Friday, May 29, 2009

Are honesty and sincerity enough?

There is certainly sufficient evidence to show that this is not the case. For example, Saul thought that he had done the will of God when he spared the best of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:15, 20). He seemed to have good intentions in wanting to offer the best to God. However, this is not what the Lord wanted, calling it through Samuel "evil" (1 Samuel 15:19). Saul learned that rebellion is as bad as witchcraft, and that he would be removed from being king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:22-23). He appeared to be honest and sincere, but it didn't matter. God had told him differently.

Is it any different today? Is there any reason to believe that honesty and sincerity will save us now? Cornelius was a good man. Acts 10:1-2 reads, "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that fear God will all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." But he was still someone who needed to be saved (Acts 11:14). Make no mistake, God will not allow you to do as you please! Follow His will carefully! If you would like to know what the Bible says about salvation, please contact us.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, May 25, 2009

Faith and opportunities

Numbers 13-14 records the sad incident of the spies going into the land of Canaan. The people wanted to see the land and how it could be taken (Deuteronomy 1:22). When the spies came back from wandering 40 days in the land, they said that the land couldn't be taken because the people were too strong. Because of their unbelief, the people had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. All of the people of that generation died, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, who had faith in God and believed that the land could conquered.

This got me to thinking about how unbelief sees the obstacles and faith sees the opportunities. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of "power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). God never intended for us to be petrified little people, wondering what we could ever accomplish. He tells us to go forth and do His will. When that is accomplished, He promises that He will take care of us. It does take great faith to react in the way God wants. Unbelief has the terrible tendency to only focus on what seems to make the task impossible, therefore preventing us from truly accomplishing something special in the work of God.

So what will it be with you? Will you fall by the same example of unbelief (Hebrews 4:1-2)? Will you believe that God will be with you throughout all your trials (Matthew 6:25-34)? Choose you this day to see the opportunities and seize them!

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." We were in serious trouble eternally without some help. God came to our rescue with our grace. Contrary to what a lot of people think, God's grace is for everyone. Paul wrote, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). Someone once said that grace is like a blanket that covers the whole world, and that's a good observation!

Of course, the greatest manifest of God's grace was in Jesus (John 3:16). However, it is critical for you to know that grace doesn't begin and end with God/Christ. A person who wants to take advantage of God's grace and Christ's sacrifice must respond in obedience. Hebrews 5:9 says, "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." It's been likened to a drowning person and rope -- one must have the presence of mind to make the effort and be saved.

Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." God's gift is His grace. Through our faith, we begin the process of obedience (John 8:24). It is complete when we repent (Acts 17:30), confess (Romans 10:10), and are baptized (Acts 2:38). If you would like, please contact us for further study.

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mine is the only opinion that counts

Once when an umpire called Babe Ruth "out" on strikes, Ruth reasoned fallaciously, "There's 44,000 people here who know that last one was a 'ball.'" The umpire replied, "Maybe so, but mine is the only opinion that counts."

Those who rigidly stand for God's holy truth are often ridiculed as being a narrow-minded minority. Nevertheless, they realize that in the end there's only one opinion that truly counts -- the one revealed by God Himself in His holy word.

Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." If you believe in the Bible, then you've got to accept the fact that God will hold us to His standard. We want to do what the Bible says, and we want to go to heaven. If you would like more information, please contact us.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God gives grace to the humble

James 4:5 closes with, "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?'" In our last look at James, we examined the war that takes place all around us and in each one of us. We discussed how the flesh and the spirit are at odds with one another, and can never reach peace until God has the eventual victory. Both sides of this war know the eventual conclusion and each know who will be the victor. James 4:5 is a reference to when this spiritual war had reached a climax. Referring back to Genesis 6:5, think back to a time when all of mankind's thoughts "were only evil continually." There is no other time that could be of a greater example of this spiritual warfare becoming a physical warfare than the account in Genesis 6.

James does not speak of our mind of the spirit here in James 4:5, but is referring to the inner man and his thoughts. As has been pointed out, in Genesis 6, mankind's thoughts were only evil. The flesh desired to have victory over God and the light of His truth by seeking its own carnal pleasures. Mankind as a majority turned from God and every man followed his own heart. As discussed in our last study of James, the flesh could not provide man with the satisfaction that the spirit, with God's help, could do. This is why James records the words of Genesis 6:5 about mankind's "thoughts only being evil continually" as "the spirit who dwells in us yearns jealousy" (Genesis 6:5; James 4:5). It sought to do what God could do, but knew that it could not. It desired what it could not have, and thus began war after war.

God "gives more grace." God is the creator and owner of everything on earth. The psalmist writes the words of God as He says, "Every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness" (Psalm 50:9-12). Isaiah also writes, "Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,' says the Lord." "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:1-2). God owns everything because He has created it. He is the one that gives to us all of our blessings (James 1:17). What can man give God that He does not already have? By the same logic, what can this world give us that God cannot? What can the world do for us? Nothing.

Therefore James writes, "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Here he quotes Proverbs 3:4. From the beginning, God has rejected the man or woman that would not acknowledge Him as the Almighty. For all of those who are willing to obey Him and subject themselves into His service, He gives grace and blessings. For all those who choose to rebel against His authority, He resists and punishes. Man cannot resist the authority of God and be pleasing unto Him. By resisting God's word, man makes himself an enemy.

Recalling Genesis 6 back into the discussion, when mankind only thought evil continually, what conclusion did it reach? Total destruction of all of those who did not enter into the ark. When God's wrath was poured out on mankind in the form of the flood, only those who were willing to be obedient and do His will were saved. How can we save ourselves from the same destruction as those who were killed in the flood? Peter tells us that just as water saved Noah by separating him from the fate of those evil men, we can be saved in water also. Peter writes, "… when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:20-21). Through faith and obedience to God's Word, we can receive His grace of salvation. By conforming ourselves to the image of His Son through baptism we too can be saved like Noah (Romans 6:1-17).

Jeremy Ferguson

Friday, May 1, 2009

Archaeology: The Madaba mosaic map

This mosaic map of Palestine was made about A.D. 560 to serve as the decorative floor of the St. George's Orthodox Church in Madaba, Jordan near the Dead Sea in modern Jerusalem.

It was discovered late in the 19th century, during an excavation and reconstruction of the mosaic floor. The current church was built in 1896 over the remains of a Byzantine church, which is believed to have been built at the end of the 6th or at the beginning of the 7th century A.D.

This oldest map of Palestine yet found shows the locations of dozens of places where important biblical events occurred. The central element is a large depiction of Jerusalem as it appeared at the height of the Byzantine period. The map depicts some famous Old City structures such as the Damascus Gate, St. Stephen's Gate, the Gold Gate, the gate leading to Mt. Zion, the Citadel (Tower of David), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Cardo Maximus (the major street running across the city from north to south).

Kyle Campbell