The Beginning of the Church by Willie A. Alvarenga

THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH by Willie A. Alvarenga

TEXT: Acts 2

mcgee20preachingINTRODUCTION:

  1. There is no doubt that there are several great chapters in the Bible!
  2. Of all the 260 chapters of the New Testament, Acts 2 is one of my favorites!
  3. For the next few minutes, we will be examining the second chapter of the Book of Acts.
  4. I am sure that there have been many great lessons preached from this chapter. I, myself, have preached 5 different sermons from this chapter.
    1. What I am about to tell you, I’m sure you heard it all before!
  5. In this lesson we will consider some things we can learn from the beginning of the church.
  6. I want us to learn some great things that we can see in Acts chapter 2. In this chapter we see…
    1. A great multitude present.
    2. A great fulfillment of Bible prophecies.
    3. A great preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
    4. A great manifestation of an obedient faith.
    5. A great establishment of a divine institution called church and kingdom.
    6. A great manifestation of Christian faithfulness.
  7. As we examine this lesson, let me encourage all of us to:
    1. Share this lesson with friends and family.
    2. Appreciate the church for which Jesus died on the cross.
    3. Imitate the early church and her faithfulness to God.
    4. Be doers of the practical lessons we can glean from this lesson.
    5. Obey the gospel of Christ, if you have not done so.
  8. With this in mind, let us meditate upon what God has in store for us.

In Acts 2, at the beginning of the church we see…

A GREAT MULTITUDE PRESENT (2:1-12).

  1. The Sacred text reveals that about 16 nations were present during the celebration of the Jewish feast called, Pentecost.
  2. The Standard Bible Commentary on the Book of Acts makes the following comment:
    1. “The number of people at Jerusalem for a great feast has been variously estimated to be from one to three million.”[1]
  3. There were thousands of people present because the text reveals that about 3,000 souls obeyed the Gospel of Christ (v. 41). This amount cannot be interpreted to say that this was the total amount of people present for this feast. This amount implies the presence of more people.
  4. God’s providence made it available for the church to begin in such a wonderful day when lots of people were present.
  5. What is the significance of the great multitude? Why was it important for this great multitude to be present?
    1. The answer is simple: The Gospel of Christ was going to be taken to several nations so that churches could be established in various places of the world.
  6. We learn from the letter of Paul to the romans that he had not been there (Romans 1:8-13). How was the church established in Rome? We could assume that someone from Pentecost took the gospel to the city of Rome.
  7. So, as we can see, at the beginning of the church we see a great multitude present.
  8. Obviously, only a small amount of this great multitude decided to obey the Gospel of Christ.

In Acts the second chapter, we also see…

A GREAT FULFILLMENT OF BIBLE PROPHECIES (2:14-35).

  1. At the beginning of the church we also see a great fulfillment of Bible prophecies.
  2. This prophecies could be divided into three parts:
    1. The coming of the Holy Spirit.
    2. The resurrection of Christ.
    3. The establishment of the church of Christ.
  3. With regards to the Holy Spirit, we read the following Old Testament prophecy:
    1. Joel 2:28-32 – God had promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. We see the fulfilling of this prophecy in Acts 2.
    2. Jesus had said that the Holy Spirit would come upon the apostles (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; Luke 24:49). This promise was fulfilled!
  4. With regards to the resurrection of Christ, we read the following Old Testament prophecy:
    1. Psalm 16:8-11 – God had promised not to leave Jesus in Hades, nor will His Holy One see corruption.
    2. Even Jesus himself predicted His own resurrection (John 2:20-22; Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31).
  5. With regards to the establishment of the church, we read the following Old Testament prophecy:
    1. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 – God had promised that His Son, Jesus Christ would establish the house of God, that is, the church.
    2. Isaiah 2:1-4 – God prophesized that in Jerusalem his house was going to be established.
    3. Daniel 2:44 – God had promised that in the days of the Roman kings, He would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed.
    4. Jesus himself predicted the establishment of the church/kingdom (Matthew 16:16-19; Mark 9:1). This prediction came to pass!
  6. In Acts the second chapter, we read about the fulfilling of these great Bible prophecies!
    1. Herein we see the inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
  7. All of these great Bible prophecies teach us that God is faithful to fulfill that which He had promised aforetime!

In the second chapter of the Book of Acts we also see…

A GREAT PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL (2:22-40).

  1. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He instructed His apostles to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20).
    1. The Gospel is God’s power to save man (Romans 1:16).
    2. This message tells us that Jesus came, die, was buried and raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
  2. The second chapter of the book of Acts also teaches us about the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
  3. Notice the phrase, “When they heard this” (v. 37).
    1. What does the word “this” refers to?
    2. In Acts 2:22-32 we read how Peter preached the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
  4. This is the message that you and I, as Christians, need to proclaim to the whole world!
  5. We also see in Acts 2 a great example of true/pure Bible preaching:
    1. Acts 2:16-40 – About 25 verses.
    2. In these 25 verses we see 13 Old Testament Scripture references by Peter.
    3. 50% Scripture / 50% Explanation of these verses!
    4. We must fill our preaching with Bible!
  6. This is a great practical lesson for us as ministers. We must preach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Peter 4:11).
    1. Today we see too much story telling coming out from the pulpits. We need to go back to the Bible and preach the way those faithful men did it!
  7. When the Word of God is proclaimed, great results will follow!

After the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, we also see…

A GREAT MANIFESTATION OF AN OBEDIENT FAITH (2:36-41).

  1. In this second chapter of Acts we learn about a great manifestation of an obedient faith.
  2. When the Gospel of Christ was preached, great results followed!
    1. We see honest people being pricked to their hearts (v. 37).
    2. We see honest people seeking for salvation (v. 37).
  3. The Bible tells us that after they were told what to do (vs. 38-40), they obeyed the Gospel of Christ.
    1. Acts 2:41 is one of the beautiful passages we can use to talk about an obedient faith.
    2. These people did not accept Jesus as their personal Savior or prayed Jesus into their hearts.
    3. These people showed an obedient faith by obeying the Gospel of Christ!
  4. The text tells us that they were baptized into Christ. Baptism is for several purposes:
    1. To be baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27; Acts 2:47).
    2. To be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
    3. To receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
  5. Back then, one sermon—three thousand souls; today, three thousand sermons—one soul.
  6. People need to think more seriously about their eternal home!

We also learn about…

A GREAT ESTABLISHMENT OF A DIVINE INSTITUTION: THE CHURCH/KINGDOM (2:47).

  1. In this second chapter of Acts we also learn another great truth—the establishment of a divine institution/church.
  2. This establishment was according to the Old Testament prophecies that were made concerning the church/kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:44).
  3. Jesus promised to establish His church/kingdom (Matthew 16:18).
  4. There are some that teach that the church and the kingdom are two separate divine institutions; the church having been already established and the kingdom is to come in the future.
    1. There is no biblical support for this type of interpretation.
  5. Notice what the Bible teaches regarding the church and the kingdom being one and the same:
    1. The church was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:1-4).
    2. The kingdom was prophesied in the Old Testament as well (Daniel 2:44).
    3. Christ promised the establishment of His church (Matthew 16:18).
    4. Christ promised the establishment/coming of the kingdom (Mark 9:1).
    5. Those who obey the Gospel are added to the church (Acts 2:47).
    6. Those who obey the Gospel are added to the kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
    7. Christians were called to the one Body (Colossians 3:15).
    8. Christians were called to the kingdom (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2:14).
    9. Through baptism a person enters into Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
    10. Through baptism a person enters into the kingdom (John 3:3, 5).
  6. As we can see, the biblical evidence shows that the church and the kingdom is the same divine institution established by God and Christ at the Day of Pentecost—in Acts 2.

A GREAT MANIFESTATION OF CHRISTIAN FAITHFULNESS (2:42-47).

  1. Yes, brothers and sisters! In this chapter we see a great display of faithfulness to God.
  2. This faithfulness can be seen in the following:
    1. First, they gladly receive God’s Word (Acts 2:41).
    2. Second, they were willing to obey the command to be immerse in water (Acts 2:41).
    3. Third, they continued in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).
    4. Fourth, they continued in fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42).
    5. Fifth, they continued observing the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; 20:7).
    6. Sixth, they continued praying to God (Acts 2:42; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
    7. Seventh, they continued showing love for one another (Acts 2:44-46).
    8. Eight, they enjoyed favor with all the people. They were making a difference! (Acts 2:47).
  3. The early church has a lot to teach us today! May we always look back at those golden times when faithfulness to God and His Word was a priority in the Christian’s life!

CONCLUSION:

  1. The second chapter of the Book of Acts has a lot to teach the church of the 21st
  2. In this great chapter we have seen the following:
    1. A great multitude present.
    2. A great fulfillment of Bible prophecies.
    3. A great preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
    4. A great manifestation of an obedient faith.
    5. A great establishment of a divine institution: the church/kingdom.
    6. A great manifestation of Christian faithfulness.
  3. May we always appreciate this great chapter and may we never stop preaching from it!

Willie A. Alvarenga. P.O. Box 210667, Bedford, TX 76095. walvarenga@btsop.com

[1] Orin Root & John W. Wade. Standard Bible Commentary on the Book of Acts (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 1965), p. 17.

By willie75

God Still Cares About His Church

GOD STILL CARES ABOUT HIS CHURCH by Willie A. Alvarenga

mcgee20preachingText: Matthew 16:18

INTRODUCTION:

  1. What a great blessing it is to speak about God and the Lord’s church!
  2. I consider this a great blessing preaching about this topic because…
    1. I am privileged to be part of the New Testament church for which God still cares!
    2. This is a Bible subject, and therefore, I rejoice to preach about the Word of God! (Psalm 119:97).
    3. This is a vital topic which involves a life and death matter (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23).
  3. As we examine this lesson, let me encourage you to do the following:
    1. Love and appreciate the church for which Jesus died!
    2. Be a doer of God’s Word! (James 1:22).
    3. If you have not been added to the church of the New Testament, I would like to encourage you to do so today! At the end of my lesson, I will share with you a way on how you can obey the gospel of Jesus Christ!
  4. Let us, therefore, examine the topic, “God Still Cares about the Lord’s Church!

Let us first of all, examine some great lessons about the New Testament church

SOME GREAT LESSONS ABOUT THE LORD’S CHURCH.

  1. There are several great lessons the Bible teaches regarding the New Testament church/the Lord’s church.
  2. As we study the Holy Scriptures, we learn the following great teachings about the Lord’s church:
    1. The church is a divine institution established on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). This was in accordance with Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 2:1-4; 2 Samuel 7:12-14).
      1. Jesus himself promised to establish His church (Matthew 16:18).
    2. The church and the kingdom are one and the same divine institution. This kingdom was also prophesized in the Old Testament Scriptures (Daniel 2:44).
      1. Christ also promised to establish the kingdom (Mark 9:1). The church is not an afterthought or a plan B in the scheme of redemption! Notice the following similarities of the church and the kingdom:
        1. Those who obey the gospel are added to the church and kingdom (Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13).
        2. Christians were called to the one Body/church (Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2:14).
        3. Through baptism a person enters into Christ/kingdom (Acts 2:47; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3, 5).
      2. The church belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 1:22-23).
      3. The church is not a denomination, but the one true church of the New Testament.
        1. It was not founded by man-made religions, but God!
      4. Salvation is only found in the church of Christ (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23; John 14:6; 1 John 5:11).
    3. These are some of the great lessons we can learn from the Bible regarding the Lord’s church.
    4. These are the great lessons that cause us to love the church and to realize how God still cares for the church of His Son, Jesus Christ!

Let us also consider the way God has taken care of the church in times past!

GOD HAS TAKEN CARE OF THE CHURCH IN THE PAST.

  1. God has taken care of the church even from the past/eternity!
    1. The church was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
    2. The blood with which the church was purchased was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20).
    3. God made sure that His plan was fulfilled in the church/in Christ! We see this from the first Old Testament prophecy of Genesis 3:15 all the way to the New Testament.
  2. We see this in God’s scheme of redemption which was planned before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20).
  3. God made sure that the church of His Son, Jesus Christ, was established on Pentecost.
    1. We see this was done through the resurrection of His Son (Acts 2:22-32).
    2. God chose a perfect day to begin His church: Lots of people in attendance!
    3. Everything took place according to God’s plan!
  4. God took care of the church even after her establishment. He took care of the apostles and those who preached the gospel to every creature under God’s Sun (Acts 8:1-5; Mark 16:15).
    1. The reason why we see a tremendous church growth in the first century is because God was taking care of the church (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:12-14; 6:7; 8:4; 11:24; 12:24; 17:6).
  5. God has taken care of the church even throughout the ages, and even into our own generation.
  6. God has taken care of the church even from times past!

Through the Holy Scriptures we can also observe how God is taking care of the church, even in our present age!

GOD IS STILL TAKING CARE OF THE CHURCH IN THE PRESENT.

  1. How do we know God is taking care of the church in the present?
    1. The fact that the church is still in existence today helps us to see how God still cares for His church today!
    2. The fact that people are still being added to the New Testament church is proof that God still cares for His church!
  2. God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Friends, this is proof that God still cares for His church!
    1. The preservation of His Word is what keeps the church alive!
    2. We have the Scriptures available to us today. These Scriptures can help the church in many ways!
      1. God’s Word equips us unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
      2. God’s Word makes us wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).
      3. God’s Word can save us (James 1:21).
      4. God’s Word can give us happiness (Jeremiah 15:16).
      5. God’s Word can help us to refute error and overcome temptations (Matthew 4:1-12; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:11).
    3. The fact that we have a copy of God’s Word in our hands is proof that God still cares for His church in the present!
  3. Even though there are thousands of divisions today in the church, the faithful church continues to uphold the doctrine of the apostles (Acts 2:42). Why? Because God still cares for His church and He will be with those who uphold His doctrine (2 John 9).
  4. God still cares for His church in the way He protects His children from the evil one:
    1. We will suffer in this life (2 Timothy 3:12; Philippians 1:29; Acts 14:22).
    2. Jesus has promised to be with us (Matthew 28:20; John 16:33).
    3. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
    4. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31, 36-38).
    5. We have all the encouragement we need to continue living a faithful life in Christ!
  5. There is no doubt that God still cares for His church even in our present age!

What a great encouragement it is to know that God will take care of the church, even in the future!

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THE CHURCH IN THE FUTURE.

  1. How will God take care of His church in the future? We can answer this question with just two words: ETERNAL SALVACION!
  2. Yes, God has promised eternal salvation for His church! This is the way in which God will take care of His church!
  3. God has provided the means whereby we can be saved:
    1. Jesus is the only way to eternal salvation (John 14:6; 2 Timothy 2:10).
    2. Eternal salvation is in Christ (John 11:25-26; 1 John 5:11).
    3. Jesus is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27; Titus 1:2; 1 John 5:11).
  4. Eternal salvation is found in the one true church of the Bible (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23). Remember, the church is the body of Christ! (Ephesians 1:22-23).
    1. Those who want to be saved must be members of the one true church of Jesus Christ! (Acts 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:9).
  5. God will take care of the church in the future by providing a beautiful entrance into the eternal kingdom of God!
  6. One day Jesus Christ will turn the kingdom over to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24), and so shall we be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
  7. What a wonderful encouragement this is!

Having considered four points that deal with the way how God has taking care of the church in the past, present and future, let us now briefly examine the way how a person can become a member of this great church!

HOW TO BE A MEMBER OF THE LORD’S CHURCH.

  1. The Bible is clear on who you can become a member of the one true church of the Bible.
  2. A person must…
    1. Hear the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:37; 2:22-32).
    2. Believe in the Gospel message (Mark 16:16).
    3. Be willing to repent of his/her sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30).
    4. Be willing to confess Christ as the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32-33).
    5. Be willing to be immerse in water in order to receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16).
    6. Be faithful during your Christian life (1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 2:12; Revelation 2:10).
  3. Those who obey the Gospel are added to the church (Acts 2:47).
    1. The church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
    2. After obedience to the gospel, you become a son of God (John 1:11-13); you are reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:13-16); you become a member of the family of God (Ephesians 2:19); you become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4).
  4. You need to obey the Gospel today, before it is eternally too late! (2 Corinthians 6:1-2; James 4:14; Proverbs 27:1).

CONCLUSION:

  1. What a great blessing it is to talk about God and His church!
  2. May we always learn to appreciate and love the church for which Jesus gave His life on the cross!
  3. Let us live a faithful life in Christ, for this is the only way to show God how much we appreciate his care of the church!

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 681 4543; 268 3222

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.regresandoalabiblia.com

www.btsop.com

 

 

By willie75

Blessed Are They That Memorize The Word of God by Willie A. Alvarenga

Blessed Are They that Memorize the Word of God by Willie A. Alvarenga
Biblia 22Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will always be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will not walk in darkness (Psalm 19:8; 119:105).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will overcome temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:17).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will be a happy people (Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 19:8).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will grow in the knowledge of God’s will (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:15).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will keep the commandments of God (Psalm 119:2; John 14:15).

Blessed are they that memorize the Word of God: for they will be an intelligent people (Ephesians 5:17; Psalm 119:104, 130).

“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6, ASV 1901)

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 681 4543

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

www.btsop.com

By willie75

The Christian’s Response to Slander by Willie A. Alvarenga

The Christian’s Response to Slander by Willie A. Alvarenga

“Having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.” [1]–1 Peter 3:16

INTRODUCTION

Biblia 71.jpgIn the passage of 1 Peter 3:16 Peter speaks about the reality of Christians suffering for their good manner of life in Christ. This is emphasized not only in this passage, but also throughout the entire letter of first Peter. In this brief study, it is my desire to provide several principles that will help us tremendously to have a proper response to slander. I will, therefore, briefly analyze the word slander and then practical principles on how to respond to it will be provided. As we examine this brief study, let us keep in mind the words of James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.” Remember that the only way to benefit greatly from God’s Word is to put it to practice in our daily lives (Luke 11:28).

DEFINITION OF TERMS

The word “slander” comes from the Greek word epereazo which has several meanings: to insult, to treat abusively, to use despitefully, to revile, in a forensic sense, to accuse falsely, to threaten (Thayer, 1908). The Strong concordance defines this word as to insult, to use despitefully, and to falsely accuse. The words “falsely accuse” are very strong in the Greek, namely, “to spitefully abuse, to insult, to traduce.”[2] This particular Greek word only appears three times in the New Testament (e.g. Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28; 1 Peter 3:16). Let us read these Bible references where the word appears. I will cite the King James Version:

But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, emphasis added)

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Luke 6:28, emphasis added).

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ (1 Peter 3:16).[3]

Other translations of the Bible use words such as revile (ASV, NKJV, ESV), falsely accuse (KJV), slander (NIV).

THE GREEK GRAMMAR

The grammar of this verb is found in the present, active participle, which denotes a continuous action. These Christians were being slandered, and falsely accused continually by their adversaries.

HOW TO SHOULD CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO SLANDER

How can faithful Christians respond when they are being slandered all the time? Does the Bible provide any helpful assistance on what we can do? Let me suggest that you prayerfully consider the following ways on how you and I can respond when we are falsely accused.

Keep in Mind that Faithful Christians Will Suffer

The Apostle Peter in this first letter emphasizes the truth that faithful Christian will suffer in this world considerably. If we study this first letter carefully, we will arrive at the conclusion that the central theme of this letter is suffering which faithful Christians will experience, and how they should respond to it.

There is no doubt that all faithful Christians around the world will experience suffering during our time on earth. The Apostle Peter tells Christians that Satan walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). This enemy of ours will try his best to discourage us from living the Christian life, and from entering heaven someday. Remember that he will hinder our way to heaven (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:18).

The Apostle Paul also warned Christians that if they lived a faithful life in Christ, they were going to suffer tribulations (2 Timothy 3:12; cf. Philippians 1:29; Acts 14:22; James 1:2). Jesus also warned His disciples about the reality of suffering for His cause (John 16:33). Most of us have experienced difficult times just for trying to live a faithful life in Christ. Personally, several false teachers with regards to the doctrine of marriage, divorce and remarriage have falsely accused me of teaching false doctrine. These people argue in this way because I do not teach what they believe. The Brown Trail School of Preaching has been falsely accused of using instrumental music in our building. I, also, was falsely accused of having divorced my wife; something obviously not true!

It is imperative that we as Christians continue steadfast in the Lord so that we may not cast away our boldness, which hath great recompense of reward (Hebrews 10:35). We need to keep in mind that a Crown of life awaits those who remain faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of trials (cf. James 1:12; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Follow the Advises the Inspired Apostle Peter Provided

In his first letter, the Apostle Peter provides several advices that can help us to have a positive response when we are being slandered. Therefore, I will allow Peter to instruct us on how we can respond to slander. Once again, let me encourage you to please consider each of these advices:

  1. Remember that you are not alone (1 Peter 1:3-5).

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (Emphasis added).

  1. Remember that being slandered is part of the proving of your faith (1 Peter 1:6-7).

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, 7that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  1. Remember to continue living a holy life in Christ, even when you are being slandered or persecuted (1 Peter 1:14-15).

14As children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: 15but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; 16because it is written, ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

  1. Remember to put away sin from your life; otherwise, you will provide an opportunity for the adversary to accuse you falsely (1 Peter 2:1-2).

Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation.

  1. Remember to live a faithful life before those who may falsely accuse you (1 Peter 2:11-12, 15).

11Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 15For so is the will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

  1. Remember that God is pleased when we suffer with patience, and by so doing, we follow the steps of Jesus (1 Peter 1:20-23).

20For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

  1. Remember not to render evil for evil (1 Peter 3:8-13).

8Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded: 9not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10For, He that would love life, And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips that they speak no guile: 11And let him turn away from evil, and do good; Let him seek peace, and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And his ears unto their supplication: But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil. 13And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good?

  1. Remember to do your best to have a good conscience at all times (1 Peter 3:16).

16having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.

  1. Remember to rejoice when you suffer for the Lord (1 Peter 4:12-14).

12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you.

  1. Remember not to suffer as an evil doer, since by doing this, you will provide an opportunity for your enemies to falsely accuse you (1 Peter 4:15-16).

15For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men’s matters: 16but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.

  1. Remember to continue practicing that which is good, even when you are falsely accused or persecuted (1 Peter 4:19).

19Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.

  1. Remember that you are not the only one that suffers in this world (1 Peter 5:8-9).

8Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, 9whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world.

  1. Remember to give God the glory even when you are experiencing difficult times in your life (1 Peter 5:11).

10And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. 11To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

EXAMPLES OF THOSE IN THE BIBLE WHO WERE SLANDERED AND HOW THEY RESPONDED TO IT

The Bible provides several examples of faithful people of God who were accused falsely. Let us consider only three examples. At the same time, let us carefully consider how they responded to those who slandered them.

Joseph (Genesis 39:1-40).

Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of sexually harassing her. Let us read the entire story to see how things happened:

Joseph’s Prosperity

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hand of the Ishmaelites, that had brought him down thither. 2And Jehovah was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3And his master saw that Jehovah was with him, and that Jehovah made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4And Joseph found favor in his sight, and he ministered unto him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Jehovah was upon all that he had, in the house and in the field. 6And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not aught that was with him, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was comely, and well-favored.

Joseph’s Temptation

7And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master knoweth not what is with me in the house, and he hath put all that he hath into my hand: 9he is not greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11And it came to pass about this time, that he went into the house to do his work; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

Joseph is Falsely Accused

13And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in a Hebrew unto us to mock us: he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15and it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled, and got him out. 16And she laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. 17And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: 18and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled out.

Joseph is Punished Unjustly

19And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. 20And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21But Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand, because Jehovah was with him; and that which he did, Jehovah made it prosper. [4]

Throughout the development of this story we see how Joseph remained faithful to his God. This faithfulness brought him suffering since Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of trying to force her to have sexual activity with her. It is interesting to see how God will always bless His people when they diligently strive to serve Him faithfully. Notice what the text reveals concerning God’s mercy towards the faithful Joseph: But Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21). People may accuse us falsely, but God will always be there for us (cf. Hebrews 13:5).

Daniel (Daniel 6:1-28).

In this chapter we learned how Daniel lived a faithful life before God that even his enemies were not able to find fault in him. His enemies, therefore, sought a way to accuse him, but were not successful. Why? The text reveals the answer: “…but they could find no occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”

These adversaries devised a plan to falsely accused Daniel. Let us read the rest of the story to see what these men did, and what God did.

The Accusers and their Wicked Plan Against Daniel

5Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

6Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counsellors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the interdict, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the interdict.

Daniel’s Courage and Faithfulness

10And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

The Accusation Against Daniel

11Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. 12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s interdict: Hast thou not signed an interdict, that every man that shall make petition unto any god or man within thirty days, save unto thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the interdict that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 14Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to rescue him. 15Then these men assembled together unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no interdict nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

Daniel’s Unjust Tribulation and the King’s Confidence

16Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

18Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him.

Daniel’s Deliverance Due to His Faithfulness

19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice; the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God.

The Accusers Punishment

24And the king commanded, and they brought those men that had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den.

The King’s Noble Decree

25Then king Darius wrote unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. 26I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast forever, And his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. [5]

This story has the purpose of revealing 7 great lessons:

  1. It is possible to live a faithful life according to God’s commandments
  2. Evil people will try to accuse you falsely
  3. Evil people will not be able to find anything credible by which to falsely accuse you
  4. If you live a faithful life before God, He will never leave you
  5. Those who falsely accuse you will be punished by God
  6. Man’s faithfulness can provide a way for God to be glorified
  7. Faithfulness will always prevail

Jesus Christ (Mark 14:53-65).

In this passage of Scripture we read about how the Jews were trying to falsely accuse Jesus of wrong doing, but were not able to do so. Let us read the story to see how things happened:

53And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54And Peter had followed him afar off, even within, into the court of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers, and warming himself in the light of the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found it not. 56For many bare false witness against him, and their witness agreed not together. 57And there stood up certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. 59And not even so did their witness agree together. 60And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven. 63And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses? 64Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of death. 65And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands. [6]

The chief priests and the whole council were looking for ways to falsely accuse Jesus, but were not successful. If you live a faithful life, people will not be able to find something credible by which to accuse you legally.

In the three stories we have examined we see how the attitude of these men of God always reflected their faithfulness to God. There is a lot we can learn from these men! May the Lord help us to imitate their great example.

CONCLUSION

In this brief lesson we have examined the topic, “The Christian’s Response to Slander.” We have learned about the reality of suffering and slandering. We can safely conclude that slander is part of the Christian’s suffering. Therefore, it is imperative that we prayerfully consider how we can response to this type of persecution from our adversaries. If you have not experienced false accusations, sooner or later you will. When the time comes, let me encourage you to carefully practice the wise principles we have examined in this lesson.

May we never allow those who slander us to discourage us from living the kind of life God would have us to live. Remember that if we remain faithful unto death, a beautiful crown of life awaits us (Revelation 2:10; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7-8).

May the Lord give us the wisdom and encouragement to continue serving Him faithfully!

Additional Passages on the Subject at Hand

With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbor; But through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered (Proverbs 11:9).

He that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth a slander is a fool (Proverbs 10:18).

And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37).

Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge (James 4:11).

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I destroy: Him that hath a high look and a proud heart will I not suffer (Psalm 101:5).

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

American Standard Version. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 1995.

 

Louw, Johannes P.; Nida, Eugene A. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. 1996.

 

Strong, J. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. 2001.

 

Thayer, Joseph Henry. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.

 

The Holy Bible: King James Version: 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

 

[1] American Standard Version. 1995 (1 Pe 3:16). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English reader (1 Pe 3:16). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] American Standard Version. 1995 (Ge 39:1–23). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] American Standard Version. 1995 (Da 6:5–28). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] American Standard Version. 1995 (Mk 14:53–65). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

By willie75

He Sacrificed His Life to Give Us Eternal Life by Willie A. Alvarenga

HE SACRIFICED HIS LIFE TO GIVE US ETERNAL LIFE by Willie A. Alvarenga

INTRODUCTION:

  1. Thank God for Jesus Christ, His beloved Son! Thanks to Christ we now enjoy the hope of eternal life, that is, those who have obeyed the gospel.
  2. Some say there are approximately 170 references to the death of Christ in the NT.
  3. 3 Points to our lesson: 1. The nature of Christ’s death, 2. The purpose of His death, and 3. What our attitude should be in view of His death.
  4. Let us be doers of God’s Word as we study together (James 1:22; Luke 11:28).

THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

  1. It was a very painful death (humiliated, Mtt. 27:28; they spat on His face, Mtt. 26:67; Beat and struck Him, Mtt. 26:67; 27:30; crucified Him (Mtt. 27:31).
  2. It was a death according to the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:22-23; 1 Pet 1:18-20).

THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

  1. To fulfill OT prophecies (Gen 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53).
  2. To save men from their sins (Matt 20:28; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; Eph. 1:7).
  3. To show God’s love to the world (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
  4. To reconcile men back to God (Ephesians 2:13-16).
  5. To provide an example of the kind of love we should have towards one another (1 John 3:16).
  6. To provide men the opportunity to enjoy eternal life with God in heaven (John 11:25-26; 1 John 5:11; John 14:6).

OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS CHRIST’S SACRIFICE ON THE CROSS.

  1. His death should motivate us to love God more (Mark 12:30).
  2. His death should encourage us to work fervently in His kingdom (Phil 1:21).
  3. His death should encourage us to live a holy life in Christ (1 Peter 1:13-16).
  4. His death should encourage us to share the great news of salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20).

CONCLUSION:

  1. Eternal life is in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11).
  2. To be in Christ, men should obey the Gospel of Christ, be baptized into Christ (Gal 3:27; Romans 6:3-4).
  3. Plan of salvation according to the New Testament.
By willie75

Back to the Fundamentals of the Faith by Willie A. Alvarenga

Back to the fundamentals of the Faith! by Willie Alvarenga

Back to Fundamentals by Willie A. Alvarenga.PNGA few years ago I attended a lectureship nearby. One of the speakers said something that really made me think. Notice what he said, “One of the reasons why many churches of Christ are drifting away from the truth is because they are not emphasizing anymore the fundamental truths of the Bible, such as:  the inspiration of the Bible, the Deity of Christ, the existence of God, and the one true church of the Bible.” Friends, this preacher was so right!

The church of our Lord Jesus Christ needs to go back to the Bible and impress upon our minds the need to be well grounded in the truth, concerning these great fundamental subjects of the Bible. Our convictions upon God and His Word will grow stronger if we continue to study these great fundamental subjects.

Let me ask you the following questions: how much Bible knowledge do we possess concerning the Deity of Christ? How much knowledge do we possess concerning the existence of God and the inspiration of the Bible? Are we truly convinced that there is only one true church? Are we putting into practice 1 Peter 3:15, which encourage us to always be ready to give an answer? If we had the opportunity to speak for forty five minutes concerning any of these subjects, could we show people what the Scriptures teach on these subjects?

Friends, let me encourage each of us to be diligent students of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:18), since this knowledge will help us to stay faithful to God’s will. A strong conviction upon these fundamental subjects of the Bible will help our young people to never leave the old paths. There are so many young people who go to College and Universities without having a strong conviction upon what God teaches in His Word concerning these fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Brethren, this is alarming! Let me encourage us to do something about it. Let me encourage our Bible teachers to spend time discussing these subjects. Let me encourage parents to do the same. May God help us to never neglect the study of His Word, especially the fundamental doctrines of the Bible!

Willie Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

E-mail: walvarenga@btsop.com

Websites: www.BacktoBibleKnowledge.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

 

By willie75

Beware of the false pen! by Willie A. Alvarenga

Beware of the false pen! by Willie Alvarenga

Jeremiah the prophet once penned the following words, “How do ye say, we are wise, and the law of Jeh
ovah is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely”
(Jeremiah 8:8, ASV 1901). Notice the phrase, “the false pen of the scribes.” These words were written about 600 years before the coming of the Lord to this earth. About 2,600 years have transpired since the writing of these words, and nothing has changed.

Today, as it was the case in the Old Testament, many “pens” or “keyboards” are being used to write things that go contrary to what the Word of the Lord teaches. We have many false teachers writing and teaching people that baptism is not essential to salvation; the Bible teaches that it is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21); others are saying that one church is as good as another; God says that salvation is only found in the church of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23). Others are saying that the church does not need elders, but God says she does (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Others are saying that you may worship God any way you want to, but God says you must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24; Colossians 3:17).

Some people are using the pen to pervert God’s Word instead of teaching what the Lord commands. We, as God’s children, must use “the pen” to write only that which is in harmony with the Holy Scriptures (Titus 2:1; 2 Timothy 1:13). The Bible says that there will be serious consequences when we pervert the Word of God. Notice what the apostle Peter wrote,

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Pete 3:16-17).

We must be very careful of those things we read through articles, books, magazines, etc. We must “prove all things and hold fast only to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21; cf. 1 John 4:1). We must, as John the apostle instructed, “… believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The false pen of the false teachers is doing much harm to the cause of Christ. Let us not be guilty of this!

Willie Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

E-mail: walvarenga@btsop.com

Website: www.backtobibleknowledge.com

By willie75

An Angry and Wrathful Man Stirreth Up Strife

AN ANGRY AND WRATHFUL MAN STIRRETH UP STRIFE by Willie Alvarenga

Proverbs 15:18; 29:22

All quotations will be from the New King James Version.

It is indeed an honor to be part of this fine lectureship.  I commend the elders and the congregation for allowing this lectureship to continue for so many years.  I also thank Brother Gabriel Rodriguez for the hard work he puts into directing this great lectureship.  It is my conviction that thousands of people have been edified through the years with the lessons that have been presented by faithful gospel preachers.  It is my prayer that God may continue to bless these efforts so that thousands of people may continue to learn more about God’s Word.  It is my prayer that the things that I will say today may be of great encouragement to all of us.  To God be the glory!

Great lessons have been presented, and will continue to be presented during this lectureship.  I commend the elders and Brother Rodriguez for selecting a topic that is much needed today.  Church conflict avails much today in many congregations of the Lord’s church.  Lessons like these ones will help the brethren learn how to deal with these problems.  It is my conviction that we, as members of the Lord’s body, must strive to avoid conflict at all cost.  Let us remember that Satan is trying to destroy the church for which our Savior died.  The Bible describes Satan as our enemy (Matt. 13:39), the wicked one (1 John 5:19), the roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8).  He will try his best to use even Christians to accomplish his goal.  Therefore, we must remain awake and consider lectureships like this one, something the church needs today.

A great and much needed topic has been assigned to me.  Lord willing, we will discuss for a few minutes on the topic “An angry and wrathful man stirreth up strife”, from Proverbs 15:18 and 29:22.  This topic is very important for the following reasons: 1) It is a Bible topic, and 2) it is a topic that we need so much today.  The church for which Jesus died on the cross has suffered so much because of the attitude of so many Christians who are not paying attention to what the Bible teaches on this very important subject.  Brethren, our attitude can either encourage, or it can destroy people’s lives.  Therefore, let us pay close attention to what the will of the Lord is on this very important topic.

ANGER AND WRATH—ITS MEANINGS

Let me take a few moments to define certain terms related to our lesson.  This will help us to have a pretty good idea of what we’re talking about.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, “anger” is defined as a feeling of extreme displeasure, hostility, indignation, or exasperation toward someone or something; rage.  Some synonyms are anger, fury, rage, ire, wrath, resentment, indignation.  According to Holman’s Bible Dictionary, anger is defined as a feeling of being very annoyed and wanting to fight back at a person or thing that hurts one or is against one; rage.  As we can see, these attitudes can lead us to some serious problems that may generate church conflict.

As far as “wrath” is concerned, The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a violent, resentful anger; rage; fury.  It is a manifestation of anger.

These definitions help us to understand what we are dealing with.  These attitudes, when not controlled by Christians, can bring serious conflict to the church of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, let us consider some helpful points about this very important subject.  And once again, it is my prayer that the things that I will say today, be of great encouragement to all of us.  May we learn as much as we can!

ANGER—THE POSTIVITE SIDE OF IT

Yes, there is a positive side to anger.  Anger is a natural feeling of human beings.  God has created men with this kind of feeling.

God commands us to be angry in a positive way

As we read the Scriptures, we realize that God commands us to be angry.  For example, the apostle Paul, writing to the saints at Ephesus, wrote “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Eph. 4:26, NKJV).  If being angry at all was sinful, then we would not find Scriptures like this one.  Of course, God has given us an explanation of how far we can go with anger—“do not let the sun go down on your wrath”.  The feeling of being anger must be controlled by Christians at all times.

Let me suggest a few examples of positive anger that may be felt by Christians today.

  1. We should be angry when we see how others (Christians and non- Christians) have no respect for Bible authority. We are commanded to have respect for Bible authority (Col. 3:17); nevertheless, it is sad to see how many Christians around this world have no respect for the authority of the Scriptures.  Many today are introducing changes to the church that are not authorized by God.  Many Christians do not get angry when their preacher teaches false doctrine about salvation, instrumental music in worship, and many other subjects which pervert the doctrine of Christ.  We should have a feeling of indignation when things like these take place.  Change agents are causing much grief in the church today.  These are people who have no respect whatsoever for the authority of the Scriptures.  When we observe this kind of attitude, we must have indignation.  Sadly to say, many Christians today feel nothing when false teachers take over the church. Most Christians do not get angry when the authority of the Scripture is being ignored by so many. A positive feeling of anger can help us to deal with this kind of problems.  Feeling anger when this takes place will lead us to do something about it.  It will help us to deal with this kind of problems.  The apostle Paul was extremely angry when false teachers spread their erroneous doctrines.  This helped him to deal with this kind of people.  But, his dealings with false teachers were done according to the will of God, and not according to his way of thinking.  The apostle Paul never fought physically those false teachers who perverted the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must not allowed anger to take control of us to the point in which we violate the will of God.
  2. We should get angry when we see how Christians have no respect and reverence for God. God’s word commands us to love Him with all of our hearts, mind, soul and strength (Mk. 12:30); nevertheless, many Christians today have no love for God; much less reverence for Him.  People love to attack God at all times.  It seems like the whole world is trying to get rid of God, instead of coming to Him and accepting His will.  We can see how people in the media attack God and His word.  This is sad brethren, and ought not to be the case.  It is sad to observe how so many Christians see these things happen, and feel nothing about it.  Sometimes they act as if they agreed with them.
  3. We should get angry when we see how Christians are indifferent to the work of the Lord. God’s word commands us to work diligently in His kingdom (1 Cor. 15:58).  God has done so much for us.  It is a sinful action from our part not to be thankful with the Lord for all that He has done for us.  We must get involve in the Lord’s work.  Remember, He deserves the best from all of us.  It is a matter of indignation to see how Christians are so indifferent to the work of the Lord.  It is so sad how Christians do not get involved in the work of evangelism.  This is a lack of love from their part towards the work of the Lord.
  4. We should be angry at sin (Psa. 97:10; 101:3; 119:128). The Bible commands us to hate sinful practices.  Let us remember that our Savior died on the cross because of sin (Rom. 5:8). How can we continue to live in sin when we have died to sin?  (Rom. 6:1-2).  We must feel indignation towards sin and stay away as much as possible.  Let us remember that without sanctification, no one will see God (Heb. 12:14; Matt. 5:8).  A feeling of anger towards sin will help us to love holiness, and hate sinfulness.   Sadly to say, many Christians enjoy sin, instead of hating it.  Many today talk about sin like if there is nothing wrong with it.  Many laugh at sin, when in reality; they should feel anger towards it.  Some times I wonder if we have forgotten what God thinks about sin (Hab. 1:13; Psa. 5:5; 1 Pet. 1:15-16).

As we can see, we as Christians have the right to get angry or feel indignation when such things take place in the church.  Nevertheless, we should never let the sun go down upon our anger.  When this happens, we let the wrong attitude enter our hearts, and this may, and will cause, harm to the cause of Christ.  We should, and must have control over our anger.  Not to do so will bring about conflict in the church. This will ultimately result in the church getting hurt.  But, anger, when felt properly, can help us to solve problems in the church.

ANGER AND WRATH—THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF IT

We have considered the positive side of anger; now let us considered the negative side of it.  There is a negative side to anger as the following examples will show.  The Bible provides plenty of examples of those who gave in to anger in a negative way.  How do we know when anger is considered a negative one?  Well, one thing we must understand is that when anger leads us to violate God’s word; then we have practiced something that God does not approve of.   The following passages helps us to understand that there is a kind of anger that God wants us to avoid (Psa. 37:8; Prov. 14:17; 15:1; 15:18; 29:8, 22). Let us considered a few examples:

  1. Moses—this man of God gave in to anger when he struck the rock at Kadesh instead of speaking to the rock (Num. 20:1-13).  Moses violated the command from God by allowing anger to take control of his life.  This anger took him as far as ignoring the will of God.   So, as we can see, anger can take us as far as practicing the sin of disobedience to the will of God.
  2. Cain—this man came as far as taking the life of his own brother.  This took place because Cain allowed his anger to take control of his life (Gen. 4).  Anger, if not managed, can take us as far as taking the life of someone.  This can be done, either physically or spiritually.  We may come to the point in which we may hate our brethren if we are not careful.  Doing this may lead us to be guilty of spiritual murder (1 John 3:15).
  3. The apostle Peter—this man of God allowed anger to take him to the point of cutting Malchus’ right ear, when Jesus was being taken by the guards before His crucifixion (John 18:10).  Many Christians who have not controlled anger have come to the point in which they use physical force to get revenged.  Even though Peter had every reason in the world to protect Jesus; nevertheless, his action was not justified in the sight of God.  We cannot get angry in this manner and call it a righteous anger.
  4. James and John—these disciples of Jesus allowed anger to take control of their lives to the point that when Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans, they ask Jesus weather they could pray to God so that fire may come down from heaven and kill the Samaritans (Lk. 9:51-56).  Their anger was so terrible that they came to the point in which they were blinded, and all they could think of was to take people’s lives away from them.

There are so many examples in the Bible of negative anger, which must be avoided by Christians today.  May God give us the strength and the wisdom to be able to control anger when this attitude comes to our hearts in a negative way.  Let us remember that anger becomes sin when this attitude brings us to violate God’s word.

ANGER AND WRATH—ATTITUDES THAT TRULY HURT THE CHURCH

Anger, when not controlled by Christians, will bring about conflict in the church.  Sadly to say, we have many Christians today who have allowed anger and wrath to take control of their lives to the point that they hurt one another.  These attitudes, when not handled properly by Christians will cause the cause of Christ to be hurt.  There are many examples of daily Christian living that we can make reference to, to see and understand how these attitudes bring about conflict in the church.  For example, I am reminded of a Christian who always wanted things to go according to his will.  Well, one time, the men of the congregation made a decision that he did not agreed with. After the decision was made, this Christian man got so angry that he started saying awful things to the rest of the men, and also came to the point in which he ask one of the man to step outside of the church building to fight.

In another similar situation, one of the men from the congregation was teaching a Bible class.  He made a comment that was not taken well by this other member.  Well, the brother who was teaching the class was invited to go outside of the church building to fight.  This brother had a real problem with anger.

How many times has this happen at men’s meetings, elders meetings, etc.?  Nothing good can come out of anger and wrath when not controlled by Christians.  Notice what God has said about this:

“A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame” (Prov. 12:16)

Also notice what Proverbs 14:17 and 14:29 teaches,

“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated”,

“He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.”

May we never allow anger and wrath to cause us to violate the word of God.  Why do these attitudes hurt the church? Well, let me suggest a few reasons why:

  1. We become a bad example to others, especially visitors. Let us remember that we are to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:16).  We cannot be the light of the world when we display an attitude that goes contrary to the will of God.  A bad example from Christians who cannot control anger may cause a person to stumble.  We may also cause a visitor to stop coming to church services and hear the word of God being proclaimed.  No one wants to visit a congregation where the saints are always fighting and speaking evil one against the other.  The growth of the church will be affected when these attitudes prevail in the church.  I am reminded of a situation in which some members of a congregation were fighting in the midst of church services.  They were exchanging words among each other.  Later, I heard that some of the members had brought visitors that day to worship services.  The members struggle to convince the visitors to come, and in the day they came, all of this took place.  I was told that the visitors had said that they will not return to this congregation anymore.  As you can see, this kind of behavior brought serious consequences to the congregation.  These brethren became a bad example to the visitors of that occasion.  This attitude has occurred in many congregations.  May God help us to not be a stumbling block to others.
  2. We forget our responsibility to love one another. Jesus has commanded us to love one another (John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9).  We cannot love one another when we are challenging one another to fight.  We cannot love one another when we allow anger to cause us to speak evil against our brother or our sister in Christ.  I am reminded of an experience I had with another preacher who wanted to physically fight me because he did not want to accept his wrong doings.  I spoke to him about his false teachings, but refuse to accept responsibility.  The good thing about this is that it was over the phone; otherwise, I would have been hurt pretty bad!  This was, and still is a preacher who teaches false doctrine, and likes to get his way all the time.  As far as I know, he has challenged to fight many members of the congregation where he preaches.  Brethren, this ought not to be the case!  We need to remind ourselves of what God’s will is concerning brotherly love.
  3. It keeps us away from forgiving one another. There are many Christians who are harboring anger and wrath in their hearts, and this is keeping them from forgiving those who sin against them.  There are many members of the church who will not speak to one another in church services because they are angry to one another.  It is amazing to see how many Christians have allowed anger to penetrate their hearts to the point that they will not forgive.  Jesus teaches us that we must forgive one another (Mk. 11:25-26; Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32).  Not to do so will make us guilty of not obeying the will of God.
  4. Anger destroys the peace that needs to prevail in the church. There cannot be peace when anger is present in our lives.  We cannot work together for the cause of Christ when anger has taken control of our lives.  Anger keeps the peace away from the church.  Therefore, we must do away with anger from our lives, that is, if we want peace to prevail.  Congregations where anger prevails cannot live in peace with each other.  Members will always be fighting each other.  This is not the will of God for the church.  God’s word commands us to be at peace with one another (Eph. 4:3; Rom. 14:19).  If anger is not control, peace will never be a part of our lives.  Brother Gus Nichols once said: “Christians are peace makers, not peace breakers.”
  5. Anger hurts our lives physically and spiritually. Nothing good can come out when we let anger take control of our lives.  The sorrows that come when anger controls us are far too dangerous.  We cannot live at peace with each other and with ourselves.  One Chinese proverb said: “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”  Alfred Montapert said: “Every time you get angry, you poison your own system.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”  Each of these quotes teaches us a great lesson about anger.   Some have suggested that when you get angry, the following happens: Your adrenaline surges, your heart beats faster, your palms sweat, your face flushes, your stomach pumps great gushes of ACID, you have trouble sleeping, you get depressed, moody, and introverted. All of these things affect your physical body.  Let us remember that we must take care of our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  Also, one experienced counselor stated that 50% of the people who came in for counseling had problems with dealing with their anger.  Anger can shatter communication and tear apart relationships and ruins both the joy and health of many.

It is imperative that we acknowledge that this kind of attitude hurts the church for which Jesus gave His life (Acts 20:28; Matt. 20:28).  This kind of attitude keeps the church from growing spiritually the way God would have it to growth.   We need to remind ourselves that our responsibility consists in striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).  We must “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19).   This is something we need to remember all the time.

ANGER AND WRATH—WE CAN BE MORE THAN CONQUERORS

We have considered a few principles about our topic.  Now, I would like to spend some time talking about how you and I can overcome these attitudes which hurt the church, and perpetuate conflict in the lives of so many Christians.  It is my prayer that you and I realize how dangerous these attitudes can be when not control by Christians.  I would like to look at some principles from Ephesians chapter 4, regarding how we can be more than conquerors over anger and wrath.  Let me remind you that victory belongs to us (1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14).  We can be more than conquerors over anger and wrath; attitudes that can lead us to become disobedient to our heavenly Father.  God has given us everything that it takes to be victorious (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:17).  God’s word can help us to defeat attitudes that can lead us to eternal punishment.  But, before we discuss these ways of how to overcome anger, let me encourage you to not turn to the world for the answer.  The world will suggest to you things that go contrary to God’s will.  For example, notice what the world is telling you to do when you get angry:

  1. “Don’t get mad, GET EVEN!, revenge is sweet, so they say”
  2. Tell people off! Bang the wall! Go into the closet; close the door, scream to the top of your lungs!
  3. “Let it out,” they say, “and it will go away.”

As we can see, this is not what God would have us to do.  Therefore, may I encourage you to reject what the world says you must do about how to deal with anger.  Now, let us consider what you and I can do to overcome anger.

PRINCIPLES TO OVERCOME ANGER AND WRATH FROM EPHESIANS 4

We must be gentle, longsuffering, and loving towards one another (4:1-2).

  1. We must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3).
  2. We must put away sin from our lives (4:17-19).
  3. We must imitate Jesus Christ (4:20-21).
  4. We must put away the old man, and put on the new man (4:22-24; 2 Cor. 5:17).
  5. We must put away lying from our lives (4:25).
  6. We must not let the devil in when we get angry (4:26-27).
  7. We must not let corrupt speech come out of our mouths (4:29; Prov. 15:1).
  8. We must put away every negative attitude from our lives (4:31).
  9. We must be kind to one another and forgiving each other (4:32).

These are some of the things that we may consider to overcome anger and wrath.  Let me suggest a few more that we may consider.

  1. We need to be obedient to what God says about anger (James 1:20-21; Eph. 4:26; Col. 3:8).
  2. We need to acknowledge that these kinds of attitudes hurt the church for which Jesus died (Prov. 14:17; James 1:19-20).
  3. We need to remember the kind of attitude that God wants us to have (Matt. 5:16; Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32; John 13:34-35; Heb. 12:14).
  4. We must remember that anger and wrath, when not control, can lead us to eternal punishment (Gal. 5:20).
  5. We must acknowledge that anger and wrath will hinder our prayers (1 Tim. 2:8; Mk. 11:25-26).
  6. We must remember that only a wise man turns away anger and wrath (Prov. 29:8).
  7. We must remember that we must pursue peace with all men (Heb. 12:14).
  8. We must think, before we act.
  9. We must realize that when we are slow to anger, this will appease strife (Prov. 15:1, 18).
  10. Let us pray to God continually that God may help us!

CONCLUSION

It is my prayer that this lesson was helpful to each of us.  I realize that we cannot do justice to this topic in the time we had; nevertheless, may we consider the information that was presented in this lesson.  Let us pray to our heavenly Father that He may give us the wisdom and the understanding to do His will on this subject of anger and wrath.  Let us strive to the best of our ability to do as much as we can to let peace prevail in the church.  May negative attitudes be rejected by the children of God who have a deep desire to be in heaven some day.

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 681 4543; 268 3222

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

www.btsop.com

By willie75

Restoration: Christian or Campbellite?

RESTORATION: CHRISTIAN OR CAMPBELLITE? By Willie A.  Alvarenga

campbellitesChristian or Campbellite? Oh, what a question this is!  Brethren and friends, any honest and diligent student of the Word would never answer “Campbellite” to this question. Why? The answer is simple:  The Bible nowhere authorizes this title to be used in reference to those who follow Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches that we are to speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), we are also commanded to speak sound doctrine (Titus 2:1), and we are also told to hold on to the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  Therefore, using correct reasoning, we could not use the title “Campbellites” to refer to Christians because the Word of God does not provide authority for this action.  We are reminded by the words of the apostle Paul,

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17, NKJV).

If we want to be true to the authority of the Scriptures, we must continue to reject any artificial titles which give men the glory and not our Lord Jesus Christ.  The title “Campbellite” denotes a follower of Thomas or Alexander Campbell, men who during the late 1800s called people back to the pure Christianity of the Bible.  These men had great intentions and wanted to help people live a life free of man-made religions.  Their plea was to call people back to the Bible.  However, just because they did this, does not mean that we are their disciples, and be called “Campbellites”.  Sadly to say, many today are calling members of the church of Christ “Campbellites”.  Notice the following statements from people who have no respect whatsoever for the authority of the Scriptures.

THE ACCUSATION:

SOME PEOPLE REFER TO MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AS “CAMPBELLITES”

The following information was taken from Brother Curtis Cates’ lecture back in 2006 at the Spiritual Sword Lectures:

The attempt to belittle the restoration plea is not just recent.  C.R. Nichol fifty years ago wrote of a sectarian preacher who, in a debate with brother E.A. Elam (which debate brother Nichol heard at eleven years of age), called brother Elam and his brethren “Campbellites.”  Mr. Ogle charged,

These people whom Mr. Elam represents, with himself, make great claims to being the church Christ established, whereas the facts are that as a church they are some eighteen hundred years too young to be that church.  Mr. Alexander Campbell is the ecclesiastical father of the church of which they are members, and it still has on its swaddling clothes.  They have as their slogan the words of a Mr. Thomas Campbell, the father of their religious sect (Nichol, 768-769).[1]

Notice the following information from a Baptist preacher:

In his 101 questions for Campbellites, pastor A.A. Davis of the First Baptist Church of Nowata, OK., asked the question: What are Campbellites? His answer was: These are known as “The Church of Christ,” or “The Disciples of Christ,” which believe that Water Baptism is essential to salvation in Jesus Christ.[2]

A Baptist publication called Calvary Contender (June 15, 1999) chastised the magazine Christianity Today for accepting an ad from Harding University of Searcy, AR.  They argued that Harding is a “Campbellite” church of Christ school.  They went on to say that the church of Christ is considered a cult in some regards because it allegedly teaches a “works salvation”.[3]

Notice what the Wikipedia Encyclopedia has to say concerning the title “Campbellite”:

Campbellite refers to any of the religious groups historically descended from the Restoration Movement, a religious reform movement in the early 19th century in the United States. The major groups are: The churches of Christ, the Christian church (Disciples of Christ), the Independent Christian churches/churches of Christ, the churches of Christ non-institutional.[4]

Brother Wayne Jackson, in his article entitled, “Alexander Campbell and Christ’s church” wrote the following,

Robert Owen, the English “Free-thinker” who came to America to establish a movement of “social reform,” was, according to A.B. Barret, the first man to employ the epithet, “Campbellite” (The Shattered Chain, 32). Those who so enjoy utilizing this misnomer are indebted to infidelity for it.[5]

Not many years ago, students from the Brown Trail School of Preaching, were involved in a door- knocking campaign.  As they were visiting the community where they were evangelizing, someone came to the door and accused them of being Campbellites.

Also, a graduate from the Brown Trail School of Preaching had a discussion with a preacher about the title “Campbellite”.  This preacher argued that we need to be called “Campbellites” due to the fact that Alexander Campbell had so much influence upon the churches of Christ and was the one who started the church.  Brethren, this is the kind of mentality that prevails in the minds of many people, even preachers of today.  We need to go back to the Bible and call things by Bible names.  We need to go back to the Bible and get our facts straight.

The list continues on and on about how some people believe that we, members of the body of Christ, are called “Campbellites” and not Christians only.  One thing that I would like to make clear is the fact that just because some publication, magazine, encyclopedia or man says that we are “Campbellites” does not make it so.  Just because I say that a cow has five legs does not make it so.  Anyone who accuses members of the body of Christ of being “Campbellites” need to go back to the Bible and learn what God calls those who follow Christ.

WHY DO PEOPLE REFER TO US AS “CAMPBELLITES”?

Let me share with you some reasons why I believe people call us by the name of “Campbellites”

  1. They have no respect for the authority of the Scriptures (Colossians 3:17; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 Peter 4:11).
  2. They have decided to accept what others say about this matter and not what the Bible teaches (Jeremiah 6:16).
  3. Some of our members are quoting more what Alexander Campbell said than what the Bible teaches (1 Peter 4:11; Titus 2:1).
  4. Some people just cannot accept that we are Christians only. They refuse to accept the evidence that is before them.
  5. Some people just want to ridicule members of the body of Christ (Acts 2:13).
  6. Others simply do not have knowledge of what the Scriptures teach about who a Christian is.

I am sure we can list more reasons why some people call us “Campbellites”; nevertheless, I believe these reflect what people have in their minds.  It is my prayer that they will consider the evidence that is found within the pages of the New Testament.

In the rest of this lesson I would like to offer several reasons why we are not “Campbellites” but Christians only.  I hope that this information would clarify any doubts that people may have in their minds.  One thing I can tell you for sure is that if a person is honest to the evidence, such person will accept it; but, if they are not, then, they will refuse to reason correctly about the evidence under consideration.

WE ARE CHRISTIANS:

REASONS WHY WE ARE CHRISTIANS AND NOT “CAMPBELLITES”

It is my prayer that all of those who will read this information will accept it with an open heart.  I trust that you will have an honest attitude concerning the evidence that is about to be presented.  I ask that you please consider this information with an open Bible.

We are Christians not “Campbellites” because we follow Jesus Christ and not Alexander or Thomas Campbell

Yes friends, we are followers of Jesus Christ and not Alexander or Thomas Campbell.  The name “Christian” comes from the Greek word CRISTIANOS.  This word denotes one who follows Christ, not Alexander or Thomas Campbell.  Just because Alexander or Thomas Campbell taught some things that we believe are right does not mean that we are their disciples.  Everything we believe and teach, we do, not because Alexander Campbell taught it, but because God said it in His Word.  Everything that Alexander Campbell taught from the Bible was there even before he was born.

Every faithful Christian will follow the doctrine of Christ and the apostles, and not the doctrines of men, which are condemned in the Scriptures (Matthew 15:7-9; 2 John 9-11).   Every faithful member of the body of Christ will follow His teaching and not the human creeds which abound in our days.

We follow Jesus Christ and not Alexander Campbell because He is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12; John 10:9; 14:6).  The apostle Peter made it very clear that we are to follow Christ because He is the only one that can save us.  Neither Alexander Campbell nor other man can give us the salvation that we need.

We are Christians not “Campbellites” because this is what the Bible calls us

When one studies the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, one will realize that the Bible describes those who follow Christ as Christians, and not “Campbellites”.  The name “Christian” is found 3 times in the New Testament.  Notice the following passages of Scripture:

“And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26, emp. added)

Notice the second passage that tells us how the followers of Christ were called,

“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian’” (Acts 26:28, emp. added)

The third passage to be considered was written by the apostle Peter and shows how the followers of Christ are described:

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16, emp. added)

As we can see, the Bible uses the name Christian to describe the followers of Christ.  The Bible nowhere uses the names Baptist, Campbellites, Luterans or any other man-made names that we hear today.  We are called Christians because this is what God says in His Word.  It is our desire indeed to always follow what the Bible teaches, and not what men, in their false doctrines, teach.

We are Christians not “Campbellites” because Jesus Christ established the church of Christ, and not Alexander or Thomas Campbell

We are members of the church of Christ, that is, the body of Christ because Jesus Christ established the one true church about 2,000 years ago (Matthew 16:18).  This divine institution was not established by Alexander or Thomas Campbell but Christ.  Just because someone says that Alexander Campbell established the church of Christ does not make it right.  These men were not in existence when the one true church was established on Pentecost day (Acts 2).  Therefore, how can we be “Campbellites” if we are members of the body of Christ of which we read in the pages of the New Testament?  It simply cannot be the case that we are “Campbellites”.  If they were the founders of the one true church, then we would have the right to be called “Campbellites” and not Christians.  But, since this is not the case, then we are forced to come to the conclusion that we are Christians, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ.

‘We are Christians not “Campbellites” because we have been baptized into Christ and not into Alexander or Thomas Campbell

In the first chapter of first Corinthians we read about the division that was prevailing in the church of Corinth.  These Christians were saying that they were followers of Cephas, Paul, and Apollos.  The apostle Paul clarifies to them the following points: 1. Christ was not divided, 2. Paul was not crucified for them, 3. they were not baptized into the name of Paul.  Notice the last point.  These Christians were not baptized into the name of Paul, but of Christ.  The Bible teaches that when you obey the gospel, you are added or baptized into the body of Christ (Acts 2:47; Galatians 3:27; I Corinthians 12:13).  The Bible nowhere teaches that those who obey the gospel are added or baptized to a man, but to Christ’s body.  The Bible nowhere speaks about Alexander or Thomas Campbell, but it does speak about Jesus Christ.  Notice that Paul, Cephas, and Apollos were in existence when Paul wrote first Corinthians; however, the apostle Paul nowhere teaches that we are authorized to argue that we are added to their bodies, but the body of Christ.  Therefore, we are Christians, not “Campbellites” because we have been added to the body of Christ through obedience to His gospel.

Sadly to say, many religious people of our day have not understood what Paul taught in first Corinthians chapter one.  They use names such as “Baptist”, “Lutherans”, and even “Campbellites”.  These titles are not authorized in the pages of the New Testament, our pattern to follow.  As members of the body of Christ, we must reject any man-made doctrines and titles that go contrary to what the Bible teaches.

CONCLUSION

As I close this lesson, it is my prayer that you will consider this information with an honest heart.  May we accept what the Bible teaches in all respects and not what man says.  The Bible is clear about who we are.  We are Christians only, members of the one true church we read about in the pages of the New Testament.  May we never forget this great truth! As faithful gospel preachers, let us proclaim the Word of God without any addition or subtraction.  To God be the glory!

** All quotations are from the NKJV

Did Alexander Campbell Establish the Church of Christ?

by Bill J. Humble
via The Preceptor, Vol. 1, No. 8, June 1952.

A Preceptor reader from Texas has submitted a list of questions which request a statement of what Alexander Campbell actually did. Since members of the church are often asked such questions as “The church of Christ began with Alexander Campbell, didn’t it?” and “Wasn’t Campbell the founder of your denomination?”, it is of paramount importance that every member of the church understand exactly what Campbell did and what he did not do. The questions asked were:

Was Campbell a Baptist?

At one period in Campbell’s career he was affiliated with the Baptist denomination and even earlier he was a Presbyterian. After he and his father, Thomas Campbell, had both renounced the Presbyterian church, they began to study the question of baptism and were persuaded by their own investigations that immersion alone constituted Scriptural baptism. After they and several others had been immersed by Elder Luce of the Baptist Church (June 12, 1812), the Baptists of western Pennsylvania were jubilant at the “conversion” of these former Presbyterians and invited the Brush Run church, which the Campbells had organized, to join the Redstone Baptist Association.

After lengthy discussions the Campbells affiliated with the Redstone Association but only with a written understanding that they would be allowed to teach whatever they “learned from the Holy Scriptures, regardless of any human creed.” Alexander Campbell remained a nominal Baptist for seventeen years (1813 – 1830), during which an ever increasing number of Baptists realized that he was “among them,” but not “of them.” Within three years following the admission of the Brush Run church to the Redstone Association, Campbell delivered an address before the annual meeting of that association, the famous “Sermon on the Law,” in which he expressed sentiments which were hardly compatible with orthodox Baptist theology. When he debated Maccalla in 1823, Campbell maintained that baptism was essential to salvation: and though Campbell was supposedly defending the Baptist cause, baptism for the remission of sins was unacceptable and heretical to Baptists as to Presbyterians.

During Campbell’s seventeen years as a nominal Baptist his prestige and influence increased enormously in spite of his heterodox views. The process of separation was slow and often painful; but by 1830 the “Christians” or “Disciples” had been ousted from the Baptist denomination, and the Baptists counted their losses in the tens of thousands. Campbell was no longer a Baptist, even in name.

Did Alexander Campbell Establish the Church Of Christ?

The answer to this question is a most emphatic NO! Before one can be said to be the founder of any institution, it is essential that the institution in question never have existed prior to the period of its alleged founder. The church of Christ did exist long before the time of Alexander Campbell. Its establishment occurred in Jerusalem on that memorable Pentecost morning; its early history forms the theme of the Book of Acts; its needs for instruction were satisfied by the Epistles of the New Testament.

Campbell’s enemies utilized every means at their command to criticize, ridicule, and undermine, his work. One of their favorite tactics was to accuse Campbell of being the founder of a new religious denomination; for they believed that if he could be branded a factionist, the founder of a new sect, his plea for religious unity would appear absurd to the religious community.

As often as Campbell encountered this charge that he had founded a new denomination, he carefully pointed to the true character of his work and disclaimed all pretenses at being the founder of a new sect. For example, when Campbell visited New Orleans, the Commercial Bulletin announced his visit to the city and referred to him as the “founder” of a religious denomination Campbell immediately addressed a letter to the editors of the paper; and after thanking them for the complementary notice of his visit, he continued:

“You have done me, gentlemen, too much honor in saying that I am the ‘founder’ of the denomination, quite numerous and respectable in many portions of the West, technically known as ‘Christians,’ but more commonly as ‘Campbellites.’

“I have always repudiated all human heads and human names for the people of the Lord, and shall feel very thankful if you will correct the erroneous impression which your article may have made in thus representing me as the founder of a religious denomination.” (Richardson, Memoirs of Campbell, II, 441)

Neither the facts of history nor the statement of Campbell himself give any support to the charge that he founded a new denomination. It follows, therefore, that when someone asks a Christian, “Didn’t Alexander Campbell found your denomination?” he reveals either an ignorance of the basic facts involved or a malicious design. If it be a case of insufficient information, he can be persuaded that the church of Christ is not a denomination and that Campbell was not its founder. If the question proceeds from malicious intent, the questioner illustrates again the power of religious prejudice!

Did Alexander Campbell Restore the Original Church of Christ?

It would be incorrect to imply that Campbell alone succeeded in restoring the primitive church of Christ, but it is accurate to state that Campbell was one leader in a great movement whose goal was the restoration of the New Testament church. It will be observed that two things are implied when one uses the term “restoration.”

It is implied that the church of Christ did not originate with Campbell or even during the period of his life; rather it originated and flourished before Alexander Campbell lived.

Campbell believed in returning to the original standard, for this is the meaning of the term “restore.” When one restores something which has existed earlier, he does not create or originate; he attempts to reproduce an earlier work.

“A restoration of the ancient order of things, it appears, is all that is contemplated by the wise disciples of the Lord; as it is agreed that this is all that is wanting to the perfection, happiness and glory of the Christian community … Now, in attempting to accomplish this, it must be observed, that it belongs to every individual and to every congregation of individuals to discard from their faith and their practice everything that is not found written in the New Testament of the Lord and Savior, and to believe and practice whatever is there enjoined. This done, and everything is done which ought to be done” (Christian Baptist, March 7, 1825).

Is Alexander Campbell The Founder Of The Church of Christ?

Taken from: Lay Lake Church of Christ Bulletin

Volume 5, Number 10

David A. Bass

From time to time members of the church of Christ are inaccurately referred to as “Campbellites.”  The implication is that the church of Christ was founded (started) by Alexander Campbell rather than being the Church of which we read of in the N. T.   Most who use it today are only “parroting” what they have heard others say.  Because of this misconception, I think it good to consider the question, “Did Alexander Campbell found the church of Christ?” It can be clearly & conclusively shown from history & from Scripture that Alexander Campbell was not the founder of the church of Christ.

Secular history shows that efforts to restore undenominational Christianity had begun long before Alexander Campbell started his work.  In the beginning of the 19th century there arose a group of men desiring to return to the apostolic order of things.  These men saw what early ‘reformers’ (Martin Luther, John Calvin, etc.) did not see – the importance of ‘restoring’ things as they were in the first century rather than ‘reforming’ the apostate Catholic Church.  These men expressed great dissatisfaction with protestant denominationalism with its various creeds, names, doctrines & practices.  They held that man’s eternal salvation depended upon his full acceptance of things as they were in New Testament times rather than a choice between Catholicism & Protestantism.

It is very important to realize that several of these men lived before Alexander Campbell by several years: For example:  James O’Kelley (Methodist) who came to America 14 years before Alexander Campbell.  In 1794 James O’Kelley & a group of his followers decided to lay aside all human creeds & return to the Bible (Alexander Campbell would have been 6 years old at that time, still living in Scotland).  Barton W. Stone (Presbyterian) was in America long before the arrival of Campbell (Stone was preaching the restoration gospel 5 years before Alexander Campbell arrived in the states).  Alexander’s own father, Thomas Campbell (Presbyterian), was in America two years before his son preaching many of the Restoration principles.  These men (& others that could be mentioned) were in America working to restore primitive Christianity long before Mr. Campbell began his work.

It can be proven historically that churches of Christ existed long before Alexander Campbell time.  If we can show that the church of Christ existed prior to beginning of Mr. Campbell’s time then we have proven that he did not start it.   Notice some examples:  The Rock Springs church (near Celina, TN) was started in 1804 – 5 years before Alexander Campbell came to America.  In my files I have the picture of a tombstone in the Cane Ridge cemetery, near Paris, Kentucky.  It reads:  “William Rogers, Born in Campbell Co, VA., July 7, 1784, moved with his father to Cane Ridge Bourbon Co. Apr. 1798, United with the church of Christ at Cane Ridge in 1807, Died Feb. 15, 1862 in the 78th year of his age.”   I have another picture in my files of a state historical marker in Revere, Massachusetts, (suburb of Boston).   It reads:  “Church of Christ — 1710  Meetinghouse of the church of Christ in Rumney Marsh, erected in 1710.  Thomas Cheever, the first settled minister, died December 27, 1749, aged 91 years.”

This was 78 years before Alexander Campbell was even born!  But we can go back even further & find congregations of the Lord’s church in England in the 17th century.  A Dr. Robinson (Overdale College, Birmingham, England) found an old record book dating 1669, containing the minutes of church business meetings for the Lord’s church meeting in the Furness Distict of Lancashire  (North West England).  From these minutes we learn that they called themselves church of Christ, practiced baptism by immersion, took the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, & had elders & deacons.  At least 8 different congregations are mentioned in these minutes.  So here we have a detailed record of the church of Christ existing over 100 years before the birth of Alexander Campbell.  Very clearly, history does not substantiate the charge that Alexander Campbell started the church of Christ.

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 681 4543; 268 3222

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

[1] Cates, A. Curtis, “The Church of Christ Did Not Begin with the Restoration Movement” Spiritual Sword Lectures October 15-19, 2006 (Sain Publications: Pulaski, TN), p. 107

[2] http://www.biblebelievers.com/Davis1.html

[3] http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/822-alexander-campbell-and-christs-church

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbellite

[5] http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/822-alexander-campbell-and-christs-church

By willie75

Great Lessons from Philip the Evangelist

GREAT LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF PHILIP THE EVANGELIST by Willie A. Alvarenga

All Scripture quotations have been taken from the ASV 1901

INTRODUCTION

We are thankful to God for giving us His insBiblia 83.jpgpired Word (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21), which is able to make us complete unto every good work (II Tim. 3:17). Accordingly, God is able to help His children by giving us in His Word all the things that pertain to life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3). His inspired Word is filled with great examples of godly men whom we find in the pages of the Bible that we may emulate their example. These great examples are found in the 31, 102 verses of the entire Word of God. God’s concern for His children is for each of them to conduct their lives in a manner that is pleasing in His sight. For these reason, He was been very careful to provide us enough examples that we may imitate them. Any child of God who takes the time to study the lives of these godly me and at the same time, emulate their example, will be blessed, and their conduct will become one that is pleasing in the sight of God. As we study the New Testament, we find several passages that encourage us to be imitators of godly examples (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; III Jn. 11; I Pet. 2:21).

In this lesson we will study a portrait of Philip the evangelist and not the Apostle, who also bears the same name. As we take the time to examine this material, let me encourage us to be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22-25). It is only through the practice of God’s Word in our lives that we can experience a blessed life (Lk. 11:28). In this lesson, we will study great and practical lessons that we learn from the life of Philip. I am truly convinced that the church of Christ needs more Philips today. If the church is to grow in number, we must imitate the life of those who had a great deal of concern about the lost souls of this world; Philip, the evangelist, was one of those men.

PHILIP WAS A FAITHFUL MAN WILLING TO SERVE THE CHURCH

(Acts 6:3-6)

Everything we learn about the life of Philip the evangelist, we learn from the book of Acts. His name is mentioned 16 times in this book. In chapter six of the book of Acts we learn that he was a faithful man willing to serve the church as one of her deacons (Acts 6:3-6). In verse 3 we see that Philip, along with the other 6 men, were of good report, meaning they were a great example to others. They were also full of the Spirit, which in context, may denote both the ability to perform miracles as we see Philip doing in chapter 8, as well as men who had the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Gal. 5:22-23). They were wise men who knew how to conduct themselves before men (Col. 4:6; Matt. 5:16). They were also dependable man, which means the church could count on their faithful work. The fact that he was willing to accept the responsibility tells us very much about his character and conduct as a faithful Christian. We stand in need of faithful men who are willing to serve the church in the capacity of deacons. The church needs faithful men of good report, men who possess the fruit of the Spirit and who are wise in the way they conduct their lives. The church for which Jesus died on the cross will be blessed by the presence of faithful men who can serve like Philip did. Are you willing to be a man like Philip? There are many congregations that have several faithful men who serve in the capacity of deacons. May God bless them as they continue to serve faithfully in God’s church!

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO PREACHED CHRIST EVERYWHERE HE WENT

(Acts 8:5, 35)

We will now spend several minutes in chapter 8 of the book of Acts. In this chapter, we will see several traits of the faithful life of Philip. He was a faithful man who preached Christ everywhere he went. Luke, the historian,  provides us with the following verses: “And Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed unto them the Christ” (Acts 8:4). We also read, “And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus”. Why did Philip emphasize Jesus in his preaching? The answer can be found by reasoning correctly regarding the only way to eternal salvation. The Bible tells us that Jesus must be preached because He is the only way to salvation (Jn. 10:9; 11:25-26; 14:6; Acts 4:12; II Tim. 2:10). Jesus is the only light for those who live in darkness (Jn. 8:12; 9:5). According to the teaching of the Bible, eternal life is found only in Jesus Christ (Jn. 11:25-26; 1 Jn. 5:11; II Tim. 2:10). Philip preached Jesus because Christ is the head of the church, which is His body (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23).

The Apostle Paul was also a man who was determined to preach Christ and Him crucified (I Cor. 2:2; II Cor. 4:5). Throughout the life of Paul, we see a Christ-centered message. This is the same thing we see in the life of Philip the evangelist. Through the example of Philip, gospel preachers are encouraged to preach Christ and nothing else. He is the only way to heaven and the only solution to the sin problem (Jn. 1:29; Eph. 1:7). Thank God for faithful gospel preachers like Philip, who preached Christ to the world! Thank God for faithful gospel preachers who still preach Christ to a lost and dying world!

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO BROUGHT MUCH JOY TO THE LIVES OF MANY (Acts 8:8)

Another great lesson we learn from Philip is that he was a man who brought much joy to those whom he preached. In Acts 8:8 we read, “And there was much joy in that city.” In Acts 8:39 we also read, “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing.” We must ask two questions: why was there much joy in the city of Samaria? And, why did the Ethiopian eunuch go on his way rejoicing? The answer to these questions is simple: Those people in Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch had obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. When men obey the gospel, great things happen: 1. People show God they love Him (Jn. 14:15), 2. People receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Eph. 1:7), 3. People are added to the Body of Christ (Acts 2:47; Gal. 3:27), 4. People receive the hope of eternal life (Tit. 1:2; 1 Jn. 5:11). Brothers and sisters, these are great reasons to go on our way rejoicing! When we preach the gospel of Christ to our friends and family, and they obey this gospel, much joy is being brought to their lives. Perhaps you have seen the joy manifested in the faces of those who are coming up out of the waters of baptism. I still remember how happy I was and still am when I was baptized into Christ. I am sure you do too! Brethren, this is a great experience! Are you striving to bring joy to a lost and dying world?

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

(Acts 8:12, 35; 21:8)

If there was a man who took the great commission seriously, this man was Philip the evangelist! Jesus instructed His Apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). Philip the evangelist took this commission seriously and proclaimed the gospel to many people. In Acts 8:12 we read, “But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:35 says, “And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus.” From these two Scriptures we learn that Philip was indeed an evangelist (Acts 21:8). An evangelist is one who carries the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world. The gospel was preached to Philip, and then, in turn, he became an evangelist. Someone once said, “The preaching of the gospel to the whole world will never be accomplished, unless the evangelized becomes an evangelist.” Brethren, this is so true! We must become evangelists who carry the antidote to the sin problem. We must never be ashamed to preach the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). We must always keep in mind that the gospel is the only power of God unto salvation. As we examine the book of Acts, we realize how much emphasis was put upon the preaching of the gospel of Christ. According to the Apostle Paul, the gospel consists in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (I Cor. 15:1-4). This is the message that was preached by Peter on Pentecost (Acts 2:22-36). It was also preached throughout the book of Acts in all of the conversions for which we have a record. Sadly, this message is not being proclaimed by many today. Many congregations are not hearing the old Jerusalem gospel being proclaimed anymore. We must go back to the Bible and preach the gospel to every creature!

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO KNEW HOW TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO MANY, AS WELL AS ONE (Acts 8:5, 40; 26-39)

As we consider the evangelistic life of Philip, we learn that he knew how to preach the gospel to many people, as well as just one person. He preached the gospel to many people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), Azotus and Caesarea (Acts 8:40). He also preached the gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39). As Christians, we must learn from this example and be ready to preach the gospel to groups of people, as well as to a single person. We must develop the skills to share the good news of salvation in any context or place where we find people willing to study. We must be willing to hold Bible studies in the homes of people where two or more will be present, as well as Bible studies where only one person will be present. The more we preach the gospel, the more experience we will gain. Are you ready to study the Bible with many as well as with just one person? Jesus, Paul, Peter and many more had the ability to teach the Word of God to many or to just one person. Let us emulate their godly example!

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO EMULATED CHRIST

Philip was a man who imitated the life of Christ. Through the teaching of the Apostle Peter, we are encourage to follow the example of Jesus (I Pet. 2:21). Jesus was an obedient man (Heb. 10:9; Jn. 4:34). As we consider the life of Philip, we also see a man who obeyed God. When Philip was instructed by the angel and the Holy Spirit to approach the Ethiopian eunuch, he arose and went running. If I could pick one word to describe this, it would be obedience (Acts 8:26-30).  Jesus remembered the reason why He came to the various towns where he preached. Mark 1:38 says, “And he saith unto them, Let us go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for to this end came I forth.”  (Mk. 1:38). Philip, also, remembered why he was there at Samaria, Azotus and Caesarea (Acts 8:5, 40). He preached the gospel of Christ everywhere he went and so must we! The lamented Johnny Ramsey once said, “When Christ is the point of focus we will proclaim His message, follow His example and obey His commands. Nothing short of that can save the church” (Ramsey, 92). This is exactly what Philip the evangelist did. He preached His message, followed His example, and obeyed His commands!  Are we imitating the life of Christ and Philip?

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO KNEW HOW TO BEGIN A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE GOSPEL

(Acts 8:26-39)

Every effective evangelist will know how to begin a conversation with those with whom he intends to study the gospel. Philip approached the man and began the conversation by asking one question, Undestandest thou what thou readest? (Acts 8:30). He knew this question would be a good one to begin sharing the good news of salvation. If you notice, Philip did not ask a question that would close the door to a possible study. We must learn how to begin a conversation with those we intend to study. We must be careful not to ask or say things that will hinder our opportunity to preach the gospel to that particular person. Jesus Christ began the conversation with the Samaritan woman of John 4 by asking her for a drink of water. This petition opened up the door for not just a conversation about salvation, but also for an opportunity to stay two days in Samaria, preaching the Word (Jn. 4:40). When preparing to study with others, you must take the time to think carefully about the questions and things you will say to the people you study with. If you are not careful, you may end up closing the door for future opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with the lost. Let us emulate the ability Philip had to study with people and always be wise to know what to say as we begin Bible studies.

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO KNEW THE SCRIPTURES (Acts 8:30-35)

There is no doubt that Philip was a diligent student of the Word. When he was asked by the eunuch to explain the words from the prophet Isaiah, he did not hesitate to do it. In Acts 8:30 we learn that Philip heard the eunuch read the prophet Isaiah and then asked the Ethiopian whether he understood the things he was reading. The reason why the eunuch asked Philip to come up and sit with him was for the purpose of Philip explaining the passage to him (Acts 8:34-35). As Christians, we must be ready to answer questions during a Bible study (I Pet. 3:15). In order to accomplish this, we must be diligent students of the Word (II Tim. 2:15; II Pet. 3:18). We must take time to read the Scriptures (I Tim. 4:13). We must desire the pure milk of the Word (I Pet. 2:2). I am afraid that one of the reasons why most members of the church do not go out to preach the gospel is because they do not know how to answer Bible questions. Most members have not taken the time to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word (II Pet. 3:18). Friends, Bible ignorance will not only destroy us, but it will destroy the life of those to whom we will not preach the gospel (Hos. 4:6). We must be mighty in the Scriptures as Apollos was (Acts 18:24), since this ability will help us to show from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:28). I strongly believe that Philip was a successful evangelist because he knew the Scriptures by heart. Let us emulate this example in our lives!

PHILIP WAS A GODLY MAN WHITH A GODLY FAMILY (Acts 21:8-9)

In Acts 21:8 we read, “And on the morrow we departed, and came unto Caesarea: and entering into house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we abode with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters, who prophesied.” The fact that Philip had four daughters who prophesied says a lot about his godly family. The ability for these daughters to prophesy was foretold in Joel 2:28-32. Peter spoke about this in Acts 2:17, which reads, “And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” The ability for these daughters to prophesy did not violate the command not to preach or to have dominion over man (cf. I Tim. 2:11; I Cor. 14:34). To argue that these daughters preached in a public setting, violating the divine instructions by Paul, is to be guilty of not handling aright the Word of truth (cf. II Tim. 2:15). Let us remember that if the interpretation of a particular passage contradicts others, then such interpretation is incorrect and must be evaluated once again for a better interpretation that is in harmony with the general context of the Bible. From the passages we have here, we can see that Philip had a godly family. From Acts 21:8-9 we can be sure of the following: 1. Philip was a good example to his family, 2. He instructed his daughters in the Word of God, 3. His whole house was devoted to the service of the Lord. There is no way on earth that a Christian can have a godly family without imitating the life of Philip.

PHILIP WAS A MAN WHO PRACTICED HOSPITALITY (Acts 21:8-10)

In Acts 21:8 we are told that Philip opened the doors of his house to other evangelists. The text says, “And on the morrow we departed, and came unto Caesarea: and entering into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we abode with him.” Acts 21:10 says, “And as we tarried there some days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.” These two passages show how Philip was a godly man who practiced hospitality as commanded by God in His Word (Heb. 13:2; Rom. 12:13). He was willing to allow others to stay at his house. The Greek term “some days” denotes many days, that is, more than one or two. Hospitality was very necessary back in those days as we saw several evangelists traveling from one place to another preaching the Gospel of Christ. We need more Christians like Philip, who are willing to open the doors of their houses to those who labor in the Lord. Sadly, many today are not willing to do what Philip did. There are several Christians who are always looking for excuses not to practice hospitality, instead of looking for opportunities to help others in the kingdom. When faithful Christians practice hospitality, they do the following: 1. They show brotherly love, which is expected of every child of God (Jon. 13:34-35), 2. They imitate the life of those who practiced hospitality in the Bible (Acts 21:8-10), 3. They show obedience to God who expects us to practice hospitality (Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2), 4. They enjoy the blessings of practicing pure New Testament Christianity! Have you enjoyed these blessings in your life by practicing hospitality?

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt in our minds that the church needs more Philips today. We need faithful men who will serve the Lord in His kingdom; men who are willing to be of good report; men who will preach Christ at every opportunity they have; men who will bring much joy to those whom he preaches; men who know very well how to preach the gospel to the masses; men who know the Scriptures by heart; men who have godly families; men who practice hospitality. May the Lord give us more men with the same traits as that of Philip. If the church of Christ is to grow in number and be edified, then we must strive to emulate the godly example of Philip the evangelist.

REFERENCES

Warren, Thomas B. and Garland Elkins, editors (1978). God Demands Doctrinal Preaching (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, Inc.).

1901 American Standard Bible, Print.

Pepper, Clayton. Introduction to Soul Winning (Madison, TN: Christian Lighthouse, Inc.).

Ramsey, Johnny (1982). Back to Bible Preaching (Abilene, TX: Quality Publications).

 

By willie75

Turning to the Gentiles: The Encouragement that Can Come From Turning to Other Cultures

DSCF8079.JPGTurning To The Gentiles: The Encouragement That Can Come From Turning To Other Cultures

(Acts 13:46-49).

All Scriptures have been taken from the ASV 1901 Version

Introduction

A great topic will be studied today entitled, “Turning to the Gentiles: The Encouragement that Can Come from Turning to Other Cultures.” The purpose of this lesson is to encourage the Lord’s people to extend their vision of preaching the gospel, not only to those of our own language, but also to those of other cultures. We live in a country that is composed of people who speak other languages. We as Christians have a great responsibility of reaching out to them as well. The Bible teaches that “God desires for all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The phrase “all men” refers to Jews and Gentiles, that is, to everyone in general. The Apostle Peter also tells us that God “does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Therefore, as we examine this lesson, let me encourage each and every one of us to be “doers of God’s Word and not hearers only” (Jam. 1:22). May we remember the blessings that come our way when we practice what the Word of God teaches us (Luke 11:28; Jam. 1:25).

In the next few minutes I want to direct your minds to the subject of evangelism and the great responsibility that each of us has to share the good news of salvation with other cultures. Therefore, let us consider in this lesson the following points: Our command to preach the gospel of Christ, the need to share the good news of salvation, the encouragement that can come from preaching the gospel to other cultures, and, finally, let us examine some practical ways of how you and I can share the gospel of Christ to other cultures.

The Command To Preach The Gospel To The Whole World

Brothers and sisters, it is imperative that we remember at all times the great command we have to preach the gospel of Christ to the world. The New Testament is very clear concerning the command we have to preach the gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ gave this command to His Apostles in Mat. 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16. Logic demands that we reason correctly about this command and to recognize that it also applies to us all. Each member of the body of Christ has the obligation to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. The verb “preach” in Mark 16:15 is found in the imperative mood, which reveals a command to follow. Sadly to say, there are those in the Body of Christ who believe the command to preach the gospel only applies to the preacher, and not to the members of the church. Some have come to the point saying “that is why we pay our preacher.” An examination of Acts 8:1-4 reveals that the responsibility of preaching the gospel belongs to the preacher and to each member of the Body of Christ. In this context we see Christian going everywhere preaching the Word of God (v. 4). Brother Johnny Ramsey used to say that the early church went everywhere preaching the Word, but the church of today does not go anywhere preaching the Word. Why you may ask? The reason: some think this is the responsibility of the preacher only. Brothers and sisters, this is not right! We must be obedient to the command of preaching the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. Jesus Christ said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Have we taken the Great Commission seriously in our congregations?  Are we, individually speaking, reaching out to the lost? In order for us to take the Great Commission seriously, we must have a love for the souls of this world. We must have the kind of attitude that the Apostle Paul had. Notice what he wrote to the saints at Rome, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome” (Rom. 1:14-15). Unless we have this attitude in our hearts, we will never share the gospel of Christ with the lost. The life the Apostle Paul lived is a great source of encouragement for you and for me who desire to preach the gospel to the lost. Paul was able to preach the gospel in many places (Rom. 15:19; Col. 1:6). Why? The answer is simple: He took the Great Commission seriously, and so must we!

The Great Need To Share The Gospel

Let us remember that people are lost without the gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is the only solution to the sin problem. There is a great need for us to preach the good news of salvation to the whole world. People of every culture in this world have a soul that needs saving. It is imperative that we acknowledge that sin affects everyone in this world. The Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Rome that everyone within the age of accountability was guilty of sin and stood in need of the gospel (Rom. 3:9-10; 6:23). During the early century, Jews and Gentiles needed to obey the gospel of Christ. Paul establishes the fact that Gentiles are lost and stand in need of the gospel (Rom. 1). He, also, establishes the fact that even Jews are lost and need to obey the gospel as well (Rom. 2). In Romans chapter 3, he establishes the truth that “all have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Friends, nothing has changed today! People of every country need the gospel today more than ever. Sin is a universal problem that affects everyone. Thankfully, God has the solution to the sin problem. You and I can teach the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every person we come in contact with. People of every nation are dying in this world every single minute. It is imperative that we acknowledge this; otherwise, people will continue to die without the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Christians today need to put aside every bit of favoritism and begin to share the gospel of Christ with those who do not look like or speak like we do. There are those Christians who would not even consider the possibility of preaching the gospel to other cultures. This was the mentality that the Jewish people had back then. On a certain occasion, Jesus Christ was willing to go through Samaria in order that He may preach the Word of God to the Samaritans (John 4). He ended up staying two days with them. Can you imagine that? Jesus Christ held a two-day gospel meeting in Samaria! I am pretty sure that the Apostles were not very comfortable with that; nevertheless, they still followed the Savior, and were willing to spend a few days in Samaria. We must be willing to preach the gospel of Christ to everyone. Other cultures need the gospel too! The Apostle Paul acknowledged this truth and this is why he was willing to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

We must remember that God desires the salvation of every single person in this world. There are several passages that reveal the divine desire of God to save all men. Please take the time to read the following passages: Mark 16:15-16; Mat. 28:18-20; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Tit. 2:11; Eze. 33:11; John 3:16.  Each of these passages includes people of other cultures. This is something that you and I must understand. I am thankful to God for those faithful brethren who have taken the time to travel to other countries to teach the gospel. I am thankful for brethren who take the time to learn another language so they can preach the good news of salvation to others (e.g. Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Telegu, Chinese, Korean, etc.). We are thankful to God for those congregations who support missionaries across the world. We are thankful to those congregations who are willing to let our Spanish brethren use their facilities so they can have their worship services in their own language. I am thankful to the Gospel Broadcasting Network for contacting me about material to teach others the gospel in Spanish. We are thankful for the House to House publication in English as well as in Spanish. Many have benefitted from their sound material. We are thankful to the brethren who work at Apologetics Press and for their sound material in Spanish. We thank Brother Moises Pinedo for taking the time to translate articles from English to Spanish so many can be taught the Word of God. Friends, we are thankful to God for all of these avenues we can use to teach the Gospel in English as well as in Spanish. We are thankful to those faithful gospel preachers who give us permission to translate some of their material into the Spanish language.

I am thankful to God for the opportunity to be able to speak two languages. This provides me the blessing of being able to preach the gospel of Christ in most parts of the world. I truly enjoy the opportunities to preach lessons bilingual. I have had the blessing of preaching for several gospel meetings where I get to preach bilingual lessons. If you have the opportunity to learn another language, please consider doing so. You will be able to reach out to more people by speaking in other languages. If you are a gospel preacher, and cannot learn another language, at least try to have someone translate lessons for you. Thank God for those faithful brethren who are willing to translate God’s Word.

I am thankful to God for the Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department. For 9 years we have been training students in their own language so they can preach the gospel and sound doctrine in Mexico, Costa Rica and many other Spanish-speaking countries. The same courses that each student study in the English department are the ones that all of the students in the Spanish department study. We thank our supporters for helping Spanish students receive their training at Brown Trail. We thank congregations who call the school to ask for preachers who can evangelize in Spanish the community where the church meets. Some of our students are bilingual and can preach the saving message in English as well as in Spanish. We also offer a course in English to those who do not speak the language so we can help those who come from another country learn some things about the language that can assist them in trying to teach others also. When we go on door-knocking campaigns it is interesting to see how the students from the Spanish department who do not speak the English language struggle to teach others the gospel. They, at least, make the effort to tell others about Christ. There is a great lesson we can learn here!

The Encouragement Of Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures

What type of encouragement do we get for preaching the gospel to other cultures? Brothers and sisters, the encouragement is great. Therefore, let me encourage each and every one of us to please consider the following:

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Receive Forgiveness Of Sins

We know that forgiveness of sins only comes through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we teach them the gospel and they obey it, then they are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Remission of sins is necessary in order to be able to see God one day (cf. Mat. 5:8; Heb. 12:14). We can help people receive the forgiveness of their sins by teaching them the gospel of Christ. People today can be justified before God through an obedient faith in Him (Rom. 3:28; 5:1). They can be justified just like the Gentiles did in the early century, through an obedient faith.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Be Added To The Body Of Christ

It is a great blessing to be members of the Body of Christ! You and I can help other cultures experience this same blessing. Let us teach them that when they obey the gospel of Christ, they can be added to the Body of the Son of God (Acts 2:22-47). They can become members of the one true church of the Bible. Obedience to baptism is what puts people into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4). Once they are in Christ, they will begin to enjoy all the spiritual blessings found in Him (Eph. 1:3). Therefore, let us teach them this great truth!

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Have An Opportunity To Be Reconciled Back To God

The reality of sin in man is what keeps him separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The only solution to the sin problem is Jesus Christ and His gospel (cf. Rom. 6:23). Other cultures need to learn that reconciliation is found only in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:13-16; Rom. 5:10). Other cultures can become part of the family of God by being reconciled to Him (Eph. 2:19). You and I can help other cultures learn what they must do in order to enjoy reconciliation in Christ.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Experience A New Life In Christ

Through the preaching of the gospel to other cultures, we can help them experience a new life in Christ. We will teach them about the gospel that can help them to be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). Once they are baptized into Christ, they will begin to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17). They will experience a great change in their lives, a change like the one the Corinthians experienced (1 Cor. 6:9-11), or a change like the one the Apostle Paul experienced (Acts 9, 22, 26).

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Opportunity To Worship God In Spirit And In Truth

The only way to worship the Creator of heaven and earth acceptably is by being in the Body of Christ. Only these are the ones who are authorized to worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24; Eph. 3:20—21). The Apostle Peter made a great statement when he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Notice what he said, “And Peter opened his mouth and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him (Acts 10:34-35). Only those who are faithful to the commandments of God are qualified to worship God acceptably. We can bring more people to God who will give Him the honor and glory He deserves. We can be the means by which other cultures can forsake paganism in order to come and worship the living God. The saints at Thessalonica forsook their idols so they can worship God (cf. 1 The. 1:9-10). They did this because of the preaching of the gospel through the Apostle Paul.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Hope Of Eternal Life

We need to teach other cultures what they must do in order to enjoy the hope of eternal life (Heb. 5:8-9). Let us teach them that by being baptized into Christ is how they can have the hope of eternal life. They need to know that this hope is found in Jesus (cf. 1 John 5:11—13; John 11:25—26). The Bible teaches that eternal salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (John 10:9; Acts 4:12). We can help people get into Christ by teaching them the gospel. Once they obey it, they will begin to enjoy this great hope of eternal life.

Various Means To Share The Gospel With Other Cultures

How can you and I reach out to other cultures with the gospel of Christ? What are some of the things that we can consider to accomplish the preaching of the gospel? Let me invite you to please consider the following:

Try To Learn Another Language If Possible

We have several gospel preachers who have taken the time to learn the Spanish language as well as other languages. They had the desire to do mission work in other countries and so they went to a school to learn the language. Some of them learned so well that they were able to preach in that particular language. If you have the opportunity to learn, please consider doing so. It is a great joy being bilingual because you can teach the gospel of Christ on both sides of the world!

When Possible, Try To Give Away Tracts That Teach About The Gospel And The Church To Other Cultures

We have several tracts in Spanish that have been written by faithful gospel preachers. We also have tracts that have been translated into other languages. We can purchase these tracts and pass them out to our friends from other cultures. Some of your friends may accept them, while others will not. We are thankful for ministries such as House to House, Worldwide Spanish Literature Ministry, Mission Printing, and many more that have translated several tracts into other languages. Let us be good stewards of these means by which we can teach others the gospel.

Support Ministries That Advance The Teaching Of The Gospel To Other Cultures

We are blessed to have several ministries that advance the teaching of the gospel to other cultures. The ministries mentioned before, as well as Apologetics Press, World Video Bible School, the Gospel of Christ and others need our support so they can continue to produce sound material that will teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to consider supporting these ministries, as well as take advantage of the various literatures they have.

Support Sound Preaching Schools That Are Involved In Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures

You and I know how much need we have for sound schools of preaching to be in existence. Jesus once said, “The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Mat. 9:37), therefore, this being the case, we will always stand in need of sound preaching school who will train faithful gospel preachers, who will reach out to a lost and dying world. We have several sound schools today that are making a difference around the world. The World Missions Program of the Memphis School of Preaching is and will continue to be a great way to reach out to the world. In this school, we also have several Spanish-speaking students who received their training there, and who are making a difference teaching other cultures the gospel of Christ. The Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department will also make a difference by training gospel preachers in their own language. Graduates from these schools are teaching the gospel to as many people as possible. Let us keep them in our prayers.

If Possible, Begin A Spanish Ministry In Your Local Congregation

There are several congregations in the United States that have started a Spanish ministry in their local congregation. After my graduation from Brown Trail School of Preaching I went to work for an English-speaking congregation who had a Spanish work within their facilities. I was able to work together with the leadership as well as the members from both congregations. There were times when we had several bilingual services together. It was indeed a great experience being together to worship our heavenly Father! The congregation may consider hiring a bilingual preacher who has graduated from a sound preaching school. This way they can know for sure that the doctrine that will be taught to the Spanish brethren will be sound. There are several preaching schools that are graduating bilingual preachers.

Recommend Sound Websites Where Other Cultures Can Learn About The Word of God

With the use of the internet, we have come to a point in which we have a lot of written material that can teach the gospel to other cultures. Let us be familiar with these websites and recommend them to our friends. My personal website is: www.regresandoalabiblia.com (backtothebible). On this website you can find a lot of Spanish material that has been written by me. There is also a Bible correspondence course that I wrote, and that you can use to teach Spanish-speaking friends the gospel of Christ. There is also the www.housetohouse.com website and www.enfoquebiblico.com  These are great avenues to teach people the gospel of Christ. Let us take the time to recommend these websites. Personally, I get emails from people all over the world that have benefited from the material that I have written. Let us make good use of the technology we have to teach others the gospel of Christ.

Conclusion

            Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to other cultures is a command from God for His church. This task will produce great encouragement in our lives. Therefore, let us be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only. Let us reach out to as many people as possible with the saving message of Christ. May the Lord give us the wisdom and the strength to carry out this noble task of helping others get to heaven. Always remember that God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). To God be the glory in everything we do, especially in preaching the gospel to the world.

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 681 4543

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

www.btsop.com

 

 

 

By willie75

Fostering Attendance Among the Membership

FOSTERING ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP by Willie A. Alvarenga

“How to keep families coming back/maintaining what we have”

INTRODUCTION

There is no question about it! God desires for the church to grow in number and to be strong. He wants the church to grow in number because He desires the salvation of all men (1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11). He wants the church to be strong in order to make a difference in this world. A strong church will serve God faithfully and will proclaim the gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15).

Church growth and fostering attendance among the membership is a challenge that each leadership must face. I have seen and heard of congregations that used to be more than 700 in attendance, but now are less than 30. I have also seen and heard about congregations of the Lord’s church dying to the point of having to sell their building. Our present status with regards to church attendance is not very favorable and we must think about what we can do to find a solution to this issue.  My assignment is to present practical principles with regards to how we as a church can foster attendance among the membership.

REGULAR CHURCH ASSEMBLY IS CLEARLY SEEN AND REQUIRED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

A careful study of the New Testament reveals a church that would come together on a regular basis. For example, the early church came together on Sunday to partake of the Lord’s Supper, “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). The church at Corinth also came together upon the first day of the week in order to partake of the offering, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. 2Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

We also see in the book of Acts a church that would preach the Gospel of Christ on a regular basis, “And every day, in the temple and at home, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42). These passages can be used as evidence to show that the church had regular assemblies in the first century.

THE CHURCH IS ENCOURAGED NOT TO FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES

The Hebrews writer penned the following exhortation, “23let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: 24and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh” (Hebrews 10:23-25). A careful study of this passage reveals God’s will with regards to church attendance. God expects every member to be present when the church worships Him. If members are not careful, the practice of forsaking the assembly may become a custom. According to Louw and Nida, this word denotes a pattern of behavior more or less fixed by tradition and generally sanctioned by the society[1] Sadly, many members have fallen into the practice of forsaking the assembling. Most of them provide reasons for forsaking the assembly that are not justifiable before God.

The phrase “the day drawing night” has been given various interpretations. Some believe this phrase refers to the first day of the week when the church comes together for worship. Others believe that it makes a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. Others argue that it refers to the day of judgement, while some believe it is a clear reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The two interpretations that would fit the context would be the Second Coming of Christ or the destruction of Jerusalem. Both interpretations do not alter the context of the passage and the book itself. Even though no one knew about the day Christ would return (Matthew 24:36, 44), Christian still knew that it could happen at any time, and they needed to be ready for that glorious day. The context of Hebrews 10:25 with regards to the Second Coming of Christ is supported, as some argue, by Hebrews 9:28 where the Second Coming is mentioned. Hebrews 10:37 also comments on the Second Coming of Christ. The word “drawing night” from the Greek engizo has also been used to argue in favor of the Second Coming of Christ. This word appears 42 times in the New Testament. Most of the time, this word is used in the context of the Second Coming (e.g., Romans 13:12; James 5:8; 1 Peter 4:7). Based on these two passages, and the usage of the word engizo, some have concluded that the phrase, “the day drawing night” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ.

Those who argue in favor of the destruction of Jerusalem based their conclusion on several arguments. One of those arguments is the date of the book of Hebrews. It is argued that since the book was written at about 60-67 AD, it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. Christians were very familiar with this event, since the Lord has given them information that would help them to be aware of it (cf. Matthew 24:1-32). In my own personal opinion, I do not believe that these two interpretations are in conflict with the context of the passage under consideration.

Let us now direct our attention to ways on which we can foster attendance among the membership. Let us examine ways that are not in conflict with what the Bible teaches. There is always a good and a bad way to do things. We always want to make sure we do only those things God authorize in His Word (cf. Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11).

WAYS TO FOSTER ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP

Elders and ministers must encourage the membership to remain faithful to God

Elders and ministers must encourage each member to be faithful to God, since faithfulness to our God will help us to strengthen church attendance. As a minister of the Gospel, the apostle Paul strived to encourage each member to maintain their faithfulness to the Lord. Let us notice what Paul wrote to the saints at Philippi, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). He also stated, “Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved” (Philippians 4:1). To the saints at Ephesus, he wrote, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). To the saints at Colossae, he wrote, “If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. 3For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

This is the kind of exhortation the church needs today. Paul gives us an example of the kind of encouragement leaders must provide for the local congregations. If this kind of encouragement is absent from the elders and ministers, then the congregation will suffer, and will get discouraged.

As ministers and elders, there must be the acknowledgment of Satan’s attacks against the church. The apostle Peter wrote, “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). A study of this passage shows how the enemy, our adversary the devil, walks about as a roaring lion seeking to destroy the church. The Greek grammar of the verb, “walks” reveals that he does this on a continual basis. This is the reason why the church must be encouraged to stand firm in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10-18).

The church must remember that we now live for Christ (Philippians 1:21), and as such, our main emphasis is to please the Lord and not ourselves.

Elders and ministers must emphasize church members the benefits of coming back to services

We must remind ourselves continually of the great things that take place every time we come together as the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, every time we come together, we enjoy the blessing and the privilege of worshiping the Creator of heaven and earth. What a great blessing it is to sing praises to God, to direct our minds to the throne of grace through our prayers, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, to give of our means to the work of the Lord, and to listen to His Word being preached. Brethren, these are great blessings we enjoy when we come together upon the first day of every week!

Second, we not only enjoy the blessing of worshiping God, but we also enjoy the blessing of having fellowship with one another. The psalmist once wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1). The early church is a great example of this great fellowship. Notice what Luke tells us with regards to the early church, “And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:46-47). The purpose of coming together is for the benefit of encouraging one another. This is what the Hebrews writer tells us, “and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh” (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is a great source of encouragement when everyone is present to read God’s Word, and worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

Third, when we come back to services, we enjoy the opportunity and the blessing to hear another sermon, which will help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Elders and ministers must emphasize the need to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. If the church is to be strong in the faith, she must be strong in Bible knowledge, otherwise, such church will be destroyed (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13). Coming back to church services provides a great opportunity to study God’s Word and to know it better. We are encouraged to handle aright the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). One way to accomplish this is by coming back to services and enjoying the opportunity to study God’s Word.

Fourth, when you come back to every service, you enjoy the favorable circumstance of showing appreciation to the person who delivers the lesson at that particular time. You can encourage the preacher by coming back to hear another lesson presented by him. You can tell the minister how much you appreciate his efforts in preparing the lesson and presenting it to you.

Therefore, the leadership of the church must remind the congregation of the great blessings we receive by coming back to services.

Elders and ministers must encourage members to grow in brotherly love

Brotherly love is an essential ingredient to church growth and to having a strong church. When brotherly love is strong, this will help each member to see the need to be together with one another as the first century church did.

Jesus commands us to have love for one another, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). This brotherly love must be without hypocrisy, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9). When members practice brotherly love, they will show this by putting others first, “make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Philippians 2:2-4).

The early church spent much time together because they had so much love for one another (cf. Acts 2:44-47; 4:32ff). The more we love each other, the more we would want to spend time together worshiping God. The love that God expects from all of us is of such nature that when members are absent, other members are concerned and find ways to help those who struggle spiritually. When members are angry at each other, this will affect the fellowship that God expects from each of us. Therefore, if the church is to have a strong membership, she must emphasize brotherly love in the life of each member, since this kind of love will help us to…[2]

  1. Assemble with one another (Hebrews 10:25)
  2. Concern for one another (Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
  3. Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  4. Correct one another (Romans 15:14)
  5. Encourage one another (Luke 22:32)
  6. Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Be examples to one another ((Matthew 5:13ff; Romans 12:17)
  8. Fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42; Galatians 6:6)
  9. Compassion for one another (Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:32)
  10. Greet one another (Romans 16:16-21; Philemon 1:8)
  11. Honor one another (Romans 12:10; Matthew 15:4)
  12. Humility toward one another (John 13:14-17; Romans 15:2; 2 Corinthians 12:1-5)
  13. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 16:15-16)
  14. Love one another (John 15:12; 13:34-35)
  15. Forgive one another (Mark 11:25-26; Matthew 5:7)
  16. Pray with and for one another (Matthew 5:44; Ephesians 6:18)
  17. Report news to one another (Acts 15:12; 2 Corinthians 7:7)
  18. Serve one another (Matthew 10:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; John 13:14-17)
  19. Speak right to one another (Matthew 5:37; Ephesians 5:19)
  20. Teach one another (Matthew 28:20; Acts 20:27; Colossians 3:16)
  21. Accept one another (John 13:20; Romans 12:16)

Brotherly love will also help members to avoid the following:

  1. Conflict with one another (Matthew 5:21-22; 38-41; Acts 15:37-39)
  2. Covetous of one another (Matthew 20:11-15; Luke 15:28-30)
  3. Favoritism toward one another (Luke 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5-6)
  4. Hypocrisy toward one another (Matthew 6:1-8; Romans 12:9)
  5. Immorality with one another (Matthew 5:27-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
  6. Judging one another wrongly (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37)
  7. Bad influence on one another (Luke 18:16; Matthew 18:6-7)
  8. Neglecting one another (Luke 10:31-32; Hebrews 13:2-16)
  9. Seeking honor from one another (Matthew 23:6-10; 19:30; Mark 9:34-35)
  10. Speaking wrongly about one another (Matthew 15:19; Acts 23:5; Romans 1:29-30; Colossians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Peter 4:9)

Elders and ministers must strive to keep their preaching biblical and relevant to the membership

One of the reasons why church members do not attend Sunday morning Bible class and evening services is because the kind of preaching that is coming forth from the pulpit is dull and with no meaning whatsoever. As a matter of fact, such cannot be called preaching. Some speakers may have something good to say, but their preaching style is monotonous. Members fall asleep when such preaching and teaching takes place. I have had the chance to attend several congregations where someone else does the teaching. Many times I have seen how people fall asleep during Bible class because the way the teacher is teaching contributes to this end.

There are those who spend too much time preaching on history, geography and their teaching contains no practical application whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we should not preach or teach on history or Bible geography. We can preach on these subjects, but we must never forget to do it in such a way as to also include practical lessons. Our preaching must be relevant to the congregation to whom we preach. God’s Word can make us complete unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). If ministers prepare their lessons with anticipation and diligence, their preaching will make a difference in the lives of those to whom they preach. God’s Word has the power to produce joy within our hearts (Jeremiah 15:16). As Gospel preachers, we must help members fall in love with God’s Word (Psalm 119:97). We can accomplish this through a preaching that brings glory and honor to our heavenly Father.

When Jesus preached the Word, people were amazed at His teaching (Mark 1:22). When the Son of God preached about marriage, divorce and remarriage, immorality, hypocrisy, loving our enemies, people were amazed at His teaching (Matthew 7:28-29).

When the apostle Paul preached, people heard him gladly and they encouraged him to come back again (Acts 13:15-42). When we preach, we need to do it in such a way as to encourage people to want to hear more of God’s Word. They need to be encouraged to come back on Sunday evening and Wednesday night. If our preaching is biblical (1 Peter 4:11; Titus 2:1), then faithful Christian will want to hear our messages, and they will grow spiritually. And, those who are not faithful Christians will have the opportunity to think about their unfaithfulness and may want to repent of their sins and come back to the Lord. People will want to come back again to hear another message. But, if our messages are not presented the way God would have us to present it, then people will be discouraged in coming back again.

Personally, I recommend Gospel preachers doing series of lessons on Sunday evening and Wednesday nights, making sure that such series of lessons are practical and relevant to the audience. I would recommend lessons on Fundamentals of the Faith, How to Study the Bible Efficiently, etc. Such lessons will be interesting to those who desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.

ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS THAT CAN FOSTER ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP

I enjoyed the opportunity of asking certain members of various congregations about what they thought the church could consider in order to encourage members to come back again to Wednesday and Sunday evening services. The following represents their concern:

  1. Pay attention to each member of the congregation. When they are absent from services, make sure you call them to offer your assistance and encouragement. Ignoring members who do not attend services on a regular basis will only hurt the membership and will provide an open door to Satan’s attacks.
  2. Make every Bible class and sermon interesting. Do not fall into the habit of preaching the same sermon over and over again. Make sure you cover all kinds of Bible subjects that will be interesting and relevant to the membership. Let us strive to give them something they can take home with them.
  3. Foster brotherly love among each member. There are members who want to be loved. When brotherly love is not present, they may go somewhere else to find it. I have known of members who have gone to denominations under the excuse of not being loved by the members. Even though, there is no biblical excuse to joined a denomination, nevertheless, as God’s people, we are commanded to show love to one another (John 13:34-35).
  4. The preacher must be prepared for all classes and sermons he preaches. If the preacher is not prepared for Bible class or his sermon, he will do a terrible job and this may be a reason why members may show indifference towards the preaching of God’s Word. The preacher must always be ready to proclaim the Word of God in such a way as to encourage members to want to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word (2 Peter 3:18).
  5. There must be variation in the way we do things. There is nothing wrong with doing things a little bit different, so long as those things are in accordance with God’s Will (Colossians 3:17). Congregations may try to do a 13-week summer series where guest speakers come and share God’s Word. You may invite guest speakers on Sunday evening where a series of lessons may be presented on a particular subject. You may have a session of questions and answers on a particular subject. The leadership may also allow the congregation to watch a particular lesson on DVD. You may do this once or twice a month. Lessons such as evolution, sin, etc., may be watched by the members when they come together. World Video Bible School has several lessons that can be shown to the membership on a Sunday or Wednesday evening. There are some congregations who enjoy fellowship after the Sunday or Wednesday evening services. Some bring cookies and drinks to share with members and so, by doing this; they will enjoy the fellowship with one another. Don’t be afraid to try new things, once again, so long as those things do not constitute a violation of God’s Word.
  6. Encourage members to participate in Sunday evening services. The leadership may encourage several men of the congregation and the youth to participate in Scripture reading, singing, prayers, teaching, preaching, etc. Members must feel the need to be useful in God’s kingdom.

THE BENEFITS OF A STRONG MEMBERSHIP

  1. Members will be exposed to more Bible teaching (Acts 2:42; 2 Peter 3:18)
  1. Members will be encouraged to live the Christian life that God would have us to live (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  1. Members will learn to appreciate the importance of coming together as the church of Jesus Christ (Psalm 122:1)
  1. Members will enjoy the opportunity to show love and encouragement for one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  1. Members will enjoy a clear conscience of not forsaking the assembling of themselves together (John 14:15)
  1. Members will feel useful in God’s kingdom (Ephesians 4:15-16)
  1. Our children will learn the importance of church attendance by our example.
  1. Members who attend church services on a regular service will be a great example to those who don’t
  1. Members who attend services on a regular basis are following the example of the early church (Acts 2:42, 46; 5:42)
  1. Members learn to overcome the sin of forsaking the assembling or saints by always being present (Hebrews 10:25)

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CHURCH ATTENDANCE

In evaluating your church attendance, here are some questions you should honestly ask yourself:[3]

  1. Am I really putting God first – before my own desires, before my family, and before everything else in life?
  2. Am I genuinely sorry when I must miss – or would I really rather be doing something else instead of going?
  3. Would I honestly be fulfilling my duty to God as well by not going as I would be by going?
  4. If some “emergency” would keep me from attending, would the same circumstances keep mefrom other activities that are of great importance to me?
  5. Am I seeking to do as much as I can for the Lord, or am I just trying to “get by” with minimal service?
  6. If everyone else – including my family and loved ones – were to imitate my attendance, would they please God and receive eternal life?
  7. What would I think of an elder or preacher who attends as I do?
  8. Is my practice in harmony with what I profess, sing, and pray?
  9. What would I do if I knew this was my last day on earth – if I knew I would dieor Jesus would come today?
  10. What would Jesus do if he were in the same circumstance I am in?

What is your conclusion about your attendance? Are you serving God faithfully? Do you need to improve?

FINAL COMMENTS

We already have too many congregations who are dying. As members of the body of Christ, we must take seriously the opportunity we have to come together every time the church meets for worship. We must never forget that God is present every time we worship Him and study His Word. May we take the time to seriously and prayerfully examine the ways on how we can foster attendance among the membership. There are several things that we can consider, things that are in perfect harmony with God’s will.

One of the great things that will take care of the problem of members not returning to services is faithfulness from their part. Unless we are faithful to God, we will never take church attendance seriously. We may practice new things in order to foster attendance, but if my heart is not right with God, then such things will not result in a positive outcome. May God give us the wisdom and the strength to continue serving the Lord with faithfulness and gladness in our hearts!

“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go unto the house of Jehovah” – Psalm 122:1

May God help us to have this kind of attitude every time we come together for worship!

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. Box 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 545 4004; 681 4543

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.regresandoalabiblia.com

http://www.alvarengapublications.com

REFERENCES:

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996). 506.

[2] Alvin Jennings, You Can Be a Soul Winner (Fort Worth, TX: Star Bible Publications, 1990).70-71.

[3] http://www.gospelway.com/church/attendance.php

By willie75

Unsung Heroes of the Bible: Demetrius

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE BIBLE: DEMETRIUS by Willie A. Alvarenga

Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and thou knowest that our witness is true (3 John 12) [1]

INTRODUCTION

As we study the Bible, we cannot help but to notice how much emphasis it gives concerning the need to be imitators of good examples (e.g. 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; 3 John 11; Colossians 4:5). As we can see, we are encouraged to be good examples to others. Our study at this moment will focus on a great example we have in the New Testament. Even though we do not have many verses devoted to telling us about this particular Christian, we know he was a faithful example to follow. We are talking about our brother in Christ, Demetrius. As we examine our lesson, let us consider the following: (1) The phrase of our topic under consideration, (2) The faithful man under consideration, (3) The good testimony of Demetrius, and finally, (4) Seven practical principles on how to be a good example like him.

THE PHRASE OF OUR TOPIC UNDER CONSIDERATION

What does the phrase, “Unsung heroes of the Bible” mean? It basically means that there are several examples of faithful people of God who served Him faithfully in the past, but who do not receive much acknowledgment from our part. We have preached many sermons about the Apostles and many others, but at times, we have failed to acknowledge the faithful service of others such as Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30), Antipas (Revelation 2:13), and Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16-18), just to mention a few.  For this reason, we need to be encouraged to speak about the good service others have provided to our heavenly Father. God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to include their names in the inspired pages of the New Testament. We must recognize that God did this for our own benefit, that is, so that we may imitate their faithful service to Him.

THE NAME DEMETRIUS

What does the Bible say about Demetrius? As we study the Bible, we realize that this name appears only three times in the New Testament. Luke tells us about a person named Demetrius in Acts 19:24, “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen.” This same person is mentioned again in Acts 19:38, “If therefore Demetrius, and the craftsmen that are with him, have a matter against any man, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls: Let them accuse one another.” It is obvious from these two references that this man was not a Christian. The other reference to this name is found in 3 John 12, “Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and thou knowest that our witness is true.”

One of the questions we may ask is whether these two names make reference to the same person, or to different ones. Some have suggested that both may be reference to the same person. Notice what J.R. Dummelow commented:

Both he and the mob leader lived in or near Ephesus, and there is nothing impossible in the suggestion that the agitator had become a disciple, and that both references, therefore, are to the same person. He may have been the bearer of this letter[2]

According to an approximate chronology of events in the book of Acts, we may suggest that the events in Acts 19 took place around A.D. 54-57. It has been argued that the letter of 3 John was penned at about A.D. 95. If we take these dates into consideration, and if we suggest that these two references are the same person, then about 38 years have transpired since the events in Acts 19, and the writing of the letter of 3 John.

There may be a chance that the person named Demetrius Luke mentions in his book may have later become a faithful Christian in the Lord’s church. Taking into consideration the dates, he may have been in his late 60’s or 70’s.

THE GOSPEL CAN CHANGE LIVES!

We must remember that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and as such, people can turn their lives around for the better. We know this was the case with those who practiced magic (Acts 19:18-20) “Many also of them that had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. 19And not a few of them that practised magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed”, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9, 22, 26), those at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) “Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God,” and many others.

But as far as Demetrius is concerned, and his possible connection to the one mentioned in Acts 19, we can only speculate as to who this person really was. We can only hope that the one mentioned in the book of Acts was the same the Apostle John mentioned in his letter. If this was the case, then, what a great joy and victory for the cause of Christ this was!

DEMETRIUS: A MAN OF GREAT TESTIMONY

In the New Testament we have approximately 7, 957 verses. Of all these verses, only one was dedicated to mentioning Demetrius. Yes, only one verse, but a powerful one! When we examine and practice the content of this particular verse, it will help us to become faithful servants of the Lord. This faithfulness will take us into eternity with God. With this in mind, let us consider what the inspired Apostle John wrote about this faithful Christian.

DEMETRIUS ENJOYED A GREAT REPUTATION FROM ALL MEN

“Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and Thou knowest that our witness is true” (3 John 12).

What a great statement this is! The faithful Demetrius enjoyed the blessing of being able to be well spoken of by others. He was a diligent Christian who, even though he lived in the world, he did not live according to the world (John 15:19; 17:14).

If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19).

I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).

The phrase “of all men” implies that he had a good reputation not only among Christians, but also with the people of the world. With regards to the people outside of Christ, the Bible encourages us to be a good example to them. Please consider the following verses:

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16, ASV 1901).

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside (Colossians 4:5, NKJV).

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (1 Peter 3:1-2, NKJV).

That you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing (1 Thessalonians 4:12, NKJV).

Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7, NKJV).

We are also encouraged through the Scriptures to be good examples to those of the family of God. Consider the following verses:

And ye became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit; so that ye became an ensample to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth; so that we need not to speak anything (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

In all things showing thyself an ensample of good works; in thy doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us (Titus 2:6-7).

It is imperative that you and I strive to be good examples to others so God may be glorified and those outside of Christ may be encouraged to obey the gospel as they consider our lights shining. There is no doubt that Demetrius was able to bring people to Christ through his excellent example. People were able to see Christ in him! Let us remember the words penned by Luke in Acts 2:47, “Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). What a positive impact we can have on others through our faithful example!

Now, according to the context of this letter and the good reputation Demetrius enjoyed, we can safely conclude that this Christian man (1) Walked in the truth of God’s Word, (2) He was a faithful worker in the kingdom of God, (3) He was a helper of those who needed help, (4) He was a fellow-worker for the truth, (5) He was an imitator of good examples, and (6) He was a good example to others. Even though most of these things are said of Gaius, as stated before, we can safely conclude that Demetrius practiced these things as well.

WALKING IN GOD’S TRUTH

With this in mind, let me encourage all of us to walk in the truth of God’s Word just like John, Gaius and Demetrius did. The Bible teaches us to be obedient to God’s Word. Let me encourage us to take heed to the following verses: “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13), “But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14), “If you love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we follow these verses we will be walking in the truth of God’s Word. Let us remember that we are to be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only (James 1:22-25). We can be sure that Demetrius did indeed follow and obeyed God’s Word.

FAITHFUL WORKERS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

We also need to strive to be faithful workers in the kingdom of God as Gaius and Demetrius were. The Scriptures place a great emphasis upon a diligent service in the kingdom. Let us hear what God has to say on this:

Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (Romans 12:11).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

The kingdom of God needs more faithful workers like Gaius, Demetrius and all the ones who have served the Lord in His kingdom throughout the ages.

I am confident that Demetrius, like Gaius, showed love for everyone. They were willing to extend a helping hand to everyone. The Church of our Lord needs more faithful brethren who are willing to love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34-35). We need brothers and sisters who practice unfeigned love (Romans 12:9). The Apostle Paul exhorted the saints at Philippi to practice brotherly love when he penned the following words,

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others (Philippians 2:1-4).

These exhortations are exemplified in the same chapter with the life of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11), Timothy (2:19-24), and Epaphroditus (2:25-30). These faithful men showed the kind of love that needs to prevail within the church of Christ. I am confident that Demetrius followed the same example.

GOOD REPUTATION BEFORE THE TRUTH AND FAITHFUL BRETHREN

It is great to know that Demetrius enjoyed great reputation, not only from everyone, but also from the truth itself, and the Apostle John. The faithful Demetrius walked according to the commandments of God. We know this to be the case because the inspired Apostle John tells us so. This man of God was a true example of what the Word of God can do in our lives! When you walk in God’s truth, people will notice that. I am reminded of Acts 4:13, “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” The Apostle Paul also tells us something we can relate to what Luke wrote, “Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Has the world noticed that we have been with Jesus? What are people reading through our lives? When we let the Word of God work in our lives, this will help us to live a life like the one Demetrius lived.

The Apostle John also bore witness of Demetrius. It is a great blessing to have faithful brethren who are well known among our brotherhood and who can speak well of us. If you are a faithful Christian, brethren who are well known, will never hesitate to write a letter of recommendation for you. I am confident that if Demetrius needed one, the Apostle John would never have said no to this request. We often tell our students to strive to be diligent in their Christian conduct while they study at school, this way, whenever they need a letter of recommendation, if they were a good example, then we would be glad to write one for them. We all need to make every effort to be faithful in our conduct.

DEMETRIUS: NOT A DIOTREPHES

One last thing we can say about Demetrius for sure is that he was not a Diotrephes in his Christian conduct. We can safely conclude that: (1) He did not love to have the preeminence among our brethren, (2) he was not a hindrance to the work of God, and (3) he did not speak evil against the brethren. Sadly to say, today we have some in the church who like to imitate the example of Diotrephes, instead of Demetrius. I have known several brethren who have done this. We must remember that those who imitate that which is good are of God (3 John 11). May the God of heaven and earth help us to be more like Demetrius, and not like Diotrephes!

SEVEN PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES THAT CAN HELP US TO BE MORE LIKE DEMETRIUS

What are some of the things that we can practice in our lives to be more like Demetrius? What can we as Christians do to enjoy a great reputation among our brethren and those outside the body of Christ? Let me suggest a few things we can practice in our daily living, things that will help us tremendously to accomplish a good reputation. Please know that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. These things are found in His Word (2 Peter 1:3).

  1. Remember who we are!

The Bible teaches us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Through our lights, we guide people to Christ. We are also Christians, followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), and as such, we follow His example (1 Peter 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:1). Remember that the word “Christian” basically means, “Christ-like.” If we make every effort to remember who we are, then we will always be a good example to others.

  1. We must grow in the knowledge of God’s Word

The knowledge of God’s Word can help us to be ready for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This knowledge will inform us as to what we must do in order to enjoy a great reputation before God, our brethren, and those outside the church. God encourages us to grow in the knowledge of His Word (2 Peter 3:18) because He knows that if we do not do this, we will be destroyed (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13). Only God can tell us what to do to live a faithful life in Christ (Psalm 119:11). I am confident that Demetrius was a diligent student of God’s Word. Are we diligent students of the Bible?

  1. Pray for wisdom

Wisdom helps us to rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). God can give us wisdom if we ask Him (James 1:5-6). The practice of wisdom in our lives will help us to develop a great reputation among people (James 3:13; Colossians 4:5). The practice of God’s Word in our lives will help us to be wise people. Notice the great lesson we learned from Deuteronomy 4:6, “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, that shall hear all these statutes, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” We are confident that Demetrius was a wise Christian, and so must we!

  1. Imitate the life of faithful Christians

We have seen in this lesson how the Bible exhorts us to be imitators of good examples (1 Corinthians 4:6; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 3 John 11). The Bible is replete with great people we can imitate (e.g. Jesus, Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Jeremiah, Ezra, Job, Gaius, Demetrius, etc.). Do we take time to consider the examples we have in the Bible? Do we prayerfully consider living according to their pattern? I really hope we do!

  1. Stay away from bad examples

The Apostle Paul gives us instructions with regards to this point. Notice what he wrote to the Corinthians, “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). He also wrote, “know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6). The writer of Proverbs also gives us instructions with regards to this, “Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; but the companion of fools shall smart for it” (Proverbs 13:20). Let us stay away from anything that can have a negative impact in our lives.

  1. Strive to live a holy life in Christ

A life of holiness can help us tremendously to be a great example to others. With regards to this, the Word of God has a lot to say concerning a holy life. There are plenty of exhortations where we are encouraged to stay away from sin. Let us examine the following verses: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14), “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), “but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16), “Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11), “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17). These are some of the exhortations that can help us to live a faithful life in Christ. Anyone who follows these will make it to heaven (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8).

  1. Be a doer of God’s Word

There is no way to accomplish a good example in life unless we practice what the Word of God teaches. Let us remember that our heavenly Father will only bless those who practice His Word (James 1:22-25; Luke 11:28). And so, with this in mind, let me encourage us to prayerfully consider all the things we have learned in this lesson. This is the only way to experience a change of life for the better. We must remember that God gave us His Word, not only for our information, but also for our transformation.

CONCLUSION

What a great study this has been! It is always a great blessing to study the life of those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who served the Lord in His kingdom. Demetrius is a great example to follow with regards to a good example. We thank God for giving us a pattern to follow. The question is: Will we imitate the example of those who lived a faithful life in Christ? Will we also be a good example to others? I pray that we will always live as the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). By doing this, our heavenly Father, will be glorified!

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 545 4004; 681 4543

backtothebible75@yahoo.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

[1] American Standard Version. 1995 (3 Jn 12). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1062.

By willie75

Special Announcement

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Brown Trail School of Preaching has been preparing men to be “men of the Book” since 1965. Presently we have graduates serving in 30 states and 21 foreign countries. We have a rich heritage of preparing men to “preach the truth in love” as God would have us to do and wish to continue to do so.

Over the past several years we have been fortunate enough to have several large donations of estates, property or funds from wills that have helped us pay the monthly bills of the school when the regular donations were less than needed. This year, though, we have not been so fortunate. Because of this, we are contacting congregations asking if there is a possibility of them including us in their budget for 2016 and, perhaps, beyond. What we are looking for is 150 congregations or individuals who will put us in their budgets for $100.00 per month (of course any amount would be appreciated!). Can we count on you to help?

If you would like, a representative of the school, Robert Stapleton (Director), Willie Alvarenga (Director of the Spanish Department) Jesse Martinez (Spanish Instructor) or Tavaris Armstrong (Field Representative) would be happy to visit with you to discuss this matter at your convenience. Or, if you need additional information, please feel free to contact any of us at 817-268-3222.

Thank you for your kind consideration of our needs!

By willie75

Welcome to Back to Bible Knowledge

Welcome to my Website Back to Bible Knowledge. The purpose of this site is to provide biblical information that can help us  grow in the knowledge of God’s Holy Word. We are encouraged through the Bible to learn more and more about God’s will for us (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:15). This website will provide articles, sermon outlines, sermons on PowerPoint, lectureship books that are available on a free PDF file, helpful links for Bible study purposes and much more. I hope and pray that you can benefit from the information you will find here. Please feel free to use this material to the glory and honor of our heavenly Father.

Willie A. Alvarenga

backtothebible75@yahoo.com

Willie Alvarenga

By willie75