Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dig into the word

Have you ever watched a paleontologist on television after a fossil discovery? He gently brushes away the sand and clay. He painstakingly excavates the soil from around the bone. He is thrilled with his find, but his excitement is tempered by caution. He knows that a reckless, hasty, or hurried approach could damage, if not destroy, the fossil.

Students of the Bible should take a lesson from the scientist who digs for bones. With the same extreme care we should chip away human opinion and uncover the truth of God’s word. While zeal and enthusiasm for the Bible are commendable traits, our primary goal should be to search the scriptures to find the truth of God. Paul declared in Romans 10:2, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” I hope that no one wants the same description said of them!

Too often, people depend upon their preacher, priest, or pastor to tell them what they believe. This is a formula for deception. One must know the word of God for themselves. You may have believed that salvation is by faith only all your life, but is that what the Bible teaches? You may have believed in the “Immaculate Conception,” but is that what the Bible teaches? Acts 17:11 says,“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” To do anything less is to invite the destruction of our souls.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, May 28, 2010

Will you be better off when you die?

In his book When Loved Ones Are Taken In Death, Lehman Strauss made some interesting comments about the Greek word translated “departure” in 2 Timothy 4:6. He wrote, “It is used metaphorically in a nautical way as when a vessel pulls up anchor to loose from its moorings and set sail, or in a military way as when an army breaks encampment to move on. In the ancient Greek world this term was used also for freeing someone from chains and for the severing of a piece of goods from the loom. This is what death is as described in the Bible. Here, we are anchored to the hardships and heartaches of this life. In death, the gangway is raised, the anchor is weighed, and we set sail for the golden shore. In death, we break camp here to start for heaven.” The question is, “Will you be better off when you die?”

No matter how good we may have it in this life, no matter how happy we may be, no matter how rich we may be, no matter how healthy we may be, heaven will be better! No matter how bad we may have it in this life, no matter how sad, lonely, depressed we may be, no matter how poor we may be, no matter how sick we may be, hell will be worse!

Selfishly we may want to stay in this life, but we know that we must die to spend eternity with God. Death is an appointment that we can’t escape. There is an assurance of the resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:1; Philippians 1:19-23; Hebrews 9:26-28). Peter gave us a great example to follow (2 Peter 1:12-15). He was ready and prepared to leave this world. He had fought for the Lord. He had dedicated his life to God’s service.

Will YOU be better off when you die? Each of us must answer that question. If the answer is “No,” then contact us for further study so that you can have assurance of your eternal state.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The cleansing power of baptism

After a hard workout, the body is cleansed and refreshed by a bath or shower. You love that feeling, don’t you? In the Bible, God also made very important use of water.

He made provision for purification in the Old Testament by water (Exodus 30:17-21; Numbers 19:16-19). Furthermore, several times physical cleansing represented the spiritual need to be cleansed of sin (Isaiah 1:15-16; Psalm 52:1, 7-10; Zechariah 13:1 James 4:8; Matthew 15:20).

How is someone cleansed of sin? Although most people would tell you it is by faith, the New Testament says it’s baptism. In Acts 22:16, baptism “washes away sin.” In Romans 6:3-4, baptism gives us “new life.” In Titus 3:5, baptism is referred to a “washing of regeneration.” In Hebrews 10:22, our bodies are “washed with pure water.” In 1 Peter 3:21, baptism produces a “clean conscience.” Finally, in Mark 16:16, water is directly connected with salvation. If you want to be clean in a spiritual sense, why not be baptized? It’s just good common sense!

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cherokee rite of passage

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him, and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a man.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removes his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been on watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over His faithful, obedient children. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him. Just because you can’t see God doesn’t mean He is not there. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Kyle Campbell

Friday, May 7, 2010

Is sex really necessary to sell?

The old adage “sex sells” has been around a long time, but the increase in sexually-related advertising should make us wonder if sex is the only way organizations can sell a product or promote a cause these days.

Models, television stars, and movie stars by the dozens have stripped to promote everything from sneakers to animal rights. Pop culture/entertainment guru Kimberly Lansing said, “When celebrities of all ages and walks are participating, it’s scary to think what the future of entertainment, advertising, and pop culture in general will look like in 20 years.” Joanna Krupa, who has posed nude for PETA and Playboy, said, “In America, the church seems to still have more impact than in Europe and that shapes the overall moral sensitivities of people. My take is that we should surely teach our children about boundaries when it comes to nudity, but we have got to stay reasonable and discuss and stop with the demonizing.”

The reason for “demonizing” the “sex sells” approach is because rampant ungodliness is associated with it. Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Sexually-charged advertising presents the temptation to commit adultery within the heart. One could boycott and complain, but the best response is to turn it off or look away. Again, the Lord added, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Better to leave the room, turn the channel, turn the page, or load a new website than to commit sin and possibly be condemned.

Kyle Campbell

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Archaeology: The Gentile temple warning

In 1871 a stone slab containing Greek writing surfaced in Jerusalem. In 1938 another slab similar to it was found just north of the temple mount. Both translate, “No Gentile may enter within this Temple barrier! Anyone caught will be responsible for his own death.”

According to Josephus, these warnings were hung on a low wall that divided the public square of the temple from the sacred inner courtyard that was accessible only to Jews.

These rare finds from the temple of Jesus’ day shed light on the temple regulations, and enrich our understanding of passages such as Acts 21:28-29 and Ephesians 2:14.

Kyle Campbell