How Close Are We to God?

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

When studying God’s inspired word, it is very encouraging to read of examples of people who were very close to God. The relationships that we maintain can either make us stronger, or could destroy us at the same token. Relationships are essential necessities in our lives. Christians understand that God must come first above all things (Mt. 6:33), and furthermore our relationship with God will determine our destination for eternity- heaven or hell (Rom. 6). Is the relationship we have with God as strong as it ought to be, or is God as a mere acquaintance? There is no other relationship more important than the one we have with God!Continue Reading

The Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart Be Acceptable

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

It is understood that certain things are acceptable and other things are not. When unacceptable things are done, there is punishment. Conversely when acceptable things are exercised, there are awards. It is acceptable to drive a vehicle with a driver’s license, but it is not acceptable to drive without a license. When an individual is found driving without a license, there is a punishment that has been described by civil law for the law breaker. This is understood and such a law is enforced by the government. When we consider the things within our lives, we must realize that there are things that God has specified which are acceptable and unacceptable. The Christian has to determine from God’s word that which is acceptable and pursue it.
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God’s Simple Word

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

When considering the awesome power of God, each person needs to realize that God’s hand is not “too short” to do anything. Consider Genesis chapter 1. When God created all things at creation, God merely spoke and it was. That is awesome to think that just by verbal command from God, everything was created from nothing! If God spoke man into existence, certainly God has the power to save man from his sins.

It is amazing that God does not expect the impossible, but the simple. In Romans 12:1-2 we find that Paul tells the Roman brethren that being a living sacrifice is a reasonable service. Pleasing God is not the impossible but rather is completely possible! Note that God’s word is simple, not crafty or deceiving. This is the point that Paul was making to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. Here the text reveals that the gospel of Christ comes across as being foolish to those who choose not to believe, but to those that believe, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (1 Cor. 1:18; Rom. 1:16). By using the simple things of this life, God puts the wisdom of the world to shame. The Almighty that created the worlds has made reconciliation possible for man.

God has set His plan for man’s salvation. It is man’s duty to take heed to what God has said and be obedient (Eccl. 12:13-14). Yet, man has rejected God’s plan and devised his own way for salvation. Any other plan devised other than God’s plan leads to destruction (Mt. 7:13-14; Prv. 16:25). God said, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). This ought to humble each man to realize that God is so much superior to man. Therefore let us come to listen to the glorious gospel of Christ!

I have noticed that many of this present world desire religion to be flashy, entertaining, an emotional rollercoaster, and more complicated than what God has planned. Such people need to review the “old paths” and test their traditions and contemporary activities and see how far they have strayed away from the truth. Consider the means by which we are saved. God says that we must hear the word (Rom. 10:17), then believe the word of God (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess that Jesus is the Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized for the remission of sins (1 Pet. 3:21). Now man says that you feel when you are saved, the need to only believe that Jesus is the Christ (faith-only doctrine), and even go as far to say that God is too loving of a God to punish His creation. Such people that would teach, advocate, or condone such doctrines have become enemies of the cross of Christ!

Those who earnestly desire to follow God will look to the Scriptures and find His simple will. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt. 5:6). God’s word is what is able to satisfy the hunger for righteousness because it is His word that equips us to do good works (2 Tim. 3:17). The gospel of Christ teaches us to be baptized to remove our sins (Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:5-11). For the person who believes the gospel of Christ, that person understands that it is necessary to wash and be clean (Acts 22:16, Titus 3:5, 1 Pet. 3:21). Is it such a hard and complicated thing to understand? What if God asked us to do some great thing, would we do it? If so, then why is it that people rant and rave about baptism? The reason is simple- they are still too proud to submit, not desiring to serve God. Our attitude needs to be of that like Isaiah when he declared, “Here am I! Send me” (Is. 6:8). When God commands, we ought to jump at the chance to obey.

The Preacher concluded the matter as this: “Fear God and keep His commandments…” (Eccl. 12:13). This is the most we can do, and ought to be our greatest joy knowing that we serve the true and living God! We can understand God’s will and in turn obey it. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul urged the brethren in Corinth to consider their ways and make sure they were abiding by God’s truth. The sweet psalmist of Israel said that the word of God is able to make wise the simple (Ps. 19:7). God’s will is reasonable (Rom. 12:2), living, and powerful (Heb. 4:12).It is possible to please God. God has told us what He wants; will we hear and take heed to the things that He has spoken? Remember that it was God’s word that caused creation, and it is His word that saves man today!