Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
The text of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 reveals an admonition of Paul to abound in obedience to the commands of God (especially in the realm of morality). Those who refuse to do so are not rejecting man, they are rejecting God.
I subscribe to the “Daily Writing Tips” email distribution list. On Tuesday the message dealt with the use of the word “disrespect” as a verb. As in, “You disrespect me.” I must admit that I cringe everytime the term is used in that way, as in the past it was commonly expressed, “You show me disrespect.” (As it turns out, though it sounds objectionable, the usage is not incorrect). Following is a short poem describing the feelings I and others have about such usage:
I do not like thee, Disrespect,
Perhaps it is your sound effect,
That causes me to so object
And makes you sound so incorrect.
But this I more than just suspect:
I do not like thee, Disrespect.
Of course, much more objectionable is the act of showing disrespect toward others. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” The word “honor” here means to revere or respect. While it is not always possible to respect the demeanor and actions of men, it is important to always approach them with honor and respect. In this, the Christian will show himself to be commendable and righteous before men.
Turns out, there is good reason to object to the action, if not the usage of the term. “I do not like thee, Disrespect!”
One of the many metaphors that the Holy Spirit uses to describe the relationship between Jesus Christ and the saved is that of a body. The phrase, “the body of Christ” indicates Jesus’ dominion, and the harmony that should exist when each member of “the body” pulls together in service to the Head.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Unity is indeed pleasant and good. It is, unfortunately unattainable with those of the world. They stand opposed to truth and righteousness. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’” (Matthew 10:34-36). It is a common, but unfortunate mistake to think that we can be one with the worldly. This can only happen if we compromise. Instead, John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Continue reading » Unity Among Brethren
On Thursday, the Catholic Pope released a text giving his view of who should be selected as Catholic bishops as the Catholic church goes forward in the 21st century. Of course, the Catholic church’s concepts of how bishops are to be selected, what their qualifications are, and the nature and extent of their rule are all contrary to what is revealed in the New Testament. In this short article, however, it is our intent to examine one aspect of the Pope’s message. Consider the following quote, taken from a report on the document:
Continue reading » In the News: Guardians of Doctrine
Satan is described in scripture as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8); the “wicked one” (Matthew 13:19); “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44); the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4); the “adversary” (1 Peter 5:8); and the “ruler of this world” (John 14:30).
All of these designations indicate a being that is evil, and intent on our destruction. While the world laughs at the concept of evil personified, we know that he is a malevolent individual who desires to see the destruction of Christians. As such, we are warned to be one guard.
One of the scariest descriptions of Satan is given by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:14, as he describes the danger that false teachers bring to God’s people. “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” When we think of the devil, perhaps our minds imagine someone ugly, mean, obviously evil. Often, however, Satan appears to the undiscerning as righteous and good. Paul’s point here is to be aware that a false teacher may not appear to be false. In verse 15, Paul writes, “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Be careful! Discernment is needed. The devil is devious and disguises himself and his servants effectively. Don’t be fooled!
Invitation delivered by: Ben Schmidt
In 2 Kings 6:12-ff, the prophet Elisha showed his servant that with God, we are never alone. This is a lesson we should learn as well!
In Romans 15:1-13, the apostle delivered a number of concise admonitions to the Roman Christians, including the call to receive each other, be gentle and charitable, edify one another, glorify God, rejoice, Praise the Lord, etc. These admonitions are discussed in the lesson.
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
Paul’s use of the Olive Tree metaphor in Romans 11 teaches two important lessons (among others). First, we are saved by Grace. Second, we must remain faithful until death to be saved.
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul exhorted Timothy (as a young man), to be an example to believers. This sermon examines what Paul expected of his son in the faith.
This sermon is an overview of God’s great scheme of redemption.
Verse 7 is a wonderful, concise statement revealing the way God redeemed man. It is through the blood of Jesus. As the perfect sacrifice, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, that we might not die for our transgressions. This gift of the Son is the extension of God’s grace to man.
This gift granted is the result of God’s wisdom and prudence. The word prudence is defined by Strong as “intellectual or moral insight.” The problem of sin is a difficult one, solved only by Divine wisdom and action. We can’t save ourselves. Salvation comes from God’s wise and prudent gift of his Son Jesus.
Jesus’ sacrifice is the culmination of God’s scheme of redemption. He came in the “fullness of time.” God determined to save man at that time, in that way.
Jesus’ sacrifice is for all men. In Christ, “all things” are gathered together. There is no distinction between in race or gender. All are eligible for salvation — “In Him.”
It seems that the most widely quoted passage of scripture in our time is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Often, it is shortened as a part of the statement, “Jesus said, ‘Judge not’!” The statement is true, Jesus did say, “Judge not.” To understand His statement, however, takes some explanation. It is not as cut and dried as many would have you believe.
First, consider the full statement of Jesus in the text, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (1-2). The context shows that this is not a blanket condemnation of judging. It is, rather, a warning. No man can judge another without being judged himself—and, with the same standard of judgment.
Continue reading » “Judge not that you be not judged”
Friday was Valentine’s Day. Some like it, and some don’t. Some view it as an opportunity to express their love for their spouses or “significant others”, and some think it to be a “made up” holiday designed by card companies, florists and confectioners as an excuse to rake in some extra money. To each his own.
What I noticed this Valentine’s Day, (and have noticed off an on for several years now), is the common use of the term “single” with regard to relationships. With the advent of MySpace, Facebook, and the changing attitudes of our society, the definition of “single” as it refers to relationships, has itself undergone a fundamental and rather unfortunate change.
Continue reading » In the News: Are You “Single”?
The world has a skewed view of the Almighty God of heaven. Some consider Him to be a hateful, vengeful God. When they consider God’s treatment of the pagans in Canaan, of Sodom and Gomorrah, and other examples of God’s judgment, they see only His reaction, not the just causes that precipitated that judgment.
Others go to the other end of the spectrum. They see the love of God expressed in Jesus’ life and death and consider Him to be a benevolent God that will overlook sin, and allow all men a heavenly home.
Both images are partly accurate, but entirely wrong because they are incomplete. They emphasize one aspect of God, while rejecting another! God is both just and merciful. Any accurate view of the Almighty must balance these two attributes. The Psalmist, in Psalm 85, expresses that balance well.
“Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven” (10-11).
The Psalmist understood the fierceness of God’s anger. Israel was guilty of sin, and so God showed them His wrath. However, upon their repentance, the Psalmist confidently called upon God to “Show us Your mercy, Lord,
And grant us Your salvation” (7). Eternal salvation is available to all who fear Him, showing God’s justice, and His mercy!