mocked, ridiculed, shunned, and outcast? Are you ready to possibly be imprisoned? Are you ready to be tortured? Are you ready to die?
I guess if I were making a sales pitch for Christianity, I probably just lost a lot of buyers. But the fact of the matter is this, in the roughly 2000 years since the Church was established, Christians have endured every single one of those things because of their belief in the Savior. I have two prayers today. My first prayer is that anyone who reads this will never have to do any of those things, especially being imprisoned, tortured, or die for the cause of Christ. But my second prayer is that all who read this will be ready to stand for the Lord no matter what happens, even if it means imprisonment, torture, or death.
As I was reading in the book of Acts, I came across this passage in chapter 21:
Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:13-14 ESV)
In the verses leading up to this, it was prophesied that if Paul went up to Jerusalem, as he was planning to do, he would be bound and imprisoned. Upon hearing this, Paul’s companions urged him not to go to Jerusalem. This prompted Paul’s statement in verse 13. He was ready to die for the cause of Christ. He would later write to the Philippians from prison in Rome:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 ESV)
Paul knew that if he were to die, it was to his benefit, because to die meant he would finally be with the Lord. Eventually Paul would die for the preaching of the Gospel, as would all of the apostles, save John. Many thousands of Christians have suffered and died because of Christ. They have received their great reward. Thousands, maybe even millions, of our brothers and sisters made the ultimate decision that they were going to continue serving God no matter what. Are we ready to do the same? As Paul’s companions said in verse 14 after he had rebuked them,
Let the will of the Lord be done!