A Christian’s Most Important Skill


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This blog will be adding to the foundation laid in my first post. If you haven’t read it, you can do so here.

I remember listening to a Stand to Reason Podcast (start listening at the 01:00:12 mark) hosted by Greg Koukl where he asked: “What is the most important skill that needs to be developed in order to be an effective Christian?” He did not give the answer immediately, but gave hints in an effort to encourage the listener to realise the obvious conclusion. To recognise that as Christians we assume this skill, and are (hopefully) already incorporating it.

What is this skill? Put plainly in the words of the Apostle Paul: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, Emphasis added).  Since God’s word is our authority to think of any other answer presupposes our capability in sufficiently understanding the Bible.

It follows that since we are to depend on God’s breathed out word for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, we must strive to ensure our ability to handle His word is sound. Our goal is to obtain the very thing the authors were communicating. Because it is God’s word, as it is rightfully understood, that is sufficient to make us complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Consider the numerous times we are reminded of the truth within Scripture with the proclamation “It is written…” (See Romans 15:4).  The very deity of Christ was authenticated through what had been written (Isaiah 43:10 cf. John 13:19). The work of Christ which we depend on for our justification has been declared through what is written ( Isaiah 53:12 cf. Luke 22:37; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; Hebrews 1:1-4). And our work going forth is assigned and validated through what is written. (Psalm 37:31; 40:8; 119:11, Jeremiah 15:16, Colossians 3:16, 1 Peter 2:2).

Be rest assured that our striving to understand and glean from Scripture in no way corrupts and nullifies the work of the Holy Spirit, nor His ability to work through us. To say someone is too focused on Scripture that they forget the Holy Spirit is a misnomer. To be sold out, agonising over the truths of what God has spoken that we continuously and consciously long to align ourselves with it is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s powerful and redeeming work within our lives (1 John 4:6).

As Christians we are to recognise the responsibility we have to test everything and hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This is done by comparing everything to and standing firm on God’s written truths (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Philippians 4:1). Because, it is correctly understanding God’s word that gives us the accurate revelation of Himself, what He has done and what He desires to do.

Be encouraged, go forth and devour the mysteries He has revealed to us.

Yours in Christ – Bevin

Unequalled Joy in Christ

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I wish to encourage you in enjoying Jesus Christ this evening. It’s ironic how we Christians possess the greatest treasure in the universe, yet we can so quickly diminish our rejoicing because we have lost our joy of being “in Christ”.

For the believer, the Cross is the beginning and focal point of any and all joy. Repentance is the entrance into a life of joy in union with God, for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Once joy is established by the indwelling Holy Spirit, rejoicing becomes possible, because we …also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:11).

The born again child of God has reprioritised values. God gifted faith in the resurrected Christ enables us to acknowledge that though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory… (1 Peter 1:8-9). The Christ of Calvary is the pinnacle of joy for repentant sinners, and the centre piece of glory for God. This is why there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10).

We have entrusted our lives, our souls, into the care of him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy… (Jude 1:24-25). For although we have all …sinned and fall short of the glory of God, we …are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…(Romans 3:23-25). Our salvation is established in redemption, our acceptance before an appeased God is absolutely certain in Christ, and our destiny of eternal life is guaranteed in the Holy Spirit! Joy is the only sensible and God honouring response.

Resist the things that rob you of joy, look continuously to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2). Train your thinking, renew your minds (Romans 12:1-2), centre your thoughts on Jesus often during your busy daily schedules, and joy will grow. See God in every event, and joy will become deeply imbedded in your character. Tell others of why you have joy and it becomes contagious. Praise God, speak well of Jesus Christ, and joy will be written all over your face.

Remember:

# Joy authenticates the reality of Christ to the unsaved world

# Joy over-shadows the pains and sorrows of hardship

# Joy strengthens relationships, particularly marriage

# Joy opens up opportunities to share the love and gospel of Christ with others

# Joy deepens the yearning for eternity and Christ’s return

# Joy is healthy for your body, mind, and soul.

# Joy elevates your spirit in heavenly pleasure while your feet are stuck on the earth.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).

Rejoicing in Christ:  Lincoln Forlong

Welcome!

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Hello, and welcome to the Layman’s Pen!

The aim of this blog is to present Gospel centered, Christ glorifying truths from a layman’s perspective. What’s a layman?

A layman is a non-ordained member of a Church congregation. A Joe Schmo, as it were, of a body of believers. But don’t be fooled. Just because the majority of congregants don’t hold a position of Church leadership we’re still Saints of God. And as Saints we’re obliged to do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).  To be the blessed one constantly meditating on and being sanctified by God’s revealed word (Psalm 1John 17:17)

In Acts 17 the Berean Jews were called noble for examining the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul presented to them was true. It is this tenacious dependency on Scripture and the binding revelations held within that I aim to cultivate.  By submitting to His word through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit we will inevitably grow in deeper understanding and worshipful adoration of the triune God and what He has done for us.

Yours in Christ

Bevin

God Centred Thankfulness

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I wish to encourage you in your expressions of thankfulness to God today. It’s so easy for our thanks to revolve around ourselves, instead, be thankful for those things which are God centred and Christ focused, things which would be appealing and satisfying only to God.

We get a glimpse of heaven in Revelation 4:8-9, where the four living creatures, …never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, …giving glory and honour and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever. The eternal voices of Heaven shall be preoccupied with worship. We believers in Christ start our eternal expression of worship and thanksgiving now, giving thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1Thessalonians 5:18). Just as there will be no moaners in heaven, none of us in Christ should be characterised by moaning now.

The apostle Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 4:15 says that as God’s grace extends to more and more people resulting in salvation, the body of Christ will proportionately increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. We, the beloved in Christ, are the handiwork of Christ for the purpose of thankful glory to God, WHAT A PRIVILEGE!

Follow the example of Paul, who gave thanks to God always for you (each other) because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:4). Paul looked past personalities, he recognised the eternal significance of God’s grace at work in others, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints (Colossians 1:12).

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). This is a Holy Spirit transforming work within us, producing thanksgiving and glory that is squarely centred in God through Jesus Christ.

Today, we thank God:

  • For souls saved through repentant faith in Jesus Christ as Lord
  • For salvation, eternal forgiveness in Christ and the indwelling, sealing of the Holy Spirit
  • For increased understanding and wisdom gained through God’s Word -The Bible
  • For answered prayer, particularly those which were outside of our control or influence
  • For the fruit of personal sanctification, especially when following personal character pruning
  • For the hope of Heaven and Christ’s soon return to gather His bride, the church, to Himself – Come Lord Jesus!
  • For the privilege of dispensing a little of God’s mercy into someone else’s life
  • For each other

Above all else beloved, speak well of the Saviour today!!

Thankfully For Christ:  Lincoln Forlong

Living Christ’s Selflessness

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I wish to encourage you in living out the selflessness of Jesus Christ. Most of us are familiar with the apostle Paul’s precise exhortation in Philippians 2:3. As those who have the Spirit of the resurrected Christ living within us, we should do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Obviously, we agree with Paul, and we’re stirred by the supreme example of Christ who emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, …he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death (Php 2:7-8), yet, in our humanness, we struggle to genuinely duplicate this wonderful trait.

Be assured, our Lord does not expect us to become something which He has not equipped us by His Holy Spirit to become. Obviously, He seeks our willing involvement in developing more of Christ into our characters. Remember, the mark of a true Christian, is their growing Christ likeness (2Co 3:18). Following are a few brief pointers which I pray will assist you:

  • Do not allow memories of your old self, your old sinful character from before Christ became your Lord, to keep you repeating the same faults. Rather, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead (Php 3:13), we should commit our mind’s resources to becoming Christ like, particularly in regard to humble selflessness.
  • Think often of …the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my (your) Lord (Php 3:8a). Remember that when you repented, you happily …suffered the loss of all things (all self-righteous efforts) and count them as rubbish, in order that I (you) may gain Christ (Php 3:8b)
  • Remind yourself regularly, that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit really does enable you to …know Christ and the power of his resurrection… (Php 3:10).
  • Be careful that your heart does not deceive you (Jer 17:9) into using selflessness as a means of self-righteousness. Spiritual pride can be terribly seductive and appealing to our human senses.
  • Resolve to …hold true to what we (you) have attained (Php 3:16). Set your determination to never step backwards spiritually. On those difficult days, accept that it’s OK to stand still, to stand your ground. But exercise all you dogmatic focus, all your stubbornness, on NOT turning backward.
  • Focus your thoughts on your citizenship which is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Php 3:20). Our Saviour is coming to snatch you and I away from the struggle of this life. He shall take us to be with Himself, to be in our true spiritual home for all eternity.
  • Reposition your friendships to enable yourself to join in imitating me (the apostle Paul), and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us (Php 3:17). Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1Co 15:33 NIV).
  • Pray, pray, and pray.

Realise that Christ’s selflessness:

  • Empowers you to serve others without expecting recognition
  • Emboldens your desire to tell the unsaved of Christ
  • Invigorates hope in God and Jesus Christ’s return
  • Enables forgiveness without retribution
  • Empowers desire for sanctification
  • Ignites true Christ like love

Serving together:  Lincoln Forlong