Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5.25)
To live by the spirit is to “keep in step with the spirit,” “walk by the spirit,” (Gal. 5.16) or be “led by the Spirit” (5.18). To walk by the spirit is to “not gratify the desires of the flesh” for the spirit is against the flesh (5.16-17) and those who belong to Jesus have put sin (the flesh with its passions and desires) to death (5.24). Elsewhere Paul said, “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom. 8.12-13)
Are you living by the Spirit? Are you practicing “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (5.22-23). Paul taught, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom. 8.14)
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6.7, ESV)¹
¹The apostle Paul’s purpose in preaching the gospel was to bring people to the obedience of the truth. We read in Romans, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom. 1.5, ESV) and “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6.17-18, ESV), and “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith…” (Rom. 16.25-26, ESV).
Peter taught, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God...” (1 Peter 1.22, ESV).
It is often said that all one has to do to be saved is to believe in Jesus. However, we learn from these verses that one must obey. Since “the faith” and “the truth” are “the gospel,” then what Luke records in Acts about the priest is that they were obeying the gospel. While there are facts of the gospel (Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, etc.), there are also commands of the gospel. These commands involve not only believing in Jesus (Acts 16.31), but loving God (Matt. 22.37), having a godly sorrow for the sins committed against Him (2 Cor. 7.10), repentance (Acts 2.38), confession of Christ (Matt. 10.32), baptism in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38), and faithfulness unto death (Rev. 2.10). If you've done these things and continue to remain faithul then you are like the Priest who became obedient to the faith!
“And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.’” (Acts 24.25, ESV)¹
¹While imprisoned, Paul worked his way through the ranks in government until he was able to meet with multiple government officials with the goal to preach the gospel to each one of them. It was within this setting that we read, “After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus” (Acts 24.24, ESV).
Notice that he wanted to hear Paul speak about “faith in Christ Jesus” (24) and yet in our text Luke records that Paul spoke to him “about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (25). Therefore, faith in Christ Jesus involves at least these three things coupled with the facts about Jesus himself (that is, His life, death and resurrection).
Let’s briefly examine each point to determine what Paul taught Felix:
- Righteousness: to be justified before God, through forgiveness of sins and obedience to His commandments.
- Self-control: to control or master the evil desires (lust) of the body.
- Judgment: a time when God will judge everyone according to the life they’ve lived while on earth.
These are the things that must be taught to each sinner who wants to hear the gospel. Unless we are justified before God and practice restraint against sin then we will fear the coming judgment. This is one reason why Felix was alarmed - he did not want to obey! On the other hand, when we do these things because we have faith in Christ, we have nothing to fear concerning the judgment!
If you’d like to hear more about the gospel, contact Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905 to set up a study at your convenience!
“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them.” (Leviticus 10.1, ESV)¹
¹Notice in our text that they “offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them”. Here is an example of two individuals who did not glorify God by obeying His word. Though they were worshipping God, they were not worshipping according to His commandments, or in this case, they were offering something He had not even commanded!
Many religious people worship God however they want to. For example, God has commanded His children to sing while assembled to worship Him (Col. 3.16; Eph. 5.19, etc.). However, the majority of people play mechanical instruments coupled with singing. One may argue, “There’s nothing wrong with using instruments in worship - the Bible does not say we cannot do it!”
First, this argument admits that the Bible is silent concerning mechanical instruments in worship, and second, this argument is given by those who want to serve God however they please and not by whatever pleases Him. To say we can use instruments when God never commanded them (that is, acting without His authority) and then to argue that God “did not say not to” is to be guilty of the same thing Nadab and Abihu were - adding to the word of God (Rev. 22.18-19).
Notice the consequence of their addition to God’s silence: “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”’ And Aaron held his peace.” (Lev. 10.1-3, ESV)
If God has been silent on something, that does not necessarily mean we have the authority to do whatever we please. We cannot be saved if we act without authority from God. Just ask Nadab and Abihu!
We at the Franklin Drive Church of Christ strive to obey the authority of Jesus. We have music in our assembly - A cappella music - because our Lord has commanded us to sing. We can know that when we sing we are pleasing to Him. If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will and authority and what the Bible teaches concerning singing and mechanical instruments, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 11.28-29, ESV)¹
¹Speaking of His sheep (disciples), Jesus gives all a beautiful promise – “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” and “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand”. Too often people claim that this means that His disciples cannot be lost.
The first problem is that this belief is built on a system of beliefs that state that the child of God cannot be lost (often referred to as once saved always saved), and the second problem is that this belief requires those who accept it to overlook the context of the verse in question and deny clear passages that teach a Christian can lose his salvation (see Gal. 5.4; James 5.19-20; Heb. 3.13; 2 Peter 2.20-22, etc.). Additioanlly, one has to overlook the fact that salvation and remaining saved is conditional.
For example, prior to giving this promise, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 11.28, ESV). This implies that His disciples choose to “hear” and “follow”. To hear Jesus is to listen to all that He teaches and to follow Jesus is to obey all that He commands. Many people listen and yet do not follow (refuse to obey). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them. Many people claim to follow and yet do not listen (claim to have a relationship with Christ and yet live immoral lives). For example, Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6.46, ESV). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them.
Therefore, for all who listen and follow, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”
If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.