The Highway to Heaven

By

Shelby G. Floyd

road

One of the favorite figures of speech applied to the church is that of a way, a path, and a road that leads from one place to another.

Do All Religious Roads Lead to Heaven?

Christianity is the definite way over which the redeemed pass from earth to heaven. In a day when highways and roads are so familiar, it is easy for some people to get the idea that there are many ways for one to reach heaven. It is a popular doctrine that we are all going to heaven in different ways. While this is popular, is it the truth?

The Highway of Holiness

 About 700 years before Christ made his advent into the world, the prophet Isaiah, looking through the tele­scope of prophecy, pointed out the way over which every child of God must pass in entering the city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God:

A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray (Isaiah 35: 8 NKJV).

The prophecy of Isaiah found its consummation in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Is the Only Way

OIP

Jesus, in his sermons during his earthly ministry pointed the people to the only true and living way. He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man could come unto the Father ex­cept by him (John 14:4, 6).          

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby--Pulpit 2017

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

MINISTRY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

acts6-2

The New Testament has much to say about dif­ferent ministries.

TAKE MINISTRY SERIOUSLY                                                                                                            

Ministry should be taken seriously. One needs to prepare for any ministry. Christ was thirty years old when he began his ministry (Luke 3:23).

THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY   

acts-1-17 The apostles took their ministry seriously with the exception of Judas. Peter addressed a group of about 120, and said,

“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus—he was one of our number and shared in this ministry” (Acts 1:17 NIV).

Then they appointed two men to be considered for the appointment to the ministry of the apostles. They prayed to God the “heart knower” to indicate which of these two men he had chosen to fulfill the vacated ministry of Judas:

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs. Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24-26 NIV).

NEW TESTAMENT MINISTRIES

A member of the church told me one time that he did not like the term “ministry!” The term “ministry” is a biblical word that identifies different work and responsibilities.Ministry 1

The Ministry of the Word                                                              Instead of serving tables, the apostles thought it more important for them to continue steadfastly in prayer and “the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2, 4)

The Ministry to the Saints

Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth reminded the members of the good work ministry of the house of Stephanas:  “I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—” (1 Corinthians 16:15).

The Ministry of Reconciliation

2-corinthians-5-18The apostles of Jesus revealed God’s scheme of redemption from sin. Because sin separated sinful humanity from God the gospel ministry of reconciliation was given to the apostles and preachers “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The Word of Reconciliation

The instrument used in “the ministry of reconciliation” was the word of God and it is called “the word of reconciliation.” “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Fulfill Your Ministry1081337-2tim45

The evangelist is charged to carry out the great commission is to prove his ministry: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

Discharge the Duties of Ministry

Each Christian is to discharge the duties of his ministry: “or ministry, let us use it in our ministering” (Romans 12:7). Therefore, “ministry” is biblical and a good word and a good work.

MINISTERING TO THE FAMILY 

One of the ministries of all congregations should be to the family ministry. The family is the backbone of the congregation and the nation. Satan is assaulting the fam­ily relentlessly. Therefore, the church and the members of the family must do everything possible to bring families back to God. This involves marriages that are built upon love to God and one another. Ministering to our family is something every member of the church can be involved. We are all members of a family. This includes God’s family—the church:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:14-15 NKJV).

Let every member of God’s spiritual family find a ministry and serve God and one another. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NKJV).  The ministry of Christ is our example.

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby 5-24-2020

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

GOD’S PLATFORM FOR RELIGIOUS UNITY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

See the source image

In his intercessory prayer Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:20-24). Jesus is praying that all his followers will practice unity. It is obvious that today there is the problem of religious division and confusion. Now I want to point out that we have got to make a plea for religious unity.

PLEA FOR RELIGIOUS UNITY

Paul poured out his heart and pleaded for the New Testament church at Corinth to be united. His words were very strong:

1 Corinthians 1:10-13
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
NKJV

The word plead is a strong word. It means, almost in our language, “I beg of you.” Paul was down on his knees—so to speak, begging those brethren to be united in the name of Jesus Christ. His rhetorical questions were, “is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” Of course, the answer is within the question. No, they were not baptized into Paul’s name; therefore, they cannot wear Paul’s name. No, Paul did not die for them upon a cross in order that their sins should be forgiven; and, therefore, they should not wear Paul’s name. No, Christ is not to be divided up into little “bity” pieces. So the answer is “no, Christ is not divided.”

Someone said one time, “I had rather be the soldier that took the spear and pierced the side of Jesus on the cross, than the person who would divide the spiritual body of Christ—the church!” When the soldiers who crucified Christ drove the nails through his hands and pierced his side, there came forth water and blood. But what about those who open up the side of the spiritual body of Christ? The precious blood of Christ is running through the veins of the spiritual body of Christ! Of course, I am using that figuratively. The blood of Christ is still flowing from Calvary. And those who would openly tear apart the spiritual body of Christ, I believe, are as guilty as the man who cast the spear into his side. Therefore, Paul was pleading for these brethren to overcome their dissensions, contentions, and be united even in their judgments and in their mind.

So that shows us how much God wants us to be united together and working together, so that our plea will always be the same plea that Paul made. Therefore, let us stand united, fulfilling the purpose of the work that Christ gave us here on the earth.

PLATFORM FOR UNITY

But in the next place, I want to give you God’s platform for unity. You know, every four years, the political conventions, regardless of how much division they have had, all close ranks, join hands, and present a solid front, a united front when the election rolls around. Again, the children of this world manifest more wisdom than the children of light in their generations. If this is true in the worldly and political realm, how much more should it be true in the spiritual and religious world? God’s people ought to overcome their differences and join ranks, close in, and stand united against the enemy. That is the only way we can win the great battle for the minds of man.

So in Ephesians 4 we have Paul’s platform for unity! It is not a political platform; it is a spiritual platform:

Ephesians 4:3-6
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
NKJV

One Body: Unity of Organization

First, there is unity of organization. Paul said there is one body. What is this one body? Our answer is found in the same book of Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:22-23
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
NKJV

Here the apostle is talking about the power that God worked when he raised the Christ from the dead and seated him at his own right hand, far above all principality and power. And then he said that the one body is the church. Christ is the head of the church—the body. Any true religious unity must be based upon the fact that there is just one body or one church recognized by Christ.

Now, in view of the fact that there is one body and the body is the church, therefore there is just one church. And how can people say today that “one church is as good as another” or “join the church of your choice” or “it doesn’t make any difference what church you are a member of—because we all are going to heaven”? I cannot reconcile that with the statement—the emphatic statement of the apostle Paul. The divine platform for unity is that every person that obeys the gospel is a member of the one church and the one body. In all of my reading of the New Testament I have never read of more than one church or one body. When Paul said that there is one body or one church he was talking about the unity of organization.

One Spirit: Unity of Life

Paul said there is one body and one Spirit. So in the second place, there is unity of Spirit. Your body has a spirit and when your spirit leaves your body, your body is dead. The Holy Spirit dwells in the spiritual body—the church. To the Corinthian church Paul wrote about those who were destroying the church under the figure of the temple. And he said that those who destroy the temple of God—God will destroy them:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
NKJV

Now, if God’s Spirit dwells in his temple which is the church, or if you look at it from the figure of a body or a human organism to which the church is compared, the Holy Spirit in the church is like our spirit in our body. Now, some people have quenched the Spirit by quenching the word until they have got a church without the Spirit in it. A church without the Holy Spirit, he is a dead church. The Holy Spirit operates in the spiritual body of Christ through the word of God, which is his instrument. And this is how there can be unity of Spirit.

One Hope: Unity of Purpose

The apostle says that there is one body and one Spirit even as we are called in one hope of our calling. Next, we look at the unity of aspiration or hope. Hope stands for the Christian faith and the Christian system. In other words, there is one hope that stands above all of our hopes and that stands for the Christian system. What is that hope? To Titus, Paul explains what is that one hope of our calling:

Titus 1:2
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
KJV

What is the hope that is above all hopes? It is the hope of eternal life. And so the fact that all of us have within our breasts that aspiration, that desire, that expectation, that longing for eternal life, it should draw us together in the spirit of our lives together in the service of God. Unity of aspiration! One body, one spirit, one hope! Unity of organization! Unity of spirit! Unity of aspiration!

One Lord: Unity of Authority

But there are four more planks in this divine platform of unity. There is one body and one Spirit even as we are called in the one hope of our calling. There is also one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Therefore, we look at the unity of authority.

The word “Lord” comes from a word which means Ruler, King, Lawmaker. So Christ is our Lord. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. And that means that he is our Monarch. In order to have true unity, every member of the body of Christ must submit to the authority of the King. Sometimes the spirit of collective bargaining creeps into the church of our Lord. That spirit is this: if I don’t get my way, I will give an ultimatum and then strike against the leaders of the church. That spirit is wrong and sinful. That is not the spirit that should characterize the body of Christ.

We live in a democratic society. But strictly speaking, America is not a democracy—we are a republic. A democracy is where the majority rules, but a republic is where the people are governed not by the majority, but by elected representatives chosen by the majority. So in America we do not have a democracy strictly speaking. Only do we have a democracy in the sense that the majority elects the representatives of the republic. That is the basic difference between a republic and a democracy. The church is not governed by majority rule. Some have the idea that whatever the majority wants, the majority ought to have. But the majority is not always right. The majority wanted to crucify Jesus Christ. Throughout Old Testament history many times the majority wanted to do the wrong thing, and that is the reason Moses said, “You shall not follow a multitude to do the evil.” Christ is the head of the church and he also reigns as Monarch over his kingdom. He is the supreme ruler and head over this organism called the church. And there will only be unity when one submits to his ultimate authority.

One Faith: Unity of Teaching

There is one faith. One faith means that there must be unity of teaching. I have no authority to expound my opinions or to give you my judgments. But I am authorized to preach the gospel. I am also authorized to contend for the faith that has been once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). And that means that we must contend for the unity of teaching or doctrine. The one faith comprehends and incorporates everything that has been legislated in this divine creed book—the New Testament.

One Baptism: Unity of Salvation

There is one baptism. I read in the New Testament of several baptisms. I read about the baptism of suffering. This is a metaphor. Jesus said to some apostles, “Are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I shall be baptized? Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink?” Of course, he was figuratively saying, “are you able to be overwhelmed in the suffering that I am going to endure?” Baptism as used here is in the tropical or figurative sense. I read in the Bible where John’s baptism is mentioned. John did preach the baptism for repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). I also read in my Bible of Holy Spirit baptism (Mark 1:6-8). We also read that some were baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29). But most of time when we read about baptism it is a reference to water baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 8:36-38; Acts 10:47-48). Now, out of the five or six baptisms, about which we read in the New Testament, which one was Paul talking about when he said, “There is one baptism?” When Paul wrote the book of the Ephesians he said, “there is one baptism.” What was the one baptism?

Obviously, Paul was talking about the unity of salvation in the church. He was talking about water baptism, because it is by one Spirit that we were all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12: 13). Therefore the one baptism is the baptism of the great commission where Jesus gave instructions to the apostles to preach the message of salvation to the whole world:

Mark 16:15-16
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
NKJV

Therefore, water baptism is the one baptism by which we enter into this one body, where we find the one hope, and where we recognize and submit to the one Lord, and where we follow and obey and learn the one faith. And so, they all go together, just like a glove on the fingers of the hand. You can’t take one away without destroying the others.

One God: Unity of Worship

Finally, Paul says that there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” This is unity of worship. Paul did not say that God is one person, but that there is one God and Father. The word God is here used specifically rather than comprehensively. The word God is used here to designate the first person of the godhead which is the Father. And he even explains it to us in that way: “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6). There must be unity in worship. Who are we to worship? We worship God. And those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4: 24). *

*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon Sunday morning, October 24, 2021 in Greenwood, Indiana, and also Sunday evening, August 1, 1976, in Indianapolis, Indiana. At that time I was 39 years old. I still believe what I proclaimed then, and now I am 84 years old. God is good!

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Preach the Word
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE CHRIST AND THE CREATION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

What Does Colossians 1:16 Mean?

All Things Were Made by Christ
John, the apostle, affirms that all things were made by Christ (John 1:3). This includes the universe, all of its elements and its systems of law. Christ, the creator of all things, is himself uncreated, for he was in the beginning with the Father, which means he is eternal in his nature and existence. The same cannot be said for the material universe. It is not eternal since it had a beginning.

The Universe Had a Beginning
John says that all things were made by Christ. The verb “were made” translates a Greek word which is in the aorist tense, and means: to become, or to come into existence, to begin to be, received being, and is used in John 1: 3 of the origin of all things. So from this verb we learn that all things of a material nature definitely had a beginning. They were begun when Christ made all things. The Bible teaches that the material universe had a beginning and it will have an end. Therefore, it is temporary in nature and not eternal. We understand and believe this fact by faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

Hebrews 11:3 | Hebrews 11, Faith scripture, Christian verses

God did not make the world out of preexisting materials as an architect and a builder would make a house; but he made the universe out of nothing. He simply spoke and these things came into existence. This is what Moses affirms in the first chapter of Genesis when he says, “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

God the Father Is the First Cause
Next we notice that while God the Father was the first cause in creation, our Lord Jesus Christ was the instrumental cause in that creation. The apostle affirms that “All things were made by him.” The preposition “by” translates a term which means through, or the instrument by which anything is effected, because what is done by means of a person or thing seems to pass as it were through the same, of an instrument used to accomplish a thing or of the instrumental cause in the stricter sense with the genitive of person, meaning by the service, the intervention of anyone. God, the Father, then is the originator and architect of the entire material universe, while his Son is the instrumental agent in bringing this universe into being.

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom  are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom  are all

Christ is the Instrumental Agent in Creation
This is more clearly seen and distinguished in 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul said, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of (ek) whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by (dia) whom are all things, and we by (dia) him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). From this verse we notice that all things came forth from out of the Father, while they were brought into being through the agency, or by the instrumental cause of his Son, Jesus Christ. This is also seen in Paul’s statement to the Colossians,

“For by (en) him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by (dia) him, and for (eis) him: And he is before (pro) all things, and by (en) him all things do consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

Therefore the Son, Jesus Christ, is the agent, and the instrumental cause in creation as the contractor is the agent of the owner who builds a house. In the book of Hebrews we read that God, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by (en) his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by (dia) whom also he made the worlds”(Hebrews 1:2).

Therefore, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God, the Father, is the first cause in all of the creation, and his Son, Jesus Christ, was the instrumental cause by which all of these things were brought into existence.*

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd                                                                                                                                                                            Heartland Church of Christ                                                                                                                                                  1693 West Main Street                                                                                                                                                            Greenwood, Indiana 46142

CONTINUE TO WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

  These words were written to the church at Philippi by the apostle Paul:

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Our salvation from sin is both man’s work and God’s work. Man’s work is to appropriate the salvation offered by God to man through faith and obedience to the gospel. Notice that Paul exhorts them to “continue to work out your salvation…” This implies that they were working out their salvation when they believed and were baptized to be saved from their past sins (Mark 16:15-16). Now they are to continue to work out their salvation!

  To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is a work of man. But it is also the work of God. Some Jews asked Christ,

“What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29).

Just as faith in Jesus is the work of God, so also is repentance and baptism. However, these acts of obedience are a work that man does in receiving the gift of salvation. The Roman Christians were baptized into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-3). They were promised the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). And three times their justification from sin is said to be the “free gift” (Romans 5:15-18).

  The Philippians had also believed and been baptized (Acts 16: 14-15, 30-34). Now in his letter to them, Paul commands them to continue to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). He then assigns the reason they are to do this:

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

When we do what God has told us to do (work), God is working in us through his word to bring about our salvation now and at the last day. That is the reason Paul said, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Make sure your work is “the work of God” and not just your “own work!”*

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

By

Shelby G. Floyd

 

A man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17)? Contrary to what we hear today from the popular religious teachers, there is something that man must do to have eternal life. If that question is asked today, most preachers would say, “You do not need to do anything but accept Jesus as your personal Savior.” Therefore, a subjective faith—a mental assent that Jesus is the Christ, is the only condition of salvation. But even a subjective faith is something that man does mentally. And Christ said that belief in Christ is “the work of God.” His words are explicit:

“What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).

Continue reading “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?”

FAMILY TIES

By

Shelby G. Floyd

 

Good morning. We hope you are adjusting to your stay at home because of Covid-19. I heard one member would go sit in a chair and ask himself a question. And then he would move to another chair and answer his question. In other words he was talking to himself. That reminds me of a story that my mom told about when she was growing up. There was a man that was always talking to himself! They would kid him about it. One day they asked him why he was talking to himself so much. His answer was classic. “I like to talk to a smart man and I like to hear a smart man talk!”

Today is Easter Sunday and we have a lot of good memories of hunting Easter eggs and family get-together on this holiday. We will have the opportunity to share the joy with little children again. Later in our service today we will remember the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord when we take communion as we do so each Sunday.

I am speaking to you about Family Ties. Do you miss being with your family? I miss being with my family. I miss having a cup of coffee with my son and his wife and visiting with our daughters in Florida and their families. We also miss being with our grandchildren and great grandchildren. With patience we will also be back meeting as a congregation in one place before too long. Continue reading “FAMILY TIES”

THE GREAT COMMISSION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The greatest challenge ever committed to mortal men was couched in the words of the great commission. This commission was given by Jesus Christ to the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee. It is great because of the great authority which empowers it and sustains it. Jesus said,

“…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18.)

One of the many pursuits of man has been power and authority, but no one man has ever been able to achieve all the power and authority that there is in the earth. But Jesus has all power and authority not only in the earth, but also in heaven. Therefore, he is preeminently qualified to give a commission that relates both to heaven and to earth, to this life and to the life to come.

Isaiah Prophesied of Christ’s Authority

The power, all of which Jesus claimed to have, both in heaven and earth, is the power of rule or government and is generally translated authority. It is the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed. The power, or rule of government, which Jesus claims on this particular occasion is that which Isaiah predicted seven centuries before Christ claimed it. Speaking of Christ, Isaiah said that the government would be upon his shoulder, and,

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever” (Isaiah 9:7).

Those Taught Are To Be Baptized

Jesus not only charged his apostles to teach all nations, but also to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). The element in which they were baptized is not stated in this passage but can be inferred from reading the scriptures concerning this subject elsewhere. They were to be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

WHO CAN FORGIVE SINS?

By

Shelby G. Floyd

When Jesus saw the palsied man let down into the room where he was teaching, he said, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Some sitting nearby were startled and in their hearts thought Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. They asked, “Who can forgive sins but God only” (Mark 2:7)?

WHICH IS EASIER TO SAY?

Christ who knows the hearts of men asked them, “Is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or take up your bed and walk” (Mark 2:9)? The key word is “say.” It is definitely easier to say “your sins are forgiven.” This would be hard to verify because it would be an act that would be inward and invisible. To tell a paralytic to take up his bed and walk would be more difficult, for it could only be certified if in fact he did take up his bed and walk.

ONLY CHRIST HAS THE ABSOLUTE POWER TO FORGIVE SINS

To prove that he had the power on earth to forgive sins, Jesus told the paralytic to take up his bed and go home. This he did before them all. Therefore Christ demonstrated the ultimate purpose of all his miracles, signs and wonders. They were to confirm his identity as “the Son of Man” who also was the “Son of God.” Christ was the Son of Man according to the flesh and the Son of God according to the Spirit (Roman 1:3-4).

The miracles of Christ and the apostles confirm that Jesus was who he claimed to be and that the word of God is immutable:

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

Only God has the power to forgive sins. Christ is God in the flesh (John 1:1-3, 14), and forgives sins through his blood (Mt. 26:28; 1:21).

Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE INDWELLING CHRIST

(Ephesians 3:14-21)

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Credit: Google Images

I love the “ancient words” from the word of God and from the song (Ancient Words) that we have just sung. The longer we live and the more we read and study God’s word, the more beautiful they become. It was good to hear the reading of the “ancient words” from Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The last time I spoke to you about three weeks ago our lesson was on “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart.” At that time we pointed out that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, his magicians had something to do with hardening his heart, and the Bible declares over and over again that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. As a result God brought ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the last of which was the death of the firstborn sons of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. It was at this point that Pharaoh urged the children of Israel to leave Egypt as rapidly as they could.

From all of this, we learn that the condition of our heart is ultimately up to each one of us. We have the final say as to how receptive our heart will be to the word of God. So today I want to continue that theme on a positive note. Our lesson today is on the indwelling of Christ in our heart. All of us desire to to think, speak and act better than we normally do. But we will never reach the fullness of faith, hope, and love until Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. In that regard I have always loved the Scripture that Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). So we want Christ to live in our hearts. But how does Christ live in our hearts? He lives in our hearts by faith! Why did he want us to let him live in our hearts? Because he loves us, he died for us and he cleanses us by his precious blood shed on Calvary. Continue reading “THE INDWELLING CHRIST”