Author Archives | Butch Adams

About Butch Adams

In addition to writing this blog and contributing elsewhere, I have served as elder and deacon in the various places I have worshiped. In these duties, I have concentrated my attention to the area of education - both in outreach to seekers through the Internet and inside the congregations for ongoing Bible scholarship. Comments and thoughts about referenced material in the article above are Copyright 2015 by Butch Adams . Any referenced material belongs to its owners and every attempt has been made to use it according their wishes.

Better Giving = Better Hearts

October 21, 2015

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The Lord hates sacrifices brought by evil people,
particularly when they offer them for the wrong reasons. – Proverbs 21:27 NCV

God intended from the beginning for his people to be givers. That is, the kind of giver that does so honestly and willingly. Working around the spirit of godly giving is very disappointing to him.

One example is David. David refused to offer a sacrifice to God that he did not own. (2 Samuel 24:18ff) He understood that it’s not a sacrifice until we sacrifice something.

On the other side of the spectrum are Ananias and Sapphira. They tried to get credit for more than they gave. (Acts 5:1-11) They understood only the personal gain they would get out of the deal.

When God required the tithe from the Jews, and when he required the first day of the week offering for Christians, he was teaching us to be givers.

Giving changes us. It is about so much more than the money.

give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. – Luke 6:38 ESV

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Gossip Hurts

October 20, 2015

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Gossip hurts a lot

Gossips can’t keep secrets,
so avoid people who talk too much. – Proverbs 20:19 NCV

This was Paul’s advice as well (Ephesians 4:29-31).

When we work to avoid being the source of chatter, gossip, idle talk, we avoid leading others astray.

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Take a deep breath and count to 10

October 18, 2015

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Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
– Proverbs 19:11

Solomon must have been thinking of his father when he wrote this. No matter how much Saul chased him, David said he would not attack God’s anointed.

Godly people do not carry a chip on their shoulder nor do they take insults and injustices to heart.

James advised Christians to be slow to speak, slow to anger because the anger of man does not produce godly righteousness. (James 1:19-20)

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7 Sacrifices We Should Make

October 17, 2015

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The Lists of Hebrews
A Study of the book of Hebrews
Lesson 6 Part 2
Lesson Text: Hebrews 13

In Part 1 of this lesson, we established that we need a plan of action to finish the walk of faith like the heroes of Hebrews 11. They accomplished some extraordinary feats of faith because they trusted God.

They were not able to accomplish those things out of some cold, blind, new thing they had come to believe. They got to the point of execution because it was a lifestyle they practiced every day. Faith (and the ability to be obedient) grows with practice.

The Hebrews writer compared the faithful Christian journey to a race, and we took the time to explore what he meant. To be competitive in a race, we have to:

  1. Build up our endurance
  2. Execute on a plan

Since part 1 was all about the need to build up our endurance, we will now take a look at what comes second – executing our plan.

In Hebrews 13, the writer covers a list of duties that do not come naturally to people in general. Endurance will start to come in handy as we carry out the Christian duties listed in our lesson text. We will refer to them as sacrifices, but when we get good at practicing what is on this list, they become a way of life.

Brotherly love. Top of the List

(Hebrews 13:1)

As you go to your next worship service, keep in mind that brotherly love is one of the reasons for going to church. It is a time to strengthen the bonds among those with whom we study and worship.

Those bonds:

  • help us become teachers
  • help us become charitable
  • help us learn from the examples of others
  • help us feel grow to maturity
  • help us practice compassion

John has a very specific warning about our place with God and the love we have for our brother. (1 John 2:9-11) Practicing kindness, making connections and not being a busybody are ways to get into God’s light. Even if we have everything else we need to be in the light, a lack of brotherly love will shade into darkness.

Brotherly love is not only good for us; God requires it!

Hospitality

Hebrews 13:2 makes me think of Genesis 18 and 19, where Abraham and Lot granted hospitality to some strangers that turned out to be angels. Whether or not the Hebrews writer was thinking the same thing, we can draw a critical parallel between the two passages. If we make a habit of being hospitable, we will occasionally entertain someone who is a blessing to be around.

A congregation I used to attend invited Jane McWhorter to speak in a ladies’ day event, and my wife and I hosted her in our home. I promise you I got more out of that experience than all the ladies that attended the actual event. I treasure every conversation and insight I gained from our visit. It certainly helped me to understand what the writer was trying to tell us in Hebrews 13:2

Make it a goal to connect with someone new. The return on this small investment will be immeasurable.

Concern

Hebrews 13:3 urges the audience to remember those that were imprisoned or mistreated for their beliefs. I used to think this is not something we have to worry about in our time, but not anymore. Finding news about Christians dying for their faith is easy. It is even easier to find those who are mistreated because of it.

Members of the body of Christ deserve anything we can do for them to help with their situation.

Contentment

Hebrews 13:4-6 is a reminder to be content. Those who are married are to remain faithful to that commitment. Gaining wealth and possessions should not be our focus.

Trying too hard to improve upon physical pleasures and increase possessions will cause us to lose focus on the race. It becomes one of the encumbrances the writer mentioned.

As Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:6 that godliness with contentment is great gain.

Obedience

Hebrews 13:7, 17

The role of the church’s leadership is twofold:

  1. They are examples
  2. They have the responsibility for the church body

As stated in verse 7, The church’s elders are teachers and leaders. In Acts 20:26, Paul advised the elders at Ephesus to follow his example and provide the full council of God and to care for the flock. As such, they have dedicated themselves to be an example, and most importantly, being a good student of the word so they can aptly teach it.

Verse 17 says to be obedient to the elders. Following the instructions of the congregation’s leadership is given the weight of an apostolic command in this verse with our soul placed in the balance. Remaining submissive to their scriptural leadership is an excellent way to promote harmony and growth in the church.

Follow the Truth

Hebrews 13:8-14 requires our focus to remain to the word of God. There are hundreds of denominations claiming to be faithful churches, but teach things that are foreign to what the Bible teaches.

This happened because they didn’t protect their faith…

They allowed themselves to drift…

They failed to mature.

Jesus never changes. (Hebrews 13:8) So we can assume if Jesus never changes, but there is change in the church, then it must be the people that did the changing! Remember that the next time someone says the Bible is outdated.

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
-John 8:31-32

Praise God

God absolutely desires our worship. (Hebrews 13:15)

Praise him in public.

Praise him among friends.

Praise him when things are not so good.

The “fruit of the lips” the writer is talking about here will nourish your faith as your ears hear your own voice praise him.

Final Thoughts

This list of responsibilities helps us shape the character of our lives through dedication to Christ.

The author concludes this epistle with a benediction, maybe one of the best in the Bible:

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead,
that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is
well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21

Through this study, we have either discovered or been reminded of the Who, What, When, Where of the Gospel of Christ.

  • Who – Christ is the authorized head of the church/kingdom of God.
  • What – Christ brought with him the perfect sacrifice and salvation
  • When – At the time of his sacrifice he brought us a better covenant
  • Where – Down the path that leads us to “the rest.”

To make it all the way, treat it as a race: do things to increase your endurance and reduce encumbrances so you can finish!

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Life is Lived in the Gray Area

October 13, 2015

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Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.
– Proverbs 13:21

At first glance, this passage does very little to comfort the faithful Christian when they are amid life’s challenges. And what about the unrepentant sinners enjoying celebrity status on TV?

A study of Job reveals life isn’t as black and white as this proverb leads us to believe. A righteously lived life will have some bad events and a sinner’s life will have good events.

Maybe the trick is to remember what the divine author has in mind for us. (James 5:7)

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In Good Company

October 12, 2015

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Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will
suffer. – Proverbs 13:20 NCV

Financial books teach that one’s wealth settles in to within 20% of his five closest friends. Business books teach us the same thing about how influential we can be.

What if we applied Solomon’s words to our spirituality?

Whether we do it on purpose or not, the company we keep affects our relationship with God.

Also see 1 Corinthians 15:33

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