May 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Noble Character of Philippians)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Philippians: An Introduction (Bill Burk)
  • The Progress of the Gospel (Cody Westbrook)
  • Joy in Philippians (Bruce Ligon)
  • Unity in Philippians (Todd Clippard)
  • Peace in Philippians (Kevin Cauley)
  • Spiritual Maturity in Philippians (Trent Kennedy)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#character, #christian-peace, #christian-unity, #christian-worker, #joy, #pauls-epistles, #philippians, #spiritual-maturity

Ironic Peace

Boy oh boy, what irony is found in 2 Peter 3:14!

“How so?” you may ask.

Well listen to what God’s apostle said to those who, along with himself, had obtained a like precious faith by the grace of God:

For this reason, my loved ones, as you are looking for these things, take great care that when he comes you may be in peace before him, free from sin and every evil thing.” (BBE)

“What’s so ironic about that?” you may continue to ask.

Well the irony is found in the fact that God’s messenger said what he said right on the heels of saying that this world was going to melt from the top down to the bottom with a devastation that pales only in comparison to the duration of Hell’s fire.

And I guess the irony is found in one more place too.

That peace of which Peter refers to…the peace that can be had in the face of such an intense and promised judgment comes via the Greek word “eirene” which would be pronounced i-ray’-nay.

Now unless you saw that coming, I guess you can see the irony of that particular peace.

#christian-peace, #irony, #judgment-of-god

The Danger of Peace, Imperfect Peace

Often times when a discussion is had between individuals who are on “opposite sides of the fence” about topics pertaining to salvation, key doctrinal differences and even Jesus himself, one side of the dialogue can be quick to defend his or her belief on the basis of the “peace” that is felt within one’s heart.

For example:

  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the sinner’s prayer one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after saying such
  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the book of Mormon one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after reading such
  • when discussing the merits, or rather the lack-thereof, of the confession booth one may defend their affirmative belief because of the peace that they felt after admitting such

While peace is an important, dare I say even vital, aspect of Christianity, if the truth were told, as it is now, one’s feeling of peace does not always equate to one’s possession of said peace.

Examples of this are abundant within the pages of God’s word. From the cultural mindset of the antediluvian time period (Matthew 24:37-39), to the prophets and people of Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 14:10-15), to the willfully ignorant religious individuals that Peter warned about (2 Peter 3:1-12) there has always been and there will always be people who promote the importance and supposed validity of personal peaceful feelings above the true importance and true validity of knowing the peace that comes from possessing a right relationship with the God of the Bible.

Peace, imperfect peace originates from ignorance, self-fulfilled desires and seared consciences; all of which derive from one’s personal feelings (Proverbs 14:12).  Peace, perfect peace originates from knowledge, the fulfillment of godly expectations and the directions of a properly trained conscience; none of which derive from one’s personal feelings (Philippians 4:6-7).

The point is that the human heart can be confused and contorted to the point of severe and deadly deception resulting in a feeling of justification regardless of the heart’s error (Jeremiah 17; 2 Thessalonians 2; 1 Timothy 4). This is why true peace is found in knowing, regardless of the ebb and flow of human emotions, that all things are as they should be because all things have been made as they will be by the revealed grace of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Peace, perfect peace is quite different from peace, imperfect peace! So may it be the goal of every God-seeking individual to know the Prince of Peace in a way that the peace of God is not something we feel, but rather something that we have received through the gift of God.

As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”” (Luke 19:37-44 – NET)

#christian-peace, #false-peace, #feelings, #guidance, #heart-feelings, #prince-of-peace

Beneath the praise hides a malaise

perseveranceA young family moved in recently near my office. At times, I can hear them yelling, even screaming, at each other and at the two small children, to whom especially my heart goes out. It reminds me that without the Lord, people have little idea how to act in wisdom for happiness, though they search frantically for it. Those who do have some measure of happiness are often influenced by Christian principles, whether they admit it or not.

• The world is a sad and sorry place, without God. People may wax eloquent about how wonderful the world is and how great life is, but usually beneath the praise hide a malaise, a frustration, and, yes, a desperation to possess the dream. Christians must never forget that their neighbors and coworkers aren’t usually the happy folk they pretend to be.

• Down in southern Brazil, some 245 people were killed, most by smoke inhalation, in a nightclub fire, at a special celebration for university graduates in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  Horrible tragedy, as was the ACU student killed and the five injured on their way Friday night to a dance hall in Abilene.

Although such as these make headlines, I regularly see news of people shot or dead from drugs at such places. This is the world’s idea of fun. Sadly, some Christians have bought into it. I don’t intend to heap insults on the dead, but the world’s version of happiness is too often a dangerous thing.

• One reason we can’t evangelize the world is because we’ve not yet gotten out of it.

• When you want to change your actions, where do you start? In the mind, of course. And to change the mind, the only true power is God’s, to give us, as Paul said, the mind of Christ, 1Co 2.16. When you have that, you can be sure your life will be like his as well.

• Scripture is laced with excuses of those who failed to do God’s will: Adam and Eve, Cain, Moses, how many others? In Moses’ case, excuses on top of excuses riled the holy ire, because he was weaseling out of the divine call. Our powers of self-justification are among the most finely honed skills.

The Jews attempted to justify themselves by works of merit. Today, such “legalism” isn’t so much the problem as our attempt to justify ourselves by exculpatory words.

• Are there not times, and perhaps they often dog our steps, when spiritual drought sets in and little enough results appear, compared to the effort put forth? Such times require repeated readings of such verses as 1Co 15.58: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (NLT). Such truths as these must ring in our ears: Continue reading

#christian-peace, #corollaries, #joy-in-christ, #worldliness