Knowing God’s Word is Important

The need for a better knowledge of and grounding in scripture could not have been clearer as I read a story on recently.  A man in Florida is making a claim to be the reincarnate of Jesus Christ and that his followers number “thousands in more than 30 countries.”  In his own words he claims “The spirit that is in me is the same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth.”  This following began about 20 years ago in Miami and believes that there is no devil and no sin, and that the followers of this movement can do no wrong in God’s eyes.  The leader of this movement claims “to be God”, has a criminal history of theft and heroin addiction and even has a tattoo of the number 666 on his arm.  In his teachings he declares that long-held, time-tested and widely accepted beliefs in the church are misunderstood.  I ask you, is this something you see supported by God’s word?

I believe man has a ‘built-in’ desire to seek and worship God.  This is likely due to our being created in His own image.  This desire, unfortunately, sometimes results in clouded judgment as to what God desires and has said in His word.  If we truly desire to reach out in search of God, we must do so on the basis of what He has said, not what any man tells us God said.  As I read this news report I couldn’t help be reminded of Jesus’ words in the Matthew 24:23 ff., when He warned of others who would come after Him, claiming to be the Christ, or anointed one of God.  Jesus said for us not to believe him.  For us to accept the claims of this man would be to deny the Bible as our guide for life, both here and for eternity.

The primary concern this story raises is that of accepting the Bible as the written word of God and His divine will.  It is to be our authority!  It is the one true source of knowledge for God’s plans, His promises, His commandments that are obeyed by those who love Him (John 14:15) and how He responds to man’s rebellion.  Many today have taken liberties with scripture that God does not allow.  In doing this, God has been undermined by our own desires to our own destruction.  My challenge to you is to determine to abide in God’s word alone, and in doing so becoming able to rightly divide the word of truth!

Copyright © 2007, Nolan P. Rutter

Regeneration Reminder

We are in the midst of the renewal of splendor in God’s creation.  This is a process we witness each year.  As spring passes, we see the rejuvenation of trees and plants, perhaps even the frolicking of creatures not seen since the first snowfall.  As we reflect on this process let’s look beyond what we see as ordinary and mundane.  The seasons that God has put into place are a reminder that we live in a temporal existence and that things live, they whither away and die.  Both, the Apostle Peter and James describe how the grass withers and the flower falls off.  In fact Peter say in his first epistle, or letter, chapter 1, verse 24, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off’.  What he is saying is, that we, too, like the grass and flower, will wither away.  The physical aspect of this process is inescapable. 

Fortunately, through the grace of God, this doesn’t have to be permanent.  The spiritual aspect is often overlooked and is even unknown to some.  Just as the blossoms and leaves return to the trees and flowers bloom to fill the air with their sweet smelling fragrance, we too, can experience a renewal.  Spiritually, we are dead in our trespasses (Eph 2:1), and without accepting God’s grace we will remain dead.  Titus records the following in chapter 3, verse 5 of his epistle, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” 

This regeneration, or renewal, as described by Titus, as a washing most likely is in reference to Jesus’ admonition to Nicodemus in the Gospel of John, chapter three.  In response to Nicodemus’ question on how one can be born again when he is old, Jesus stated that “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  When this happens we are no longer dead in our sins, we have been renewed.

But this is not a single occurrence.  Paul writes in his epistle to the Corinthian brethren “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”  Our physical (outward) bodies will decay.  There is no way of avoiding this natural process.  But our spiritual body, the inner man is renewed each and every day.  This can be a very comforting thought for those who have put their trust and faith in God.  Paul penned the following words to members of the church at Rome,  “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Have you presented yourself a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God? Do you know what this means? If not, seek out the answers that you desire and need.  Turn to God today.  We are available at the Clinton church of Christ, to help you in any way that we can, to experience the renewal that God wants for you. 

Copyright © 1999, Nolan P. Rutter