Dec. 12. General Instructions Concluded

Tit. 3:1-15

As in some of his other letters, Paul pointed out the importance of submission to governmental authority. The people of Crete were under the rule of Rome and the evil Nero. Whether or not one agrees with a law, he is bound by God to obey it if it does not conflict with His law.

The Cretans needed to be reminded to continue to obey the basic rules of Christian living and to remember how they had been rescued from a life of sin by the love of God. Man’s good works are not sufficient for salvation. It is through God’s love and mercy that He sent His Son to die for the sins of man. By faithful obedience to the instructions of the Holy Spirit, one obtains salvation through rebirth by baptism. This rebirth results in a change to a righteous life leading to a hope of eternal life in heaven.

Even though one’s good works will not earn salvation for him, Paul emphasized their importance by instructing Titus to constantly remind the Cretans to “be careful to maintain good works.”

Much valuable time and energy are wasted by disputing with people who are entrenched in religious traditions and denominational false doctrines. The final admonition of Paul to Titus was to avoid those disputes and to reject those who would cause division in the church if they could not soon be convinced of the truth.

Paul closed his letter with two personal messages. Either Artemas or Tychicus would be replacing Titus in Crete so he could rejoin Paul for the winter at Nicopolis. He also wanted Titus to assist Zenas and Apollos with the things that they needed on their journey.

Christians, wherever they are have a special love for one another. This was shown by the greetings sent by Paul’s companions to Titus and by the greetings they sent to the church at Crete.

#chronological-bible-study

Few are chosen: Matthew 22.14

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22.14

Few are chosen because few accept the invitation. Jesus emphasizes “the wide sweep of the invitation to accept the gospel and the small number of those actually found worthy” (IOVC).

To be chosen we must recognize the great opportunity that God gives us right now to participate in his joyous life. And let us ask, What must we do?

#votd #Matthew #election

New day that sparkles

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9 ESV)

Всякий, преступающий учение Христово и не пребывающий в нем, не имеет Бога; пребывающий в учении Христовом имеет и Отца и Сына. (2 Иоанна 9 Russian)

O LORD my God ~ thank you for this new day that sparkles with fresh and clear evidence of your presence and care for all Creation. Bless all children of faith in Christ as Lord with courage to testify about our faith in Jesus as your beloved Son and our King. Overthrow the deceitful efforts of those who attempt to belittle our confidence in the Holy Scriptures as the doctrine of Christ our Lord. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

Dec. 11. General Instructions to Titus

Tit. 1:10-2:15

Paul pointed out that there were many, especially of the Jewish Christians who were misleading their fellow-Christians, even by lying and cheating to obtain dishonest gain. Titus was instructed to rebuke these false teachers sharply. After their appointment, the elders would be responsible for stopping and preventing these evils along with other disruptions to the peace and harmony of the church.

Those who sought to mislead had no respect for the truth. They taught man-made commandments instead of the pure word of God. Through their deceit, they professed to know God, but the fruit of their words revealed them to be evil liars.

Paul admonished Titus to speak a different doctrine than that of the Judaizing teachers. Since the Cretan church had been converted from heathenism, they needed to learn the basic principles of human relations.

As a preacher, Titus was to preach the pure word of God to all classes of people. He was to be a good example of the qualities that he preached to others. It was his duty to instruct the older men and women to set the proper examples of righteous living. They then were to teach the younger men and women to also be righteous in their lives. It is the responsibility of all to train the younger generations to serve God. As he had previously written to Timothy, Paul gave instructions for Christian servants to be honest and to respect and obey their masters.

Paul reminded Titus that all men through God’s grace are able to receive salvation if they will turn from the world, accept the blood of Christ and obey His commands. This salvation is from punishment for sins and for a home in heaven after Christ returns and judges all people. It was Titus’ responsibility to use the authority of God’s word to make these commands known to the Cretans.

#chronological-bible-study

Hugh’s News & Views (Does The Church Have . . .?)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

DOES THE CHURCH HAVE AN OFFICIAL, EXCLUSIVE, PATENTED NAME?

In our contemporary world of many religions, including a multiplicity of denominations under the umbrella of what is called “Christianity,” it is exceedingly difficult for most people to think in terms of simple New Testament undenominational Christianity. It is hard for many people to conceive of there being a body of religious people on earth who have become Christians only, but who have not joined any denomination, who do not wear a denominational name, who are not governed by a denominational creed, catechism, or church manual, who do not have a denominational organization/structure or denominational headquarters, who eschew denominational status, but who seek to be just Christians as were the followers of Christ in New Testament times (Acts 22:26; I Peter 4:16).

In the New Testament we read of a body of people belonging to God by virtue of having been purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; I Peter 1:18-19). They are identified as God’s “own special people” (Titus 2:11-14). The more common term used to refer to these people is the word “church,” from the Greek “ekklesia,” meaning “the called out,” i.e., those called out from the rest of the world to be the people of God (II Thessalonians 2:14; I Peter 2:9-10).

Jesus promised to build His church and referred to it in the singular as “My church” (Matthew 16:18). The book of Acts is an inspired account of how Christ, through His Spirit-filled apostles, established His church (Acts 1-2) and of its amazing spread throughout the Greco-Roman world of the first century (Acts 3-28). Local congregations of redeemed people were called “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16).

These same people also were called the church of God (I Corinthians 10:32; I Corinthians 15:9), and various congregations were called “churches of God” (I Corinthians 1:1-2; I Thessalonians 2:14; II Thessalonians 1:4). Most often, however, they are simply referred to as “the church” (Matthew 18:17; Acts 2:47 [KJV; NKJV]; Acts 8:3; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 1:18, 24; et al).

These people are likewise described in the New Testament as being the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18), of which it is emphatically stated that there is but “one body,” and, therefore, but one true church (Ephesians 4:4). In the context of this latter verse (i.e., Ephesians 4:1-6), one might as well ask which God do you believe in or which Lord do you serve as to ask which church are you a member of or which faith do you follow! The fact is there is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God!

These people constitute a spiritual kingdom, variously designated as the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven (Mark 9:1; Colossians 1:13; Matthew 16:18-19). They are referred to as the temple of God (Ephesians 2:19-22 [esp. v. 21]; I Peter 2:4-5), the house (family) of God (I Timothy 3:15), the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32; Romans 7:4; Revelation 21:9), the church of the firstborn [ones] who are enrolled in heaven (Hebrews 12:23), a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (I Peter 2:9-10), the spiritual Israel of God (Galatians 6:16; Galatians 3:29; Romans 2:28-29), as well as many other informative terms which the careful reader of the New Testament will discover.

None of these descriptors, however, was ever intended to be the official, exclusive, and patented “name” for the New Testament people of God. Those who want to make any one of the descriptors “the name” of the church show a decidedly denominational concept of the church. Some do this unknowingly and unintentionally; others do it because they want to portray the church as “a denomination among denominations.”

At the same time, in the midst of a multiplicity of denominations (all of which arose this side of the New Testament), it is in order for those of us who are seeking to be just the church of the New Testament to have some descriptive term by which brothers and sisters in Christ may know one another, especially as they travel from place to place. Addressing this very point, the late Batsell Barret Baxter, in a tract titled “I Talked to a Stranger and He Asked These Questions,” and in response to the question, “What do you call this church?,” said (and here I am quoting brother Baxter from memory but it is virtually verbatim): “We call it by any of the terms used in the New Testament to designate the people of God, but in the midst of a sadly divided religious world we find it necessary to use one of these terms almost exclusively insofar as our public announcements are concerned and in order to avoid confusion in our modern world. Although it is no more scriptural than the other terms, we have most often used the designation ‘church of Christ.’ This is appropriate because the Bible speaks of the church as the bride of Christ and of Christ as the founder and head of the church.” Yet, neither brother Baxter nor any other informed Bible student regarded/regards the descriptor “church of Christ” as the official, exclusive, and patented name for God’s people! This truth understood, no biblically informed person will speak of “the Church of Christ church,” “Church of Christ congregations,” “Church of Christ preachers,” “Church of Christ colleges,” “Church of Christ worship services,” etc.

Some nit pickers and hair splitters (for whom I have little patience and less time!) love to point out that the singular expression “church of Christ” is never used in the Bible, only the plural “churches of Christ.” Yet the Scriptures speak of the universal body as the “church of God” (I Corinthians 15:9) and of local churches as “churches of God” (II Thessalonians 1:4). Based on that fact, since it is acknowledged that local churches are designated as “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), then one may logically conclude that the universal body may be scripturally referred to as the “church of Christ,” as much so as “churches of God” warrants the use of “church of God”! To speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11) and to call Bible things by Bible names simply means to set forth Bible concepts in language reflective of Bible teaching. The Bible nowhere speaks of “the New Testament church,” but clearly there was a New Testament church, and Jesus called it “My church” (Matthew 16:18), thus the “church of Christ.” Therefore, the use of all of these terms is to “speak as the oracles of God” and to call Bible things by Bible names.

In the September 1941 issue of the Bible Banner, Cled E. Wallace, who had a clear understanding of the undenominational nature of the church, wrote: “I am certain that the expression ‘church of Christ’ has been used in a sectarian sense, but not when it is applied to the right thing, however often it may be used. It is misused only when it is employed to cover too little or too much or applied to something that is not it all. For instance, if you call something ‘the church of Christ’ which is smaller than the entire body of Christ and larger than a local congregation, then you have employed the term in a
sectarian sense. Brethren keep me more uneasy sometimes
by what they mean by it, than they do by how often
they say it.”

Addendum: The December 2018 issue of The Christian Chronicle told of a church planting in Orlando, Florida with the name “Reclaimed Church.” When I read this, I could not help but think of “the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” a branch of the Mormons. I am all for doing everything within the realm of biblical authority to reach millennials (and all others) with the gospel, but I fail to see how the Reclaimed Church will more effectively communicate biblical, undenominational Christianity to others. How long will it be before “Reclaimed Church” will be used in a denominational sense? “Reclaimed Church people,” “Reclaimed Church congregations,” “Reclaimed Church preachers,” “Reclaimed Church elders,” etc., etc.? Earlier this year, the editor of the Chronicle spoke of “the name of the fellowship.” THE name? The FELLOWSHIP? Whatever became of the simple Bible descriptors for the body of Christ, the church of our Lord, the New Testament people of God?

I deeply love my brethren, but many of them are in need of some serious instruction on the undenominational nature of the church and how to think, speak, and write of the body of Christ in a non-sectarian, undenominational way. Sadly, some of them seem to be ingloriously unaware of their need for such instruction or of a willingness to receive such instruction in a humble manner, as if it were not at all possible for them to be guilty of thinking, writing, and speaking of the church in a denominational fashion. No unkindness is intended by these remarks, but simply a statement of the reality of the situation as it exists with far too many in the church today.

Hugh Fulford

December 11, 2018

To never be ashamed

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20 NIV)

Ми знаємо, що Син Божий прийшов, і розум нам дав, щоб пізнати Правдивого, і щоб бути в правдивому Сині Його, Ісусі Христі. Він Бог правдивий і вічне життя! (1 Івана 5:20 Ukrainian)

O LORD God, our dear Father in heaven ~ we come into your holy presence with humble and thankful hearts. Stay close to us and guide us to know your beloved Son in a deeper and more personal manner than ever before. Lord, help us to share our faith with those who are poor in spirit and searching to know the magnificent future you have planned for all people who humble themselves in trust and obedience to Jesus as Lord. Help everyone who is in Christ to never be ashamed of being a Christian in any circumstance. In the precious name of Christ Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley

If someone thinks he knows something: 1 Corinthians 8.2

“If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know.”

1 Corinthians 8.2

The Corinthians valued knowledge above all things. Their supposed knowledge led to pride, v. 1. What matters is not what we know, but who knows us, v. 3.

We know what we are permitted to know, Dt 29.29. That knowledge we must know, for it is our salvation, in Christ. All else calls for humility.

#votd #1-Corinthians #knowledge

Dec. 10. Elders’ Qualifications Stated to Titus

Tit. 1:5-9

Paul’s written word served as a reminder of the instructions that he had no doubt spoken to Titus when they were together at Crete. The first priority in correcting deficiencies in the church was to appoint qualified men to serve as elders.

As he had written to Timothy, Paul also listed to Titus the attributes necessary for a man to qualify for the eldership. He must be blameless, the husband of one wife, have faithful children, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, hospitable, lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy and self-controlled. An elder must also be able to exhort and convince those who would teach error or otherwise try to undermine the church.

#chronological-bible-study

Dec. 9. Letter from Paul to Titus, Another young Preacher

Tit. 1:1-4

Two of Paul’s most trusted assistants were the young Gentile men, Timothy and Titus. Titus was probably a native of Antioch. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas from Antioch to the conference in Jerusalem after their first missionary journey.

Titus probably delivered Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and then remained in Corinth to help them make the corrections that had been called for in that letter. Paul was expecting to meet him at Troas for a report on his work, but was highly disappointed when that didn’t happen. He was also highly elated when they finally did get together in Macedonia because of his report that the Corinthians were making great progress toward correcting their sins.

Titus also helped Paul deliver the contribution from the Gentile Christians to the poor Jewish Christians at Jerusalem as he concluded his third missionary journey.

Paul left Titus at the island of Crete as he traveled to various cities sometime after his release from the Roman prison. This letter was written about A.D. 67 from an unknown location to give him specific instructions for strengthening the churches there at Crete.

After many years of being a great apostle, preacher, teacher and writer, Paul remained humble. He identified himself at the beginning of his letter to the much younger Titus as an apostle and as a bondservant or slave. Christians should realize that after whatever greatness they may have achieved in life, they are still bondservants or slaves to our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. They must also accept the authority of the apostles because they wrote as the Holy Spirit guided them.

#chronological-bible-study

They speak from the world’s perspective: 1 John 4.5

“They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them.”

1 John 4.5

The false teachers circulated among the Christians, but they had different origins. Speaking (teaching) from the world’s perspective was a sign their origin was the world.

False teachers can be found in the church today, but they teach a different doctrine that comes from the world. This is why they must be rejected.

#votd #1-John #doctrine

Dec. 8. Continuing Admonitions from Paul to Timothy

I Tim. 6:1-21

Slavery was and still is a gross injustice to humanity. Christ did not abolish the practice, but His principles changed the relationship between Christian masters and slaves. Christian slaves were to continue to serve and honor their masters. Masters who became Christians were to treat their slaves as they would want their Master, God to treat them. Mutual love and respect as brothers in Christ would eventually abolish slavery.

As Paul was concluding his letter to Timothy, he turned his attention again to the serious nature of false teachers. Whether slave/master relationships, direct commands regarding how to become a Christian or any other aspect of Christian living, he commanded obedience to his teaching.

Paul warned against those who would attempt to use their Christianity as a means toward financial gain. He emphasized that the source of one’s gain and contentment is in godliness—not in amassing a large bank account. One should be satisfied with only the necessities of life. Godliness leads to eternal riches in the world to come. Even though riches are not evil, there are many temptations involved in gaining them. Paul stated, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…”

After warning Timothy of those who would seek for riches, Paul reminded him of the good confession he had made of his own faith in Christ as he began his Christian life. He pointed out the necessity of the preacher keeping his own life free from the sins which he was to preach against by fleeing from them. Paul further reminded Timothy to not just follow, but to pursue those things that would strengthen his life and influence as a preacher and to fight the fight of faith. By doing these things, he would be able to secure the eternal life.

Paul continued his admonition to Timothy by urging him to keep Christ’s commandments as he looked forward to His coming at the end of time. He reminded Timothy of the majesty of Christ as “The blessed and only Potentate (Sovereign), the King of kings and Lord of lords…”

As a final charge regarding the rich, Paul instructed Timothy to command them not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches that can be here today and gone tomorrow. One’s trust should be in God. His riches should be in good works willing to share those riches with others.

Paul ended his letter with an urgent plea for Timothy to guard the truth that had been given to him and to avoid the false ideas of men who have made error appear to be truth.

#chronological-bible-study

Trustworthy saying: 2 Timothy 2.11

“This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him.”

2 Timothy 2.11

Five times in his letters to evangelists Paul uses the phrase about trustworthy sayings. It indicates an essential truth. Some think verses 11-13 were taken from an ancient hymn. To die with Christ is to accept any suffering so that people can be saved, v. 10.

Christ died to save others. So do we. His task is ours. We embrace hardship for his mission. This is the calling of every follower. Are you willing?

#votd #2-Timothy #suffering

Dec. 7. Paul’s Instructions to Timothy Continued

I Tim. 5:1-25

Timothy’s attention was turned to the manner in which he was to confront various individuals who needed to be corrected. A person rebuked is sharply criticized. Instead of rebuking, Paul admonished Timothy to exhort (urge strongly) older men kindly as he would his father and older women as his mother. He should deal with younger men as his brothers and younger women with the same respect as sisters.

Women did not have many opportunities for self-support during that period of history. Their best source for care was in marriage and rearing children. Many women became destitute upon the death of their husband. Paul gave Timothy instructions regarding the care of those needs.

Due to the great number of needy widows and the limited resources of the church at that time, it was necessary for certain guidelines to be met for one to receive support from the church. The foremost responsibility for their care was with their children and grandchildren to repay for the care that they had received.

Young widows were more likely to seek pleasure and become busybodies and gossips than those who were older. Widows under the age of sixty were admonished to marry again and when possible, to bear children and build a new life for themselves.

The church was responsible for Christian widows above sixty years of age who trusted in God; continued in prayer; were blameless; had been wife to one man; reported for good works of hospitality and child rearing.

Paul stressed that Christians who have a widowed mother or grandmother, are to care for them in order for the church to be able to care for those who are really widows. “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

The writer had listed the qualifications of elders earlier in this letter. At this point, he turned his attention to the support that elders deserve. Due to the magnitude of their responsibilities, they are worthy of honor and respect from the church which they are overseeing.

Elders are not to be greedy or covetous for money. According to Paul, if they are devoting a major portion of their time to that work, they should be compensated for that time.

All men are subject to sin. It is dangerous and forbidden to charge an elder with a specific sin unless there are at least two witnesses. Paul instructed Timothy to rebuke (sharply criticize) any elder publicly and without partiality who was found guilty of sinning. This was to serve as an example to influence others to avoid sinning.

In order to protect an elder’s reputation, one should not be too hasty to accept charges of sin against him. It is also wise to be certain that a man is qualified and fit for the work of an elder before appointing him to that office. Sins and good works sometimes are evident while at other times, they are hidden and hard to detect.

Timothy had a health problem with his stomach. Paul directed him to use a little wine as a medication for his frequent infirmities. Some have used this verse to justify using wine as a beverage. NO! This was a medical remedy.

#chronological-bible-study

Pure joy of salvation

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11 ESV)

Сие сказал Я вам, да радость Моя в вас пребудет и радость ваша будет совершенна. (Иоанна 15:11 Russian)

Dear Heavenly Father ~ thank you Lord for the inner peace and joy that we truly experience on this new day because of your love for those who have chosen to follow your beloved Son. As I ponder over what it means to have full joy, please grant me that pure joy of your salvation. Strike down the efforts of those who seek to throw cold water on those who are on-fire for Christ. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

Because I do not love you? 2 Corinthians 11.11

“Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!”

2 Corinthians 11.11

Paul did not allow his motivations to be questioned. He insisted that he acted from love of the brethren and from what was best for their faith.

Expressions of love among Christians are common, because they are pure. Such expressions reflect the true state of their relationships.

#votd #2-Corinthians #mutual-love