"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed,

we have a building  from God, a house not made with hands,

eternal in the heavens."  2 Cor. 5:1

"…let us consider one another…"

Hebrews 10:24

 

            During Don and Kim Middleton's ministry here we asked Don to insert word studies from time to time in the bulletin.  Don did well, making each one both interesting and helpful.  Today we'll depend on W.E. Vine's Dictionary to look at the importance of the word "consider" as it appears in our title.

Mr. Vine lists nine Greek words that are translated "consider."  Each has its peculiar shade.  He tells us the one in Hebrews 10:24 means "to perceive clearly, understand fully, consider closely."  It involves the idea of intense use of the mind … obviously not a trivial word.

            Then he lists Scripture references in which this particular meaning of "consider" occurs.  So, consider. Jesus used it when He told us to "consider" the ravens and the lilies (Luke 12:24, 27).  Peter used it when he "considered" his vision of the sheet holding various animals (Acts 11:6).  Paul wrote of Abraham's careful "consideration" of himself and Sarah in regard to God's promise (Romans 4:19-20). 

            Now, a little home work.  Careful reading of the above occasions in which this word was used will help us to aptly "consider" its significance as used in Hebrews 10:24.  

"All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever."

 

God Cares for Those Who are Falling

 

            He does.  Precious souls on the verge of not caring need to know that God cares, and reaches out to them.  There were times in life when David "was brought low."  Experiences with people caused him to say, "All men are liars."   But he called upon the name of the Lord, and God delivered his soul from death, his eyes from tears, his feet from falling, and finally was able to say, "Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."  (See Psalm 116:1-14). 

            There are caring people, too.  A "friend" of Job's paid him a great compliment when he said to him,"Surely you have instructed many, and you have strengthened weak hands.  Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees; but now it comes upon you, and you are weary…"(Job 4:1-6).  There are many "Jobs" around that care … many that are struggling themselves, yet are reaching out to help another. 

            The little book of Jude ends with these wonderful words of hope and understanding:  "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, Amen."   

            We don't know all the ways in which God can keep us from stumbling, but He is able.  We just need to be willing.  We must remember that the world had fallen away, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

Husbands and Wives, Christ and the Church

Ephesians 5:22-33

 

            It is a wonderful thing that, as described in the text above, Jesus chose the marriage relationship to be a symbol and parallel of His relationship to the church.  Consider these familiar words:

   

    "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church"

    "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church"

    " as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands"

 

            In Genesis 2:24 it was decreed by the Lord that "a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."  Paul was inspired to bring those ancient words forward, testifying that he spoke "concerning Christ and his church" (Eph. 5:32).  As the husband and wife are "one" in marriage, so Christ and His bride (Rev. 21:9), the church, are "one."

 

God has designed this blessed likeness, and it can only be appreciated through understanding of His word, and the hope of salvation through the gospel.

   

Prayer

 

            When there's someone or some circumstance that could really use our  help but conditions prevent it, we may be tempted to say, "well, the least I can do is pray."  Certainly prayer is not to be an excuse for withholding good that we are able to supply.  But it certainly is not in the category of "the least we can do." More likely, it is "the most we can do."  We don't always know whether our physical assistance will really be helpful, but we have good reason to believe our prayers will be. 

 

From our reading and study of the word we know that the power of prayer is beyond our comprehension. Though we are given considerable instruction about prayer, we are not given total charge of it because of our weaknesses.  There are things we don't know.  God has made provision for this.  He has told us through the apostle Paul that the Holy Spirit "helps in our weaknesses."  Why?  Because "we do not know what we should pray for as we ought."   Consequently, "the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."  We are also told that the Spirit "makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."   The fact that we have weaknesses necessitates a Divine Intercessor.  (One definition given for the word "intercede" is "steps in.")   Our weaknesses should not keep us from praying, but should be an incentive for us to pray more.  Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing."  And James reassures us, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

 

 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." 

2 Corinthians 5:17

"Treasure In Earthen Vessels"

 

"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19).  That's how it started; person to person. Jesus told His apostles to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15).

            Not long thereafter a great crowd heard the apostles preached, and 3,000 were baptized (Acts 2:4, 11, 41).  Then we hear of 5,000 believers (Acts 4:4).   Soon after we're told "the disciples multiplied greatly inJerusalem"  (Acts 6:7). 

            Persecution scattered the believers. They went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).  Philip preached in Samaria, multitudes heeded (8:6).  He baptized an Ethiopian nobleman (Acts 8:35).  Ananias of Damascus directed Saul, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins" (Acts 22:16).

            Peter preached to the Gentile Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:48).  Men from Cyprus and Cyrenepreached to the Greek speaking Jews in Antioch where "a great number believed and turned to the Lord" (Acts11:21).

            Barnabas and Saul went to Cyprus and Galatia where many became disciples (Acts 14:21).  On Paul's next journey the Lord opened Lydia's heart and she and her household were baptized (Acts 16:14-15).  Then Paul and Silas spoke the Lord's word to a Philippian jailer who with his household was baptized (Acts 16:31-33).  On the same tour Jews and a "multitude of Greeks" were converted in Thessalonica.  But whether spoken to one person or a multitude, 

 the gospel brought forth fruit "in all the world" (Col. 1:6).   

            Paul said, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Cor. 4:7). The gospel is still " the power of God to salvation,"  (Rom. 1:16).  It is still carried in earthen vessels.

How We Know That Jesus Cares

"I have surely seen the affliction of my people…" - Exodus 3:7

 

Does Jesus care? It's easy to answer this question when you're sitting in a nice home, with a devoted wife, loving children, no serious health concerns, bills paid, and few worries or cares worth complaining about. 

 

It's another thing when your life has been wrecked by divorce; when you've got no clue how you're going to pay off a mountain of debt; when family members are bound by addiction; when you're the victim of abuse; when you wake up every day to pain; when you are severely handicapped by chronic health problems; when you have sunk deeper and deeper into the pit of depression; when you feel judged by family and friends whenever you bring up your struggles (see Job).

 

How can we know Jesus cares when we're suffering like this? There are at least three reasons I can think of: 

1 Jesus experienced pain and suffering as a man (Heb 2:17-18). He can sympathize with us because he walked in our shoes.

2 Jesus hears us when we pray (Heb 7:25). You know when someone cares about you by how well they listen to your problems.

3 Jesus died for us (Heb 2:14-15). Jesus died so that we might be delivered from our bondage in Egypt. If we ever doubt His love for us, all we have to do is look to the cross. 

 

By David Maxson

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

But fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Proverbs 1:7

Blessings Beyond Measure Through Christ Our Savior

 

Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2).

We rejoice in an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Pet. 1: 6).         

The day is coming when we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:17).

When Christ appears we will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).

Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20)

We wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life (Ju. 21).

Jesus promised to come and take us to where He is (Jn. 14:3).

We will rise in the resurrection at the last day (Jn. 11:24).

Our reward in heaven is great (Matt. 5:12).

When Jesus appears we'll be like Him and see Him as He is (1 Jn. 3:12).

We will be raised imperishable in glory, power, and spirit (1 Cor. 15:42-44).

Death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54).

"For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and return not thither, but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I  purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:10-11

"I speak as a fool"

2 Corinthians 11:23

 

            There were false apostles in Corinth.  Paul found it necessary for the sake of his Corinthian brethren to remind them that his labors and hardships far exceeded those of the imposters.  He wrote …

            "Are they ministers of Christ? – I speak as a fool – I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often; in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches."

            But he spoke of himself as having become "a fool in boasting."  In was not upon his works and hardships that he based his faith. For, as he wrote to Titus, "when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us … through Jesus Christ our Savior."  (See Titus 3:4-7)

 WITH GOD 

 

I like to be by myself, but I can't stand being alone. 
I love the dark, but I hate not being able to see. 
I enjoy meeting new people, but I hate being with strangers. 
I want my voice to be heard, but I despise talking out loud. 
I want to be in a hall of fame, but I don't like being the center of attention. 
I want to have my most complicated problems solved, but I don't want complicated answers. 
I want to always be healthy, but not have to take medicine. 
The answer is...God! 

With God, I can be away from the world, by myself, but not alone, for He is with me. 
With God, I can be in the dark, be blind, but see more than people of this world can see. 
With God, my voice can be heard even when I whisper. 
With God, I can enter His hall of fame, but not deal with the pressure of earthly fame. 
With God, I can have even my most complicated problems solved with a simple answer. 
With God, I can have incurable disease, yet be healthy in what matters most. 

Without God, I will be with the world, and be totally alone. 
Without God, I will walk around with my eyes wide open, but not see as much as the Christian blind man sees. 
Without God, I will meet all the people of the world, but they will always be strangers. 
Without God, I will have to raise my voice as loud as I can to be heard, but still not be heard when it matters most. 
Without God, I will work extremely hard to get into a worldly hall of fame, but not get into the highest one of all. 
Without God, my most complicated problems can't be solved, and the attempts will be so complicated that I won't understand them. 
Without God, I will have to take pill after pill, but will always be incurably sick. 

With God I can achieve anything. 
Without God, I achieve nothing. 
What's your choice?

 

By 15 year old girl, Kelsey Harris…she died at age 16.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…"

…Ephesians 2:4-5…

"Yourselves"

 

The pronouns "you" and "yourselves" are used a lot in the Bible.  So are "we" and "us."  A few examples … 

"Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21) … "building up yourselves  on your most holy faith" (Jude 20) … "Look to yourselves that we do not lose those things we have worked for" (2 Jn. 8) … ":Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 Jn. 5:21) … "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:21) … "for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another"  (1 Thess. 4:9) … "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5) … "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:19-20)  Such are a few of many similar admonitions that apply to every one of us.

"You, yourselves, we, and us" are not faultless people.  Even when we do our best we make regrettable mistakes.  While we are thankful that God "is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 Jn. 1:9), is mwe are warned not to presume upon or think lightly of His patience and kindness (Rom. 2:4).  Regardless of what others have or have not done, "each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:7-12). 

Thoughts From God's Word of Brotherly Love

 

Have you noticed in the New Testament letters that each church receives an earnest exhortation for the members to care for one another in love?

 

To the church at Rome … "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…" (Romans 12:10)

 

To the church at Corinth … "And yet I show you a more excellent way." … "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…" (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:4, and read through vs. 7)

 

To the Galatians churches … "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 5:26 – 6:2)

 

To the church at Ephesus … "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)

 

To the church at Philippi … "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4)

 

To the church at Colossae … "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." (Colossians 3:12-13)

 

To the church at Thessalonica … "But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more." (1 Thess. 4:9-10)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit"  Romans 8:1

Bible Thoughts For Our Homes

 

"By wisdom a house is built,

and through understanding it is established;

through knowledge its rooms are filled

with rare and beautiful treasures."

Proverbs 24:3-4

 

 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,

 write them on the tablet of your heart."
 Proverbs 3:3

 

  "A word aptly spoken

  is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

  Proverbs 25:11

 

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…"

…Ephesians 2:4-5…

"Yourselves"

 

The pronouns "you" and "yourselves" are used a lot in the Bible.  So are "we" and "us."  A few examples … 

"Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21) … "building up yourselves  on your most holy faith" (Jude 20) … "Look to yourselves that we do not lose those things we have worked for" (2 Jn. 8) … ":Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 Jn. 5:21) … "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:21) … "for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another"  (1 Thess. 4:9) … "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5) … "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:19-20)  Such are a few of many similar admonitions that apply to every one of us.

"You, yourselves, we, and us" are not faultless people.  Even when we do our best we make regrettable mistakes.  While we are thankful that God "is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 Jn. 1:9), is mwe are warned not to presume upon or think lightly of His patience and kindness (Rom. 2:4).  Regardless of what others have or have not done, "each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:7-12). 

 

"Such A Great Cloud of Witnesses"

 

            Last Wednesday evening's lesson in our "Church History" class dealt in part with the severe persecutions against the early church when Christianity was considered an illegal religion by the Romans.  Countless numbers of the church were falsely accused and convicted of setting Rome on fire.  For punishment, one historian wrote, "they became the objects of sport … covered with hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when day declined were burned to serve for nocturnal lights."  Such atrocities were only part of the cost many thousands before and since paid because their faith in God meant more to them than comfort or life. They believed Jesus' words:  "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." 

Through records of the past, God is not letting us forget the terrible things brethren before us endured so we will not forget how precious our faith is.  The faith they died for is the same faith by which we live.  It is "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).  It is exemplified by the apostle Paul who wrote, "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"  (Galatians 2:20). 

Let us never forget those who chose unspeakable suffering rather than denying the faith.  Above all, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2).