Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The keys of the kingdom

Jesus promised Peter the keys of the kingdom, which represent the opening of the kingdom of heaven to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles (Matthew 16:19). “Keys” represent power or authority (Isaiah 22:22), and Jesus was promising Peter that he would be given the power to open the kingdom. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus told the rest of the apostles that they would have the same keys.

The keys were first used in Acts 2 when Peter preached to the Jews. He used them a second time in Acts 10 when he preached to the Gentiles. Because they were endowed by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), when they preached the requirements of salvation, they were “binding and loosing” God’s commandments.

Because they exercised the Holy Spirit that was given to them, we now have the requirements of salvation easily laid out for us in the New Testament. We need to read it and follow it so that we can be saved.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where is your treasure?

What you value most is your treasure. Where you spend your time and your money is your treasure. Whatever dominates your conversation is what you treasure. What others know you for is a good indication of what your treasure is (Luke 12:34).

Most Christians are quick to claim that God is their first priority. Yet often their actions reveal that their treasure is not God but to what is in the world. Some Christians find it difficult to discuss their relationship with God, but they can chatter easily about their family, friends, or hobbies. Some find it impossible to get up early in order to spend time with God, but they willingly get up at dawn to pursue a hobby. Some find it difficult to contribute their money to God but readily spend lavishly on recreation. Some boldly approach strangers to sell a product, yet they are unbelievably timid in telling others about their Savior. Some give hundreds of hours to serve in volunteer organizations but feel they have no time available to serve God.

If you are unsure of where your treasure is, examine where you spend your available time and money. Reflect on what it is you most enjoy thinking about and discussing. Ask your friends to tell you what they think is most important to you. Ask your children to list what is most valuable to you. It may surprise you to know what others consider to be your treasure.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is the earth really revolting?

Robert L. Bufkin, a Pentecostal preacher from Arkansas who believes he can heal people of AIDS and cancer, recently wrote, “The planet earth is revolting, and by eruptions from its depths that blots out the sun, and by its long hidden crude oil coming from the heart of the earth polluting the seas, earth is giving the human race its final eviction notice. Earth is experiencing birth pangs and each painful eruption is worse than the one before. And the pains are coming faster and closer together until there will be a kind of total eruption which will issue into a period of worldwide destruction and terror never before experienced by mankind. It will be called, The Great Tribulation. God and satan and man and the earth, will all be killing and destroying to a degree never before imagined. These recent eruptions are just previews of coming attractions.”

So many people want to convince you that all the tumultuous problems in the world are harbingers of a coming “tribulation.” Although it may sound like they are giving good, biblical evidence, they misinterpret the scriptures. The book of Revelation is not giving a preview of the end times, with the exception of Revelation 20:11-22:21 which describes the final judgment and the glories of heaven.

God told us to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). No one is helped by false doctrine. The Lord Himself said that the end of the world would come like a “thief” (Matthew 24:43; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4). The end will not occur according to a contrived timeline which has been developed from a misinterpretation of biblical prophecy!

Kyle Campbell

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"The oil of society"

Do you know what it is? It’s lies! People have contended that society would fall apart without a little deception here and there, but we are going to see that lying and deceit is an abomination to God.

Lying and deceit begins with Satan, for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). For us, deceit starts in the heart (Mark 7:22; James 1:14). The Lord said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37).

The consequences of deceit are serious. In Genesis 20:2, 12, when Abraham lied to Abimelech, the nation of Israel almost ceased to exist before it got started! Lying will totally destroy every good relationship in your life. But even worse, sin is an abomination (Proverbs 6:17). God hates lying! In Romans 1:28-29, lying and deceit belongs to a depraved or worthless mind.

In short, lying will condemn you (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6). You may be able to craftily deceive someone, but your sins will go before you in judgment (1 Timothy 5:24-25). You cannot hide (Numbers 32:23).

The alternative is to be honest and upright with all men. Someone who has tasted the graciousness of God will not deceive (1 Peter 2:1-3). Our loins are to be girded with truth (Ephesians 6:14). Psalm 15:1-2 says, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Tell the truth. It will keep you our of trouble and will save your soul.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"A dry and thirsty ground"

Because of Judah’s sin, they would be pulled up and “planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground” (Ezekiel 19:13). Although Babylon was a fertile area, it was the condition of the captive people, not that of the land, which Ezekiel refers. We are going to examine how sin causes us to be in “a dry and thirsty ground.”

First, when you lose physical possessions. Because of sin, Saul lost his throne (1 Samuel 15:26), David lost his child (2 Samuel 12:19), and Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives (Acts 5:1-11). These were terrible losses, and most people would find them to be catastrophic, but there are even worse losses for you.

Second, when you lose spiritual possessions. These great spiritual possessions would include fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18), our brethren (1 Corinthians 5:9, 11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6), and our eternal home (2 Peter 1:5-11; Revelation 21:27). Why would you ever want to give these up?

It is regrettable that Judah’s sins caused them to go into captivity. They could have remained a precious vine (cf. Psalm 80:8-9; Isaiah 5:1-7), but their sins caused the loss of what was precious to them. Do not let sin cause you this kind of loss for you.

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Archaeology: Carchemish

This city is mentioned only three times in the Bible (2 Chronicles 35:20-24; Isaiah 10:9; Jeremiah 46:2-12), but archaeology reveals that it was in a strategic location, desired by the Hittites, Assyrians and Babylonians.

Carchemish was important in biblical history for one key battle. In 605 B.C, the Babylonians defeated the Assyrian and Egyptian armies there. This destroyed the Assyrians and paved the way for the Babylonians to conquer much of the biblical world, including the kingdom of Judah.

In 586 B.C., the Babylonians stormed Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. Jeremiah 46 and 2 Chronicles 35-36 speak of the prophecies and circumstances leading up to the Battle of Carchemish, and the devastating chain of events that followed.

Kyle Campbell