“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
When we think about some of the essential components of a church, we cannot overstate the importance of the Bible. In order for a church to properly function as a New Testament church, it is imperative that the church has a proper view of the Bible. At Richland Hills Baptist Church, we believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, totally without error and perfect in every way. It is through the Bible that God reveals Himself to humanity. (See: 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21). With this understanding in mind, we endeavor to study the Bible faithfully, so that we can have a right understanding of who God is (Orthodoxy). This happens through Sermons, corporate Bible studies, small group studies, and an emphasis on personal Bible reading. It is our hope that throughout the week, we are all engaged in God’s Word and are challenged to grow in our understanding and application of Scripture.
When difficult situations arise or moments of great struggle come upon us, a common human reaction is one of panic. Even our bodies respond with physical manifestations of panic that can vary from person to person. In these moments we can also experience great mental anguish, as we try to navigate the tumultuous waters of tribulation. We know that this trials are sure to happen in our lives but is panic the inevitable human response? Do we have to live this way?
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36, ESV
This is a wonderful verse that speaks to the freedom that we have in Christ. In the context of this passage and other New Testament texts (Romans 6:16-17), we have freedom from sin and death. This is a wonderful truth because the imagery in the Bible is that all people are slaves to sin and live in continual bondage. When we put our faith and trust in Christ, and Christ alone, we are set free and no longer have to live as slaves. Praise God!
“Do you want to grow as a Christian?” If I were to ask you this, there is a good chance that your answer would be an enthusiastic “Yes!” The truth is, most Christians have a desire to grow and become more like Christ. We know the value of the spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible reading, worship, giving, etc. and try to incorpate them into our lives. The truth is, these are important disciplines that we should practice daily to grow in Christ-likeness. However, there is one facet of the Chrsitian life that we tend to minimize as a means of spiritual growth: suffering. Our natural tendency is to see suffering as something that needs to be fixed or alleviated. We spend quite a bit of our time attempting to find a solution to our problems so that we can be more comfortable. What if God has a plan for suffering that we can’t see? Hear from the words of Paul:
If you are a parent, do you remember taking your child to their yearly check-up? Your doctor or Pediatrician will look at the child and make sure they are healthy and developing normally. One of the ways that they measure physical development is by keeping track of your child’s height and weight. Usually, they will plug these numbers into their system which produces a graph that will show how your child’s development compares to other children their same age and gender. If your child is in the 95th percentile for height, this would mean that they are taller than 95 percent of other children. Overall, you want to see a steady upward trajectory which would indicate healthy development. This is very important to pediatricians and if they see that development is not according to the chart, they will try to determine what is causing the issue. In some cases, slow development can revolve around diet. If your child is underweight, especially early on, they will encourage your child to consume more calories in order to gain weight. Our diet plays a big role in healthy development.
“And now, Father glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:5
When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised on the third day, he completed the work that the Father had given him to do here on this earth. On the cross, Jesus was glorified and He gave glory to the Father. While the cross was an awful event from a human perspective, it was a part of God’s plan for the redemption of humanity. When Jesus ascended back into heaven, he entered as the “lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:12)” and will eternally receive the glory that is due Him. At this moment, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father which shows the power and authority that He has. He is our Lord who deserves all glory and praise, especially from us. We shouldn’t wait until we get to heaven to give glory to Christ. We should live for the Glory of God now. When I glorify the Father, I glorify the Son and when I glorify the Son, I glorify the Father.
Like many people, I have spent the last several days working outside at the house. We’ve been getting our vegetable garden ready, planting flowers and plants, and doing other things to prepare our yard for spring. I love seeing the new life that happens every spring. I also love that it coincides with Easter, which is the ultimate example of new life. We were reminded yesterday in Colossians 2:13-14 about our life in Christ: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” For those who have trusted in the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf, are now alive in Him! This is such wonderful news. However, I think at times we need to be reminded of this. Much like the garden that needs to be tended each year, our lives need to be tended. After a while, the soil of our heart gets hard and the weeds of sin begin to grow in place of the spiritual fruit that should be there. Sometimes our life becomes overgrown due to all the things that are thrown our way, such as financial difficulties, relationship struggles, personal trials, grief and so much more. With all this, we sometimes feel that there isn’t much spiritual life within us.
Have you ever had someone ask you for advice and you gave them a well-reasoned answer but in the end, they chose to ignore it because it didn’t fit what they wanted to do? I think many of us have experienced this and perhaps we have also ignored the advice of others because we didn’t like the answer. Too often we want to do what we want to do and we want others to agree with what we think is right. We do this in our spiritual lives as well. Rather than heeding the Word of God and conforming our lives to Christ, we try to fit Jesus into what we think is right. The Bible says this particular thought or action is a sin? “Just reinterpret the Bible,” some people will say. The words of Jesus don’t fit what you think is right? “Reimagine Jesus so that He fits your life,” others may argue. Many people have built their lives, not on Jesus but their selves and their ideas of right and wrong. They may sprinkle enough Jesus on their lives so that they seem “Christian” but have no serious intentions of building every aspect of their lives on Christ. Yet, Jesus is supposed to be the foundation.