Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 9 September 2017
Page 12

Playing by God’s Rules

Royce Pendergrass

Royce PendergrassWe know that David, “a man after God’s own heart,” diligently sought and worshipped God. David’s charge to his son, Solomon, was, “You, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts. If you seek Him, you will find Him but, if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9). David instructed his son to serve God willingly with pure intentions. He told him that if he would seek to know God, he would find Him, but he must never forsake God because the consequences would be to his detriment.

How does one find God and know what He wants? When a child doesn’t know what parents expect of him, he doesn’t know how to please them. When a student does not know what the teacher expects of him, he can’t please the teacher. In order for an athlete to do what makes the coach happy, he must know what the rules are and what is expected of him. The rules have to be shared so that everyone knows what they are.

The same is true with our relationship with God. In order to serve Him better, we must get to know Him better and to know how to please Him. He didn’t leave us ignorant as to what He expects of His children. The best way for one to know and to please God is to know the Word. The rules are all in the Bible. In it, we read that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Our instructions are in the Bible.

First, we must accept that God is God, and we must respect and love Him for all He is. When we come face to face with the fact that God is real and in charge, then we begin to gain the knowledge we must have to serve Him. The first thing we know is that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Then, the question becomes what is faith? In this same chapter of the Bible, we learn that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v. 1). We have faith that what is promised to the faithful person is worth working for, and our obedience is evidence that we do believe in and trust God. When that faith is realized, then the obedient will “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). Once one submits his will to God, He must know what God wants Him to do by studying the Bible as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved to God.” One can’t please God by haphazardly looking into His Word, but like the Bereans, one must “search the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11). We must make a sincere effort in our study habits to seek and to know God’s will.

If you don’t already study your Bible every day, it is my prayer that you will begin to do that so that you can know God better and to know more about what He expects of you. Volumes of wisdom can be gained by that study. You may find Scriptures that are difficult to understand, and if so, seek help with understanding. Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). His reply was that he couldn’t unless someone guided him. So, it is fitting that sometimes we may need help in understanding. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Your eternal salvation depends on you knowing and “playing by God’s rules”!

Made Havoc

Mark McWhorter

Mark McWhorterBefore the apostle Paul became a Christian, he persecuted Christians. At that time, his name was Saul. From a young age, Saul was against Christianity. He stood guard over the garments of those who stoned Stephen to death (Acts 7:58). Acts 8:1 tells us that he was “consenting” to Stephen’s death. The Greek word translated “consenting” means that he took pleasure in Stephen’s death. Acts 8:3 tells us that Saul went after Christians. He went into their homes and dragged them out. He committed Christians to prison. He did this to men and women. The fact that he went after women shows how much he despised Christians.

We are also told he “made havoc” of the church. The Greek word translated “havoc” was used in two different ways by those living at the time. It was used to refer to disease that attacked and destroyed the body. It was also used to describe the destruction that wild animals caused to crops, animals or people. So, God had recorded that Saul was like a terrible disease that led to death, and that Saul was like a wild animal.

Later in life, after his name was changed to Paul and he was a Christian, Paul would say that he had been a horrible sinner. He was so sad for all the bad things that he had done. At the time he was making havoc of the church, he thought he was doing the will of God. This teaches us that we must study and make sure that what we are doing is truly what God wants. Study your Bible. Learn all you can about God’s will. Obey him, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

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