Christian Life

“Limping Between Two Different Opinions”

Idolatry is anything which takes the place of God in our lives – anything that we love more than God – anything that we trust more than God – anything that we look to, to satisfy our souls more than God. Romans 1:25 gives a short definition of idolatry when it says of mankind in sin that they “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Ninth Commandment (3) Loving with Our Words

Read: Exodus 20:16
Ephesians 4:17-32
Text: verse 29

God’s desire is for people to live together in harmony and love and a big part of that picture is people using their words to bless and serve one another rather than to hate and to harm one another. And this is something that he is working towards by means of his great plan of salvation. The words of our text are an exhortation that is addressed to followers of Jesus – to those who have been and are being saved from their sins.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Seventh Commandment (3) Singleness (2)

The deep joy and satisfaction that is possible for us as human beings does not come from seeking joy and happiness directly but by seeking God and his kingdom. It is when our focus is not on ourselves, but outside of ourselves on enjoying our relationship with God and giving ourselves in his service that the result of that is the profound joy and happiness that we are designed to enjoy. This is why the Bible focuses on obedience rather than the idea of satisfying our desires with the things of this life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Biblical Responses to Secular Beliefs (7) Expressive Individualism

Our happiness and greatest wellbeing come from living for God rather than living for ourselves. We were not designed to find our deepest happiness by focusing on ourselves. We are designed to find our deepest happiness in God. The Bible is actually very concerned with man’s happiness, but as a result of living for God rather than living for ourselves. The picture that the Bible paints of a life in the service of God is a wonderful picture of fulfillment and wellbeing and profound happiness. The Bible makes it clear that the deepest joy that we can know is joy in the Lord and in his service. Psalm 32:11 says “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Fifth Commandment (6) Honor to whom Honor is Due

We are to honor other people appropriately because we are all made in the image of God. That gives value to every human being and we are to acknowledge that value in the way that we think of one another and in the attitudes that we have towards one another and in the way that we treat one another. We are to show them respect as people who are valuable and significant because they are made in the image of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

A Wisdom Sampler

The overall insight is that words are very, very important. They can win us favor or they can consume us. So, we must be careful and thoughtful about our words. That means that we will use fewer of them and seek to have the words that we do use reflect biblical values and priorities. Our words should be used to glorify God and to be a blessing to other people.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Under-Valuing of Wisdom

The truth behind all of this is that how we live matters to God and not only the big things, but also how we deal with angry bosses or dull axes. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and one of the fruits of wisdom is that you sharpen your axe instead of hacking away with a dull axe. Sharpening your axe is pleasing to God. Acting like a fool is not even when it comes to cutting down trees.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Meaning of the Fourth Commandment (5) Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus’ intention is wonderfully expressed in Mark’s version of this story, where Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” What a wonderful sentiment is expressed in those words! The Sabbath is a gift. It is intended to be a day of joy and rest focused on the worship of God. It was never intended to be a burden. The Pharisees had made it such, but Jesus condemned that approach and as the Lord of the Sabbath gave us his authoritative interpretation.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Strong and the Weak

Read: Romans 14

This chapter deals with a very specific way of treating one other with love within the Christian community. The different opinions that are under consideration are not equally valid. One is right, and the other is wrong. Paul uses the distinction between some who are strong and others who are weak in this chapter. The opinions of the strong in this chapter of objectively correct while the opinions of the weak are objectively incorrect. But at the same time the differences of opinion are not over things that are part of core-orthodoxy or core-morality.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Life in the Spirit, Future Glory and God’s Everlasting Love

Read: Romans 8

An unsaved person, who is ruled by his sinful nature, sets his mind on the things of the flesh. A saved person, because of the work of the Holy Spirit within him, sets his mind on the things of the Spirit. This is an important self-examination verse. Indeed, this is an important self-examination section because Paul is describing the difference between a person who is not saved – that is still in the flesh – and a person who is saved - who is being changed by the Holy Spirit.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra