Jesus Said

By Jack Glover

Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matt. 15:16-20).

Several times in his ministry, Jesus had a problem with getting his point across. Too often the people would make application to physical events or actions and completely miss the lesson taught. Such was the case in this teaching about eating with unwashed hands.

Although cleanliness is important, changing what is in the heart (mind) of man really cleanses. Proof positive of this is our very own nation. Many Americans have a desire to remove God and His teaching from their hearts, and the results are as evident, or more so, than they were in Israel of old.

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” (John 8:39-41)

Jesus had told those questioning Him that He would make them free, meaning free from the Law and sin. They said they already were free because of heritage, being Abraham’s children. Basing freedom on being children of Abraham was not good reasoning because Abraham’s offspring had been in captivity several times by then, although those speaking said they had never been in bondage.

Many today sound like those speaking to Jesus back then, although for different reasons. Jesus said freedom is based on truth: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31)

Freedom based on feelings, heritage, doctrines of men, etc., is no freedom at all but is slavery to the wrong father. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matt. 13:57)

Sometimes the return home doesn’t go as expected. Unfortunately that is often true when the hometown boy comes to preach. Although they were astonished at Jesus’ ability and knowledge, it seemed to stir their jealousy more than acceptance. The people could not accept His teaching because they knew His family as well as Him. We might say, “Who does he think he is?”

Their question was, “Is this not the carpenters son?” What Jesus taught should not have been accepted or rejected based on who he was but on truth. Far too often today, we are influenced by who the speaker is rather than what is said. We must not allow preconceived ideas or personal relationships to determine truth.

Remember, Jesus said:

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 15:25-26)

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged ,

The Economy And The Bible

By Jack Glover

It would be an understatement to say the economy is not good. Most of us know things are not well in our nation in more ways than one. The job losses are tremendous. Some who have worked for companies many years no longer have workplaces to go to. The economy has brought hard or difficult times to companies, families, schools and even to the jobs that no one wanted to do.

How should the Christian react to these hard times? Most of us have had plenty, and more than plenty, in the last few years. We could live on a lot less if it became necessary. Our houses are full of “things” that are not needed to sustain life. We have had it good.

Should we want to give it all up and go back to doing without? I’m not sure that is necessary, but we do need to prepare to make adjustments when needed. What are some biblical principles that will assist us when we face changes to our economic lifestyle?

God knows our needs. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). I know this statement seems trite, but it is also true. Trust in God is necessary to see us through when things look hopeless. If it is good, it comes from God (James 1:17). Jesus emphasized that we are not alone on this earth when He said “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

Some adjustment may be necessary. Paul had a hard life (II Cor. 11:23-28). He could not depend on a steady flow of income. Yet the lesson he teaches is to adjust to your situation.

He told the Philippians (4:12), “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” He didn’t say he liked the situation but had learned to adjust to it.

Life has its ups and downs, and many of them are beyond our control. Change comes in many ways, but instead of being controlled by the changes, we are to adjust to them.
Continue reading

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged , , ,

The Election Is Over

By Jack Glover

The longest presidential election campaign in history is finally over, and we soon will have a new president taking office.

Over the centuries God’s people have lived under about every type of government imaginable. Some were good, but most were, or became, morally bad. In many cases the wickedness was almost beyond description. Even the chosen people of God became guilty of joining with the people of nations around them, and thus incurred God’s wrath and punishment.

Just one of many instances of what God thought of their disobedience is found in Lev. 26:27- 33:

“Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins. Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.

“I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you. I will lay waste your cities as well and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas. I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it.

“You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.”

During Old Testament times, God had chosen one nation of people, Israel. With the coming of Christ, after his death and resurrection, a new kingdom was established that included people of all nations. The old Law was superseded by the law of Christ, and all nations were subject to it (Gal. 3:8, I Pet. 2:9). Christians today are told to pray for their leaders (I Tim. 2:1) and be subject to their government (Rom. 13:1-7).

President-elect Barack Obama claims to be a Christian, although his exposed knowledge of the Bible and his political positions cast some doubt on that. He may view being a Christian as most of the world does, but most of the world follows writings of men (Matt. 15:9), not those of Jesus and his chosen apostles. One is not a Christian unless he follows Christ.
Continue reading

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged ,

Politics And Religion

By Jack Glover

Jesus was not a politician, although he would have been a good one, especially when it came to answering hard and tricky questions. Look at the ways He dealt with the questions asked by the scribes and Pharisees when their motive was to find fault with Him.

The scribes and Pharisees (also the Sadducees) were the leaders of the Jewish religion. They did not live in a democracy but under Roman control. Their nation (Israel) no longer exercised any governmental control because of sin and rejection of God’s laws. Jesus had come to teach and restore them, but they rejected Him, too. Most nations at that time lived under kings or military control, so the people had little input into the laws they lived under.

There were those among the Jewish leaders who thought Jesus was falsely claiming to be the earthly king they expected, but Jesus proclaimed: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36).

Indeed Jesus was a king. The laws of this kingdom had been in his Father’s plan from the beginning and were unchangeable. His kingdom was not limited to one nation as was true previously (Luke 24:47).

This new spiritual kingdom was open to people from all nations who would obey the laws of entry and continue in them. Of Jesus and this kingdom it was said: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:32-33).

Jesus never challenged Roman rule. In fact, He turned the tables on those who challenged Him concerning payment of taxes by saying “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21).

Like Jesus, Christians are subject to government (Rom. 13:1). However, our relationship to government is different than that of Jesus. Our nation is a democracy, where each person is given a voice, allowed to vote, criticize actions, etc. This gives Christians the unique opportunity to express political views that are based on scripture. We can vote for leaders according to how their views, on any subject, compare with scripture. Many Christians fail to use this privilege to stand against the evils that are overcoming the United States and the government that rules it.

In very few days, our nation will have an election that will give every Christian a voice in determining what kind of people will rule over us. I have expressed previously the need for Christians to get involved in changing the path of our nation. We have been granted the blessing of being in subjection to government while, at the same time, voting to change leaders and laws. It’s a privilege few enjoy.

We may not think politics and religion mix, but in this case they do. Separation of church and state is not a biblical principle. Christians must oppose evil no matter its source (Eph. 6:10-13). Jesus or the apostles never joined a protest against the Roman government, but they spoke plainly against sin. Sin is sin, and a Christian cannot support it in any form by one person or a group of persons.

It is obvious that those in our government are supporting many kinds of sin. How long will it be before a Christian is breaking the law if he speaks against homosexuality? Will we be forced to accept “same-sex marriage” as we have abortion, loss of public prayer, display of the Ten Commandments, etc? Does it ever occur to you that Christians have the right to fight against, or vote out leaders, who support these sins and many others. Many of them are guilty of some of the sins themselves. Is it any wonder they support laws that allow them to exist freely in our society?

One more time we call on Christians, and others who are concerned about the direction our nation is going, to vote against sin, no matter what your party affiliation is. Every time an election occurs, our nation is deeper in and more supportive of actions that the Bible plainly list as sins. Each election we see a nation deeper in sin and the justification of it.

Do we ignore such scriptures as this: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [b]factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). Paul said, ” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

History, and the scriptures, reveal that God will not allow a nation to exist in sin forever. Either we can make an effort to change it or God will. When God makes the change, it is never pretty. Look at the history of Israel and other nations as they progress through the Bible. Is that what we want to happen to us?

I don’t know when or how it will happen, but it will happen if we don’t insist that our leaders, courts and people turn to righteousness. Christians fight sinful practices, not support them. “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Prov. 25:26).

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged ,

Going To Heaven

By Jack Glover

Do you think much about heaven? We all know, in spite of medical miracles, life passes quickly. Job said of man: “Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. (14:2). He also said, “For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, because our days on earth are as a shadow (8:9).

It is an indisputable fact that all of us will die. But what happens after that?

The scriptures are explicit about life after death. All will continue to exist but in spiritual bodies (I Cor. 15:35-58). We are told this spiritual body will either exist in a state of punishment or joy. Paul says: “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress [a]for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 2:7-10).

Whether we live in punishment or joy will depend on how we live our lives while on the earth, before our deaths. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

Back to the question, do you think much about heaven? It would seem that because our lives in our physical bodies is short, we would be concerned about the next one. All of us will live eternally in heaven or hell. The rules that determine where we go are found in the scriptures: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Jesus made it very plain that how we follow his teaching, not how we follow laws man has made, will determine our fates in the future life.
Continue reading

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged ,

The Price Of Sin

By Jack Glover

From the beginning of time, the cost of sin has been high. It cost Adam and Eve the right to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). It cost Israel the lives of all those over 20 their right to the Promised Land (Num. 32:11-12). And as we read below, it cost Judah 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:3-11).

“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these 23 years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” declares the Lord, “in order that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon 70 years.

The Bible contains numerous examples, as well as teachings, warning that sin is not free. In the book of Jeremiah the phrase “you did not listen” or “you did not hearken” are found many times. It is apparent that they were refusing to listen to the prophet, or prophets. Many warnings were given, but few, if any, were heeded.

Most of us have heard the warning “There is no free lunch.” Everything has some cost. When making decisions about life, especially the Christian life, we need to count what the cost is before going ahead with a sinful action (Luke 14:28). Is committing adultery really worth breaking up your family, ruining your reputation or getting incurable diseases? Are the consequences of stealing, cheating and lying worth losing your job, going to prison or offending friends? Is the pleasures of any sin worth the cost of your soul?

God has asked His people repeatedly to listen to the warnings He sent through the prophets, Christ and His apostles. They all tell us that sin will bring punishment in the form of losing our eternal reward. (Rom. 6:23) Although we are not under the Old Testament (Mosaic) law today, its examples are still there for our learning, and there are many examples of punishment to both individuals and nations (including God’s chosen nation) for disobedience to his commands and teaching.
Continue reading

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged , ,

Thoughts On The Pope And Government

By Jack Glover

Some may think this disrespectful. I do not intend it to be so. I am watching some of the great ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the pope and having some thoughts concerning it.

I have watched other greetings of heads of state in the past. I have not seen this type of ceremony for any of them, at the White House and certainly not in a stadium with a 75-foot altar. Many thousands of people are gathered there along with much pomp and ceremony. It is a beautiful sight.

We live in a free country. I am thankful for that blessing. I am thankful for freedom of religion, but there is a problem, an inconsistency, with this freedom in our country, and I am looking at it right now.

If I, as an elder in the church of Christ, wanted to make arrangements to hold a meeting like the one going on at present with the pope, I would be denied and probably laughed at for such a notion — separation of church and state, you know.

My questions and thoughts are, why does this separation apply in certain situations but not in all? Obviously, I am watching a religious ceremony, with prayers, teaching, many mentions of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and communion. Why is this allowed and supported by our government but I can’t read, or in some cases even have, a Bible in a school? If the pope can teach scriptures, and scriptural principles, why am I not allowed to confront false doctrines in class books in our schools? Why can I not ask for God’s blessings at a ball game or graduation, but the pope can ask blessings at a government supported religious event?

You say that the government is not supporting this event, that it is the Catholic church. I beg to differ. This event has cost thousands and probably millions of taxpayer dollars for security and other things, and is supported from our president on down.

Do I dislike the pope or Catholics? No! I am just wondering why our freedom of religion is being snuffed out in about any government-built building or associated event, but the rules change in this type of situation. What happened to my right to confront teaching that is obviously against the scriptures, in state- and federal-supported class books, while the government allows evolutionary teaching by professors, school teachers, etc.

Freedom of religion is a right that I, as well as the pope, have under the Constitution, and I should be able to exercise it without government interference. God tells me to preach the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). That is what I want the freedom to do.

Posted in Blog The Word | Tagged , , ,