Knowing God

What makes obedience so vital?

“For the complete fulfillment of our being,” writes Merrill C. Tenney, “we must know God” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 162).

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . .” (1 John 2:4).

What takes the sting out of obedience?

First, “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Second, God hears the prayers of the obedient (1 John 3:22).

Third, “. . . the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

“What were we made for? To know God . . . . What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 29).

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Aimless Living

My dilemma

As I approached graduation from high school, anxiety possessed me. I had to make a choice: What would I do with my life? I recognized that saying “yes” to one thing meant saying “no” to everything else, and that felt like a burden too great to bear.

But the most important decision was much easier than that. It was not what would I do with my life, but who would I serve?

My decision

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

That one decision has made all of the others in my life.

Don’t live aimlessly. Aim to please God.

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By guest writer: Randy Daw (Johnson Street Church of Christ, Greenville, TX)

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Four Lessons the Cross Teaches

Crosses at Sunset

The cross demonstrates how much God loves us (John 3:16; 15:13). Could more powerful proof be given?

The cross shows us how sinful sin is. The horribly degrading nature of crucifixion shows what a high price tag sin carries. Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the cross . . . by whose wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

The cross displays utter selflessness. Jesus prayed earnestly to be spared the cross, yet yielded to His Father’s will (Matthew 26:36-46). “For even Christ did not please Himself . . .” (Romans 15:3).

The cross proves God keeps His promises—even those most painful to keep. The prophecies of Jesus’ death (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53) were fulfilled in every detail.

The cross has much to teach—if we will learn.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Even More Dangerous

The danger

The computer spell-check thought I meant “terrorist.” But “errorist” is what I intended.

Oxford English Dictionary defines “errorist” as “One who is inclined to error; one who encourages and propagates error.”

Satan uses both terrorists and errorists to hurt the church.

Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a violent terrorist (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5, 19-20; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13).

Terrorists work from the outside; errorists from within. Satan has been much more successful using errorists.

Errorists corrupt the truth. People then believe the lie and are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Countering the danger

The best safeguard against errorists is to truly love the truth, search for the truth, and compare teachings we hear with the standard of God’s word (Acts 17:10-12).

Beware of errorists!


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Grace and Baptism


To say that baptism is essential to salvation does not contradict the truth that we are saved by grace (Titus 3:4-7).

We can never earn our salvation. Baptism is a condition of salvation (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16).

A remarkable parallel

Dipping seven times in the Jordan was a condition for Naaman to be cleansed of leprosy (2 Kings 5). Could he expect a cure without going to the water?

Was there something about Jordan River water that cleansed leprosy? No, Naaman was healed on the condition of his obedience. Cleansed by the grace of God, he had nothing to boast about.

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Grace applied

Water cannot wash away sins; Christ’s blood does. When? At the moment we are buried with Him in baptism (Colossians 2:12-13).

Praise be to God for His marvelous grace!

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Wisdom & Foolishness: A Contrast

Taking the long view

The book of Proverbs shows how a sensible person avoids such self-destructive traps as evil companions, pride, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and laziness.

Proverbs teaches us how to bring ultimate, lasting good to ourselves by making wise choices.

Open to instruction

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (12:15).

The fool’s mind is closed to advice and correction (15:12).

He fails to grow because he thinks he’s OK as he is. But the wise man welcomes correction because he realizes he has room to improve (9:8).

Proverbs has much more to say on the subject. Evidently God thought it worth emphasizing.

And we’d be wise to listen.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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If only . . . .

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention . . . ! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17-18, emphasis added).

But often Israel rebelled—and paid dearly for it.

Why did they disobey?

They did not trust Him. Do we? How we choose to live shows whether we do or don’t.

If we believe He loves us and knows what’s best, then doesn’t obedience make perfect sense?

If only . . . .

God doesn’t want us to miss out, as Israel did.

We’re dealing with the same God, and He still wants to bless!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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