Christ’s Courtroom

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For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad * 2 Corinthians 5:10
2 Corinthians chapter 5 is a power-packed section of scripture. It begins with the apostle Paul’s confirmation of the temporary nature of our earthly dwelling thus God has given His chosen ones the Holy Spirit as a down payment of the glory to be received on judgment day * 2 Corinthians 5:5. For Christians walk by faith and not by sight * 2 Corinthians 5: 7. He goes on to speak of how the love of Christ controls him knowing Christ died for all and since he died for all, those who accept God’s grace through faith by “ being baptized into one body by one Spirit” * 1 Corinthians 12:13, are to live for God and not for self. We have become new creatures, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new * 2 Corinthians 5:17.
God accomplished this by making Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to become sin for us so we might become the righteousness of God in Him * 2 Corinthians 5:21.
OH, WHAT A SAVIOR!
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God has made a way to reconcile His creation back to Himself and has given Christians (His ambassadors) the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade men * 2 Corinthians 5:11.
What does that mean?
It means, eternity is too long and hell too hot to play the politically correct game of “we are all going to heaven just by different ways”. The Bible says Jesus is the only way to God *John 14:6. So we must risk wounding feelings in order to save souls by telling ALL who will listen they have a holy summons to appear before the judgment seat of Christ and His blood having washed our sins away is the only avenue by which we can be found “not guilty” and right before God in Christ’s courtroom * Acts 22:16. Otherwise, those fateful words will be spoken by Judge Jesus to those who refused God’s grace, “ I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” * Matthew 7:23.
Court dates coming are you ready? When it comes it will be too late to get ready we will have to be ready and stay ready.
Lord help us speak truthfully and boldly for You, in Jesus name-AMEN
Jerry Groves
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From Saul to Paul

“I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,” said the apostle Paul recounting his conversion to Christ to a hostile crowd of Jews intent on killing him for his faith in Jesus and for his mission to convert the Gentiles to Christ. *Acts 22:4

“Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name”, are the words a gospel preacher sent by Jesus named Ananias spoke to a repentant Saul of Tarsus a killer of Christians who had seen Jesus and was fasting and praying in repentance * Acts 22:16

What has your preacher told you to do to be saved? If it’s not what Ananias told Paul it’s wrong.

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Saul the killer became Paul the apostle. Jesus can save anybody no matter what they’ve done if they will come to Him in faith, repent of their sins and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins “having faith in the working of God” * Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21.

That includes you

God bless you

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Bare Minimum

Jesus is everything good

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven * Matthew 5:20.

Jesus, in His “Sermon on the Mount”, drove the point home that He does not merely want His followers to be religious outwardly, like the religious leaders of His day, but to exceed them by internalizing His teaching.

That meant being humble, sorry for our sins, gentle, hungry for God’s righteousness, merciful, sincere, peaceable, and able to stand firm in our faith amidst persecution for Jesus’s name * Matthew 5:1-12.

It means taking those inward qualities mentioned above and applying them as we interact with others by being salt (which purifies, permeates, and seasons) whatever it comes into contact with, and light (illuminating a dark world with the light of the Lord Jesus Christ) * Matthew 5:13-16.

Do you go to the Lord’s church every Sunday and worship HIm in spirit and truth? Good, that is expected, but Jesus expects more. We are to take the morals and principles we learn from God’s word and allow them to transform our thinking then bless others with our godly ways * Romans 12:1-2.

Jesus expects more from His people than the bare minimum. He expects sincere service from the heart of those who wish to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

Let’s think about that, pray about it, and do it.

God bless you.

Jerry Groves

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All In

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Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait [c]patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
*Psalm 37:5-7

Today we come to our second set of imperatives in the 37th Psalm. Commitment (imperative) means to be all in and quitting is not an option. It is akin to a skydiver jumping out of a plane thousands of feet in the air, there is no going back. In order for her or him to do this, they must trust (imperative) their equipment, (the proper packing of their parachute). Once the chute is employed they can rest easy(imperative) and enjoy the ride, while waiting patiently (imperative) for a smooth landing in the end.

There will be many ups and downs in the Christian walk. We are not immune to the troubles and trials of this world. Yet the truly committed won’t let anything turn them around from following God. They have committed to the King of glory, they place their trust in Him anew every day (for He alone is trustworthy), they rest in God’s blessings, and they don’t become overly worried (“do not fret” imperative) about the evil one * Philippians 4:4-9.

Commitment to God brings the peace of mind which accompanies assurance of a safe landing in the end.

God bless you

Jerry Groves

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Refocusing On Our Redemption

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Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart
Psalm 37:1-4
Do you ever find yourself envying those who seem to be prospering in their wickedness? The thief, liar, greedy, or sexually immoral. Have you found yourself coveting the riches or unabashed freedom they seem to have bad enough you are willing to compromise your relationship with God, your morals and principles to get them? Psalm 37 helps us to refocus on what’s really important, the eternal things.
The wicked will perish quickly and surely but those who trust in the Lord (imperative), do good (imperative) cultivate faithfulness (imperative), and delight in the Lord (imperative), will receive from the Lord the righteous desires of his/her heart.
The Lord owns this world and all within it Psalm 24:1-2. He can give it to whomever He wishes. But the eternal blessings of a relationship with the Divine Creator through His blessed Son Jesus Christ, and the love, peace, joy, and confidence they bring far exceed the fading and diminishing pleasures of this passing world.
Therefore, we must be wise and seek that which is eternal during this short life and not be distracted by the foolishness of this fleeting world.
If you are distracted refocus on your redemption.
God bless you
Jerry Groves
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Preach The Word

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And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit * Acts 13:48-52
The word of God, particularly the good news about Jesus as the one and only risen savior, affects different people differently. Some rejoice, others reject, not counting themselves worthy of eternal life * Acts 13:46, still, others who refuse to submit to the Lord Jesus themselves will try to turn those interested away from the faith * Acts 13:7-8.
Paul responded differently to those who opposed the word of God. For example, Elymas, the false prophet who tried to turn Sergius Paulus, a government official, against the word of God received a tongue lashing from Paul and the loss of his sight. Listen to the apostle’s righteous indignation verbalized.
“ You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?” * Acts 13:10
Elymas was blinded physically for a time to match his spiritual blindness.
To the jealous Jews who contradicted the word of God, * Acts 13:45, and the prominent citizens of the city, who were pawns in the hands of the wicked, Paul and his companions brushed the dust from their feet and moved on to others who would listen.
For our part, we must preach and teach God’s word accurately, regardless of the response. We must not gauge the effectiveness of God’s word based on how many obey it. As we see with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, some will listen and rejoice, others will reject it, and still, others will oppose it and attempt to influence others as well.
Irrespective of the response, we are not to stifle or change the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message changes us.
God bless you and preach the word!
Jerry Groves
Read Acts 13 for the rest of the story.
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We Should Know Better

On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied * Acts 12:21-23
Herod Agrippa I, is who Luke is writing of here. He is the son of Aristobulus and Bernice and the brother of Herodias whom he would marry Herod Antipas, her uncle. (She is the one who asked for John the Baptist head on a platter* Mark 6:25). He was the grandson of Herod the Great and the ruler of Judea and Samaria.
He seemed to covet the favor of the Jews. When the emperor Caligula wanted to place a statue of himself in the Temple, Herod used his influence to stop it. He also killed James the apostle and imprisoned Peter because “it pleased the Jews” * Acts 12:3.
One source say’s “ He presented himself to the Jewish people as a devout worshipper, almost Pharisaical in his piety”. He gained favor from the Jews by attaching himself to the Nazarites when they came to the Temple to offer sacrifices on the completing of their vows. The Herod’s were Idumean (descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob) * Genesis 25: 19-27
Concerning the praises, he received from the people of Tyre and Sidon alluding to him as a god, “the historian Josephus expressly said that the king did not rebuke their flattery or reject their flattery”. He had enough Jewish blood in him, and enough acquaintance with the Law of Moses that he knew better”.
Humans often desire to do things their way without allegiance to God. It started in the garden with Adam and Eve wanting to be like God thus doing away with their need for him * Genesis 3. We also witness it at the tower of Babel where the descendants of Noah decided to build a tower to the heavens and make a great name for themselves, in violation of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth * Genesis 9:1; Genesis 11.
Man’s character devoid of God regardless of their good intentions is “ evil from his youth” Genesis 8:21. The consequences of ignoring The Almighty are devastating.
The outcome of attempting to bypass God in the Garden resulted in Adam and Eve’s expulsion from paradise and the loss of their intimate relationship with God. The effect of the descendants of Noah who spurned God’s command for self-glorification was God creating different languages which forced the people to disperse. The result of Herod not restraining the people from calling him deity was a slow and painful death.
But the word of the Lord continued to multiply.
They should have known better than to disobey, seek to bypass, or refuse to reverence God as the one true God.
It should send chills up and down the spines of those who refuse to give God His glory.
a thinking person 2 imagesThey should have known better and so should we.
Jerry Groves
Source “The New Testament History of Acts by Gareth L. Reese.
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Be Like Barnabas

The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord * Acts 11:22-25.
 
Barnabas is one of my favorite Bible personalities. He is not as well-known as many others, nonetheless, his compassion, courage, and character are evident within the pages of scripture. His name was Joseph and he was a Levite but his nickname was Barnabas which means (son of encouragement). A name given to him by the apostles * Acts 4:36.
 
Barnabas was a compassionate man evident by his selling a piece of land and laying the money at the apostles’ feet to care for the pressing needs of poor saints *Acts 4:37. He was a courageous man. When many in Jerusalem feared Paul (for he had once persecuted Christians) Barnabas sought him out and presented him to the apostles as a brother in Christ * Acts 9:26-27. Barnabas was a committed man. He was faithful and could be trusted. Barnabas ( a Jew) brought great joy to the Gentile Christians in Antioch and when young John Mark (the writer of the gospel of Mark) was denied permission by Paul to accompany them (Paul and Barnabas) on their second missionary journey because he had abandoned them earlier, Barnabas took him under his wing and encouraged the young Christian by taking him along by himself * Acts 11:19-27; Acts 15:36-39.
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Barnabas was a good man (made righteous by the blood of Jesus *Ephesians 1:7). Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit (received at faithful baptism in water for the remission of sins *Acts 2:38). Barnabas was a faithful man. (Faith that comes from hearing and obeying the word of God *Romans 10:17).
 
His Compassion, courage, and commitment to the Lord and the joy in which he served should be contagious to us as we seek to do likewise.
 
What great work will you allow the Lord to do through you today? Be like Barnabas and encourage someone.
 
God bless you
 
Jerry Groves
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There Can Only Be One

 

hands-imagesOpening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation, the man who fears Him and [z]does what is right is welcome to Him * Acts 10:34-35.

What will it take for us to understand that God loves and values all humans alike? God had to teach Peter through a vision of His desire to save all men and women (regardless of ethnicity, culture, class, or color). Once Peter was convinced he preached the same gospel to Cornelius and his household (Gentiles) which he preached to the Jews on Pentecost. The message of Jesus’s sacrifice for the sins of the world, His resurrection from the dead, and His placement as God the Father’s, Holy Spirit anointed judge of the living and of the dead * Acts 10:36-42.

Cornelius and his household had to submit to Jesus’s instructions of biblical baptism (immersion) just like the Jews on the day of Pentecost * Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 10:47; Acts 2:41. There was no difference.

There are many types of people in the world but just one race (human) and only one way to be saved and that’s through Jesus. God doesn’t show partiality and neither must we?

Let’s share the same gospel with everyone.

God bless you.

Jerry Groves

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More Than Friends

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Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem *Acts 9:1-2.
Saul was the youth at whose feet those stoning Stephen laid their coats. He was also a fervent persecutor of Christians in Jerusalem. Now we see him expanding intimidation of The Way to far off places * Acts 7:58- 8:1. He was so ardent against those who claimed the risen Lord, he traveled one hundred and twenty miles northeast of Jerusalem, (by donkey, camel, or on foot), to Damascus with warrants for their arrest.
On the way, he met the risen Jesus and he was forever changed.
Jesus confronted Saul and told him to go into the city “and it will be told you what you must do” * Acts 9:6. Saul the persecutor would be told by a reluctant disciple named Ananias to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins calling on the name of the Lord” * Acts 22:16.
Saul (Paul) had become a wanted man. The hunter had become the hunted.
He was wanted by Jesus as a chosen vessel to spread His word to the Gentiles (that’s you and me), to kings, and to the sons of Israel * Acts 9: 15-16. He was wanted dead by the Jews in Damascus and then in Jerusalem who tried to kill him for converting to Christ which led to his outspokenness for Jesus as the risen Lord * Acts 9:23,29.
The immediate results of Paul’s conversion are evident. One, he was saved by Jesus from his sins (God is so good). Two, the church in Damascus was amazed and encouraged because the one who had destroyed those who called on Jesus name in Jerusalem was proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God * Acts 9:21 (incredible). Three, Christians in Palestine, which was made up of (Galilee, Samaria, and Judea) “enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase” Acts 9:31.
Almighty God can make mortal enemies into more than friends. He can make them into a family. He does this through His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. In Him, we find salvation and common ground when we submit to His will and love one another.
God wants you to be in His family. Jesus is the way.
God Bless You
Jerry Groves
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