By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
This is the question that God asked Jonah after he was not happy with the mercy God showed the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4:4). Jonah was a preacher who believed his personal feelings about sinners were more important than God’s longsuffering that all should be saved. Jonah seemed to believe if the people of Nineveh were informed of God’s displeasure with them, they would surely repent… and he was right.
Jonah 3:7-10 (NKJV): And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
The story of Jonah is a lesson of obedience, humility, and understanding what we are trying to accomplish. If our goal is to save the lost, then we shouldn’t be upset when an “enemy” becomes an “ally”. As Christians, we may occasionally find ourselves judging an action (even against the faith) as unforgivable. When that happens, we may stop thinking about how to save him or her, and start thinking about what fiery judgment awaits them. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, but we should not be hoping or find pleasure waiting for anyone’s destruction. We shouldn’t feel so comfortable that we say, if this Bible study doesn’t work, there is nothing else I can do to help them. Imagine if God had that same attitude. Imagine if God said, if I take them out of the land of Egypt and they still worship idols, I don’t know what to do? We must remain humble and understand how fortunate we are that God sent His son to die in our place. We must celebrate every time a soul is saved and mourn every time a soul is lost. We must find joy, not frustration, in the fact that our God is gracious and merciful towards all His creation.
Jonah 4:1-2 (NKJV): But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is a high standard to which the churches of Christ will be judged on the Last Day. We find a glimpse of that standard when the church of Ephesus is judged.
Christ is going to judge the works of the congregation, the work ethic of the congregation, and the ability of the congregation to endure for the faith. He is not only going to gauge our knowledge of the truth, He is going to note our willingness to adhere to the Word and whether we tolerate false teachings.
Revelation 2:2-3 (NIV): I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
The judgment of a faithful church does not end there. As we find throughout the Bible, our judgment has a personal component unique to our effort and talents. Much like our willingness to forgive is how we will be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15), and the manner in which we judge others is how we will be judged (Matthew 7:2); the work we put in at our strongest, is the standard Christ expects us to uphold throughout our ministry.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV): Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
If we find ourselves speaking about what we use to do more than what we are doing, we are on the wrong path. If we frequently speak on the Bible Studies we use to have, the classes we use to teach, the people we use to visit, the doors we use to knock, and the fellowships we use to attend; we are slowly losing our first love and our salvation. There is no benefit in a congregation growing sounder in doctrine if their willingness to preach the good news disappears. To be victorious, a congregation will need to recall their greatest year and emulate that year every year.
Revelation 2:7 (NIV): Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
To understand the power of Jesus Christ we have to understand our own shortcomings. We have to understand well intentioned people are going to let us down. We also need to understand on our best day we are going to sin and make mistakes. Whether that sin comes by way of thought, action, or inaction is of no difference.
1 John 1:8 (ESV): If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Romans 3:23 (ESV): For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
If all have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), how come some are going to be saved and some are going to perish? Quite simply, those who understand they sin every day and understand they will perish as a result will seek something to save themselves. Consider the task of walking in the light as Jesus walked in the light.
1 John 1:7 (ESV): But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Jesus stayed in the light till death and we are expected to do the same. But since we are in HIS light, we still have OUR darkness. As sinners, our light is not bright enough to save us; therefore we must walk in the pure light of Jesus Christ. As long as we stay in His light, we will be purified, but the moment we leave… our darkness will flourish. There is the need for a continual washing and rejuvenating of our soul in the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9). And there remains only one to be washed in the blood of Jesus, and that is through baptism for the remission of sin.
Revelation 1:5 (ESV): And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
Death comes for us all and none of us know the day or the hour. The unknown frequently brings about fear and anxiety, but should death be any different? We tend to try and prepare as best as we can for the unknown. In the case of death, we purchase life insurance policies, fill out wills, and buy burial plots. But can we ever truly do enough to be prepared for our physical death? Should we be worried and anxious about the unknown or should we focus on what we do know? We know that worrying will not add a single hour to our life, so ideally we should focus on what we do know about death.
We know that God created us with a soul:
Genesis 2:7 (KJV): "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
We know that our bodies are temporary and return to dust:
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV): and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
As a result of having a soul, we know that a physical death is not the end:
John 11:25 (NIV): Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
Hosea 13:14 (NIV): “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?
We know that Jesus Christ died to free us from death and the snare of the devil:
Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV): Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
And we know that death cannot keep us from God’s love:
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV): For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Understanding truth is essential to being a Christian, but how do we go about investigating what truth is? To understand truth, we need to understand God, and to do that, we need to be baptized.
I Corinthians 2:13-14 (NIV): This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
To grow properly,
We must learn the pure word of God.
1 Peter 2:2 (ESV): Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
John 17:17 (ESV): Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
We must devote our time and effort to maturing in the faith by constantly studying and applying the lessons from the Bible.
Hebrews 5:14 (ESV): But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
We are required to remain humble in all interactions and give the glory to God.
Psalms 25:9 (NIV): "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way."
It is fundamental that we pray to God asking for the wisdom to recognize His truth.
James 1:5 (NIV): If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Rightly discerning the truth is an expectation of God for us to show ourselves approved ( 2 Timothy 2:15). It will not always be easy, but it is necessary and it does lead to a better life. There is nothing worse than not knowing enough to make a wise decision. We will find ourselves blowing to and fro in the wind because we do not have a foundation. We will believe whatever sounds appealing at time and that will surely put us on the wide road to destruction. Let us never stop growing in truth.