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Partakers Bible Thought

31 August 2021

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37)

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:1-11)

Jesus took words extremely seriously. Therefore as Christians, so must we, as indicated by the Bible verses above. Words matter and for the Christian disciple they are off the utmost importance as the building blocks of communication: whether by thought or through the tongue. One of the greatest sins of the twenty-first century, that all Christian Disciples need to be wary of, is the use of words. Communication, which is cynical, sarcastic, murderous and discouraging, surrounds us and we are coerced to join in, when in fact we should be standing alone against it.

The twenty-first century is the communications century – everything can be communicated around the world at the click of a mouse button. What we say, think and write has the potential to be a sinful action of sinful inaction. Regardless of what other people say or do, we are to speak, think and write without sinning. Let those be responsible before God for their own actions and inactions – you are only responsible for yours!

Words are the central means of communication regardless of our language, nationality or culture. Needless to say that every one of us has either been hurt, or has hurt others, by communicated words. The power of the tongue in communication and speech is awesome. It has the power of life & death and those who love it will eat & bear its fruit. The tongue is a fire, which left unguarded, can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of life on fire. We need to watch the words we speak and control our speech, or it will control us.

Today we are looking together at the Christian and the use of words. Words that are spoken orally as well as those put online in social media or written. How did Jesus use words? What is a right use of our words? What are some keys to how we can our use of words? ? Listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more regarding the Christian and the use of our words.

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Partakers Bible Thought

30 August 2021

The Apostle John, talking about Jesus “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)

Most modern societies, particularly in the West, are pluralistic with a many cultures, within any city and country. With this advent of pluralism, comes the widely held belief that all religions, creeds, beliefs and non-beliefs are equal, which all ultimately lead to God and that after death, every person will enter heaven and have everlasting life with God. That is universalism, and sadly, some Christian churches hold this belief. However, that is contradictory to what Jesus said and taught. That is not to say that each religion does not have an element of truth within it, but only one religion is ultimate and absolute truth and that is Christianity. As Christians in the twenty-first century we are often informed that Christianity is wrong, and that Jesus Christ can’t possibly be the only way to God, even if a God or Gods exist.

Just a scant look at each religion throws up the incompatibility between them. For instance the great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam all profess that there is only one God. Contrast this against the religion of Hinduism, which has millions of God, or Buddhism where there may well be no God at all! So Universalism could really be just a form of functional religious atheism.

Today we are looking together at the Christian and the Challenge of Universalism. Looking at the challenge of Universalism, we explore questions such as How does universalism deny salvation by grace alone through faith alone? How does universalism deny the uniqueness of Jesus Christ? In what way does universalism deny Jesus’ authority? Listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more regarding the Christian and the challenge of Universalism.

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Partakers Bible Thought

29 August 2021

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. (Matthew 16:13-20)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:14-22)

A Cornerstone is the main part of a building and it holds the whole structure together. Jesus said in Matthew 16v18 “I will build my church”. Jesus Christ has united the Jews and Gentiles. Just as even though the universal church has many different denominations, Jesus Christ holds them together in unity. 

As the Church, all Christians, of all denominations and no denomination are one and unified through and in Jesus Christ! The universal Church is one around Jesus Christ. However, churches on a local level frequently engage in acts of disunity rather than unity. Churches and Church denominations fight over minor details. So how can we as Christian Disciples show unity, to a world that sees the Church fragmented. Paul when writing to the Ephesians challenged the two groups of believers, Jews and Gentiles, to be unified in order for the church to grow and Jesus Christ to be glorified.

Today we are looking together at the Christian and Unity. There is only one Church and all Christians are a part of this universal & worldwide Church. We ask and answer questions such as: In what ways can Christians show the community where they live, the unity of the Church? What do we mean by “unity”? Does unity also mean total conformity with each other? What aspects of How is Jesus Christ the cornerstone of the Church? What role does authority play in unity and where does authority come from? Listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more regarding the Christian and Church Unity.

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Partakers Bible Thought

28 August 2021

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

I wonder if sometimes you feel just like giving up, throwing it all away and just be buried by whatever is burdening you. I guess, almost everyone has felt like that at one time or another. Maybe it’s because you are undergoing troubles or suffering - physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Whatever it is, as a Christian you are to persevere. We persevere, because we are not alone in our troubles. Also, if we think about it, in the light of eternity, the time of endurance through these troubles, is but the blink of an eye! Wow!

How are you and I to respond to suffering and other troubles? Naturally, we either treat them too flippantly or far too seriously. The response that God wants His followers to have is to be exercised by it. When we undergo any suffering or trouble, we are to commit it to God, endure it and understand that He is faithful and that it will eventuate in His glory and for our own good (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 4:18). We are to be joyful when enduring suffering (James 1:2). Now I admit that that can be pretty hard to do, but we are not left alone. The Holy Spirit indwells us if we are His followers and as one of His names suggests, as the Comforter, He provides comfort during the difficult times. So, just as He perseveres, so are we to persevere!

Today we are looking together at the Christian overcoming times of trouble. We all have them, to differing degrees, every single one of us. We ask and answer questions such as: In what ways can Christians persevere through troubles and suffering? What is meant by “perseverance” in relation to the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian? What is God’s purpose for the Christian believer in relation to times of trouble? What aspects of Character result from the Christian perseverance? Listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more regarding the Christian Overcoming Times of Trouble

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Partakers Bible Thought

27 August 2021

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. (John 15:18-21)

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:12-19)

As Christian Disciples, those who proclaim that they follow Jesus Christ as the Son of God, we have a new identity. What are we to do with it? The Bible is very clear that we are to stay faithful to Jesus Christ, particularly when it is difficult! It means staying faithful to Jesus and His will, regardless of opposition and alternatives. By doing this we are standing alone and being faithful to Him. Satan brings pressure to bear on Christians to reduce their standards and commitment.

Christian Disciples undergo challenges from those that either don’t like or understand us. We are constantly tempted to do wrong things or we are tempted not to do right things. Either way, we are tempted to sin against our God. So we are to be separate from sin but not separated from a sinful society. This is what Jesus meant when He said we are to be “In the world but not of the world” (John 17:15-19).

Today we are looking together at the Christian staying faithful to Jesus Christ. We ask and answer questions such as: In what ways are Christians reject coercion into abandoning their faith in Jesus Christ? What are some of the hindrances to the Christian living a faithful life of witness for Jesus Christ alone? What are some of the keys to the Christian standing alone and faithful to Jesus Christ? What steps can the Christian take to overcome this challenge? Listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more regarding the Christian Staying Faithful to Jesus Christ.

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