Growing In Godliness Blog

Growing In Godliness Blog

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Born To Be King

Friday, June 30, 2023

Born To Be King

By Paul Earnhart

Jesus was born to be King.  He was of royal blood, a direct descendant of David. This is the point being made in that long list of names you will find in the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke.

When the angel appeared to Mary, and foretold the birth of Jesus, he added: "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David: and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:32,33).

When the wise men came seeking Him, they asked for Him who was born king of the Jews. They must have expected Him to be a political king reigning over an earthIy kingdom, for they made the inquiry in Jerusalem, the political center of Judaism. But Jesus was not there.

Herod, who was reigning as a Roman king, was greatly disturbed by the thought of one being born to be king of the Jews. He wanted no rival for his throne, and he began immediately to seek for Jesus to kill Him. When he did not find Him, he ordered the death of all baby boys in the area of Bethlehem.

Both the wise men and Herod were mistaken about the kind of King that Jesus would be. In fact, most of the Jewish nation were mistaken about that. Jesus spent much of His ministry trying to convince the people that He did not come to overthrow the Roman government and set up an earthly throne in Jerusalem. He came to be a spiritual king, reigning over spiritual Israel.

Jesus is reigning today over spiritual Israel. After His resurrection He boldly declared: " All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Mt 28:19) . One who has all authority is a king. In Col. 1:13, speaking for all Christians, Paul writes that God delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son."

Don't make the mistake of Herod. Don't walt for Jesus to come back to set up an earthly kingdom. Accept His authority now and leave the domain of darkness to be a citizen of the kingdom of God’s dear Son.

Humility

Friday, June 23, 2023

Humility

By Larry Coffey

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a man she knew who had decided he no longer wanted to undergo kidney dialysis on which his life depended. As a result, he died in less than 24 hours. She further stated he had instructed his family to have Frank Sinatra’s popular song, “My Way,” played at his funeral services. That song always makes me think about humility, or the lack thereof.

The lyrics of the first stanza of that song are as follows:

“And now the end is here

 And so I face that final curtain

 My friend I’ll make it clear

 I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

 I’ve lived a life that’s full

 I traveled each and every highway

 And more, much more

 I did it, I did it my way”

There are three more stanzas to the song all of which end with “I did it my way.”

A number of themes are found in the Bible such as faith, love, obedience, and others which include humility. The Bible clearly teaches no one can please God who is not humble in spirit. We see many Bible examples of those who were not humble, those who did it their way. In Ex. 5:2, Pharoah says, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, l will not let Israel go.”  God said to Pharoah, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” (Ex. 10:3) We know how that ended for Pharoah.

Nebuchadnezzar was the great king of Babylon. He rejected Daniel’s advice and said in Daniel 4:30, “Is this not the great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” He did it his way. While he was speaking, the kingdom was taken from him and he ended up in the fields eating grass. After learning his lesson, his kingdom was restored and his speech changed as recorded in Dan. 4:37, “I praise and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just, and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” In Acts 12, we have King Herod receiving praise and being exalted in pride, and he was eaten by worms and died.

The biggest threat to our efforts to be humble is success. It is hard for the Super Bowl winner not to think how great he is. Or, the CEO of a large corporation not thinking the success of the company is due to his unique skills. However, it is not limited to these kinds of successes. I have known gospel preachers who were sought out for gospel meetings across the country and being told what wonderful preachers they were, to allow that success to affect their humility. Dee Bowman told a story about a preacher friend. He said they were talking on the phone on a Monday and he asked how services had gone where the preacher spoke on Sunday. The preacher said great. He said it was probably the best lesson he had ever preached. When Dee asked the topic, the preacher said “Humility.” I suspect Dee was jesting. I do well remember Gerry Sandusky when receiving compliments for his preaching, always deflected the comments about himself by responding, “Isn’t God great?”

No one is exempt from the temptation to think highly of themselves. We all have degrees of success and it is easy to start taking credit for the abilities and opportunities God has given us. No matter what we may achieve, it is God that needs to be thanked. God said in Is. 57:15, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.”  Is. 2:11 says, “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”

Of course, our best example of humility is Jesus. In Mt. 11:29, he said he was meek and lowly in heart. In John 13, he washed the disciples’ feet. In Phil. 2:8 we read, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He said in Mt. 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We must remember it is not “my way” that is important. Rather, it is God’s way to which we must humble ourselves and follow.

Jesus, Born to the Poor

Friday, June 16, 2023

Jesus, Born to the Poor

By Paul Earnhart

God simply does not think as men think. If men had been planning a home for God's son they would surely have chosen a very wealthy family to care for Him. They would have wanted Him to grow up among highly cultured and educated people. And if He was to be a king, they surely would have planned for Him to live in an imperial palace in some great world cIty.

Instead, God chose for His son a poor young mother in an obscure village. Mary, His mother, perceived the significance of this choice. In her song, recorded in Luke she said: "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on, all generatrons will count me blessed” (Lk 1:46-48). Later in the same song she said: “He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good thIngs and sent away the rich empty-handed” (Lk 1:51-53).

The Son of God grew up, not only as the foster son of a carpenter, but also a carpenter himself. Throughout His life on earth, He lived as a common man among common people. He had good words for the poor and humbIe, and He had no special respect for anyone simply because he was rich or famous. And the scriptures say that "The common peopIe heard Him gladly.“ By contrast, as a rule, the rich and famous, even famous theologians, mistreated Him and finally crucifIed Him.

If Jesus were now on earth in physical form, I have no doubt the theologians would oppose Him and people in power would be offended by Him.  But the common people would still hear Him gladly.  Are you humble enough to be included? This does not mean that the rich and famous cannot follow Him. But, to do so they must, like Nicodemus, be born again. And, like the apostles, they must be converted and become as little children.

The Virgin Birth

Friday, June 09, 2023

The Virgin Birth

By Paul Earnhart

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.  The prophet Isaiah foretold the virgin birth 700 years before it occurred.  He said: “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us."  (Isa 7:14, Mt 1:23)

Luke tells us that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have a child.  She could not understand how that was possible since she had never had relations with a man.  However, the angel assured her that "with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37).

Matthew makes it very clear that she did not have relations with Joseph, her husband, "until she brought forth her firstborn son”.  (Mt. 1:25)

Some people today ridicule the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin.  They insist that the virgin birth is but a myth that grew up years after Jesus lived.  When Christians reject this explanation and insist on the virgin birth we are asked: "Why, what difference does it. make?  The importance of Jesus is in what He did and taught, they say, not in whether He was born of a virgin.

The doctrine of the Virgin birth is most Important to Christians.  If Jesus had no human father but was conceived by the Holy Spirit as the scriptures teach, then He was in a very special sense THE SON OF GOD. He was God in the flesh or, as Isaiah said it, "God with us”.  As the son of God, He is divine, worthy of worship and due our unreserved submission.  On the other hand, if He was not born of a virgin, then He was only human like all the rest of us.  His claim that God was His father was a lie, which resulted either from Ignorance or from an intention to deceive.  Either way, He is no example for us and no proper object of worship.

I believe that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God; therefore, I believe that He was virgin born, having no human father.

Jesus, A Real Man

Friday, June 02, 2023

Jesus, A Real Man

By Paul Earnhart

Jesus was a real man.  He was not a fictitious character Iike Santa CIaus or Superman.

Jesus lived here in this world at a certain time and in a certain place. This makes Him different from fictional or mythical characters.  The stories of mythical characters usually begin with such words as, “Once upon a time in a land far away.”  The story of Jesus does not begin that way.  In Matthew's account the very location of His birthplace is revealed, and the presence of shepherds nearby is described.  Even today, you can go to Bethlehem and walk the streets of that city and see the very fields where the shepherds watched their flocks by night.

In Luke's account, the time of His birth is given--not the day or the month--not even the year, for they did not count years then as we do now.  But Luke pinpointed the period exactly by telling who the emperor of Rome was, and who was governor of Syria and describing a census which took place while he was governor.  Luke is even more specific about the time when Jesus began HIs ministry.  All of this makes it possible for students of history to know exactly when Jesus Iived as well as where he Iived.

The Bible is not a book of myths or fables. It is a book of history.  Luke tells us that he did considerable research to make certain his account of the life of Jesus was accurate (Luke 1:1-4). Since Luke was so specific, those who did not believe in Jesus could easily check out the accuracy of what he wrote.  Even today, the science of archeology has confirmed the accuracy of Luke's writings about geography, politics and ancient custom.  If he was so accurate in reporting those things, we can believe what he wrote about Jesus.

What he and the other men wrote was that Jesus was a real man, but not merely a man. Not just the son of Mary, He was the Son of God, God's messenger to the world.

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