Lessons from the Farmer

Farmer

We are living in anticipation of the Lord’s return. Jesus promised His apostles, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). We are looking forward to that same hope. All the faithful – living and dead – will “meet the Lord in the air” when He returns and then “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This is a comforting thought for the Christian (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Peter spoke of the certainty of this event, but explained that the timing of it was unknown: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). We can be assured that this day is coming, but we do not know when it will be.

Since this is the reality of our existence here on the earth, James encouraged us to be patient. In doing so, he cited the example of a farmer to make his point:

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 4:7-8).

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Thankful (Part 4): Thankful for Our Hope

Thankful

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ 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 15:52-57).

In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he spent the entire fifteenth chapter discussing the resurrection. The resurrection is the reason why our hope as Christians is better than anything for which others may hope. No matter what happens in this life – even when we face difficult situations, including the eventual end in death – our hope remains as long as we continue to faithfully serve the Lord.Continue Reading

The Cross as a Symbol

Cross and sunset

It is common to see the image of a cross being used as a symbol – a symbol of “Christianity,” an image in art and jewelry, and so on. However, that is not what we will be discussing here. A Christian does not need a cross around his neck, nor does a church need a cross on its building. Instead, we will be talking about “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18) – the message of the gospel.

In the gospel, the cross is shown as a symbol representing some fundamental concepts. In following Christ, we are to take up our cross (Luke 9:23), making the same traits which are symbolized by the cross manifested in our lives.

So what does the cross symbolize?Continue Reading

Obedient to That Form of Teaching

Romans 6:17

Romans 6 is a critical chapter in the New Testament. It discusses the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. It concisely explains why this difference exists and what happened in the life of a Christian to bring about this difference. This chapter can be summarized in the following two verses:

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).

Paul was writing to Christians in Rome. Previously, they were “slaves of sin.” But at this time, they were “slaves of righteousness.” How did this change occur? They “became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which [they] were committed.

To better understand what Paul was discussing, let us do a brief overview of this chapter.Continue Reading

The Message of the Gospel (Sermon #38)

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The Message of the Gospel (Sermon #38)

We’re in between season 11 and season 12. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on October 28, 2018 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Also, if you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating on iTunes or Stitcher. This also helps others hear about the podcast. Thanks.

The Message of the Gospel

Romans

In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul described the gospel as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). This verse is often thought of as the theme of Paul’s letter – and for good reason. However, it is also important to note the first few verses of this letter as they introduce this central topic.

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-6).

Since the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), we want to be prepared to talk to others about the gospel – especially those who are unfamiliar with it. The opening verses of the book of Romans provide us with an outline to help us do just that. Let us break down these verses and see how they help explain the message of the gospel.Continue Reading

Confident of Salvation

Man at Sunrise

The Scriptures teach that the Lord will return to judge the world (Matthew 25:31-32; Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We will be judged based upon His word (John 12:48) and He will determine our eternal fate. We will either be welcomed into “eternal life” or sentenced to “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

Knowing this, is it possible for us to have confidence in our eternal salvation? Must we live our lives without knowing whether our final home will be in heaven or in hell? Notice what the apostle John wrote:

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:28-29).

John described a confidence that we can have as we anticipate the Lord’s return. He did not describe the Christian as one who is wishing for salvation but not knowing whether he will be saved. Yet how are we able to have such confidence, especially when we can recognize how much we have yet to grow in our walk with the Lord? Let us consider a few points that will help us answer this question.Continue Reading