Often times the appeal is made for men to attend the church of their choice. While we certainly appreciate the noble sentiment behind this appeal, we deny that such is in harmony with the Word of God. What does the Bible say about attending the church of your choice? Continue reading » Attend the Church of Your Choice
1 Kings 18 records a conversation between the great prophet Elijah, and Obadiah, the steward over the house of King Ahab. Despite his close association with the evil king, scripture describes Obadiah as a man who “feared the Lord greatly” (18:3).
Elijah gave Obadiah instructions to set up a meeting between him and the king. The two were mortal enemies, and Ahab had been searching for him ever since Elijah had instigated a drought in the land in response to Ahab’s evil practices. As Obadiah told him, “As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,”’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you” (18:10). Elijah was now ready to reveal himself to the king, and recruited Obadiah to set up the meeting.
A number of lessons can be learned by becoming familiar with these two men, and examining the conversation they had on that eventful day.
Continue reading » Lessons to Learn from Elijah and Obadiah
Why We Are Still Divided in the 21st Century
The apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the saints in the first century as recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” We know this was in accordance with the desire of Jesus because of Christ’s prayer that we have recorded in John 17. We read in verses 20-21 of that chapter these words of prayer offered to the heavenly Father by our Lord: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
The ancient psalmist, David, wrote of the pleasantness of unity when he penned the 133rd Psalm, which reads: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing — Life forevermore” (vss. 1-3)
Continue reading » Division: The Institutional Issue
Numerous times people have written, prayed, and preached words of thanksgiving for the various denominations so abundant in America. Although there is nothing wrong with our love for the religious freedom enjoyed in this country, Paul condemned party spirits and religious division when he listed dissensions among the works of the flesh. It is just as much a work of the flesh as fornication, adultery, drunkenness, murder, etc. Galatians 5:21 warns against practicing any of these: “…of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Since our soul will be in jeopardy if we are guilty of this sin it makes good sense to understand what it is.
Definition of “Dissensions”
Dichostasia (dee-khos-tas-ee’-ah) is found three times in the Greek New Testament: Galatians 5:20; Romans 16:17; and 1 Corinthians 3:3. Some disagree with the inclusion of dichostasia in 1 Corinthians 3:3 due to the lack of support from ancient manuscripts. It means “lit., a standing apart (dicha, asunder, apart, stasis, a standing),…” (Vine, p. 1008). Thayer defines it as “to cut into two parts, cleave asunder, dissever” (p. 158). The prefix “di-” means “to divide” in many words in numerous languages. As can be seen in the words “dialogue” (two or more speakers); “diameter” (cutting a circle into two equal parts); “dissect” (dividing an organism into various parts); etc. Thus, dissension takes place whenever two or more parties are created by drawing a line between what one believes. Dissension also encourages others to choose sides. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Dissensions
In this day of micro-computers, micro-management, micro this and micro that, have we in the Lord’s church lost sight of the big picture? I heard a story once about a college professor who, desiring to teach without the drudgery of administrative policy, established a course for all his graduate students called “The Big Picture.” Practicalities of the “real world” were stressed in the class, and all who would succeed in the course would be molded to the world view of the professor. The story itself did very little for me, but this premise intrigued me then and even now as I see things happening among God’s people.
Why are we here? For what purpose life? Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” The answer to the query of the psalmist, if he never understood it in his life, surely was answered by the Lord while He was on the earth. John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The Lord came to provide for man a way that man could live. Not only did He come to provide The Way for man to live, but He came so that could find a way so that his life might continue. Such an opportunity only comes through God who is the Giver of all life (Genesis 1; John 1:1-5). John 6:44-45, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: Christianity – The Big Picture