Sunday, April 26, 2009

The tabernacle

In one of our Bible classes at the church, we are studying God's revealing of the plans for the tabernacle to Moses. One point that is very clear is that God's plan were very specific. In Exodus 25-27, the instructions covered every little measurement and detail Moses needed to construct God's house. God was gracious because He told them everything they needed to know to please Him. There was no need to guess!

The same is true today. Hebrews 8:5 says, "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." This context speaks of His church. God wants to bless us, and He graciously shows us what we need to be to please Him, whether it be doctrine, name, organization, worship, or terms of entrance. Everything has been revealed (2 Peter 1:3).

If we will just do what He tells us to do, we will be blessed and we will be saved. Our God wants to bless us, and we pray that you will do what God wants you to do. If you would like, please contact us for further study.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baptism and the blood of Christ

Jesus said in Luke 22:20, "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." From this verse, we are taught that His blood has established what we called the New Covenant. Jesus is the mediator of this covenant (Hebrews 9:15), and just as the first covenant was established with blood (Exodus 24:8), so was this New Covenant (Hebrews 9:18-26).

When you look in the New Testament, it is not difficult to see the many functions of the blood of Christ. It justifies us (Romans 5:9), forgives us (Ephesians 1:7), redeems us (Colossians 1:14), cleanses us (1 John 1:7), and washes us (Revelation 1:5).

How do we come in contact with the blood of Christ? His blood is contacted through baptism. Through baptism we are buried with Him into His death (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12). Since baptism washes away our sins (Acts 22:16), and puts us into Christ (Galatians 3:27), it is easy to see how it accomplishes the purpose of connecting us with His blood. If you want to be saved, there is more to it than just belief. Be immersed into water for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38)!

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Will you make it to heaven?

It depends on if you live your life faithfully. Revelation 20:11-15 describes the judgment which will occur at the end of time. At that time, the "dead, small and great" will stand before God. The book of life will be opened and our works will be judged.

When people are entered into contests, they are graded or evaluated as to whether they can do what they do perfectly. Thankfully, we don't have to live perfectly. God knows that we will sin (Romans 3:23). If we obey the gospel and do His will, we have the opportunity to be saved and have our sins forgiven (Acts 8:22; 22:16; 1 John 1:9). Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy (Hebrews 8:6-12)!

Kyle Campbell

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where do wars and fights come from?

James writes in a debate-like style. After his basic introduction, James starts right in with stating problems and saying what needed to be said to fix the problems. In chapter two it was showing partiality. In chapter three, it was the tongue. Now in chapter four he will address the subject of conflict itself. Why do men choose to sin and put themselves against God or as James writes, "Where do wars and fights come from among you?" These conflicts could be between man and man or they could be between man and God. The answer is still the same, "Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?" (James 4:1).

James uses two different words to describe the conflicts in question. The first word, translated "wars," originally defined a prolonged conflict that included all the smaller, individual battles. For example, this word could describe the American Revolution and it would include the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Yorktown. The second used, translated "fights," is a description of a single battle. Using our same example above, this word would describe the Battle of Lexington or the Battle of Yorktown, but not both. By using both words, James is including any and all types of conflict. It includes a heated exchange between family members or the rivalry that over time would split a congregation. One problem or the entire series of conflicts all are started by the same source, the pleasures that war in the body.

The battles that happen externally all around us have their origin within us. Two desires are at war with each other within each and every one of us. The combatants are the flesh and the spirit. Although James does not name the two here in his letter, Paul outlines the conflict in Romans 8. The two are the opposite of each other. What the flesh desires, the spirit does not. What the spirit desires, the flesh does not. The flesh and its lusts are for the darkness and carnality of this world. The spirit and its lusts are for the light and the things of God. That is why Paul tells us that, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:5-8). Both sides are seeking to have completeness or happiness, but only one will achieve it.

That is why James writes, "You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2). The flesh can never find true peace and happiness. Why is this? The flesh desires things that it does not have. If a fleshly, carnally-minded person decided that they wanted something, they would do whatever it takes to obtain it. Whether it be by murder, stealing, fighting or warring, it makes no difference. Once the person receives what they lusted after, the flesh, by definition, will still want what it does not have. So the flesh continues to fight and war because it continually wants and lusts to fill the hole that can never be filled. The things of the flesh cannot bring peace to anyone. Peace and happiness can only be achieved by following God.

James writes that the way to be at peace and end these petty wars is through prayer to God (James 4:3). They were asking God to end the wars from without and within, but they were not asking for the right things. They prayed for material blessings to bring them peace. Of course, God was not answering their prayers! Why would God give His children something that would only cause them to lust and desire more possessions? If they had prayed to God for wisdom and spiritual maturity then the Father would have given them all they could have wanted (James 1:4). They might have even received some physical blessings because God would have taken care of them in whatever way was best. If they truly needed something, God would provide it. If they were truly following the mind of the spirit, the Father would have done whatever needed to be done. They were more focused on the physical, carnal things around them.

James called them "adulterers and adulteresses" because of their outward profession of faith but their inward dedication to the world. Did they not know that holding on to the lusts and desires for the things of this world puts one at odds with God? Just as the flesh and the spirit war with each other, God and this world are at war. In any war, a person cannot fight for both sides. If we choose to follow this world, we put ourselves against God. If we choose God, then we put ourselves at war with this world. Both sides want us. This world wants what it does not have: Christians. God wants all men everywhere to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Which side are you choosing? Being mindful of our thoughts and prayers can help us determine which side of this conflict we are on. God is going to win, will you be on His side?

Jeremy Ferguson

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are you important?

Ephesians 4:4-6 illustrates the unity of God's people with the very familiar seven "ones." Paul had just encouraged them to be unified in vss. 1-3. Unity is necessary because in vs. 16, it is written, "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

The Lord's church has one purpose and mission, but it is composed of many different people. A lot of people believe they are not useful, so they quit. Our one goal is to glorify God, and all parts are necessary for the glorification of God (1 Corinthians 12:12-25). You are important, so don't give up in serving God, even though you may feel insignificant. The Lord and His church need whatever talents you possess!

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Archaeology: Samaria

Few cities are mentioned more times in the Old Testament than Samaria. Excavations have uncovered much of the city and have found it to have been extravagant, prosperous, and strong.

For most of the history of the kingdom of Israel -- after the kingdom was split in two following Solomon's rule -- Samaria was the third, and last, capital of the northern kingdom. The Bible speaks of this well-fortified city built by King Omri and King Ahab.

Although much of the ruins of the Old Testament period were destroyed when King Herod built over and through earlier levels, enough has been found to show that Samaria was extravagant and strong, as described in the Old Testament (cf. 1 Kings 16:24; 2 Kings 6-22; 2 Chronicles 18, and the prophets Hosea, Amos, and Micah). Amos refers to houses and beds of ivory (Amos 3:15; 6:4).

Kyle Campbell