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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.

Obedience

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Why Was Felix Alarmed?

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

 

“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

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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!

Do You Listen and Follow Jesus?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

 

“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

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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.

Render to God the Things That Are God's

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

 

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” (Matthew 22.21, ESV)¹

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¹The Pharisees were constantly seeking to trap Jesus and have something to use against Him.

On one occasion, they sought to entangle Jesus in His words by sending men “who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor” (Luke 20.20, ESV).

They asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” to which Jesus replied, “…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's” (Matt. 22.17, 21).

They were unable to catch Him “messing up” because He validated paying taxes and obeying the civil law. Therefore, they were silenced by the truth that He spoke.

Two things we can take from our Lord:

What are we to render to Caesar (in other words, the government)? Taxes. That’s all part of obeying the law which is ultimately obeying God (Rom. 13.1-2).

What are we to render to God? That which belongs to Him: His children, us. God wants our love, obedience, and worship. We render to God the things that belong to Him by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6.33).

If you’re interested in learning more about serving God, please e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.

Have You Been Raised With Christ?

Monday, April 17, 2017

 

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3.1, ESV)

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Let us examine two separate points about our text.

First, if you have not been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38; 22.16) then this verse does not apply to you. Someone argues, “Not true. The verse says nothing about baptism and baptism does not save.” This argument overlooks the context of Colossians chapters two and three. Notice chapter two along with parallel passages:

“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…” (Colossians 2.11-13, ESV)

Notice at least two ingredients to being raised with Christ: faith in the powerful working of God, the resurrection of Christ, and baptism!

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 6.3-11, ESV).

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (Eph. 2.1-8, ESV)

Notice the point of these passages. One is lost in sin and then obeys the gospel by being baptized into Christ, having his sins washed away (Acts 2.38; 22.16), that is, being made alive together with Christ (Col. 2.13; Rom. 6.8, 11; Eph. 2.5), and ultimately being “raised” with Him to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6.4).

Hence why Paul said, “If then you have been raised with Christ….” Friend, if you believe that Paul is not speaking about being raised with Christ after dying with Him and being buried with him in baptism, then you are not being honest with the texts above or the immediate context in Colossians chapters two and three. Friend, if you believe baptism does not save, you have believed a lie (2 Thess. 2.10-12)!

Peter, an inspired apostle of Jesus Christ contradicts all the false teachers who teach baptism does not save: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 3.21, ESV)

Second, if you have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, then you have an obligation to the Lord:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3.1-4, ESV).

We seek the things above and set our minds on the things above by putting sin to death and being conformed to the image of our dear Lord (See Colossians 3.5-17). Are we doing just that?

If you have not been baptized and are interested in learning more about salvation contact me. Maybe you have been baptized, but were baptized believing baptism did not save you and that you were already saved prior to immersion. Notice above that we are baptized into Christ, made alive together with Him and are raised with Him in baptism. These are all truths that do not apply to the believer until he or she is baptized. Therefore, if you see the truth today that baptism does play an essential role in your salvation, be baptized in His name for the forgiveness of your sins! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.

How to Have Peace

Friday, April 14, 2017

 

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4.9, ESV)¹

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¹Though Jesus has all authority (Matt. 28.18), He has delegated authority to His apostles and commanded us to listen to and obey them. To begin with, Jesus prayed that people would believe in Him through their [the apostles’] word (John 17.20). Further, He told His apostles, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me” (Matt. 10.40, ESV) and “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10.16, ESV) and finally, “if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town” (Matt. 10.14, ESV).

Hence, we are to follow the “apostles’ doctrine (teachings)” (Acts 2.42). However, we must understand that their teachings (that must be obeyed) came from Jesus (Matt. 10.19-20; John 14.26; 16.13, 1 Cor. 2.10-13, 16; 1 Cor. 14.37; 1 Thess. 2.13; etc.).

Simply put, “We [the apostles] are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4.6, ESV).

Not only are we to obey them, but we are to imitate (follow) the example of the apostles as well. Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11.1, ESV).

Are you listening to and obeying the apostles of Jesus Christ? Are you following their faith? God included these things in His word for our learning! Only when we practice these things will the God of peace be with us!

E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905 if you’re interested in learning more about the apostles’ doctrine!

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