Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Matthew 13:41, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness.”
Matthew 23:28, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matthew 24:12, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Lawlessness is an interesting word. It was used frequently by Jesus. In the original language it is the word for iniquity (anomia). The original word is a compound word. The prefix “a” means “not” or “without,” and the root word “nomia” means law. So, the meaning of the original word is “without law.” It is like the word apolitical in English. The letter “a” modifies the word political and refers to someone who has no interest in politics or who is otherwise not involved.
Again, Jesus used this word frequently. We would do well to pay attention to what it means. It refers to a person who sets aside law. But Jesus is not referring to any law. This is a person who has no interest in the commandments of God. When I use the word “commandments” I am not referring only to the ten commandments, but to the will of God as revealed in scripture. I believe this is how Jesus is using the word. What is important about the word, then, is not any specific law to which is refers, but the concept of being without law.
Psalm 99:8, “LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their sinful actions.”
We serve an amazing God. It is hard to comprehend what it means to be truly holy. As a result, it is easy, sometimes too easy, to think that because God loves us, he is okay with our sin. After all, we are covered by grace. Such a view, unfortunately, is a perversion of grace. Grace is not given so sinners can continue in sin. Grace is given so sinners can overcome sin.
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
We hear people say that “life is short.” But the reality is that very few people allow that truth to guide how they live. Most people go on as though they will live forever. But if we would pause every now and then and remember that our time has an expiration date, we might stop to consider eternal things. One day – and it is fast approaching – we will stand before the eternal One. Wisdom is gained by remembering the brevity of life. One day we will stand before God and give an account of the time we had. In that moment so much that we find important today will seem like trivial nonsense. “Why?” we will ask, “Why didn’t I think about this day?” The only thing that will matter in that moment is God. And we will know then that the only thing that mattered in life was God. Remembering that that moment is fast approaching will encourage us to “redeem the time.” And it will encourage us to live for God. The truth is that life is short. We are but a vapor and a breath. It goes by so fast. That moment of accountability will be here before we know it. We should live today with the knowledge that tomorrow we stand before Him. How would that change your day? What would be different today if you knew that tomorrow you will stand before Him?
Maxwell (1999) has written that, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” This principle has become axiomatic. Without good leadership the things people desire to accomplish do not get done. Thus, Northouse (2019) has written that, “leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 5). However, there are many ways to influence a person or a group of people. As a result, “there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it” (Northouse, 2019, p. 2). For leadership to be effective then, leaders must understand how they propose to lead. As a result, each leader should take an inventory of their values and goals and seek to define how they will approach the challenges of leadership.
It is reported that churches are in rapid decline and in poor health. In addition, there is high pastor turnover. Many see a lack of leadership as a major contributing factor. This paper argues that an intentional refocusing of discipleship, grounded on the doctrine of the imago Dei can lead a church to recover the mission Christ gave his church. To that end, this paper argues that a five-fold process is needed in leading the church to recover its mission of making disciples. Leaders must help believers be intentional about spiritual growth, lead them to commit to the vision Christ gave his church, surrender to God’s will, be an active part of the mission, and in turn invest in others and help them grow as disciples.
Today many churches are struggling to grow. According to Rainer (2019) 70% of churches are declining or plateauing, while only 30% are growing by reaching new people. The same study found that only 7% of churches are reproducing via church plants. Elsewhere Rainer (2014) states plainly that, “many of our congregations, plain and simple, are not in good health.” In addition to experiencing decline, many are experiencing Continue reading
In the book of Ecclesiastics Solomon writes that God “…has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11). I believe the eternity he speaks of refers to the place that God is meant to fill in our lives. Notice, eternity is placed in the heart. Just like each cell has a nucleus with a DNA molecule, so each heart has Continue reading
The greatest force that exists in the universe is not the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together), but the love that binds two hearts together. The term “lovesick” has been used to describe people desperately in love but who are prevented from being together. It is well expressed by Juliet longing for her lover Romeo, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? By any other word would smell as sweet. Parting is such Continue reading
One of the most important decisions a person will make in life is the choice of their spouse. According to the One who designed marriage, marriage is to be a lifelong commitment. The Bible is clear, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Therefore, choosing a spouse is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, we live during a time when the idea of marriage Continue reading
It is an unfortunate reality that evil exists in the world. It is an even more unfortunate reality that much of the evil found in the world is found in the human heart. When we are confronted with the gospel, we are confronted with our own sin. It is often the case, however, that while we recognize Continue reading
In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32b). He was writing to the church to help them understand the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Without the resurrection of the dead, there is no forgiveness of sins and there is no motivation to suffer in service to God. Why suffer if this is the only life we know? The whole verse says, “If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” Paul was not encouraging sinful living, only Continue reading