Saturday, January 28, 2012

First century church problems

We sometimes think that we are the only ones who have problems. If we are not so naive as to think that we are not the only ones who have problems, then we are confident that our problems are so much worse than others.
But in this short space, we are going to consider, from concrete examples, some of the problems in the first century church. I believe you will find that they were plagued by the same types of problems that churches have now. Study and meditate upon the following examples: lying (Acts 5:1-11), hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-14), forsaken duty (Acts 6:1-6), factionalism (1 Corinthians 1:10-17), false teachers (2 Timothy 2:16-18), immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1-13), unfaithful preachers (2 Timothy 4:10) and indifference (Revelation 3:15-17).
So we see that churches had their own problems in the first century. How did they overcome them? By heeding Paul’s instructions: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). Churches can also overcome sin by heeding the Lord’s words: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). Do not think we are unique when we have to deal with sin and wickedness. Churches throughout the ages will continually deal with these problems until the Lord comes again. Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aliens on planet Earth

As mankind has looked about our galaxy and even the universe, with telescopes and other aids such as space ships, one question has always remained and is still unanswered today: “Are there aliens or other kinds of beings on other planets?” If there are, the Bible doesn’t have anything to say about life existence on other planets or other worlds like our own. However, the Bible does from time to time use the word aliens, not to describe other life forms on other planets, but to describe certain types of people on this earth.

The word “alien”, used in the Bible, is not what we would think of at all about the word, but rather is used to describe someone belonging to another race or kind: being outside. This is used in a physical sense in Lamentation 5:2: “Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners.” The word “alien” used here describes those of another race of people, being foreigners. The Bible also uses the word in a spiritual sense in Ephesians 2:11-12, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh -- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands -- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” The word here is used by Paul, when speaking to the Ephesians, about how they were once aliens in a spiritual sense, being without God. He goes on to say in vs. 13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” We see here the transformation that these individuals had gone through, but not only here but also in vs. 19, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” We see here that these individuals were not aliens or foreigners anymore because they are now said to be members of the household of God, which would have reference to the church.

Sadly, not everyone is in this condition today, in fact, most of the people in this world aren’t members of the church. They are aliens and outsiders who need to be converted and added to the church. Our duty as Christians is not to be concerned with aliens on other planets, but to be concerned about the aliens on our own planet, looking for opportunities to teach them the gospel and convert them (Mark 16:15)!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Monday, January 23, 2012

Scorning God's commandments

Malachi 1:13 says, “Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.” 
The people of Malachi’s day looked at God’s commands and felt that it was appropriate to simply turn away from them. “Snuff” is translated in other versions as “sniff,” “snort,” “scorn,” “sneer,” and “turn your nose up.” Do Christians treat God’s commands like this today? Will we treat Bible classes like this? Gospel meetings? Sunday and Wednesday evening assemblies? Will you reject them if you don’t like them? I pray that no one ever looks at the privilege to serve God and revel in His grace as “weariness.”
Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The religion of no religion

As we look around about us in today’s world and consider all the evil in this world today, we may ask ourselves why everything is the way it is. I think if you summed it all up into one reason things are the way they are, that reason would be what is sometimes called the religion of no religion: atheism.  

We live in a world where, since people do not believe in God, they have no rules except for the ones they make up. Since they do not believe in God, they think, “Well, there’s no reason why I can’t cheat on my wife or husband, or even have to spend the rest of my life with them for that matter; there is no reason for me not to go out and have a good time and do whatever it takes for me to have a good time; there’s no reason for why I can’t be the worst person that ever was.”

Not every atheist is like this and, as a matter of fact, there are atheists that do believe in good morals. These are the kind of people who teach our teenager’s science class, and tell them that we are descendants of apelike creatures. These are the kind of people that are in our political offices influencing laws like abortion. These are the kind of people that make an influence on the whole world!

How do we deal with this? I think the best answer to this is to just be the godliest person you can be, pray for strength, and do what Paul told the Thessalonians to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from every form of evil.” Since we live in a wicked world of unbelief, we must be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Be strong and never give up because there is a fight worth fighting, there is a Heaven worth hoping for, and there is a God worth living for!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The element of surprise: Satan’s special weapon

“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The Devil is described in 1 Peter 5:8 as a roaring lion that walks about seeking whom he may devourer. What a better way to describe Satan than a lion? A lion is cunning and sneaky; he stalks his prey from nearby, lurking in the shadows. Then, when he feels that his prey is least expecting it, he strikes. The prey is most often baffled and confused, mainly because it never expected the lion to be there bearing down on him at that moment in time. Because of this, the prey will not likely get away in time, and will become dinner for the hungry lion or its cubs.

Satan, in a way, is just like this in that he can strike at a moment when we are least expecting it. The solution is to always be ready and watchful for whenever he may strike us with temptation. This is why Peter tells us to be sober and vigilant, because the Devil walks about like a roaring lion that can strike at a moment when you least expect it.

Jonathan Glaesemann

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Which do you love more?

A recent Facebook post asked the question, “Which Do You Love More: God Or Obedience?” I believe this makes a false dichotomy between love and obedience. I will admit that I love God, and that I want to obey God. But if I love God, then obedience will follow (John 14:15; 1 John 3:22-24).
The scriptures place great emphasis on obedience, but the religious world tends to deemphasize it. The grace of God in Christ motivates and instructs my whole-hearted obedient faith (Titus 2:11-14). The love of Christ constrains me (2 Corinthians 5:14), and duty obligates me (Matthew 16:24; Luke 14:33; 17:10). Jesus died for me, and I live for Him by faith which requires a genuine heart of obedience (Micah 6:8; Romans 16:25-26; Hebrews 5:8-9). By my obedience, I do not make void the grace of God (Galatians 2:20-21).
It’s not a question of which you love more. No one, that I know of, “loves obedience.” All the people that I call brethren and that I have the opportunity to worship with love God and want to obey Him.
Kyle Campbell