O/W/R - Section 2

  1. To grow in our holiness, we must look to God’s holiness first, which is revealed in the character of Christ. Strive to imitate God, not others, and you’ll grow in your spiritual maturity!   GROW SPIRITUALLY, NOT BY COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS, BUT BY STRIVING TO IMITATE THE CHARACTER OF GOD.  - From the July 23rd 2015 PowerPoint devotional by Dr. Jack Graham.
  2. Men are free to decide their own moral choices, but they are also under the necessity to account to God for those choices. - A. W. Tozer
  3. Lord, take my lips, and speak through them; take my mind and think through it; take my heart, and set it on fire. - William H. Aitken
  4. John 14:15 - If you love me, you will keep my commandments.     So take heart, Christian, and be assured of God’s saving work in your life. None of this means that we therefore obey God completely, just because we are his. We still sin. That is why John writes, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). But it does mean that if you detect within yourself a new yearning to please God, if sin begins to disturb you, if you increasingly long to be like Jesus, then God is at work; and you should rejoice in the truth that “he who began a good work in you will [keep on performing] it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). - From the commentary on John 14:15  from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 Volumes) from John Montgomery Boice.
  5. Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. - From the ESV Bible
  6. One popular question that’s being thrown around in theological circles these days is, “What is the Gospel?” Well, whenever I’m asked that question, I always respond the same: “The Gospel is Jesus Christ.” 
    Now  what do I mean by that? Well, think of it this way: you can take Buddha out of Buddhism and still have the basic tenants of that religion. You can take Muhammad out of Islam, and you’d still have the same principles. But if you take Christ out of Christianity, there is nothing left because our faith is not in a system, but in a person.
    Christianity at its very heart is not a code; it’s not a cause; it’s not a creed; and it’s not a church. Christianity is Christ! It is the Gospel concerning Jesus. So when we’re asked that question, “What is the Gospel?”, we know our answer doesn’t consist of a list of rules or a philosophy on life. The Gospel is a person. 
    Stop trying to just live according to rules. Instead, live according to the life of Christ in you. Allow Him to determine your steps. And as you press into Him, He’ll transform the way you think, how you act, and will give you joy like you’ve never experienced!

    THE GOSPEL IS JESUS CHRIST – NOT A LIST OF RULES OR A PHILOSOPHY. BELIEVE IN HIM AND ALLOW HIM TO LIVE HIS LIFE THROUGH YOU. - From the May 25, 2017 PowerPoint Today devotional reading by Dr. Jack Graham.
  7. The righteous, the person who obeys God’s Holy Word and commandments, is in God’s hands, under His care. The wise stand in contrast to the foolish. The person who pursues folly and madness, who makes poor choices is not in God’s hands or under His care. But the wise, the person who sees life from God’s perspective and walks accordingly, is in God’s hands and under His care.
    To be in God’s hands and under His care simply means that God looks after and takes care of the person who lives righteously and wisely. If any of us place our lives in God’s hands, He will take care of us. This is God’s wonderful promise:

    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).
    “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Lu. 12:7).
    “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pe. 5:7).
    “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God” (Ps. 40:17).
    “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Is. 41:10).
    - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 9:1a in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  8. John 14:21(ESV) - Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.  - “But I am a Christian, and yet Jesus is not that real to me,” someone says. Yes, that may be true. But notice that, in the same verse in which Jesus gives the promise of a further revelation of himself, the Lord also gives the conditions upon which that continuing revelation will be given. The conditions are (1) the keeping of his commandments and (2) love.
    Have we met those conditions? We suppose, quite often I imagine, that it is possible to enjoy the fullness of the Christian life without a fervent love for Christ, or that it is possible to love without obeying him. We imagine that having been “justified by faith” we thereafter have no need for an obedient walk. But this is not true, and this verse alone should refute it. True, we are saved by faith, and we are to walk in the Christian life by love. But true love as well as true faith will inevitably express themselves in obedience. If they do not, they are not the love or faith about which we read in the Bible. What does it say in James? “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). What does 1John say about this? “This is love for God: to obey his commands” (1 John 5:3). Only when these elements are fully present does Christ fully reveal himself to his disciple.
    Here Arthur W. Pink writes wisely, “This manifestation of Christ is made only to the one who really loves Him, and the proof of love to Him is not by emotional displays but by submission to His will. There is a vast difference between sentiment and practical reality. The Lord will give no direct and special revelation of Himself to those who are in the path of disobedience. ‘He that hath my commandments,’ means, hath them at heart. ‘And keepeth them,’ that is the real test. We hear, but do we heed? We know, but are we doing His will?”
    Many Christians would be willing to do spectacular things if by that means they could come to know Christ better. But they are unwilling to do the commonplace things that are involved in simple obedience. Will you do them? If you will, you will most certainly grow in God’s grace. If you obey, Christ will increasingly unveil his heart to you. You will come to know him and not just about him. On the other hand, if you fail to obey, he will cease to reveal himself to you, and your own love for him will weaken. 
     - From the commentary on John 14:15  from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 Volumes) from John Montgomery Boice.
  9. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:18).
  10. God’s compassion for his people extends deeper than the failure of his people even when those failures are self- inflicted. The ultimate Judge and Savior, Jesus (Matt. 1:21), represents this grace in its ultimate form, interrupting the ongoing cycle of sin in the lives of his people throughout time and throughout the world. There is no sin, no failure, and no act of unfaithfulness that is beyond the reach of Christ’s redemptive love. Having received from God such undeserved assurances of forgiveness and reconciliation, we are now called to respond with wholehearted obedience to him and to extend his grace to others (2 Cor. 5:18–21) - Excerpt from the Gospel Transformational Bible commentary on Judges 2:16-19.
  11. As followers of Christ, our behavior should be in agreement with our professed beliefs.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3  Principals - pg. 309.
  12. Psalms 119:35 - Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.  The only explanation of the psalmist’s paradox is that we are not one person but two. There is "the old man" and there is "the new man." That was the problem with which Paul wrestled in Romans 7. He said, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (7:22-23). The new man loves the path of God’s commandments; the old man loathes that path. So the fight is on. As a result we tend to swing back and forth like a pendulum.
    The psalmist says, "Lord, I need a discipline higher than anything I possess. I need You to make me to go in the path of Your commandments." That is the mark of a true believer. That is the difference between the prodigal’s going-away petition and his coming-home petition: "Father, give me," and "Father, make me.”
    The psalmist wanted God to make him obedient. He wanted God to make his decisions correspond with his desires.  - From the John Phillips Commentary Series by John Phillips.
  13. False worship is unacceptable to God. When people truly believe and obey God’s Word, their worship is acceptable; but when they continue in sin, their worship is unacceptable. No matter how much they worship, their worship is meaningless, for they are just going through the motions. They are insincere and hypocritical. As soon as they leave the worship service, they continue in their sinful ways. They profess one thing, but live another. In truth, their hearts are far from God.  - From the reading about Isaiah 1:11 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  14. First, God and Jesus will judge the living and the dead.  There ought to exist in all of us a healthy fear of the future.  God's judgement reaches into the hearts of all people - Christians and unbelievers alike.  No one escapes his penetrating gaze.  All will tremble in his presence; the inevitability of confronting the Holy One with a review of one's life should cause serious and careful living in the present moment.  All Christians have received a charge to remain faithful in serving him, and we are bound to this by the covenant of Christ's blood.  The second motivation derives from his appearing and his kingdom.  He can come at any moment and we must be ready.  Jesus provided plenty of warnings in his parables.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 4:1  The Charge - pg. 318.
  15. God's call upon each life is different in details and specifics, but he desires faithful endurance from all of us.  We finish the race one step at a time, choosing to testify of God's goodness and grace and living rightly every day.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 4:7   pg. 322.
  16. We need to articulate the great biblical truths, not just adopt the theology of our culture. We need to speak of the depravity of man, of man in rebellion against God, so much so that there is no hope for him apart from God’s grace. We need to speak of God’s electing love, showing that God enters the life of the individual in grace by his Holy Spirit to quicken understanding and draw the rebellious will to himself. We must speak of perseverance, that God is able to keep and does keep those whom he so draws. All these doctrines and all the supporting doctrines that go with them need to be proclaimed.- From the commentary on John 17:17  from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 Volumes) from John Montgomery Boice.
  17. The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living. … God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Words like trials, temptations, refining, and testing occur more than 200 times in the Bible. … Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you’re polite toward a clerk or waitress.We don’t know all the tests God will give you, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. In my own life I have noticed that God tests my faith through problems, tests my hope by how I handle possessions, and tests my love through people.
    A very important test is how you act when you can’t feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes God intentionally draws back, and we don’t sense his closeness. …
    When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice. But all of them have eternal implications.

    The good news is that God wants you to pass the tests of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them. The Bible says, “God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.”
    Every time you pass a test, God notices and makes plans to reward you in eternity. James says, “Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” - From the book “The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren 
  18. Spiritual separation is a command of the Lord. A true follower of the Lord is not to walk in the paths of unbelievers, for unbelievers reject the Lord. They rebel against His Word and His holy commandments. Most unbelievers live selfish, greedy, and covetous lives. They seek the possessions and pleasures of this life, often spending far beyond their financial resources and ending up in debt. Others seek to amass riches and property, hoarding wealth when multitudes of needs throughout the community go unmet. Still others seek the sensual pleasures of this world, pleasures that arouse and stimulate the flesh such as illicit sex, immoral partying, pornography, and so on. Others overeat, shoplift, or become addicted to recreation, sports, or a host of other fleshly cravings. The majority of unbelievers selfishly ignore or neglect the Lord’s demand that we help and serve others.  
    No true believer is to follow or walk in the path of unbelievers, those who live unbalanced lives and in many cases, wicked lives. We are not to participate in their evil associations. Listen to what God’s Holy Word says about spiritual separation:
    I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat” (1 Co. 5:9-11).
    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Co. 6:14-16). 

    “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Ps. 1:1).
    “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.…My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path” (Pr. 1:10, 15).
    “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men” (Pr. 4:14).
    “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Pr. 22:24-25).
    “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats” (Pr. 23:6).

    - From the "Thought 1” reading about Isaiah 8:11-22 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  19. No true believer is to follow or walk in the path of unbelievers, those who live unbalanced lives and in many cases, wicked lives. We are not to participate in their evil associations.
  20. Although we still struggle within the frame of our emotions and difficulties, our future remains secure.  We should never expect Christians to exhibit perpetual happiness, as though the harsh realities of life do not effect them.  This life seethes with difficulties, an all the more so for those who faithfully live and proclaim God's truth.  Weariness, discouragement, and lonliness visit the faithful Christian.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 4:10   pg. 323.
  21. Faithful service and zealous work do not guarantee the future.  Our lives must be lived faithfully each day, each week, year upon year.  We cannot rest on our past or assume the future.  We must maintain a steady diligence in the present moment. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 4:10   pg. 323.
  22. Hardships for the sake of righteousness is a reality for Christians.  We need not be discouraged or surprised, nor should we consider ourselves in unusual circumstances. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy, Applications,  pg. 329.
  23. God calls believers to live and think in a balanced, thoughtful, and wise manner.  We need to guard against quick reactions, rash decisions, and theological curiosities.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy, Applications,  pg. 329.
  24. God strengthens us to endure the tests of faith, hardships, and pain that come our way.  We must depend on God's power through his Holy Spirit, relinquishing our control to him. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy, Applications,  pg. 329.
  25. Many people claim to know God.  How can we know if they really do?  We will not know for certain in this life, but a glance at their life-styles will quickly tell us what they value and whether they have ordered their lives around kingdom priorities.  Our conduct speaks volumes about what we believe (see John 2:4-6).  What do people know about God and about your faith by watching your life? - From the NIV Life Application Bible Titus 1: 16 note
  26. Just as the earth rotates around the sun, so God is the center of everything he created.  He is the fixed center around which everything revolves.  Mankind may be the centerpiece of God's redemptive work, but his purpose is to proclaim his goodness, grace, love, sovereignty and might.  Christians are called to live in the manner of Jesus Christ - self controlled, pure, good, diligent, and obedient.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, Conclusion - The Copernicus Solution,  pg. 369.
  27. Self-control and faithfulness should characterize all believers.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, Principals,  pg. 369.
  28. Proper Conduct: 1) A Christian is to be subject to rulers and authorities;  2) Be ready to do whatever is good;  3)  Slander no one;  4) To be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men;  5) Maintain a congenial attitude, ready to defer to someone else; and 6) be considerate, setting aside personal concerns for the welfare of others.  This person is careful in thought, speech, and action, weighing the ramifications of each.  In summary, we are to show true humility.  True humility retains a proper understanding of one's self.  A person need not debase or malign himself in order to be humble; this is self-absorption of another sort.  True humility thinks sensibly, refusing the lure of competition and comparison. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 3:1-2,  pp. 380-381.
  29. Christian growth does not occur automatically: we must be careful to devote ourselves to doing what is good.  New life in Christ comes to those who determine to act upon their professions of belief.  They do not "give it a shot" now and again; they resolve to obey constantly and continuously.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 3:8,  pg. 384.  
  30. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:21) This injunction is followed by the precept, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another...Love does no harm to its neighbor" (Rom 13:8, 10).  Love and deeds of goodness stand as the Christian's fundamental purpose in society.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 3, Deeper Discoveries,   pg. 393.
  31. I would like to ask this question of you, the question that was asked of Peter: “Didn’t I see you with him?” I would like to ask it forcefully. Have you been with Jesus? Have you been with him in fellowship? Have you been with him in Bible study? Have you been with him in prayer? If your answer is yes, as I trust it will be, I then want to follow up that question in this way. First, if you have been with him, then you have been seen with him. You may think that you have not been seen. You may think that you are a secret believer. You may think that your family is so non-Christian that you cannot possibly let your family know what has happened, so you do not confess Christ openly. But if you are really Christ’s, the difference will be seen in you so clearly that whether you want to or not you will have been observed to have been with Jesus. Your immediate family will notice it right away. Those with whom you work will notice it shortly. If you come to fellowship with other Christians in a good church, as you should, you will be noticed by many additional people as well. - From the commentary on John 18:25  from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 Volumes) from John Montgomery Boice.
  32. Each person should try to build a life of good repute, serving others form love, honesty, and God's grace.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 414. 
  33. We should work for change by appealing to love, bringing out the nobility and goodness in others.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 414. 
  34. Jesus called peacemakers "blessed."  All Christians should help in efforts of reconciliation, working to restore broken relationships.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 414. 
  35. Understanding God's authority over all creation, Christians should live above the swirl of circumstances.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 414. 
  36. We should commit to a life of enduring trust, serving and obeying Christ Jesus our Lord. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 414. 
  37. When we forgive, we guarantee that the offending person's violation will not be held against him.  Jesus did not qualify his statement.  Whatever the failed obligation, whatever the violation, from first to last he says, "Forgive." And to make his point clear and to silence all exceptions, he added, "as I have forgiven you."  There is not debt of love and honor greater than what we owe Christ.  There is no moral violation more profound than our disobedience to God.  Yet, he releases us.  We are forgiven.  And, as always, he says, "Follow me."  True forgiveness rises from deep-rooted trust in Jesus Christ and in the values of his kingdom.  Prayer - Lord, help me to release all personal hurts and grievances to your care.  May I nail the offenses of others to your cross, just as I have nailed mine there.  Guide me along the path of forgiveness, transforming and blessing all my relationships so that I may be useful in your kingdom.  Amen.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon, Applications,  pg. 415. 
  38. Even in the face of judgment there is always hope for salvation. Remember that all trials are not necessarily judgments from God. Carelessness causes some hardships, while other misfortunes are the natural result of living in a fallen world. In this corrupt world we are subject to all kinds of accidents and diseases. But when we deliberately sin, God will judge us. He will discipline us in order to correct us and keep us from harming ourselves or injuring other people. Because God loves us, He will do all He can to keep us from continuing in sin and darkness and shame.
    When we sin, we will suffer as a result of it. We will bear some trial, some pain, some suffering. But in the midst of judgment there is hope. Even while we are suffering the judgment of God, He will deliver us if we will turn back to Him. As Scripture says, if we will judge ourselves, we will not be judged. If we will confess our sins, He will forgive and cleanse us. He will accept us back into His favor and restore the joy of our salvation. He will once again empower us to live fruitful and victorious lives. Infusing us with His presence and strength, He will enable us to overcome all the trials and temptations that confront us. Listen to the wonderful hope promised by God’s Holy Word:

    “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Ac. 2:21).
    “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Ro. 8:24).
    “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Ro. 10:13).
    “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Ro. 15:4).
    “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5).
    “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:12-13). 
    - From the “Thought 1” reading from Isaiah 18:1-7 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  39. Hebrews 2 tells us to listen to Jesus.  Listen to Jesus because the penalties for ignoring him are too severe.  If we ignore Jesus, we will miss out on his salvation (2:1-4).  Listen to Jesus because he has begun a new stage in God;s plan by tasting death for everyone, thus shattering the effects of death on those who listen to him (2:5-9).   Listen to Jesus because he is able to help us in temptation.  His victorious experience in overcoming temptation allows us to receive help from him as we face temptation (2:10-18).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews, pg. 22. 
  40. Listening to Christ means not merely hearing, but also obeying (see James 1:22 - 25).  We must listen carefully and be ready to carry out his instructions.  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) Hebrews 2, Note 2:1-3,  page 2221.
  41. We should get our priorities straight and produce obedience instead of disobedience. No matter how pressing our life demands, we must obey the commands and plans of Jesus. If we don't, we will stumble into ruin and unbelief just like the wilderness generation.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1099.
  42. 3:8–9. Hardening the heart takes place whenever someone rejects God's call or instructions. Hardening is an action which we develop in ourselves by our own choice to disobey God. A constant response of resistance leads to a habit of disobedience and to a judicial sentence from God.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1193.
  43. All of us can learn from observing what has happened in the past. We can apply past experiences to the present. When we find hints of the past recurring in the present, we call that pattern typology. In this instance a typological interpretation of the Exodus is used to warn the readers of Hebrews not to imitate the actions of the wilderness generation. The present generation could also fall into the same pattern of unbelief. The warning message of the writer of Hebrews was quite clear. Readers could see what happened to those who fell in the wilderness. They could realize that they faced the same dangers. They must turn from their foolish disobedience before it was too late! - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1223.
  44. Second, these people were warned that sin deceived. In the parable of the sower, the deceitfulness of riches choked the seed (Matt. 13:22). Sin deceives by exaggerating the benefits of disobedience and hiding its consequences (Gen. 3:1–7). - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1274.
  45. The result of unbelief was disobedience. The visible sign of unbelief was disobedience. The author of Hebrews was not so concerned about an intellectual grasp of truths about God as he was concerned over sinful behavior. What we believe about God will lead us to moral change. If we demonstrate only disobedience, we show that we have unbelief.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1324.
  46. How do we put first things first in our lives? We give top attention to God's work. We seek to follow the will of Jesus in all we do. We focus on those tasks which we must do for Jesus and neglect those things which do not fit in with his will.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 3,  at location 1339.
  47. It is easy to lose perspective in doing life's work. We can get involved in doing good things instead of the very best things. We can maintain a routine just because we like following routines. We can let second-rate goals consume most of our energy. We can put our own ease and security ahead of venture for the sake of Christ. We can let the business of living, doing the necessary chores of life, and making a reputation for ourselves become our goals. We must put “first things first” and make our chief business that of following Jesus and doing his will.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 3,  at location 1382.
  48. Ask yourself, “What does Jesus really want me to do?” Then follow up with the answer to this question: How can I focus on those things which are God's will for me?  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 3,  at location 1387.
  49. Responding to the answer of these questions will involve prayer, reflection, and an openness to God's will. Putting them into practice will cause a new arrangement of your schedules, a change in your daily priorities, and the addition and subtraction of some items from your schedule. It is eternally important to put Jesus first. Do anything necessary to make that your goal. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 3,  at location 1389.
  50. Christians today need to realize the danger of rebellion against the Lord through their own personal hardening. Those who listen to the warning of Moses can find the strength to maintain their initial hope, commitment, and courage to follow Christ. Those who ignore the warning will find that they have demonstrated that their profession of faith was an empty, meaningless promise, and they will experience divine judgment. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 3,  at location 1455.
  51. We have hope of experiencing rest if we follow in an obedience that shows itself by faith in God's gospel message. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1729.
  52. Believers can share in that rest, in the sense of completion, today. Anyone who responds to God's message with faith and obedience assumes Christ's yoke and enters into a “rest” relationship with God. The idea of “rest” does not mean that we sit around sipping spiritual lemonades. It conveys the idea of our total acceptance by God and the blessing of his presence, leadership, and power in our lives.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1707.
  53. Practicing obedience involves a determination on our part. Experiencing rest requires effort, but the blessing of rest makes the effort worth the cost.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1789.
  54. The act of disobedience is closely related to disbelief. Disbelief is a self-chosen unfaithfulness. Disbelief in attitude leads to disobedience in action.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1960.
  55. Disbelief leads to disobedience. Disobedience leads to disbelief. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1962.
  56. Hebrews 4:11 warns believers not to play around with God's promise.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1966.
  57. God gives his message readily to us in Scripture. We can choose to obey it, or we can ignore it and live our lives as if God's wishes do not matter. We must choose to live our lives with a faith commitment to Jesus as our Savior. Having chosen to follow him, we must take up our cross of obedience each day and live in whatever calling he has given us. To do anything less involves both disbelief and disobedience.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 1969.
  58. God's Word is alive, powerful, and penetrating. It diagnoses our needs and points us to God's power. It discloses the condition of our hearts. It demands our obedient response.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 2011.
  59.  There were three elements to their spiritual immaturity. First, they were slow to learn (v. 11). Second, they had failed to rise to the level of instructing others (v. 12), needing again to learn the elementary truths of God's word (v. 12). Third, they needed to develop the skills to distinguish good from bad and to follow the good (v. 14). They had dabbled so long in mediocrity that they had become content with this level.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 4,  at location 2066.
  60. Jesus' salvation applies only to those who obey him. The practice of obedience does not mean that only the morally perfect receive salvation. We obey the Lord when we accept his provisions for our salvation. Obedience is our acceptance of God's will. This response to salvation allows the privilege to be available to rich and poor, important and unimportant, Jews and Gentiles, and learned and uneducated. God's gift of salvation is open to all. The one who learned to obey made salvation available to all who obey. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2339.
  61. We ought to be able to teach others, but we need to receive new teaching ourselves. We ought to be mature followers of Christ, but we live like spiritual babies.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2427.
  62. Come to Jesus for the strength to overcome your weakness. Look to Jesus' example of obedience in suffering for inspiration and hope as you face hardship. Give Jesus your full obedience and attention because of his importance in God's plan. Stay constantly alert to distinguish good actions and beliefs from bad practices and teachings.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2438.
  63. One source of help to provide us discipline and stamina is Jesus' own example and encouragement as he faced life's sufferings. On earth Jesus faced trials, misunderstandings, threats, rejections, and death. He faced these challenges with prayer, concern, submission, and unflinching commitment to God's will. He learned obedience from what he suffered (Heb. 5:8). Jesus' sterling example of stamina provides us a living picture to study and imitate.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2427.
  64. Not only do we find help from Jesus' example, but we also have the reality of his encouragement. He can understand our weaknesses. He provides grace and strength to enable us to obey him. He is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2461.
  65. We need to commit ourselves to depend on Jesus for endurance in the Christian life. We can follow Jesus' example. We can experience his encouragement. As we respond to him, he can produce in us the stamina and steadfast commitment we will need to face the trials and sufferings of life.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 5,  at location 2468.
  66. The writer may have called his readers away from being absorbed in ritual matters with little spiritual impact for their lives. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 6, v. 2 at location 2700.
  67. The writer of Hebrews assumed that continuance in commitment to Christ demonstrated real Christianity. The readers had professed some experiences with Christ. If they turned away from him after this initial start, their desertion would show that they were not real Christians. They needed to understand the seriousness of what they were considering.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 6, vv. 4-5 at location 2742.
  68. Only their endurance with Jesus would demonstrate that they had the real thing. - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 6, vv. 4-5 at location 2747.
  69. Do not take sin lightly. Do not tolerate sin in your life, saying, “Oh well, God will forgive me anyway.” Sin is an offense to Almighty God. He will have mercy on us when we repent, but He also is the Judge, and “everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV). - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 511). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  70. Trials result not only in spiritual maturity but also in crowns eternally. Granted, you may not think crowns are a big deal now—but I guarantee you will in heaven, for your crown will determine whether you’ll rule over ten cities, five cities, or no cities in heaven (Luke 19:11–27). - From Courson's Application Commentary by Jon Courson
  71. Our minds must be set always to seek the will of the Lord.  Following the progressive discipline revealed through revealed in the Bible will result in a walk of obedience to God. - From page 115 of “Billy Gram in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.