SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (01)

     Jesus said in Jn. 14:6 that He was “the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me.”  In an age in which many today call for tolerance and acceptance, it would seem that Jesus is saying that the only way to live and go to heaven is to do so His way.  Christianity is, to some extent, an very exclusive religion.  It is offered to all, but the terms of entrance demand allegiance to one Master (Mt. 7:21).  Jesus made it clear that you either follow Him or someone else—there is no middle ground (Lk. 11:23).  But then again, why would I want to follow anyone else, if I know I can belong to the Son of God?

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (02)

     One of the great debates in Scripture is that between faith and works. The apostle Paul says that we are saved by faith apart from works in Rom. 3:26-28. Yet James will argue in his letter that “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:26). We know that faith is important because without it we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Yet, several times in the New Testament we are told to be faithful and engage in good works (Rev. 2:10; Ti. 2:14; Phil. 2:12). One preacher tried to answer the question by saying, “Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.” So which is it—faith or works?

     Without faith it is impossible to please God and it is unthinkable that someone by their works could earn their salvation. But the Christian life is to be full of good works. Christians are called to preach the gospel, serve the benevolent needs of others, and be an example of a Christ-like life. All of that means that works are acceptable in the sight of God. Has your faith prompted your to obey Christ and exhibit works?

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (03)

     In Mt. 16:18 Jesus said that He would build His church. To what did Jesus have in mind? A building where people could come together and worship or was He talking about the people themselves? Many times we tell others we are busy on Sunday mornings because we are “going to church.” And then we travel to a building to worship God with other believers. But are we already the church because the church is not a building but rather is everyone who is saved (Ac. 2:47).

     Jesus said He would build His church (Mt. 16:18). And in saying that He was not talking about a building, but rather a called out people. The church is made up of those who have been called out of the world by their response to the gospel of Christ (2Th. 1:14). This special group of people must preach the word (Eph. 3:10), teach those who are converted (Eph. 4:11-17), and serve the physical needs of those less fortunate (Gal. 6:9,10). A building cannot do that.

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (04)

     The apostle Paul spoke of “a war within” in Rom. 7:14-23. The good that he wanted to do, he had trouble doing, and the evil that he did not want to do, seemed to always come out. He was torn between what he knew to be right, and the fact that he did not always do what was right. Sound familiar? As hard as we try we are not perfect. Our good deeds will probably outnumber our evil ones, but that does not excuse the evil ones!

     It is no wonder that many people who become Christians get discouraged and give up! They don’t believe they can live the Christian life. What is a person to do? Is the Christian life a hopeless dream?

     Not at all! Christ does not ask perfection, He asks for faithfulness. No one is perfect, and will sin from time to time. But it is the faithful child of God who has the forgiveness they need by the blood of Christ (see 1Jn. 1:6,7). We are to grow up into the likeness of Jesus (Eph. 4:15), and walk in the light (Eph. 5:8). The goal is faithfulness, not perfection—and with the grace of God we can win “the war within.”

 

 

Sagacity means

     the trait of making solid judgments, intelligent choices, and

     discerning wisdom. All should be applied to the study of the

     Scriptures.

 

You are welcome to copy and paste into your congregation's newsletter, bulletin, Facebook or website page.

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (05)

     Jesus said, “There is none good except God alone.” This brings up an interesting question. What can be defined as being good? Good to one person may be bad to someone else. When my favorite sports teams loses that is bad, but those who rooted for the winners think it is good. Can something be both good and bad at the same time?

     Isaiah said that the evil society of his day was calling good things evil and evil things good (Isa. 5:20). Who is right? How can determine good from bad and right from wrong? Is my conscience a good guide?

     When Jesus said in Mk. 10:18 that “No one is good except God alone” I believe He was pointing to the fact that it should be the Father alone who determines what is good and what is bad. As we learn more of the Father’s will we will know what is good (right) and bad (sinful). If we don’t have this common ground of authorization we will never have agreement on what proper morality is.

     My conscience is not a good guide, because it may not agree with God, and He alone is good.

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (06)

     In our pleasure loving world some have tried to make the Christian walk as easy as possible. They rarely, if ever talk about sin, and never challenge someone to be a “living sacrifice.”

     But there are passages of Scripture that teach just that—the faithful Christian life is one of self-denial, sacrifice, and even “death” (Lk. 9:23; Rom. 12:1,2; Gal. 2:20). Peter told the Jews on Pentecost to repent—which means to feel sorry for what they had done, and change their lives.

     Does this mean that there is no joy or happiness in the Christian life? Are the followers of Jesus doomed to a life of dreadful service? The key to solving the dilemma is to redefine what “fun” is. If fun is sinful things, then that definition has to change. Joy is the result of knowing that our lives are acceptable to God through Christ. We find in God the joy that Jesus wants us to have in full (Jn. 15:11).

     It’s not hard to give up sinful practices when you no longer find them to be fun. God’s commands are not burdensome.

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (07)

     The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). But that begs the question, “Can a person believe whatever they want?” No doubt there are many different kinds of belief systems in the world. Does pluralism tell us that each person can believe what they want to, just so long as they believe?

     One passage that sheds some light on this subject is Romans 10:17. It says that faith comes from hearing the words of Christ. A faith that is based on anything or anyone other than the Son of God may not be an acceptable faith. Where is your faith based?

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (08)

     One of the blessings of the Internet are websites that offer driving directions. Just type in where you are and where you want to go and it does the rest. Most of the time it gives the shortest distance between the two locations. Sometimes it even sends you on a route you had not previously considered.

     Which brings up this week’s question:  “How many ways are there to get to heaven?” The Bible tells each of us that we are lost in sin and that the end destination is heaven. So how do we get there? Is there more than one way? Which “road” do we take? I have an app for that! Read John 14:6.

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (09)

     If you won a prize would you give it back? Maybe you did nothing to earn or merit the reward—would you, by virtue of knowing you didn’t deserve it, refuse it? Sadly, the majority do this very thing with the free gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8,9). Even though we didn’t earn it or deserve it, God offers it through Jesus Christ. More than likely if we win a prize we claim it and gladly accept it. But far too many are offered salvation in Christ by the grace of God and refuse it.

     In such cases is God obligated to distribute the prize (salvation) anyway? With that in mind, read Hebrews 10:26-31.

 

 

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SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (10)

     Skeptics have tried over the years to find contradictions in the Bible. They have pointed at various things hoping to find a error. The purpose of this is to discredit the Bible as being the inspired word of God. But my question is why do people try to do this? Could it be that the message of the Scriptures has convicted them of their lifestyle and instead of changing their life they try to disprove the moral record that stands opposition to them? Just the opposite is true; if everyone practiced the moral code of the New Testament just think of how wonderful the world would be? The problem is not the word of God, the problem is with those who will not yield to its commands and be saved. With sagacity, make the application to your life!

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (11)

     Humans have a fascination with the future. Since we can’t see one split-second into it, whenever someone comes along saying they can predict the future many folks are “all ears.” Forecasters, over the years, have tried to predict elections, the weather, and the outcomes of sporting events. Sometimes they get it right, but most of the time they don’t!

     The Bible is the greatest book ever written and it is a forecaster of future events! Literally, hundreds of predictions have come true. With a perfect “track record” of never missing a prediction why is that so few believe in the inspiration of the Bible? Since the Bible has been correct thus far in prophecy given and prophecy fulfilled, there should be little doubt that all of the New Testament prophecy will also come to pass. Are you prepared/ready? With sagacity, make the application to your life!

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (12)

     Is cleanliness next to godliness? Well, I hope so, for those who believe that proverb. The truth is, the above statement is not found in the Bible. What is commanded, is that we are to take care of our bodies (1Cor. 6:13-20), and spiritual training is even more important than physical discipline (1Tim. 4:8). But my point is this: If people believe the above proverb is in the Bible, what else might they believe that the Bible doesn’t say? Hence, there is no substitute for truly knowing the word of God. Ignorance is not bliss—ignorance is damnation (Hosea 4:6). When it comes to the Bible, do you know or only think you know? With sagacity, make the application to your life!

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (13)

     The word “love” has been over-worked, over-used, and under-understood! We say we love ice cream, but is that the same as the love we have for our spouse? We say we love a certain sport or sports team, but is that the same as our love for our family?

     And more importantly we say we love the Lord, but does it show in our actions? It is one thing to say we love someone or something but quite another to prove that love. To love is to be devoted with a strong emotional attachment and it also means to do the right thing for whom/that which we love.

     If you say you love God, are you devoted to Him with a strong emotional attachment that prompts you to do the right thing? We are not to love in word or tongue but in deed and in truth (see 1Jn. 3:18). With sagacity, make the application to your life!

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (14)

     Talk is cheap. Many folks boast of this and that. “When it is all said and done, there is usually more said than done.” Many promise much and do very little. It is easy to say all the right things, and very difficult to do all the right things.

     A person of godly character will make good on their word. You can believe their talk, because their walk is worthy of their talk. This is the opposite of hypocrisy and a good foundation for any relationship.

     Talking the talk is not as important as walking the walk. The apostle John spoke to this problem in 1John 1:6,7. May our goal be to first walk the walk, and then talk the talk. With sagacity, make the application to your life!

 

 

 

SAGACITY AND SCRIPTURE (15)

     Have you ever heard of GIGO? This acrostic stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out. This principle is true in the computer world. Fill a computer with bad information and all you will receive is bad information. It’s not the computer’s fault—it just spit out what it was given.

     But GIGO is true in other parts of life too. If we fill ourselves up with bad things, bad things will come out. It is nonsense to think that we could fill up on bad things and have good things as the result. Jesus endorsed the GIGO principle in Mt. 7:17-20.

     Be careful as to what you watch, listen to, and read—GIGO! With sagacity, make the application to your life!