Monday, February 27, 2012

Finding your purpose

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20). Death is a natural part of life, but suicide, sadly, is an unnatural part; it is a taking of something for which we do not have a right.
Why do people commit suicide? Perhaps it is because all of the problems of life are not dealt with adequately. The true purpose of life has not been exploited. In Luke 15, the prodigal son thought he had found purpose in life when he spent his inheritance. In Luke 16, the rich man thought he had found purpose in life with the acquisition of riches. But both the prodigal son and the rich man had the wrong purpose in mind.
How can someone know their purpose in life? To me, the best way is to look at what God intended to be the directions for life: the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Paul had found purpose, and it involved serving the Lord (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). If someone who is having problems in life can hang on and look for heaven while faithfully serving our gracious God, they can be glorified far beyond the issues that are plaguing them. Do you know your purpose in life? If you would like to know more, please contact us for a Bible study.
Kyle Campbell

Friday, February 24, 2012

Is honesty enough?

In Acts 3, when Peter and John where in the temple, they saw a lame man and healed him. The people were amazed and ran to them and Peter said, “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled” (vss. 12-18).
Peter plainly said the Jews crucified Christ in ignorance but the point was they were still guilty; they needed to repent. This meant that they had to acknowledge their sin, obey Christ, and live righteously. No matter what you do, please remember that ignorance is no excuse. The apostle Paul preached, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
My sincere ignorance will not keep me from getting electrocuted if I mess around with electricity. Likewise, people must realize that when they misunderstand parts of the Bible, ignorance will not get them out of a condemnation from God. That’s why your diligent study is so important Don’t throw away eternity because you’re not willing to pick up your Bible!
Kyle Campbell

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Afraid of the dark?

 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).

This is an interesting statement, “men loved darkness rather than light” because when we think about darkness and light, it seems as though it should be the other way around. Physically, people in general are afraid of the dark or uncomfortable in it. There are many that are nervous about even sleeping in the complete darkness and prefer a nightlight. It makes sense that someone would prefer light over darkness because we need light to do our everyday activities like fix lunch, read a book, drive, etc. All of this requires that we have some kind of light source.

There is one exception to men preferring physical light over darkness. This is how you tie in the idea of spiritual darkness and light mentioned in John 3. A person who has just robbed a jewelry store or committed a murder is not going to look for physical light. Instead, he will avoid it at all costs so he won't be exposed because of his wicked deed. This is what Jesus was talking about with spiritual darkness. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Sin not only offers a person pleasure, but it also offers a person a hiding place if they continue to remain in it. The reason so many people shy away from Jesus is because, since He is the light, He will expose them for who they truly are. This is why so many shy away from the Bible because it does the same. It will tell them that they are in sin and they need to change their life. It is a wise choice to come to the light because one day there will be no darkness left in which to hide. Jesus said in Luke 12:2-5, “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Jonathan Glaesemann

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"I am"

In Romans 1:14-17, Paul wrote, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” There are three great “I am” statements from which we would benefit.
First, Paul said, “I am debtor.” He had certainly tasted the grace of God (1 Corinthians 9:13-18), and as he was called to be an apostle, he knew he was indebted to the accomplish the task. All of us are saved by the grace of God (Titus 3:1-7). None of could save ourselves without God. Because of this, there is no place for pride and arrogance in serving Christ. Our debt is to live for the Lord and try to spread His gospel.
Second, Paul said, “I am eager.” Every Christian should have a willingness or attitude to work. This takes training and preparation, study and reading (2 Timothy 2:15). Because of the preparation, we are ready to face whatever comes our way. The scriptures will lead us to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15-17). It will allow us to walk worthy of the Lord (Ephesians 4:1). Other people watch our behavior (1 Peter 2:11-12), so we must be a light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Third, Paul said, “I am not ashamed.” We cannot live in quietness -- we need to preach. Matthew 10:33 states a solemn punishment for people who refuse to confess Him. Denial of Christ or hypocrisy will lead to judgment (Hebrews 10:36-39). It will all come down to will. There are two wills: the will or Christ and your will. Which “will” will you follow? If we are ashamed of the gospel, people will be lost (Romans 10:13-15, 17). Standing up for Christ does take courage, but not as much as hanging on a cross! If you are ashamed, think of what the Lord did for you.
Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Doing something good

Part of living your new life as a “new man” (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) is putting others first (Philippians 2:3). A good way to do this to work for or serve others. Jesus said, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:35-36).
Doing good to others not only helps us to take the focus off ourselves (and the problems we face), but it also helps us mimic the good that the Lord did when He gave us His Son (John 3:16). Just as God was pleased with the sacrifice of His Son (Isaiah 53:11), He is pleased with our sacrifice: “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
The next time that your problems weigh you down, try not to be overwhelmed by them; rather, do something good for someone else. It will pull your thoughts away from difficulties, and satisfy your heart by doing God’s will: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A summary of the gospel

The Bible says the gospel saves (Acts 11:14) because it has begetting power (James 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). But, of what is the gospel comprised? As one might imagine, it is simple to deduce and teach. For our lesson today, we will examine a simple summary of the gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
First, there are facts to believe. God exists and He sent His Son to earth (Hebrews 11:6; John 3:16). Jesus was born (Galatians 4:4; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-7). He died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-48; John 19:28-30). He was buried (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-16:1; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). He made multiple appearances after His resurrection, proving Himself to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4). The purpose of His death was for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 2:22-24). He is presently at the right hand of God, making intercession for us (Hebrews 1:3; 4:15-16; 7:25).
Second, there are commands to obey. Jesus Himself was under command from God (John 12:49-50). Therefore, it is not illogical to believe that we are under commandment as well (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10, 14). The apostle John proclaimed that those who do God’s commands would be blessed (Revelation 22:14). Therefore, someone must “receive” or obey the gospel (1 Corinthians 11:23; Galatians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Jesus and the apostles consistently proclaimed the requirements for salvation. A quick summary of the book of Acts will show several examples of what people did to be saved: Those at Pentecost (Acts 2:38, 41), the Samaritans (Acts 8:12), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36-38), Saul (Acts 9:17-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48), Lydia (Acts 16:14-15), the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:31-33), the Corinthians (Acts 18:8), and the Ephesians (Acts 19:4-5). Application of these soul-saving truths has to be made (Matthew 7:21-24; Acts 20:32; James 1:21).
Third, there are promises to receive. When being obedient to the gospel, we receive promises (2 Peter 1:3-4). Some had believed that God was slack concerning them, but He is merely being gracious for all who want to obey (2 Peter 3:9). When we leave the world and follow Christ, we receive great material blessings (Matthew 19:28-29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:29-30). Although we may sacrifice some earthly friendships on the altar of love to Christ, we will be rewarded with the reconstruction of relationships with God’s people. Our Lord was Himself the first to exemplify this new adjustment in His own relationships (Matthew 12:46-50). We also have all spiritual blessings now in Christ (Ephesians 1:3; [redemption-Titus 2:14; justification-Romans 3:24; forgiveness-Ephesians 1:7; access to God-Hebrews 4:14]), but the greatest spiritual blessing we will ultimately receive is eternal life (1 John 2:25; 5:11). God cannot lie, therefore this establishes hope for the fulfillment of these promises (Romans 8:24-25; Titus 1:1-2; Hebrews 6:18-20).
James Russell Lowell said, “The greatest homage we can pay to truth, is to use it.” Will you obey the gospel today? In order to receive these wonderful blessings, you must continue in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:2, 58; Colossians 1:23; 1 Timothy 4:16; 6:12; 2 Timothy 3:4-15; 1:13; James 1:25). Will you repent and come back to God if you have failed to follow God’s commands (Acts 8:22)?
Kyle Campbell