Saturday, June 28, 2008

The end of the world?

According to news reports earlier this week, thousands of people in the Netherlands are preparing for the end of the world in 2012. Most of the ideas are tied to the end of the Mayan calender, also in 2012. Interestingly, most of the people are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment.

There have been so many prophecies about the end of the world. But obviously, they have all been wrong! How do we know that this one will be any different?

The Bible plainly says a number of times that no one will know when Jesus comes again. Paul said that the judgment will come "as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Peter said the same in 2 Peter 3:9-10. As a result, we ought to live righteously and watch for what is to come. We all need to be obedient to the gospel and not be deceived by those who try to convince us that the end of the world is around the corner.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Let every man …"

How does one keep themselves from sin? How can we save ourselves an eternity of punishment? The answer is simple and is recorded in James 1:19-22: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

We must hear the Word! What can stop us from hearing the Word? Ourselves! With the fast pace of society, sometimes the Word is disregarded. One does not hear the Word because they are constantly under the impression that they have all the answers. It is far easier to correct others than to be corrected. How often is judgment passed on others without examining oneself first? Jesus warns us against this: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5). We are to be slow to speak. This allows one to take in all information to be received. If someone is preaching or teaching the gospel of Christ, the only way we can hear it is if we stop talking. When subjects are brought up or being discussed, many feel obligated to throw in their two cents. This is not necessary. The opposite is encouraged. Consider all that is being said and allow it to go uninterrupted. If it is something that you do not agree with or something you have some knowledge about, allow the speaker to finish and then add your knowledge.

If two people both are swift to listen and slow to speak, then great learning can take place. Sometimes the source of the information is considered when listening to the gospel. This should not be a factor. In Matthew 7, Jesus commands that we examine self first and then consider the other. All can learn something from everyone they meet. Further in Matthew, Jesus tells the people, "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not" (23:3). This is in reference to the scribes and the Pharisees. After this statement, Jesus pronounced many woes upon this group but the disciples were still commanded to obey these men. Why? Because they were teaching correctly, but they were not doing them.

Being "swift to hear" and "slow to speak" helps also to be "slow to wrath." When the words being spoken are considered and the person is not, then the wisdom of God shines forth. If we take out the messenger and their life and only consider the Word being spoken then only we and God are left. It is pointless to become angry with God. He is the same from the beginning, until today and through eternity. His Word has not changed and will continue to be the same. One must apply the Word in their life. Why? Because our anger with God and our rejection of His Word will only bring on our own demise. The righteousness of God cannot come from improper attitudes such as anger. God wants "spirit and truth" (John 4:24), for us to "obey from the heart" (Romans 6:17) and for us to "love God and keep his commandments" (1 John 5:2). It requires proper attitude and obedience.

That is why one must, "lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would be "sanctified completely" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This is a complete separation. If it is sinful, filthy, unholy, of the world or anything that would resemble it, we should abstain from it. Separation and abstaining from sin does not include getting as close to it as we can without actually doing it.

When sin is removed from the mind through the Word and our attitude towards it, we repent. Repentance results in a change of our actions. One becomes a "doer(s) of the word, and not hearer(s) only." The two go hand in hand as we can see in vss. 23-26: "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."

If one claims to be a true believer or true follower of God, but does not do the things found in God's Word then they are deceiving themselves. True worshippers and disciples of Christ do the things of which He has commanded. There is no separation of the two. The second chapter of the book of James continues this thought and in the next article we will examine it in more detail.

Jeremy Ferguson

Friday, June 20, 2008

Moses and obedience

In Exodus 3:7-10, God came to Moses in a burning bush and told him that He had decided to deliver His people out of the hand of the Egyptians. Moses would be the one who would be their leader. Although Moses was reluctant at first, throughout the book of Exodus, we can read of Moses' obedience to God. He not only led the people, but also gave them the law God wanted them to live by. He was faithful to God (Hebrews 3:2, 5).

However, in Numbers 20:12-13, it is recorded that Moses did not follow God's instructions and did not glorify Him before the Israelites. When the people were in Kadesh, they were thirsty. God told Moses and Aaron to speak to the rock. Instead, they struck the rock after saying to the people, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" Psalm 106:33 says that Moses "spake unadvisedly with his lips." Moses and Aaron took the glory of the miracle and did not give glory to God.

Because of this, he was not allowed to enter the promised land. Likewise, we need to live right or we will lose our chance to go to heaven (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:31-46). Eternal life depends upon obedience, not only upon faith. Are you living up to God's standards? If you are not, you need to repent and be converted (Acts 3:19), being baptized for the remission for your sins (Acts 2:38). Please leave us a comment if you would like to study further.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 16, 2008

The queen of Sheba

First Kings 10 records the visit of the queen of Sheba to Solomon. She had heard of his great wisdom and wanted to see for herself. After she had visited with him, she said, "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw them with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom" (1 Kings 10:6-8)!

How happy do you think those servants were? If they followed human nature (and they probably did), then the expression "familiarity breeds contempt" likely held true. They probably appreciated the wisdom at first, but then it "grew old" to them. The queen saw the wisdom as priceless and believed in Solomon. In many ways, we have the wisdom of God right in front of us in the Bible and yet we neglect it. It has become such a familiar fixture that it no longer penetrates and implants itself within the heart (James 1:21). Jesus said concerning the queen of Sheba, "The queen of the South will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 12:42). Will you heed the wise words of God? Will you obey His precious word and be saved?

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Let no man say"

In James 1:12, we see the reward of enduring through trials. In James 1:13-18, we see the nature of our trials. James 1:13 states, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." There are many that believe that God puts us through trials to test our faith; this is not true. God is holy. He can have no association with evil. This prohibits Him from tempting us to sin. Anything that God does is good; it is perfect. From the beginning of our Bibles we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth" (Genesis 1:1). He created everything in six days. God spoke and no only "was it so" but "it was good" (Genesis 1). This word translated "good" came from the Hebrew word towb or tobe, which means "to be good (or well) in the widest sense: to be better" (Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament, 2895). God could not help but make things that are "good." When God creates or changes something it instantly becomes better. One cannot read of any account in the Bible of God making a mistake or making something worse than it was to begin with.

Many of the world try to accuse God of mistakes or making something worse than it was originally. For example, when God destroyed those on the earth with the flood. Satan, which translated means "the accuser," and his children make the accusation that when the Bible states, "It repented the Lord that he made man on the earth," that He had done something wrong. The word "repent" is translated from the primitive Hebrew word nacham, which literally means, "to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry" (Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament, 5162). One can do something good and still feel sorry that you had done it. When we chastise our children to correct their error, we know we have to do it, but we still feel bad sometimes when we do it. God created mankind on the sixth day and when He had looked back on everything that He had created, "it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). This includes mankind. Men have been and always will be free moral agents. We have the God-given right to decide our own fate. If we chose good, reward. If we chose bad, punishment.

In Genesis 6, mankind had chosen evil and the Lord knew that it was time to purge the earth from all of its evil. He was cleansing the earth; He was making it better. These same people point at Jesus' crucifixion and accuse God of error. They believe that God and Jesus were to originally create an earthly kingdom, but the Jews had rejected Christ. So God instituted the church until the Messiah returns to earth once again and sets up His kingdom. This is a misunderstanding of many passages. Jesus was always prophesied to die a death of a martyr. In Isaiah 53, the entire chapter is a discussion of the trials and death Jesus would endure perfectly while here on the earth. Prophesies found in Daniel 2, Joel 2 and Isaiah 2 all point to the creation of the kingdom of God or the mountain of the Lord's house. In Acts 2, we see the creation of this kingdom, the creation of this house. In Acts 2:47, "the Lord added to this church daily such as should be saved." This was not plan B. This was the plan from the beginning. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, we read that, "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." We are called by the gospel. The gospel is what brings us into the church, the kingdom. From the beginning, God planned our salvation and made no mistakes in the process thereof.

When we are tempted we cannot blame God. God gives us the exact opposite of temptation: "Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:17-18).

God gives us all we need and more. He is perfect and immovable. He will always be perfect, so it is we that separate ourselves from Him. We are lead away from our Father by our own lusts. We see something that appeals to one of our desires (cf. 1 John 2:16) and we follow after it. This begins our digression. James 1:14-15 tells us, "every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Yielding to temptation can only and will only result in our spiritual death. We are putting something ahead of our God. When one sins, they are disregarding God's laws for the gratification of their own desires; we are putting our own desires before our Father's. In Isaiah 59:1-2, we are told, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." God can have no association with us while in our sinful state. Our lusts cause us to be separated from God, so we must transform ourselves to His will to be right with Him once again. Paul charges Christians everywhere in Romans 12:2 to be "not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." By rejecting self and accepting God, we remove the separation between us and the Father. That is why James commands us simply in James 1:16, "Do not err, my beloved brethren." The word "err" means to wander off. Satan does not kidnap you and pull you forcefully from God's protection; we wander off from the Father by willfully following our own lusts. Let us be mindful of where we stand and keep from separating ourselves resulting in eternal Hell.

Jeremy Ferguson

Monday, June 2, 2008


Someone once told me that philosophically there is no such concept as tomorrow. There is only today. When tomorrow arrives, it is always today. When I go to bed, it's today, and when I wake up, it's today! Although it took me a little while to wrap my mind around that thought, it makes sense.

Psalm 39:5 says, "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity." We all know that life is brief, especially all of us who have reached middle age.

One mistake that we never want to make is to put off for tomorrow what we should do today. An instance of this is in Matthew 25:24-30. The "one talent" man thought he had a fantastic excuse, but an excuse never relieves responsibility.

Remember, today is the day we die, not tomorrow. What you should do is concentrate your energy toward learning the Master's will and then doing it (Matthew 7:21; 2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 4:26; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2). If we can help you, write to us!

Kyle Campbell