Author Archives: opelousaschurchofchrist

When Will the World Really End?

When Will the World EndThe Bible says that “no one knows the day or the hour” of the end but God. Any person that claims to know the day when the world will end does not get their information from God or the Bible. The world will end when God chooses, which could be today, tomorrow, next year, or 1000 years from now. Only He knows. With this being the case, you need to make sure that you will be prepared for that day. If today were the day that God chose to end the world, where would you spend eternity? Would you go to heaven or hell? Have you ever lied? Looked with lust? Hated someone? Stolen? If you have done these things, then you are a liar, an adulterer (Matt. 5:28), a murderer (1 John 3:15). Your sin separates you from God, the source of spiritual life. You are dead spiritually and are deserving of His wrath. But this is not what God desires for you. God sent His Son (Jesus) to this earth to be a sacrifice for your sins. He died for you and was raised from His tomb by God so you can have the hope of eternal life. If you believe this message (the Gospel), submit to Jesus Christ, and turn from your sins, God will raise you out of the hopeless state you are in and wash away your sins (see Romans 6:1-7, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:11-14)

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Do You Have an Active Faith?

When was the last time that you shared the gospel with someone? The answer to this question can at times can lead us to feel ashamed because we just do not share the gospel as much as we should; if at all. Do we believe that the gospel is the power of God that leads to salvation? (Rom 1:16). Do we believe that everyone needs to hear the gospel and obey it? We may say whole-heartily that we believe these things, but do our actions show this?

“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14-17).

At times we are like those in this verse who say, “be warmed and filled” but do nothing to help them. These people claim to be Christians, but their actions do not show this to be true. If we really believe something to be true, will we not act? The Lord has given us a mission. If we really believe that the Lord wants us to evangelize, we will evangelize. If we really believe the gospel must be heard and obeyed for someone to be saved, we will tell it to the lost.

Do you have faith that the gospel is the power of God that leads to salvation? Do a lost person a favor. 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Saved By Faith

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:11-13)”

This text shows us some important things about baptism that most religious groups do not teach. This text says that baptism is the point in which we are buried WITH Him (cf. Romans 6:3-7).Paul compares Old Testament circumcision to baptism, showing that just as the flesh is cut away when a circumcision is done, God himself “cuts” away our sins with a spiritual circumcision at baptism (v11). We are made alive together with Christ when we are baptized (v13), and most importantly, we are forgiven of all our trespasses (sins)(v13).

Our faith in the work of God is what saves us. We are saved by our FAITH. In Colossians 2:11-13, which we just looked at, we see that we are forgiven of all our trespasses when we by faith in the working of God are baptized (v12). We have our sins cut away from us because of our faith in the promise of God.

This is exactly the way it was with animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. It was the faith of the one who brought the sacrifice that saved the sinner. They believed what God said when he said that the blood of the sacrifice would atone for their souls. They could not just believe that animal sacrifice atones for sin; they actually had to act on their faith and take an animal to have it sacrificed for them. Just a mental belief was not good enough. There had to have been a belief based action to perfect their faith.

James 2:17-22 (NKJV) “17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

An active faith in God’s word is what saves. This is how faith is portrayed in Hebrews 11. All of the heroes of faith acted on what they believed. By faith Abel offered (v4). By faith Noah prepared (v7). By faith Abraham obeyed by going (v8). By faith Isaac blessed (v21). By faith Moses refused (v24). We could go on and on showing from the Old Testament characters that faith is active.

Faith in the Old Testament is the same as faith in the New Testament. John 3:16 is a very misapplied verse that is usually taken out of its context to try to prove that faith alone saves. The context of this verse teaches otherwise.

John 3:14-17 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

The belief that Jesus expects from us is the same as was expected from the children of Israel when Moses lifted up the serpent on a pole in the wilderness. This takes place in Numbers 21:4-9. Israel in their disobedience and complaint against God, were dying. Because of their sin, God sent snakes among the people to punish them. The people realizing their sin, asked Moses to intercede to the Lord for them. The Lord gave them the way to be saved. All who looked at the bronze snake that was lifted up by Moses was saved. They had to believe that what God said was true; that looking upon the snake would save them, and then they had to go and look upon it in obedience to God’s word to be saved. If they did not go to look at it, they did not believe. John the Baptist in John 3:36 says that belief and disobedience are opposites. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” If we do not have a faith that acts and does the will of God, we cannot be saved.

Hebrews 5:9, speaking of Christ, says “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

Romans 6:17-18 (NKJV) 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Remember that the context of this verse is speaking of how the Romans were baptized to be set free from their sin)

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What Shall We Do

What a great day for the kingdom of God it must have been when that first sermon was preached by Peter! The door into the kingdom of heaven was opened to the world. That first sermon led to the salvation of 3000 souls. Let’s put ourselves into the shoes (probably sandals) of the people hearing this first sermon preached about Jesus Christ.

Some of these people were probably there on the day when Jesus was before Pilate being judged. Some may have even been part of the crowd that was yelling, “Crucify Him, crucify Him (Luke 23:21).” Their hearts must have been deeply pierced by the words of Peter when he, by the Spirit, said to them that they were guilty of putting to death the Son of God, the promised Messiah in whom they had been so anxiously awaiting. We probably could not begin to understand the sorrow that was in their hearts for their wickedness in turning over the Son of God to the Gentiles to have Him crucified.

I don’t know what your response would be to the words of Peter, but the question that I would ask, begging for an answer, would be, “What must I do to be forgiven of this?” This is exactly how the people responded to Peter and the other Apostles. We see the peoples’ response to the word of God in Acts 2:37:

“When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” I’m sure that they, just as any of us, couldn’t wait for the answer to this question! What would the answer be? What would they need to do to be forgiven of their sin against God?

Did Peter answer by saying, “You don’t have to do a thing. Jesus did it all on the cross just 50 days ago for you!” Did he answer them by saying, “Just say this prayer with me and Jesus will come into your heart.”? How about, “It seems like you already believe what I’ve said, so you are already saved!”? No, he didn’t say any of these things, because these were not what the Lord told him to say to the people on how they could receive forgiveness. So how did Peter answer this great question? Peter, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, said to them “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).”

Peter tells them that if they wanted to be forgiven of their sins each of them needed to repent and be baptized for the remission of those sins. These were the things they needed to do! We see that there were 3000 people who did just that! Acts 2:41 says, “those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” When these people received the word of God, they obeyed it by being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. It should not surprise us that Peter would give this answer to the people. Jesus Himself gave this instruction in the great commission. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16).”

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” is the answer to the great question, “What shall we do?”

Have you been told to do something different than what was instructed to the people in Acts 2? Have you instead been told that you don’t need to do anything to be saved, or that you just needed to say a prayer? That’s not what Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said to do!

The 3000 that obeyed the gospel that day were added by the Lord to the church. They were set free from the bondage of sin. Will you also gladly receive the word of God, just as they did, by being buried with Jesus in baptism (Romans 6:3-5)? 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Are You Right With God?

Will you go to Heaven when you die? This is an important question to answer because when you die, you will stand before God’s judgment seat for sentencing. What will the verdict be? Heaven or Hell?

You can know the answer to this question right now! Compare your life to the standard God gave us in the Ten Commandments. Do you think you have kept them? Have you ever lied, stolen, or committed adultery? Have you ever lusted after someone? Have you ever used God’s name in vain or put anything in your life ahead of God? If you have broken any of these commandments, you are guilty before God. He cannot overlook your sin.  No just judge would let someone get off for breaking the law. You deserve to be punished, and the penalty God gives for sin is an eternity in His prison, a place called Hell. This is the worst of death sentences!

But there is good news! God offers you the hope of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus took upon Himself your death sentence, then was raised from His tomb by God, defeating sin and death so you can also! This is the good news that God gives you and me. What God expects you to do to receive forgiveness is to believe the gospel, to turn away from your sins, and to be united with Christ’s death and resurrection by being baptized. 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