The Bible makes a distinction we must not miss. When it comes to sin in the camp, what the church should do depends on whether the Christian is sinning on an individual basis or is taking others with him through teaching error.
Continue reading » Distinguishing Private from Public Sin
Is there anyone who does not know it’s wrong to steal? Yes! Everyone can be fooled into thinking something is okay that is actually stealing. It is a serious matter and a real temptation and danger for Christians in any age.
Time is not only the most precious resource; it’s also the most stolen.
Continue reading » Steal No More
It’s a shame that Matthew 18:15-20 is one of the most misused and misapplied passages of Scripture: its true purpose is saving souls!
All verse references are from Matthew 18 unless otherwise noted
What kind of sin?
Verse 15 starts: “If your brother sins against you….” The sin in this passage is a personal sin one against another. In his follow-up question at verse 21, Peter understands the sin to be personal: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?”
Continue reading » The Truth About Matthew 18:15-20
How many members were there in the church at Corinth? The churches of Rome or Galatia? Any one of the seven churches of the Revelation? We don’t know.
Why don’t we know? The Bible doesn’t tell us.
Now, the Bible does tell us “…all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). So, the more important question is: Why would we ask?
Satan moved David to number the people. God had said not to number the people. He didn’t want Israel to trust in himself and his own strength. (1 Chronicles 21:1; Exodus 30:12)
Gideon learned that his 30,000 mustered troops were too strong. God whittled it down to 300. That way they could fell an army of over 100,000 and know for sure that God had delivered them rather than their own military might. (Judges 7:2; 8:10)
The disciples asked Jesus whether it was few who would be saved. He replied, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” He also taught, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:14)
How many are “a few?” Peter said “a few” were saved in the days of Noah. That means eight. And Noah had preached the gospel for a hundred years by that time. (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; Genesis 5:32; 7:6)
Jonathan son of Saul understood that “…nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few,” as he and his shield-bearer overthrew a Philistine garrison (1 Samuel 14:6).
The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages. The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers
Among the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:23 is gentleness. As a fruit, it is something to be cultivated and brought about in maturity, and it is what the God who planted us desires that we produce. The New Testament shows that the word describes temperament or character and a way of behaving towards others.
The word translated gentleness or meekness is the Greek praiotes¸ and the lexicon tells us it means: Mild, soft, gentle
- Of things, mild; of sounds, soft, gentle
- Of persons, mild, gentle, meek, especially after having been angry; of animals, gentle, tame
- Of actions, feelings, etc., mild
(Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.)
It describes a manner, an attitude, a person’s character, a way of responding. Too often we are inclined to mistake “meek” for “weak!” Our Lord was certainly not weak! Gentleness or meekness describes a calm disposition, particularly under fire–which actually requires a great deal of strength. Continue reading » Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness (Meekness, Humility)
Among the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21, sandwiched between “hatred” and “jealousy,” is a little word, “contentions.” A little word, but a great sin. A child I know once asked his mother to tell him what an “image” was so that he would never bow down before one. In like manner, it behooves us to define—or rather, to allow the Holy Spirit to define—this “contention” so that we may not fall prey to it, “for we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
We should note that the word translated “contentions” (and also “strife” ) in the NKJV is the greek word eris, and the dictionary definition is:
Strife, quarrel, contention
1.Battle-strife 2.Quarrel, strife, discord; wordy wrangling or disputation 3.Eris, a goddess who excites to war (sister of Ares) 4.Contention, rivalry (Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon)
Specifically, we should note that the word has a military origin, indicating a spirit of war or rivalry—even infighting. This much secular input is useful, but we must go to the New Testament to get a true understanding of the meaning and application the Holy Spirit intended. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Contentions (Variance, Strife)
A disciple is a student, a follower, and an imitator of his or her teacher. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). The Lord expressed Himself plainly: disciples have work to do, and it will cost them something. It is only right, since He denied Himself and took up the cross on our behalf, that we serve Him thus.
The Scriptures also describe Christians as priests of the Most High God. “You…are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). What is that sacrifice? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). These passages indicate that Christians–all Christians–have a responsibility before God. Every one of us is a priest, and every one of us must offer himself or herself up as a sacrifice to Him by denying ungodliness and worldly desires–yes, and even denying ourselves! Continue reading » The Work of Disciples
The Longsuffering of the Bible is longsuffering with a purpose! A specific purpose: repentance. The word “longsuffering” itself is essentially the same in English, Greek, and Hebrew; it means “slow to anger.” Some of our brethren want it to stop there. But context everywhere shows it means one is slow to anger when pursuing good. It means you don’t just get angry and quit when someone or something opposes your good works. You keep at it.
But some of our brethren want it to mean you keep tolerating sin. That view of longsuffering is not Biblical. As a matter of fact, that view leads to the taking down of the church’s walls and the ultimate destruction of the Lord’s church. But don’t take my word for it: let’s go to the Scriptures to establish the meaning of Biblical longsuffering. Continue reading » Longsuffering
There is an element among churches of Christ that maintains that the “false teacher” of 2 Peter 2:1 is actually a “lying teacher,” rather than “one who teaches something that is false.” The argument sounds good, maybe, until one considers the whole scriptural picture and “the whole counsel of God.” Today we are finding preachers, men who have been faithful for many years, who are teaching that one must know a person has intent to deceive in order to mark that person as a false teacher. In other words, they maintain we must not mark someone who teaches error “in all sincerity.” And their justification for this is solely their subjective claim that the “false teacher” of 2 Peter 2:1 means a “lying teacher.” Continue reading » Solid Food: False Teacher (Pseudodidaskalos)