Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jesus, the Son of God

Jesus is referred to as the “Son of God” 47 times in the New Testament. Because He is the Son of God, there are several characteristics which can help us understand more about His nature.

First, Jesus was the Son of promise. It was promised that Jesus would be a king, ruler, judge, and prophet (Psalm 110:1-7). We needed a deliverer. Mankind was ruled by the “law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Second, Jesus was the Son of joy. Simeon saw Christ as a great joy (Luke 2:25), as did the wise men (Matthew 2:9-11). Why would Jesus have all this praise? Because we received relief from sin (John 1:29-34).

Third, Jesus was the Son of sorrows. He was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He was so different than what the Jews expected! They wanted glory and grandeur, not someone who was oppressed and wounded. However, this did not fit within the plan of God. Fourth, Jesus was the Son of power. Jesus has power because of His resurrection (Romans 1:4). Jesus has the ability to judge (Matthew 25:31-32, 46). Every knee will bow when He comes again (Romans 14:11).

After seeing all that Jesus is, hopefully you have been edified in your faith, or you have seen evidence that makes you want to examine Jesus more closely. Our confession is that He is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16), and we want to do our best to show you evidence as to why you need to believe the same.

Kyle Campbell

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marks of those who love the Lord

In Psalm 91:14-16, the psalmist is distinguishing some of the characteristics of those who truly love God, and tells us what God will do for them. Let’s consider five of them.

First, they have set their love upon the Lord (vs. 14). The Christian’s heart has been turned away from the world and in the direction of God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Thus, God’s child has turned to Him, and away from sin (cf. Romans 6:17-18; Colossians 3:1-2). It is only when we have this understanding and, thus, this kind of commitment that we can be acceptable. Many people have a passing interest in Christ (Luke 8:11-14; Mark 7:6), but this is not enough (John 14:15; Matthew 22:37-39).

Second, they know His name (vs. 14). All of us know people whom we are very close to; our dear friends are people with which we have spent considerable time. They are ones we have tested and tried; their friendship has been proven. To know God is to trust Him, to believe Him (Psalm 9:10). Abraham knew God, he trusted Him (Romans 4:3; 17-23). On the other hand, the wicked do not know God, and they are cursed because of it (Isaiah 1:3).

Third, they pray effectively (vs. 15). Those who love the Lord have the assurance that their prayers will be answered; they may confidently express their dependence on God. Some men, of course, God will not hear (Proverbs 15:29; 28:9; cf. 1:24-31; Job 27:8-9). However, God’s ears are open and receptive to His faithful followers (1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 18:3, 6).

Fourth, the Lord is with them in trouble (vs. 15). Notice, they are not immune to trouble. We must see that there is actually some benefit to us when trouble arises (James 1:2-4). Trials serve to make our faith stronger, so we will have testing in this life. However, we have the assurance that God is with us in all our troubles (Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 13:6; cf. Romans 8:31-39; Philippians 4:13).

Fifth, they will be saved (vs. 16). When God shows us His salvation, it will be worth it all (2 Timothy 4:6-8; cf. 1 Peter 1:3-9; Luke 18:29-30). This salvation is possible for us through Christ (Acts 4:12). This salvation can set us free from sin, and can deliver us from the picture that is painted for us in Mark 9:43-44 and Revelation 20:10.

What a wonderful description the psalmist gives us of those who love the Lord! The only way to receive these blessings is to obey God’s commands. This is truly a straight and narrow way compared to what the world has to offer. For the one who perseveres, a “crown of life” will be waiting for them.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, September 21, 2009

A little change never hurts

Paul is a good example of a man who was wrong, but then changed his mind. He said in Acts 22:3-5, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.” But he went on to reveal how Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus and he changed his mind and became a Christian (Acts 22:16).

In Mark 15:27-32, Christ is crucified and while hanging on the cross, many people insulted him, including the two thieves who hung on the cross with Him. However, in Luke 23:39-41, one of the thieves confessed Him saying, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” He had a change of heart. He knew he deserved what he was getting, but he also knew that Christ was innocent and did not deserve to be crucified.

An unfortunate case of someone who was unwilling to change was Agrippa. Paul made an appeal to the Roman ruler by asking the question if he believed the prophets concerning Christ. He replied, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” We never know if he ever the change to become a child of God.

What do you need to do? Are you willing to change? Will you have a heart that can be molded like Paul or the thief on the cross? Or will you be like Agrippa? Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” If you are willing to repent and obey, then the “times of refreshing” can occur in your soul. If you would like to study further, please contact us.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don't be a friend of the world

James wrote, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (4:4). James spoke this to Christians who have gone back to a life they should not have. “Adulteresses” implies leaving something to which they ought to be faithful.

Peter said, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Separation from the world involves the heart and the body. Paul spoke of the body in Romans 12:1-2, and Jesus spoke of the heart in Matthew 15:19-20.

The Bible is very clear in that there is no middle ground. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters …” and “He that is not with me is against me …” Judges 5:23 says, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” Meroz tried to be neutral, but it is not possible.

So we need to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The worldly attitudes of envy, jealousy, hatred, worry, etc., must be put away, along with the worldly actions of adultery, lying, drinking, drugs, etc. If you want your name to be in the Lamb’s book life at the judgment day (Revelation 20:11-15), then you need to run away from the world and run toward God and obey Him!

Kyle Campbell

Sunday, September 6, 2009

No regrets!

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who regrets becoming a Christian. It is very unfortunate that some “televangelists” portray the Christian life as an avenue for prosperity and satisfaction. But the Bible tells a different story.

Paul wrote, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). When Paul and Barnabas returned from preaching the gospel in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, they said, “… we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The scriptures are clear that living as a Christian can be a very difficult road. That being the case, you would expect to hear a lot of people complaining and leaving the Lord, right? Wrong!

People who labor through the problems know that their labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). They joyfully accept the “bad times” right along with the “good times.” And they wouldn’t change it for the world! It’s encouraging to know that so many godly, righteous Christians are exactly where they want to be: in the bosom of their beloved Father, serving Him faithfully, and anticipating a glorious home in heaven one day!

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Archaeology: The pool of Bethesda

This site, mentioned in John 5:1-15, had long been disputed. Until the 19th century, there was no archaeological evidence for the Pool of Bethesda, so skeptics used this as proof that John’s account was written by some later zealot who did not have eyewitness knowledge of Jerusalem or an actual pool called Bethesda.

In 1956, digging at the ancient biblical site of Bethesda, near the Sheep Gate just north of the temple mount in Jerusalem, archaeologists unearthed a rectangular pool 40 feet underground with two porticos or colonnades on each side and a fifth one on the broad retaining wall that separates the northern from the southern pool.

Kyle Campbell