Good Advice

Good Advice

In Proverbs chapters 6–10, Solomon continues his instruction to his son but giving him some good advice that will increase his days, bring joy, and ensure a continued fellowship with God. These words of wisdom are just as applicable for us today as they were for Solomon’s son so long ago.

advice ahead

Is your heart ready to accept some advice?

1) Keep your promises. The Psalmist says that the one who will live with the Lord is the one who “swears to his own hurt and does not change;” (Psalms 15:4).

2) Work hard and don’t be lazy. In Ecclesiastes 9:10 we read “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” (Colossians 3:23).

3) Avoid wicked women (fornication and adul-tery). “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body” (1 Corin-thians 6:18).

The adage has always been true; you reap what you sow “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). So be wise and be faithful.

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Kingdom of the Model Prayer

Kingdom of the Model Prayer

One of the most famous of prayers is that model prayer, taught by Jesus, which begins, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

Praying for the Kingdom

For what do you pray?

Millions upon millions have recited this prayer since our Lord first taught it, finding comfort in its familiarity. Yet the Scriptures teach us that we should pray with both the right spirit, and with the understanding. (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15) Jesus did not want mere rote from His followers – He was encouraging them to have an active and meaningful prayer life. Which means that we should understand what we pray.

So what of the phrase, “Your Kingdom come?”

Jesus told His followers that they should pray for such a thing, and some years after the death of Christ, the Spirit of God saw fit to include those same instructions in the Gospel of Christ, so that Christians might learn to pray accordingly.

What does that phrase mean?How do we understand it?

Different men are going to provide different answers to that question, often depending upon their understanding of the Kingdom. We want to make sure that we understand the phrase, not according to the private interpretation of men, but as Jesus meant for us to understand it.

The Kingdom was quite an important subject to Jesus, and to His apostles. When Jesus came preaching, He preached, “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” (cf. Matthew 4:17). He was encouraged by the desire of others around Him to enter the Kingdom, and foretold that it would be established in the lifetime of His hearers. (cf. Luke 16:16; Matthew 16:28)

There are those who believe that Christ failed to establish His Kingdom as He wanted to; that He was thwarted by the unbelief of the Jews. Such, when they pray, “Your Kingdom come,” look for the coming of the kingdom at some future date. These same individuals, one would assume, must think that Christ was in error in his prediction concerning the kingdom coming in the lifetime of those who were personally listening to Him preach.

Yet, following His resurrection, Jesus claimed the authority of a king (cf. Matthew 28:18), and, in answer to the anticipation of His apostles concerning the establishment of the Kingdom, told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit. (cf. Acts 1:6-8). They thereafter considered themselves to be in the Kingdom. Which is why Paul could tell the Colossians that they had been transferred into the Kingdom by the power of Christ (cf. Colossians 1:13). Peter told his readers that they were a “holy nation,” and John declared Christ has “made us a kingdom.” (cf. 1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:6, ESV).

The clear teaching of the apostles and Christ lead us to the conclusion that the Kingdom is already here, on earth. This Kingdom, of which Christ preached so often, is the church, and it is a spiritual, or heavenly, Kingdom. This is why Jesus said concerning the Kingdom, “my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

In a very real sense, the Kingdom of Christ has already come. We should not be praying for Christ to establish His kingdom; He already did that, and quite successfully. The Cross was His coronation. The Resurrection was the proof of His kingship. He is, even now, the King above all kings, for He sits on His eternal and divine throne, as declared by the Word of God. (cf. Acts 2:30; Hebrews 1:8, 4:16, 8:1, 12:2; Revelation 3:21)

So again, the question, why do the Gospels, written some years after the establishment of the Kingdom, for individuals already in the Kingdom, include this prayer as a model prayer for Christians to learn and study. There are those who say the prayer was only meant for Jesus’ Jewish audience, but that ignores who the Gospels were written for and when they were written.

But perhaps there is a different way to think about the coming of the Kingdom attested to elsewhere in the Scriptures.

Jesus said concerning the coming of this spiritual Kingdom, when questioned about its arrival by the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20b-21; NKJV)

The Kingdom has come to the earth, the King has been crowned, the Law of Christ has been given in the Gospel, but we are not to be looking for an earthly kingdom with visible borders and landmarks. Rather it is a Kingdom that comes into you, as a spiritual realm into which you have been spiritually born anew. (cf. John 3:1-6) The Kingdom has come into the World, but it has not yet “come” into the hearts of all men.

Therefore, while we don’t need to pray for the Kingdom to be established, it is quite scriptural to be praying for God’s kingdom to come fully into our lives, so that we might partake of the blessings therein. Likewise, as we see those around us, lost in sin, we should be praying for the Kingdom to come into their lives, so that they too might be blessed. And, having so prayed, we should then act, that God’s will might be done in our lives, on earth, even as it is in heaven.


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Doctrine is Not a Four Letter Word

Doctrine is Not a Four Letter Word

The spirit of compromise which permeates our society may be blessing in some areas, but it has little place in regard to the clear teachings of the Bible. Its presence has led to a watered-down teaching in churches in America. While the Bible doctrine about morality is clear, denominations are struggling to deal with divorce for every cause, living together without marriage and homosexuality. The same is true about how God wants us to worship, the organization of church, the path to salvation and many aspects of Christian living. It is as though there is no doctrinal teaching on these matters. This spirit of compromise has made doctrine a four-letter word.

doctrine four letter word

The Lord gave us Doctrine to live by, not to edit as we see fit.

Jesus Taught Doctrine

Take time to read the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. Do not stop after the Beatitudes (which some would not view as doctrine) but read all three chapters where the sermon is found. It is filled with a precise teaching and leaves little room for religious compromise. Immediately after the beatitudes, Jesus attacks the false teaching of the religious leaders in a series of topics centered around “You have heard it has been said” and Jesus’ words, “But I say unto you.” Clear doctrinal teaching is what Jesus did. He did not think that doctrine was a four-letter word. He exalted it.

At the end of these three chapters, pay special attention to what is said, “When He had finished these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one who has authority” (Matt. 7:28-29). Churches in America, where the teachings of the Bible are being compromised, stand in marked contrast to the doctrinal preaching of Jesus. Remember that Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). What did He do with that doctrine given to Him? He gave it to the apostles. “For I have given to them the words which You have given to Me” (John 17:8).

The Apostles Taught Doctrine

What did the apostles do with those words? How did they use them? After Jesus ascended to heaven, they gave the doctrine to the world. On the day the church began it is stated, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). They taught in the temple and when arrested were charged, “You have filled all Jerusalem with this doctrine” (Acts 5:28). When Paul taught in Athens his listeners said, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak” (Acts 17:19). The apostles taught that salvation comes when men “…obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” (Rom. 6:17).

Let’s talk more about doctrine in next week’s article. Remember that doctrine is not a four-letter word!

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The Importance of One Letter

The Importance of One Letter

It is easy for us to overlook the importance of a single word, even of a single letter, as we speak. An illustration of this is shown in the adage, “The only difference in united and untied is where ‘i’ is found.” One single letter moved one space totally changes the meaning of a sentence where it is found. This is why it is important to take time to look at individual words/letters as we read the Bible.

Two Lists

Look at these two lists and see if you notice how one letter changes the word of God. The Bible speaks of: His doctrine (Matt. 7:28); the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42); your doctrine (Acts 5:28); the doctrine of the Lord (Acts 13:12); sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:10); the doctrine of Christ (Heb. 6:1); etc.

Now, look at the second list: the doctrines and commandments of men (Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7); the commandments and doctrines of men (Col. 2:22); the doctrines of devils 1 Tim. 4:1); and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9). Did you see the difference? It is the letter “s” to show a distinct difference between the word doctrine and the word doctrines.

The Bible uses the plural, doctrines, to refer to false teaching, but it never uses the plural to refer to the teaching from heaven. It rarely uses the singular to refer to teaching coming from the heart of man, and every time it does, it clearly identifies its origin.

The One Doctrine

On any Bible subject there is only one teaching. In our society, we have the concept that one doctrine is as good as another. That is why people say, “That’s what you believe about it. Let me tell you what I believe about it.” This language ignores the fact that our God is one and when He speaks it is always singular. There is no way that He, who cannot lie, can teach one thing in one place and a contrary thing in another.

One Letter

Our God is one and has provided one gospel for all.

The One Faith

Paul says that there are precisely the same number of “faiths” as there are gods. “There is one body, and one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God…” (Eph. 4:4-6). The Bible does not make provision for me to have one faith and you have another faith. Our faith comes from the doctrine we are taught, and the Bible never, even one time, speaks of the doctrines of God.

Religious division mocks the prayer of Jesus for unity among His followers. If I believe and teach the only doctrine found in the Bible and others teach only the same doctrine from the same source there will be unity. There is a vast difference between doctrine and doctrines!

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Delete the Trash

Delete the Trash

I have a program on my computer that does good work. I like it a lot, and it is helpful. However, this program also leaves behind some trash on my hard drive in the form of temporary files. Every so often, I must delete these temporary files so that they do not completely fill up my hard drive. If I forget to do this, then all the other programs on my computer will stop working. So, I invest the time to delete these files to ensure that my computer continues to run smoothly.

trash removal

Are you removing the trash or collecting it?

Relationships are a lot like this. We value those with whom we have good relationships. We appreciate their friendship and all the good they do for us and for others. Sometimes, however, our friends may say or do something that leaves some “trash” behind. At this point, we have a choice. On the one hand, we can let that “trash” build over time until the relationship stops working. This may affect other relationships as well. On the other hand, we can delete the “trash” as it comes along. This keeps the relationship healthy.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” The word for forgiveness in this verse means to act favorably toward another by letting go of one’s complaint; it doesn’t require another person to ask our forgiveness. By practicing forgiveness in our relationships, we can delete the “trash” so that it doesn’t become a big problem. When we don’t forgive one another, our relationships stop working, and this creates bigger problems. Let’s be forgiving people!

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