Practical Principles for Christian Living: Remember your leaders.

Hebrews 13:7 reminds us to remember our leaders and to see the good that came from their lives. In today’s study, we will look at the traits of a Biblical leader from the Apostle Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders from Acts 20 and how Paul’s lifestyle influenced other leaders.

  • A Biblical leader serves the Lord with all humility and tears.

Acts 20:18-19: And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews.”

As a church leader, Paul endured many trials and shed tears over the ones he witnessed. Those who rejected the message of the gospel rejected Paul. In their rejection, Paul was ridiculed, beaten, thrown into prison, and even had rocks thrown at him to the point of death. Yet he endured. His tears were shed for those who had rejected the gospel and those struggling with the faith.

  • A Biblical leader must be bold by declaring what is profitable.

Acts 20:20: how I did not shrink from declaring anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house.

As a leader, Paul did not sugarcoat what the people needed to hear. He was honest and truthful. When Paul witnessed a sin in a person’s life, he would approach them and gracefully correct their behavior with the word of God. When he saw someone obeying the word of God, he encouraged them to continue. Paul knew the Scriptures and taught them what was profitable to them. Paul did not cower away but was bold when teaching.

  • A Biblical leader teaches to a public audience, testifying repentance toward God and faith in Jesus.

Acts 20:21: Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul taught in public places like a synagogue (a place of worship like the church) but even went to house testifying to everyone he met repentance of sins and faith in Jesus. Paul reinforced his teaching with Scripture and through his daily living.

In verse 18, Paul reminded the leaders that they witnessed Paul’s daily lifestyle and how he lived among them since day one.  

  • A Biblical leader declares the whole counsel of God.

Acts 20:22-27: And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

  • A Biblical leader warns other leaders to pay close attention to their lifestyle and other Christians.

Acts 20:28-32: Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure, fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be alert, remembering that for three years, I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

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Death is but a doorway.

By Pastor Jason Paul

An ancient Egyptian proverb says, “Death is but a doorway to new life. We live today, and we will live again. In many forms, we will return.”

The Egyptian proverb is only partially correct, though. Death is a doorway to new life; we are alive today and will be alive after we die. When we pass on from this world to the next, we do not come back to life in many different forms but to a life with God or being separated from God. The Bible tells us that we will be resurrected from the dead to live again. But it is up to you to choose where you will live for eternity.   

The Bible tells us that for followers of Jesus Christ, death is a doorway to new life in eternity with God in heaven. A door that is open and made possible by Jesus Christ when he died on the cross for our sins.

Christian Author Randy Alcorn accurately states: “For the Christian, death is not the end of adventure but a doorway from a world where dreams and adventures shrink to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand.”

As Christians, we are comforted by knowing that death is not the end but the beginning of life with God almighty and Jesus Christ. Even the comfort of knowing where we are going doesn’t make death and losing someone any easier.

Over the last month, there have been deaths that have impacted the lives of others. My wife had an acquaintance who passed away in her sleep at 36. My co-worker just had her nephew passed away at the age of 30. Just think of the celebrities that just recently passed away. Death can come at any time to anyone at any age.      

When I heard that my wife’s friend died at 36 unexpectedly, we felt deep sorrow for her family. She left behind a husband and two young children who must continue life without her. She was a believer in Jesus Christ and awoke in the presence of the Lord when she passed away that fateful day.

We each grieve the death of a loved one differently—those who grieve with hope and those who have no hope.    

The Bible records Elijah’s last day with his friend and mentee, Elisha. Elisha and Elijah knew Elijah’s last day on earth, but Elisha did not want to accept that his best friend would no longer be with him.

I placed myself in Elisha’s sandals when I read about this event. Was Elisha fortunate enough to know that this was the last day on earth for his friend or not?    

“When the LORD was about to take Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the LORD has told me to go to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel. The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the LORD is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” (2 Kings 2:1-3)

Elisha knew the Lord would take Elijah to heaven and did not want to accept it. In each city the Lord told Elijah to go to, Elijah told Elisha to stay, and Elisha’s response was always the same. “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” Each place they went had prophets who came to Elisha and asked him the same question, and Elisha had the same response.

2 Kings 2:5: Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the LORD is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”

As their story continues, Elisha and Elijah go to the Jordan River.

2 Kings 2:11-12 “As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.

Elijah did not experience physical death, but Elisha experienced the grief of losing a loved one. Even though Elisha knew Elijah was taken to be with the Lord in heaven, he was still grieved and did not want to discuss it.

When I read about this event, I asked myself what I would do if I were Elisha. What if I knew this would be my last day with my friend? Would I spend every moment with them and never leave? How would I react to my loved one differently when death was near? Would talking about the loss of my best friend help with my grief?     

I know one thing. I would have been thankful that my friend knew the Lord, knowing they are spending eternity in heaven and we will meet again someday. We never know if we have a tomorrow, so we must live each day with others as our last.  

Not only did Elisha grieve over the loss of his friend Elijah, but Jesus’s disciples grieved overseeing the death of Jesus on the cross. Their close friend of three years was now on the cross, accused of crimes he did not commit. As Jesus was taken off the cross and laid in a tomb, Christ’s disciples had lost hope. Their friend was dead.

Three days later, the story changed. Christ was resurrected from the dead to new life.  

“Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:5-10)

The resurrection from the dead to new life and an eternity with Christ is why we have hope even when someone dies. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church about this same hope.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

However, The Bible also tells us that for the Nonbeliever who does not believe that Jesus is the son of God, death is a doorway to eternity, separated from God in a place called Hell.

Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow, and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

This begs the question. Where are you going to spend eternity? Which doorway will you enter when death comes?

As Christians, we will still grieve when we lose a loved one. We will still find a way to press on with the strength that God can give. If your loved one knows the Lord, we will be reunited in heaven. Death is but a doorway to eternity with God for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

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Practical Principles for Christian Living: The Secret to Contentment

But what does the Bible say about the secret to contentment?

Paul had found the secret to contentment, which was not found in being in need or having plenty, being hungry or well fed. In today’s podcast, we will learn about Paul’s secret to contentment, but even where contentment is not found.

Today’s study will look at Hebrews 13:5-7 in a message titled “Practical Principles for Christian Living: The Secret to Contentment.     

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Practical Principles for Christian Living: Let Brotherly Love Continue

The Bible contains practical principles for Christian living that display God’s love for others. God wrote these principles in Scripture for us to learn and to live out because he loves us. Living out these principles brings joy when we show God’s love to others. Today’s study comes from Hebrews 13, and we will look at the first three practical principles for Christian living.
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A Mountain Top View of God

How do you view God?

Do you view God as approachable or unapproachable?

In today’s study from Hebrews 12, we come to a text that contains two different mountaintop views of God. As we unpack Hebrews 12:18-29, we will see these two different mountaintop views of God.

Which mountaintop view of God do you have?

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Renewed Vitality by doing Revival like things.

Don’t we all need to have renewed vitality? We all desire to improve our
eating and physical habits. Maybe it is to have a renewed lifestyle that
includes a healthy lifestyle, more energy, more endurance, and the feeling of
being a better you.

But before quitting bad habits and changing your lifestyle for renewed
vitality, you must become aware of your health problems and behaviors. This
applies not just to your physical well-being but even to your spiritual

In the next section of Hebrews 12: 12-17, we will learn that the company we
keep are those who will revive us.   


The Company We Keep, Part 1.

We are all surrounded by the company we keep. Those individuals we can deal with and those we struggle to be around. We should surround ourselves with people who will encourage us to run the race of life. Who have you surrounded yourself with? In today’s podcast episode, we will see what the Bible says about surrounding ourselves with the company we keep.

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The Righteous Step Out in Faith

Hebrews 11 has been called the “hall of faith” or even the “hall of heroes.” But this collection of real people who lived by Faith were not superheroes but a group of imperfect people who stepped out in faith. These individuals were counted to them as Righteous because of their actions. Today’s study will cover these individuals and their lives and what we can learn from their examples.

Listed below are the Biblical truths that we will cover in today’s episode.

  1. A person actively steps out in faith and stands for Christ with their decisions. 
  2. A person actively steps out in faith by believing that God can overcome impossible situations.
  3. A person who actively steps out in faith gives God the glory through their actions.
  4. A person actively steps out in faith as they keep their eyes on Jesus

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As the righteous live by faith

As the righteous live by faith, life happens. As we will learn on today’s podcast from Hebrews 11, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob experienced the ups and downs we all experience. They experienced tests, relationship struggles, success, and the agony of defeat. Yet through it all, they endured. They focused on God and his promised Son until they received the promise. Listen to learn from the experiences of these individuals who lived by faith.       

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Invite, join together, and celebrate, while being intentional this Easter.

By Pastor Jason Paul

The week began with a cruel April Fool joke. Nature decided to dump over a foot of heavy snow on the Metro area. This was not just snow, but one with the nickname of heart attack snow. It’s called heart attack snow because it is so saturated with water that people have been known to have heart attacks when shoveling. As the snow fell overnight, the weight of the snow broke tree branches, downed power lines, and caused a lot of heartache for residents. My residence was affected by a power outage that lasted over 36 hours. Luckily, I could not drive to work and could spend the day at home dealing with the chaos.

The snow created the daunting task of shoveling ourselves out. As I was outside, I fired up the snow blower and attempted to rid my driveways of very wet snow, and so did the other neighbors. We all had one mission, to remove the snow. As everyone worked diligently to clear the snow, I looked at my neighbors and their different snow blowers. I was impressed when I purchased my snow blower, but when I looked out at the neighbors, I was even more impressed by theirs. But I also noticed the friendly camaraderie among them. Neighbors were helping neighbors and slowed down their lives long enough to visit and get to know each other better.     

The neighborhood was not the only one that benefited from a snow day without power. But my family did as well. No power meant no screen time, no internet or television shows, and just a day filled with playing in the snow and board games. Our circumstances forced us to spend quality time with each other without distractions.

As we approach Easter as Christ’s followers, we must seek opportunities to invite others to church. Easter Sunday is when people are willing to go to church when asked. The snowstorm allowed me to visit neighbors I had not seen or spoken to in a long time. What began as a daunting task of snow removal turned into an opportunity to invite neighbors to church on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday is also a time for family members to come together. What was unique about the power outrage was that my family spent quality time together and focused on one another. Easter is a great time to invite family members to church to intentionally spend quality time focused on what Jesus Christ has done for us.     

My encouragement is for all believers to be intentional. Be intentional about spending quality time together as a family. Be intentional about focusing on Jesus and his death and resurrection this Easter. Easter is a joyous time when family and neighbors can come together. So let us get together and celebrate.     

About the Author,

Pastor Jason Paul is a graduate of Grace Christian University and has been a Christ follower since he was a young man. His desire to strengthen his daily walk with Jesus through Bible study and to help others strengthen their walk in the Lord. His Bible study podcast titled Abiding in the Faith is designed to present practical Biblical teaching to help make Jesus known and strengthen a person’s walk with Jesus Christ.