Children Without Jesus

Children Without JesusMany do not attend Bible classes or church services regularly. Perhaps you are among them. It may be that you have felt that such things as religion and church attendance are unnecessary — that you can make it just fine without outward expressions of religious faith. But before you dismiss the religion of Jesus as an unimportant relic of the past, think for a moment about your children and their future. What kind of life will they have if you bring them up without a knowledge of Christ, His Word, and the things of the spirit? What answers will their lives give to the following questions if you choose to ignore Christ and Christianity…?

1) What Kind Of A World Will They Inherit? We look around us in dismay at the sick, corrupt society in which we live. But think how much more sinister and sick the world you leave your children will be if you leave them a world without Jesus! Decisions you are making now will shape the world in which they will live. To change the world, you must, first of all, change yourself to conform to God’s standards. The Bible says: “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.” (Proverbs 13.22.)

2) What Kind Of Adults Will They Become? If your children do not receive moral and spiritual guidance at home, where will they get it? And, without a moral foundation, what will become of them? Judge Sam Davis Tatum for many years a juvenile court judge in Nashville, TN, points out the danger of what might happen to them in these words: “I have tried approximately 8,000 girls and boys under 17 years of age for violating the law. Of that number there has not been a child whose father or mother went to Bible School regularly.” The Bible says: “Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6.4.)

3) What Will Become Of Their Eternal Souls? Today, it has become fashionable to sneer at the idea that humans have an immortal soul. Yet, our whole way of life is based on the assumption that man does possess an eternal spark of life which cannot be extinguished by death. Batsell Barrett Baxter wrote: “Western Civilization is built upon the conception that man is an immortal soul… If there were not something sacred about man it would be unintelligent to provide mental hospitals for those who are hopelessly ill. It would be better to let them be disposed of in some humane way. But they are not like animals… they are human beings and we care for them as long as we can.” Jesus warned: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10.28.) Before you turn from Christ with the self-sufficient assertion that, “I don’t need Jesus or religion,” think of the impact your decision will have upon your children! Perhaps you feel that you have the right to live your own life any way you choose. Maybe you do—But, what will your choices mean for your children?

Bobby Dockery

“Martha, Martha”

“Martha, Martha”On the southeastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, about 2 miles east of Jerusalem, lay the small village of Bethany, where lived three of Jesus’ most intimate friends:  Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Luke 10:38-42 records a visit that Jesus made to Bethany:

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet.  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Consider the valuable lesson in this story.  Martha was apparently a diligent homemaker.  We are reminded of another occasion when Jesus attended a supper in Bethany, and Martha served while Mary anointed Jesus with costly ointment (John 12:1ff.). Did Jesus mean to imply that what Martha was doing was a bad thing?  Are not older women to teach the younger women to be “workers at home” (Titus 2:5)?  Did not Paul urge younger women to “marry, bear children, guide [manage] the house” (1Tim 5:14)?

The point that Jesus was making is a very important one for us to understand and apply to our daily lives.  It concerns priorities. As we mature spiritually we are expected to develop the ability to distinguish between good and evil (Heb. 5:14). It is important, though perhaps more difficult, for us to also learn to distinguish between good and better.

Mary recognized that a unique opportunity presented itself to her – to sit at the feet of the Son of God and learn from Him.  In Jesus’ words, she chose the “good [better] part.”  She recognized the priority of spiritual over material, of eternal over temporal.

Our lives are filled with such choices.  Many things which are not evil per se make demands upon our time and attention that would be better directed to “better” things.  It is admittedly not always easy to know how and when to make such judgments.

We should pray for the wisdom to avoid letting wholesome entertainment, hobbies, education, jobs, domestic duties, etc. distract us from “seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33).

Leonard White

Our Motivation

Our MotivationWhat motivates us? Is it our conviction or our convenience? Is our heart like the Lord, “I do all things always that please the Father?” Is our heart more self- oriented to what is convenient and easier? In the New Testament there seemed to be an emphasis by the people of God placed on conviction. There was a strong desire to grow up to be like Christ. Over and over again, the emphasis is made that the purpose of discipleship is transforming Christians into the image of God.

Shouldn’t what we do and how we do that be aimed at transforming us into the image of God? Yet, how often do we make decisions based on what is more convenient? I get it; I like convenience too. Who doesn’t? Inconvenience is not comfortable. It is stressful. But, if we are going to be transformed into His image, at times we will not be comfortable or lead by convenience. Consider, lifestyle choices based on our convenience. The car I drive. The house I live in. The clothes I wear. All are largely determined by what I feel is convenient. There is nothing wrong with that, except when that desire to please God in all things I do is overridden by my lifestyle choices. When my lifestyle choices for my convenience lead the way, rather than my conviction to be transformed into the image of God. Those lifestyle choices, while not wrong in and of themselves, become my god. Lifestyle choices are part of everyone’s life, but we must make sure that our desire to be disciples of the Lord is leading the way not our desire for a convenient lifestyle. At times those may clash? Which wins?

Again, consider when we assemble together. Does my participation reflect my conviction or my convenience? If I deliberately miss Sunday morning, knowing I can come on Sunday night, which leads? If I come only when the time is convenient for me, rather than a desire to be transformed into the image of God, hasn’t my lifestyle choice for convenience ruled my conviction? Do lifestyle choices influence when we assemble? Yes. In every generation that has been true. But, when assembling occurs it should be determined by how this best will help me be transformed into the image of God. Not simply for my convenience or because that is what I like. Then when we assemble we will exhort one another to love and good works. We will admonish one another as we sing and praise God. We will be led by the preaching of His word. Why? Because our desire is to grow up to be like Him, whenever that happens.

Is our conviction determined by the size of the local church of which we are a member? Large or small (and who determines that) a church is just people. So do people in a smaller number allow themselves to be influenced by people in a larger number? Isn’t that carnal and superficial? Large or small, we should be led by God and His word. The favorite flavor of the day is a matter of convenience. It soon passes. Then another flavor comes around. However, if we walk with Him keeping His commandments our convictions will always be from an objective source, the mind of God rather than the fickly mind of fickle men. Large does not make a church better. Smaller does not mean a church has little meaning. All are of Christ, not men. One more; our eternity will not be a matter of convenience. Our reward will be a result of God’s grace because we by faith have obeyed Him. His marvelous grace, inconveniently offered made it possible for me to be with Him.  Conviction or convenience, which is our motivator?

Rickie Jenkins