Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"King of kings"

The Bible teaches us that government exists by the authority of God (Romans 13:1-10), and that citizens are to submit themselves to the government (vs. 1; 1 Peter 2:13). But, the Bible also teaches that there is a King who is King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). His power is supreme, and the term of his power is for all time. His name is Jesus.

Men who govern any nation are flawed men, and their power is limited. They serve their terms in office, and then their term ends. While earthly rulers would like to think otherwise, their impact on the world is temporary and limited. In fact, their power is over the minute their predecessors assume the office.

As hard as it is to believe, the world does not revolve around mere men who wear crowns. The world revolves around Jesus Christ, the King of kings. In fact, the earth revolves because of Jesus Christ!  Paul said of Jesus: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). And he went on to say: “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (vs. 17). No earthly potentate, no matter how influential, is the creator of the earth. That title is reserved for our Lord.

Jesus is not subject to term limits. On the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33, Jesus was declared by Peter to be ruling at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). The history of the world has continued for 2,000 years since the sermon of Peter, and Jesus still sits ruling at God’s right hand. According to the Hebrew writer, Jesus “ever lives” to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). If the earth continues to exist for several thousand (or million) more years, Jesus will still be on His throne, serving as our King.

Jesus truly cares for us. Every government official wants us to believe he or she cares for the people they rule. With Jesus, it isn’t just a slogan on a placard. Jesus cares so much that He gave His life for all of us. In fact, Jesus died for sinners (Romans 5:6-7).

Earthly rulers will come and go. The laws they make are only as good as the men who make them; some will last, others will not. But, the laws of Jesus Christ are immutable, and they must be obeyed by all who wish to be saved (Acts 5:29; Hebrews 5:8-9). No matter who rules over a nation, all men must serve Jesus. He is the final authority in everything.

Adapted From David Weaks

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Elders and shepherds

I have been asked in the past to explain the meaning of “elder” in the New Testament, and to elaborate on the difference between “elder” and “shepherd,” so I thought this brief article could be helpful.

Three words were used in the original language to denote this office: overseers (or bishops), elders, and shepherds. Two indicate the nature of their work (overseers and shepherds) and one indicates the maturity of their spiritual experience (elders). The term “elder” is an adjective that describes, in general, an older man. The word also represented a rank or position of responsibility. In the Old Testament, elders were the heads or leaders of the tribes and families of Israel. In the New Testament, “elder” was used to describe a man that was appointed for the spiritual care and oversight of the churches. He was spiritually qualified by reason of his maturity level (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9). Because “shepherd” denotes the type of work done (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2), it is easy to see the involvement of tender care and vigilant superintendence. Shepherds or leaders in the Old Testament were forcefully condemned for their ungodly leadership.

It is very important to know that both terms refer to the same man. They are not hierarchal levels of leadership in the church.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, May 17, 2013

Do you love me?

“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep’” (John 21:15-17).

As we remember, Peter denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62). Now, in John 21:15-17, Jesus gives Peter the chance to confess his love for Him three times. Jesus did not want Peter to feel the guilt of denying Him, rather He wanted Peter to forget and move on. It is the same way in our lives. By our sinful ways, all of us have in a way denied Jesus (Titus 1:16). Even after we have hurt Jesus by our sins, He doesn’t want us to bear the guilt once we have repented. Instead He wishes to give all of us the same chance He gave Peter: a chance to prove our love for Him. Notice that each time Peter said, “Lord you know that I love you,” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” In other words, confessing love in words was not enough. Peter had to show it in his life until the day he died. The same is true for us! “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

Jonathan Glaesemann

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The need for Deuteronomy

“Deuteronomy” means “second law-giving.” One might wonder why God needed to give the Mosaic Law again. Isn’t that a waste of valuable Bible space? As it turns out, there are four good reasons why the people needed the Law given to them again.

First, there was a new generation. Humans have short memories so the law needed to be repeated. It was important that they know God’s word afresh and realize how important it is to obey God. Second, there was a new challenge. They would no longer be pilgrims; they now had to fight battles. The best way to prepare for the future is to understand the past. Third, there was a new leader. Moses was about to die, and Joshua would take over the leadership of the nation. So they needed to be grounded in the word and in the Lord to follow Joshua. Fourth, there were new temptations. Moses wanted them not only to possess the land, but also to maintain that possession, so he warned them of the dangers and gave them the way of success.

Many Christians need to hear God’s word again and step out by faith to claim their inheritance in Christ. The Bible can help you just like it helped the Israelites if you let it become implanted in your heart (James 1:21).

Kyle Campbell

Monday, May 6, 2013

"You have left your first love"

In Revelation 2 John writes the message of Christ to the church at Ephesus: “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

It is interesting to note that even though John commended them for being doctrinally and morally sound, they still stood condemned because of one point: they had left their first love. What was missing? Like many churches and individuals, they were doing God’s will, but they did not have the desire or zeal that they once had for doing it. When one becomes a Christian, they are “on fire” as you might say for God. But after time, even though they are still doing God’s work, they have lost the fire that they once had. They are now just going through the motions. This was the issue with the Ephesians. They had left their first love: zeal! This lesson shows us that even if we are a hard worker, being doctrinally and morally sound, we can still be condemned. God doesn’t just want service. He wants service with passion!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Old, dead apples

Some people think they hurt a local congregation when they get mad and leave. However, this is incorrect. It never hurts a good tree for the old, dead apples to fall off.

People need to learn how to get along and resolve their differences (Matthew 5:23-34; 18:15). This is a true mark of maturity and spirituality. People who cannot do this never edify a local congregation. God wants us to manifest “unity,” “knowledge,” and “fulness” (Ephesians 4:13), while rejecting the man who is “an heretic” or contentious (Titus 3:10-11). If they cannot repent, it is good for them to leave. While we want everyone to go to heaven, the reality is that some people help the Lord’s cause by leaving rather than staying.

Kyle Campbell