The story of Ebed-Melech goes far beyond a historical vignette. His story is an allegory of God's grace to the Gentiles.
Grace implies empowerment for growth. It is the single most important aspect of our salvation, and His giving of it is completely unmerited on our part.
God gives grace from start to finish in a person's relationship with Him. It cannot be limited merely to justification and His forgiveness of our sins.
The apostle Paul inventories spiritual gifts that God has given for the edification of the church, including ministry of the word and practical service.
We must carefully consider the offenses preventing the Israelites from entering the Land. That evil generation refused to trust Him, but complained continually.
Like the Israelites, Christians must live by faith as we follow Christ through a spiritual wilderness. Faith is the vital component carries us through.
Martin Collins, continuing his exposition on the Post-Resurrection Last Words of Christ, focuses on the statements Jesus made to Thomas, the disciple who demanded empirical proof of His resurrection, reminding us, who also did not witness the Resurrection,. . .
At times we exhibit some faithlessness, perhaps because we have viewed faith just in terms of what we do rather than what God does through His gifting to us.
Faith is simple in concept; it is believing what God says. Yet it is difficult to display in our lives, and it is often tested. Here is some evidence of faith.
One aspect of sovereignty that causes some confusion is predestination. God's sovereignty does not remove a person's free moral agency — we must still choose.
Millions lack faith to receive answers to their prayers. To a large extent, this is due to a lack of understanding what faith is.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon God's management of mankind. God has consistently moved His creation toward its ultimate purpose, setting the bounds of nations, motivating rulers (Proverbs 12:1) to pursue a certain course of action, sometimes against their wi. . .
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that what a person believes is a major driving force of his conduct, determining the outcome of his life. At the time of the end, iniquity is going to be so pervasive and so compelling a force that our only resource for enduring . . .
The overriding issue of life is to whom we will give ourselves in obedience. Will it be ourselves, society, business, Satan or God?
Far from being blind, faith is based on analyzing, comparing, adding up from evidence in God's Word, our own experience, and our calling by God's Holy Spirit.
John Ritenbaugh demonstrates the relationship of God's will, predestination, and choice (or free moral agency). Using the analogy of a child summoned by a parent to clean up his room, he points out that the dawdling, complaining, and other acts of disobedi. . .
The Bible abounds in metaphors of warfare, indicating that the Christian's walk will be characterized by stress, sacrifice, and deprivation in building faith.
Abraham embodied living by faith. Through perpetually living in a tent, he demonstrated his complete trust and reliance upon God.
Faithfulness in a person ultimately rests on his or her trust in God, and if a person is going to be faithful, its because he or she believes what God says.
God's mysteries have been in plain sight from the beginning of time, but carnality has obscured them from mankind.
David Grabbe, asserting that the parable of the leaven hidden in the meal and the parable of the treasure hidden in the field serve as the juxtaposition of a negative and positive symbol (respectively, leaven and treasure), identifies a stark contrast betw. . .
Constant, earnest prayer keeps faith alive and makes certain the receiving of the qualities that make us in the image of God. God's purpose comes first.
Everything that we go through has been engineered by God. We are His workmanship, created for good works, a response to the faith He has given us.
God demonstrated to Gideon, through His systematically whittling his army from 30,000 to 300, that His providence, and not Gideon's might, would bring victory.
Martin Collins, focusing on Habakkuk's stance of assuming the position of a watchman, being willing to accept God's ultimate judgment on his people even when the circumstances seem to contradict revelation, emphasizes that all of God's called-out ones are . . .
Pride is a perverted comparison that elevates one above another. Because of its arrogant self-sufficiency, it hinders our faith. Faith depends on humility.
John Ritenbaugh emphasizes that prayer is perhaps the most important thing we do in terms of maintaining our salvation. The purpose of prayer is not to overcome God's reluctance, but rather to yield and conform us to His will. The oft quoted slogan 'Prayer. . .
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on God's gifts to Abel and the other luminaries in the faith chapter (Hebrews 11), suggests that all of us called-out ones are in the same spiritual predicament, needing to humbly use the gifts God has given to us, faithfully pu. . .
Jesus Christ is the Word, by whom the world was created. He has always interfaced between mankind and the Father, having primacy as our Lord, Master, and Ruler.
We keep Unleavened Bread because of what God did to bring us out of sin (typified by Egypt). While God compels us to make choices, He is with us all the way.
In this Pentecost message and the conclusion for the "What Does God Really Want?" series, John Ritenbaugh insists that God's Spirit comes first before anyone is empowered to do anything. God's gifts are in reality tools to do His work. In every s. . .
The fear of God is the first line of defense, keeping us from profaning God's name, tarnishing the image of the Lord, and defending us from pain and/or death.
Ronny Graham, in part two of his message, "Seeing God in Creation," again focuses on Romans 1:18-20, emphasizing that humans can deduce God's presence from His creation. Hebrews 11:3 adds that the Invisible has created the visible. Hebrews 11 shows that A. . .
Ted Bowling, acknowledging that faith is a foundation of our assurance in the reality of God, uses a submarine analogy with its sonar equipment to illustrate faith. The crew of the submarine must rely on the ping of a sonar signal to keep from crashing int. . .
John 6 has always been a difficult chapter to explain. However, Jesus' teaching is clear. Here is what it means to us.
Catholics and Protestants, because of lack of belief, do not find the Bible a sufficient guide to salvation. They claim to believe Christ, yet disobey.
In John 6:35-40, Jesus expands on His earlier saying that believing in Him is the work of God: "And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me ...'"
While we must express some of our own faith as we come to salvation, the great bulk of "saving faith" is a gift of God, given graciously and miraculously as part of God's creative process in us. In particular, John Ritenbaugh uses the examples of Abel and . . .
Martin Collins, acknowledging that we live in an evil world, cautioned us not to fall into doubt and despair, losing our faith. We dare not equate "can-do" enthusiasm with genuine faith, as Peter did as he attempted to walk on the water. Human fa. . .
John Ritenbaugh explores several nuances of the term grace, describing a generous, thoughtful action of God, accompanied by love, which accomplishes His will, equipping us with everything we will need to be transformed into the Bride. Even though we, like . . .
Commitment to a course of action is essential for physical or spiritual success. Faith motivates and sustains right action, protecting us from the yo-yo like fits of starting and stopping. Shallow or incomplete faith is contrasted with complete or mature f. . .
Rejecting the Sabbath or embracing Christmas requires rejecting fundamental biblical truths. If we do not do what Christ did, we cannot claim to follow Christ.
Mark Schindler, reflecting on a funeral sermon he delivered suggested that the deceased person had displayed spiritual gifts (i.e., designated as Cook County Foster Mother of the Year) long before she had been called into God's church. God evidently has ha. . .
In Luke 21:36, our Savior gives us two essential keys to being accounted worthy and escaping the terrors of the close of the age: watching and praying always. Pat Higgins explains the role of faith in the use of these keys, especially in our prayer life.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that God based the awesome promises He gave to His friend Abraham on the patriarch's proclivity to believe Him even when he had only partial and sometimes disturbing information. Abraham remained a lifetime sojourner, owning no l. . .
Because the world is under the sway of the wicked one, if mankind were left to its own choices, the world would revert to the condition before the Flood.
Most of the Christian world believes that it is the duty of believers to 'win people for Christ.' Yet the whole counsel of God reveals a larger reality.
David Grabbe, focusing on the unsearchable judgments of God described in Romans 11:33, points out that sometimes human nature sees God's decisions as unfair, as in the slaying of Uzzah, the favoring of Isaac over Ishmael, the favoring of Jacob over Esau, o. . .
Martin Collins, describing different reactions of certain substances to fire, uses this variation of reaction as a metaphor of our differing reactions to fiery trials. As Christians, we can be conditioned to rejoice in trials, paradoxically having joy in t. . .
John Ritenbaugh asserts that what God's called-out ones have been given is rare in the annals of the history of all mankind, a kind of sacred secret into which one must be initiated in order to grasp, appreciate and make the right use of. Through a miracul. . .
A poor spiritual diet will bring about a weak spiritual condition. What the mind assimilates is exceedingly more important than what the stomach assimilates.
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