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.
“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him” (Deut. 13.4, ESV)
To walk indicates ongoing action. Therefore, walking after God demands ongoing worship toward Him and a willing heart to obey His commandments. Moses taught the Israelites that they were to continuously walk in service to God. They did not always do this and God ultimately punished those who chose not to keep Moses’ words. Let this be a lesson to us (Rom. 15.4).
Those who do not hold fast to Him walk in a direction contrary to His word. They are walking after this world. Sadly, their focus is on serving self rather than serving God. Christ said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it” (Mark 8.35, ESV). Until we abandon the practice of living for self and walking after the desires of the world (losing ourselves for Christ), we cannot please our Heavenly Father.
Are we seeking to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13.3) or are we seeking to satisfy ourselves? The latter is not walking after the Lord your God!
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’”. (Ecclesiastes 12.1, ESV)¹
¹How can you remember your Creator in the days of your youth?
- By choosing to read and study your Bible.
- By choosing good friends and avoiding those who practice wickedness.
- By choosing to stand up for God when no one else will.
- By choosing to pray and be thankful to God throughout the day.
- By choosing to love your enemies instead of wanting to fight them.
- By choosing to serve others, be kind to them, and respectful to all.
- By choosing to obey your teachers and other authority figures.
- By choosing to listen to our parents, honor them, and obey their commands.
There are many other things a young person can do to remember his or her Creator; however, we must maintain these things or else as we grow and experience sin and its deceptive motive, we have no desire for the things of God.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4.12, ESV)¹
¹Are you a young Christian? Then there is much work for you to do! Don’t ever think you’re not able to serve the Lord in your youth. Paul told Timothy, a young Christian, to set an example in the way you talk, the way you act, in the way you love and serve others, in the faith you have in God, and in your moral standing before God.
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.
“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!