Friday, January 30, 2009

"We are all witnesses of these things"

In Acts 10:39, Peter said, "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: …" The apostles were eyewitnesses (1 Peter 5:1; 1 John 1:1-4). How do we know they told the truth? If they did not tell the truth, then the gospel would be a sham, and there would be no reason whatsoever to put one's faith in it.

But the testimony of miracles, signs, and wonders affirm that God's word is the truth. After seeing the miracle of her son being raised from the dead, the widow of Zarephath said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth" (1 Kings 17:26). Secular history, such as the history of Alexander the Great, could be accurate or it could be inaccurate, but the scriptures have a testimony which confirms it to all of us (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:1-4). The real question is, will you obey it and let it become a part of your life, to guide you in your decisions? Contact us if you would like further study.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"For better or for worse"

These familiar words form a part of just about every wedding ceremony I have ever attended. Living with someone all of your life takes true devotion and commitment. In 1816, the preside of Yale was complaining because the divorce rate was 1% in the state of Connecticut. How we long for those days! However, in the days of easy divorce, the words of the Lord are still true (Matthew 19:9).

If you cannot imagine yourself living with your current boyfriend of girlfriend for the rest of your life, you have no business getting married! Financial problems, family problems, and health problems can really take a toll on a couple. Husbands must love their wives (Ephesians 5:25) and wives must submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22). Only then will God's plan truly work in the way He intended. Divorce is one of the hardest emotional processes you will ever go through, so please choose wisely!

Kyle Campbell

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The love of God

There is no greater verse on the love of God than John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." His matchless love for His creation compelled Him to give His dear Son for our salvation (Romans 5:8-10). No one has ever experienced greater love than this (John 15:13).

Yet with this tremendous love, not everyone will be saved. The path is narrow, and only a few will find eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). We love our children more than life itself, but we cannot make them decide to do right. God will not force us to obey, but has lovingly encouraged us to submit to His will and be eternally blessed.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Let not many of you become teachers …"

In the New King James Version, the English word "stricter" is used one time. James 3:1 states, "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." At first it seems that James is trying to keep people from becoming teachers! He warns that all of those who choose to be teachers are going to be under a "stricter" judgment. In Hebrews 5:12, a majority of the Hebrew brethren are condemned because they had been Christians for long enough that they should have been teachers. Hebrews 5:12 requires all Christians to grow and mature into teachers. The two appear to be pulling Christians in two different directions. Once again, the writings of James seems to be in direct conflict with the writings of another inspired writer! The resolution is simple.

The word translated as "stricter" is the word meizon. This word is translated in other versions as "greater." The original idea was not one of strictness as in a bias against all teachers, but the idea that they have the most to answer for because of the maturity and talents they had received. This same word is used in John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." The most love a person can possess is to be willing to give their life for their friend. The most responsibility a person could possibly have as a Christian is to teach others.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul writes, "For no other foundation can anyone lay that that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). The Corinthians were divided among themselves. They had lost sight of Christ and began to follow preachers instead. This is where these verses come in. Paul reminded them that there is only one foundation: Christ. All preachers and teachers build on that one foundation. In the day of judgment, every person will answer for how they have spent their time on earth. Those who were obedient inherit heaven, those who refuse inherit eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). "A man's work" are those he converts. As in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), everyone will answer for how well they were stewards of all they have been given, including how they taught others and spread the gospel. As Paul points out, some of those one converts will stand in the day of judgment: the "gold, silver, and precious jewels." Other converts are made of "wood, hay, and straw." Under fire the first group is strengthened and refined, but the same fire burns and destroys the second group.

When the second group is burned, Paul states that the man who helped in their conversion will "suffer loss." Once again, he will be accountable for those he taught. This accountability is not based on their salvation but in how they were taught. This is the point of James 3:1. Following verse one, Paul enters into a discussion of the tongue. There is no greater responsibility of a Christian than teaching others. A Christian, as pointed out in Hebrews 5, as they grow and mature begins to have more responsibility. Even though one would have more to answer for, every Christian has the responsibility to grow and along with that comes the accountability to teach others the way to heaven.

Jeremy Ferguson

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The attitude of Cornelius

Cornelius displayed a wonderful attitude in Acts 10:33 when he said, "Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God." Mankind desperately needs the attitude which says that we will only listen to what God says, not what man says.

Peter reiterated: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God …" We want so much for everyone to carefully follow the Bible in every aspect of life. If one does not, then they will be lost for Christ said that His words are the determining factor for our judgment (John 12:48). If you truly love Jesus and want to show Him your friendship, keep His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10), and be like Cornelius! 

Kyle Campbell

Monday, January 5, 2009

Archaeology: Caiaphas' family tomb

In 1990, builders accidently uncovered a first century A.D. burial cave south of Jerusalem. Later, archaeologists investigated, and found several stone boxes (called ossuaries) that contained human bones.

Inside the stone boxes were the bones of two infants, a child, a teenager, a woman, and a man. One box had the name "Caiaphas" on it. The man's bones may be those of Caiaphas, the priest who brought Jesus to trial, mentioned in Matthew 26:57 and John 18:13-14. Hopefully, additional information will be able to confirm this find.

Kyle Campbell