QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTIANS ABOUT THE CHURCH
1. What is the church? (Write a simple one sentence definition of the church.)
2. When did the church first exist in the mind of God?
3. Was the church a subject of Old Testament prophecy?
4. Who was the founder of the church?
5. When was the church established as a historical reality? Continue reading
A BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX
Matthew, an apostle of Christ, said of Jesus, “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20). This statement is part of a larger quotation from Isaiah 42:1-4, and Matthew’s use of it is the only time this particular prophecy is quoted in the New Testament. (Note: Flax was a plant from which linen and other products were made.)
In context, both Isaiah and Matthew are talking about Christ as God’s Servant, “My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased,” the One upon whom God would put His Spirit, the One who would “declare justice to the Gentiles,” and the One “in [whose] name Gentiles will trust” (Matthew 12:18-21). In short, it is a text relating to the redemptive work of Christ, not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. Continue reading
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Moses declared, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). He also affirmed that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:6). He further stated: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11). None of these inspired texts have footnotes allowing for the possibility of the evolutionary hypothesis.
The prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Matthew, an apostle of Christ, quoted this passage from Isaiah and applied it to the birth of Christ (Matthew 1:22-23). There is no footnote in the divine text that indicates Christ was actually conceived in the womb of Mary by Joseph or any other man. Continue reading
LEARNING HOW TO WALK
One of the first major accomplishments of a little child is learning how to walk. As an infant he is totally dependent on others, but as he gets a little older he learns how to turn himself over, to get up on his hands and knees, and to begin to crawl. Later, he is able to pull himself up to a table or a sofa or a chair and begin to take those first faltering steps and to toddle around. Soon he is able to walk.
This has its spiritual parallel. We enter the family of God, the church, as newborn babes (Hebrews 5:13; I Peter 2:2). Early in our Christian life we depend on others to help us get around. But, as we learn and grow, we reach the point where we can stand on our own two feet and walk the Christian walk. Continue reading
The story is told of a civil war soldier who did not want to take sides but remain neutral and be accepted by both sides. He put on a pair of Confederate britches and donned a Union jacket. He was shot in the seat by a Yankee soldier and in the chest by a Rebel soldier and died of the injuries he incurred as a result of trying to be on both sides! Continue reading
“IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?”
The story of David and Goliath is known to every child who has ever attended Sunday School. It is found in the 17th chapter of the Old Testament book of I Samuel, and is the exciting story of how one who was “but a youth” (verse 33) killed with a single stone shot from a sling a Philistine giant who was over 9 feet tall (verse 4).
Before his encounter with the giant, David had been tending the sheep of his father Jesse. But Jesse wanted young David to visit his three older brothers who were soldiers in the Israelite army, see how they were doing, and take provisions to them and their captain. When David arrived at the Israelite encampment he learned of the challenge of Goliath. “Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us” (verses 8-9). Of course, Goliath believed no one could win in a battle with him! Continue reading
MALAPROPISMS AND THINKING ABOUT THE CHURCH
Likely, I should be among the last to write under the above heading. I did not grow up in a family that always used correct grammar or that always used a word in the right sense. All who speak and write are susceptible of inadvertently using the wrong word, to being “off” in their thinking, and to not expressing themselves either orally or in writing as clearly as they might like. Yet, those of us who speak and write to advance the cause of Christ should strive for accuracy—in our thinking, in our speaking, and in our writing.
A malapropism is “misusing words, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.” Many years ago in Clarksville, Tennessee I was preaching on the Lord’s Supper and made mention of a congregation that had two large silver “gobblers” from which the fruit of the vine was served—one for each side of the two sections of pews in the auditorium! I, of course, meant two large silver goblets. Continue reading