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.
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3.15)
The Bible tells us there is one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Eph. 4.5). He is to be the master and ruler of our lives. In fact, we are to empty our hearts of all things evil and sanctify Christ in our hearts, counting Him as Holy, filling our hearts with His word and love.
Those who accept Jesus as Lord have some obligations. If we believe that Jesus is the master of our lives, then we will believe that we are judged by His teachings. This will affect how we view the Scriptures and our obedience thereof.
For example, one who does not view Jesus as their Savior may still be in agreement with His teachings about murder or theft, etc.: “I would never do that!” However, for those of us who claim to be followers of Christ how do we respond to Jesus when He goes against everything we have ever believed? Our traditions? Our preconceived ideas? Or our desires?
The acid test of whether Jesus is Lord of our lives is when we obey God’s word even when it goes against what we want in this life. When Jesus says, “no,” do we still honor Him with our respect and obedience? Or do we elevate ourselves above God by creating a false God that will allow us to get away with the things we want to do?
*These thoughts are adapted from an article by Mark Dunugan.
“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!
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5.15-16, ESV)¹
¹Time is one of the most precious things in this life. One reason for this is because every second that goes by is another second that we cannot get back and another second closer to our death. Here’s a scary thought: the second we are born we begin to die!
A quick internet search will show that we watch an average of 5 hours of television a day while browsing our social media accounts for an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes and consuming food and drink for nearly 1 hour and 8 minutes. This does not include sleep, work, commute times, shopping, sports, school, cooking, cleaning, reading, exercising, playing games, or even going to the bathroom! Simply put, we spend a lot of time doing several things in this life.
However, in all that we do, are we making the best use of our time? There is nothing necessarily wrong in the stated activities above, but one could argue that it becomes wrong when these things either consume all our time or are placed before the time necessary to serve God.
In fact, as Christians all our time belongs to God! What does that say about the things we do? Again, while watching television or playing sports is not sinful in and of itself, they become sinful when these things compete with God’s time (our service to Him and others). When this happens, God is no longer first in our lives, but placed on the “back burner.”
On the flip side, what happens when we fill our lives with sinful things? Since the two (sin and God) cannot co-exist in one’s life, we must choose what remains consistent. In other words, which master will we serve, sin or God? (Matt. 6.24, 33; Rom. 6.16-18, etc.)
Let us not fill our lives with innocent or sinful activities that simply distract us from giving our time to God. If you’re interested in learning how to walk wisely before God, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4.7, ESV)¹
¹Want to hear the secret to defeating Satan? The Lord's brother, James, wrote that if we resist him, he will flee from us. Peter wrote concerning Satan, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5.8b, ESV). We all know when lions attack; when their prey is weak or is not paying attention. Hence, Peter calls us to remain sober-minded and vigilant against the lion's attacks (1 Peter 5.8a). This involves us being spiritually alert at all times because spiritual carelessness breeds all kinds of opportunities for the devil. Furthermore, when we understand that God has always provided us with a way of escape from temptation (1 Cor. 10.13), resisting the devil is not only possible, it is expected. Therefore, when we stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5.9), the seeking-someone-to-devour lion loses his prowling and devouring abilities. In other words, when we fully surrender to God by humbly submitting to Him, we take away any opportunity for the devil to catch us off-guard (cf. Eph. 4.27).
This leads us to an interesting thought: If we do not give him an opportunity, what power does he have over us? In fact, James says that if we resist him that he will flee from us. If a lion is fleeing from us it is because we are stronger than he is! Therefore, Satan only has the power we choose to give him (See Romans 6 for additional study)! And if no power, no control! If you’re interested in learning more about God’s word and how you can have power over Satan instead of the other way around, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.