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.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1.1, ESV)
Christians have faith that God created the heavens and the earth (Heb. 11.6). However, atheists claim it is silly to put one’s faith in all-powerful being that could create this world. Interestingly, evolutionists claim that everything evolved over billions of years from nothing. Since evolutionists were not there to observe this process, their belief is just that – faith. Therefore, Christians and atheists both have faith; the Christian, in a Creator and the atheist, in nothing.
Is it reasonable to have faith that something came from nothing? For example, the device you’re holding or the computer you’re using to read this article did not come from nothing. It is impossible! In fact, the materials used to create your device had to already be available for inventors, engineers, and scientists – in other words, intelligent designers. If one was to argue that we can in fact create something from nothing, then they could not use the materials already available and they would have to start with nothing – but then they would have to be God to do that.
It is reasonable to believe in an all-powerful Creator. In fact, creation demands a creator. The question is, are you willing to serve your Creator and reap the blessings promised before the world was even created?
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4.4-6, ESV)
It is obvious that we live in a religiously divided society. A quick drive down the road shows the multiplicity of churches and religions. Whatever you like, you can be sure there’s a church that is willing to accommodate. However, was this ever God's will or did He desire something else?
Paul shows us that we are to be united. By laying out the platform for unity, we are not left to wonder how we are to maintain unity. It is by our respect for the seven “one’s” that we can truly enjoy the unity God has provided in Christ.
- One Body – There is only one church which Christ will save, that is, His church, the church (body) of Christ.: Eph. 1.21-22; 5.23; Acts 20.28; Rom. 16.16
- One Spirit – There is one spirit that has revealed one revelation (or standard) and one plan of salvation for all of mankind to follow (Eph. 3.3-4; 2 Peter 1.3-4). Since the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (John 16.13) and since they wrote down the truth for our learning, then there are no more revelations or truth to reveal (Jude 3). Anyone who claims extra-biblical revelations stands in direct opposition to the one Spirit.
- One Hope – Those who are God’s children can hope (not wishful thinking, but an expectation) in heaven and eternal life (1 Peter 1.3-4).
- One Lord – There are no other masters to be served. Jesus is the one and only with all authority and power. It is only through Him that we can be saved, no one else (John 14.6; Acts 4.12).
- One Faith – Not many faiths (as the religious world tells us there are), but only one (Jude 3). Just as there is one gospel, there is one faith! Will you be obedient to the one faith (see Acts 6.7)?
- One Baptism – Paul says there is only one baptism. Therefore, if there is water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism today, then we have one too many baptisms. Thus, the one baptism is water baptism in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It is the only baptism commanded in Scripture (Matt. 28.18-20; Mark 16.15-16; Acts 2.38; 8.16; 10.47-48; 22.16; Rom. 6.1ff; Gal. 3.26-27, etc.). Note: Holy Spirit baptism is not for us today, but was only for the apostles (John 14-16). Additionally, baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ” is, and has always been, water baptism (see Acts 2.38, etc.).
- One God and Father – There is only one true and living God; all other gods are false, man-made “spiritual beings” or crafted from wood or stone, and created in the mind of man. God was not created, but is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, over all, and everywhere present, and He wants to be your Father! He wants to love you and shower you with blessings!
Judges 13:2-21; 2 Peter 2:10-11; Jude 8-9; Zech. 3:1-2¹
¹Angels are greater in might and power than we are, yet in the accounts above, we can learn a valuable lesson from their actions.
Even though we are people created by God, and then as Christians, a people for God’s own possession, we frequently make an unnatural separation between ourselves and our God. We put off our “selves” to put on Christ, yet that old man continues to creep back into our lives and make decisions and take actions that are not from our Savior.
This is where the angels above provide an example for us to follow.
Samson’s father wanted to pay respect and honor to the heavenly messenger who foretold his son’s birth. The angel knew his place. He knew his position. He knew he was simply a servant and messenger of God and refused such an offer. He redirected Samson’s father to the only One worthy of honor, Jehovah God.
Peter’s warnings about false teachers who carelessly revile is contracted to angels who, though mightier and more powerful, do not bring a reviling judgment before the Lord.
And even Michael, the archangel, in his dispute with the Devil would only state, “The Lord rebuke thee!”
We too are subject to God and only servants and messengers of our Heavenly Father and our Savior. We must be careful not to separate and exalt ourselves and assume too much power or authority. When someone wished to honor us, is it not God who rightly deserves the glory? Is it not He who is the source of all our successes and accomplishments? Is it not proper to redirect that honor to Him?
When we are filled with “righteous indignation”, do we revile against others? Do we take it upon ourselves to make a personal rebuke? Our do we, like Michael, in matters that clearly belong in His realm, defer the condemnation to the true judge?
Let us remember who we are. Let us keep our proper place. Let us remember we are simply men, servants of the Almighty God, and insure the One who is our judge is given everything that is properly His.
The above was written by one of our members, Bill Brittenham.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11.1, ESV)¹
¹Faith is defined or described differently by many people. Since the Bible is our standard, we must accept how God describes faith. First, it is assurance or confidence in God’s promises (things hoped for), and second, it is a conviction of things not seen.
Consider all the things we have not seen: God, Jesus, all Bible characters, the flood, the ark of the covenant, the resurrection of Jesus, miraculous healing, and on and on we could go.
Faith that has been establish upon the evidence of the Scriptures (Rom. 10.17), will be assured of what God has promised those who seek after Him and believe as truth things which we have not witnessed ourselves (See also Hebrews 11.2-3).
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11.6, ESV).
The man that has faith is the one who pleases God, draws near to Him, and is commended by Him (cf. Heb. 11.2).
If you're interested in learning more about faith, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4.9-10, ESV).¹
¹God gave us the Bible through inspired men to reveal the love He has for all mankind. Within its pages, the apostles show the cross of Christ as our focal point of faith. Therefore, the love God made known is the love we must reciprocate if we are to be His children (1 John 4.19; 3.2). We accomplish this through obedience and faithfulness to Him (John 14.15).
John continued, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (4.11-12). The reason we are to love one another is because God loved us. Further, we are to love the Father because, “…he first loved us” (19).
The Father’s love was sacrificial. He sent His Son to die on a cross for our sins (John 3.16). Thus, if His love for us cost Him something, our love for Him ought to cost us something. His sacrifice teaches us that love is not selfish, but looks out for the interest of others (1 Cor. 13.5; Phil. 2.4). Are we willing to count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? We must forsake the world and forsake sin. We must love the Father and love one another. This will take sacrifice on our part!
If you’re interested in learning more about God’s love, please e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.