If we choose to accept it

Encouragement Note for Feb. 2018, by Christopher Underwood

Two men with knowledge and the benefit of knowing Jesus Christ show us the power of mercy from the Lord if we choose to accept it.

Number 1: He had been angry enough to cut an ear off a man, scared enough to leave Jesus to face an angry mob, frightened enough to deny that he knew the Son of God, cursing loudly and profusely to convince everyone he was not a follower of the Lord. He was full of sorrow to see the face of the Lord, possibly embarrassed that he had gone to such extent to prove he was nothing like Jesus. He was miserable and crying with knowledge that his courage to be put along the side of the Lord had failed him – if only he had said “If you kill him, you have to kill me too” like he had said he would do before. Continue reading

#choice, #encouragement-note, #judas, #mercy, #peter

February 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Heroes of Faith)

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

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Noah: Obedient Faith in a Wicked World! (Mike Bonner)
  • Abraham: He Who Staggered Not in Unbelief (Cody Westbrook)
  • Barnabas: He Who Met the Need (Don Walker)
  • John the Baptizer: The Most Humble Disciple (Carl McCann)
  • Peter: From a Pebble To a Rock (Clay Bond)
  • Joshua: The Courageous Leader (Bill Burk)

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.

#abraham, #barnabas, #christian-worker, #faith, #john-the-baptist, #joshua, #noah, #peter


2-2-2017 Shame In Denial

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him” (Luke 22:61-63 NKJV). Why did Peter cry? Peter had boasted he would never fail Jesus, but then denied knowing Jesus. Jesus’ prediction showed He knew Peter better than Peter himself! Have you denied knowing Jesus in your life when around others: family? friends? fellow-workers? “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16 NKJV).  It is shameful, either to live right but deny Jesus, or confess Jesus but deny Him in their lives.  “He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#deny-jesus, #peter, #shameful


11-23-2016 Reasons For Doubt

In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus walked across the water to His disciples in the boat.  Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come,” and Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus.  However, he became aware of the boisterous wind, and began to sink, he cried, “Lord, save me!” “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:23-31 NKJV).   Do you doubt because: 1) Jesus cannot save? 2) The Bible is not clearly God’s Word? 3) Scoffers have ridiculed this passage? 4) You haven’t taken the time to search these Scriptures thoroughly? This passage disproves all these “reasons” for doubt! Sinners aren’t asked to walk on water, but be baptized in water (Mark 16:16 NKJV)!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#doubt, #jesus, #peter, #walk-on-water


12-1-2015 Fulfilled Prophecies

Peter’s second sermon to the Jews in his day said: “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:24-26 NKJV). Jesus came and fulfilled what the Old Testament prophets had spoken and written, after they spoke and wrote it. Otherwise, there is no such thing as fulfilled prophecies. It is important to notice that the prophecies came first, then the fulfillment in “these days” of Jesus Christ. Notice, also, that the Gospel was preached to the Jews first, then to us.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#fulfilled, #jesus-christ, #old-testament-prophets, #peter


9-28-2015 Peter or Jesus Christ

The Holy Spirit-inspired Apostle Paul referred to the Israelites in their wilderness wandering when he said they: “they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV). The New Testament Greek word here for “Rock” is “petra.” Peter had confessed that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus replied, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16, 18 NKJV). “Peter” is “petros,” and “rock” is “petra.” Jesus had named Peter “petros” (John 1:42 NKJV) which avoids confusion. The church of Christ is built upon Jesus, NOT Peter! There is NO “successor” of Peter who heads the church of Christ!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#jesus-christ, #peter, #petra, #petros, #rock, #successor


9-23-2015 The Head of The Church

The Holy Spirit-inspired Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus Christ: “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18 NKJV). There is only one spiritual head of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ: Jesus Himself. All others who claim to be are wrong! No Apostle, not even Peter, took Jesus’ place as the head of the church of Christ. Peter even called Jesus “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4 NKJV), and Paul condemned as divisive anyone who claimed “I am of Cephas(1 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV). Any church with a different “head” is not the church of Christ over which Jesus Christ is the head! Millions of misguided members and a media blitz does not make truth out of a lie!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#church-of-christ, #head-of-the-body, #jesus-christ, #peter

When Jesus taught Peter how to count

Then Peter came and said to him, Lord, what number of times may my brother do wrong against me, and I give him forgiveness? till seven times? Jesus says to him, I say not to you, Till seven times; but, Till seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

If I had to guess, I’d say the only time that Peter was normally interested in doing math was when the fish were getting tallied at the end of the day. But regardless of how Peter felt about math, in Matthew 18 we find Jesus giving Peter a math lesson followed by a story so the point of his formula would not go over his head.

The formula is easy to quote. Most average Bible students are familiar with the 70 x 7 setup. It’s the answer that causes the frustration. I mean can the answer really be forgiveness as long as forgiveness is needed???

Do you think Peter ever wished Jesus would have left out the math lesson and stuck to teaching him how to be a fisher of men? Maybe. But if he ever did, he soon realized that the math lesson was doing just that (1 Peter 2:17-25).

So how did Peter get over the frustration that the 70 x 7 formula (which is much, much, much, much more than only 490) may have caused him? He did so by understanding where he stood in the follow-up formula that Jesus shared with him…and with us. By the time the math is finished, the story ends with the following:

Then his lord sent for him and said, You evil servant; I made you free of all that debt, because of your request to me: Was it not right for you to have mercy on the other servant, even as I had mercy on you? And his lord was very angry, and put him in the hands of those who would give him punishment till he made payment of all the debt. So will my Father in heaven do to you, if you do not everyone, from your hearts, give forgiveness to his brother.” (Matthew 18:32-35)

#forgiving-others, #jesus, #math, #peter

How Well Do We Listen (Especially When We Are Paid Talkers)?

Decades ago (never mind how many), I took a vacation from the congregation where I preached to visit relatives in the Midwest. On Sunday morning, as is my custom, I worshiped with the saints, assembling with the congregation where my father’s sister went. After the service, my aunt paid me a most unexpected, and at the time confusing, compliment. This daughter of an elder and sister of a preacher observed, “You listen to other preachers’ sermons better than any preacher I ever saw.” As I said, this confused me, for I knew my weaknesses as a listener well. Yet it also troubled me and provoked the question with which I entitled this entry. How well do we listen when we hear others preach, when we read blogs, when we sit as students in Bible classes that we might teach better (emphasis on might)? It is difficult to hear when one is accustomed to being the authority. David experienced this phenomenon when the prophet Nathan confronted him with the implications of his adultery and murder.(2 Samuel 12:1-14). Peter the Rock must have struggled within when Paul the former persecutor challenged his unethical behavior in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). Why do we find it hard to listen? Perhaps after-service plans or on-going problems distract us. We may have preconceived notions about the speaker and assume (because he has too little education or too much, because he stutters, because he uses a different Bible translation or writes for the wrong magazine) that he has nothing to say to me. We may assume that our role is to judge the competence and soundness of the speaker, not to learn from the message. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminded his readers that God’s word cuts to the heart. When Christ stood at the door and knocked (Revelation 3:19,20), he asked for Christians to respond. When I manage to overcome competition for my attention and listen to preaching half as well as my aunt thought I did, I do so because I realize that I too need the nourishment of the Word. When a speaker’s words offend me or I question his interpretation, I pause to consider whether it is his error or my sin that causes my negative reaction. I try, no matter how much experience or education I have attained, to remain a student of God’s word. I try to hear God’s Word when it is proclaimed, for I need it. How well do we listen? May we learn to listen better so that we may learn to teach better.

#church-of-christ, #discipleship, #listening, #paul, #peter, #preaching


“Has the church of Christ Lost Its Head?” (a power point presentation)


#bible, #church-of-christ, #foundation, #jesus-christ, #peter, #pope, #process, #roman-catholic-church, #truth


Was Peter the First “Pope?”

Matthew 16:13-20: When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

 1. Jesus had said to “Simon Peter” John 1:40, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated, A Stone [petros])” John 1:42

a. Why did not Jesus give Peter the name “Petra” (feminine) in this passage, to relieve any confusion later?

b. Jesus, not Peter, is referred to as petra in the New Testament:  Matthew 16:18: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Romans 9:33:  “As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame’” (quoting from Isaiah 8:14; 28:16). 1 Corinthians 10:4: “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Peter 2:8: “’A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

c. There is NO original Aramaic manuscript of Matthew known. (1 If Matthew wrote it in Aramaic, God preserved a majority of Greek MSS; (2 Matthew, himself (guided by the Holy Spirit!), would have translated his book into Greek, for Greek was understood by most people then; (3 The only “Aramaism” preserved in this passage would be “Cephas,” but because the Greek word makes a distinction between Peter’s name and the foundation of the church, no appeal to the “Aramaic” would justify making Peter’s name equal to the foundation of the church of Christ! (4 As there are no original MSS of any other New Testament Books, either!

d. Paul condemned as a “schism” any who followed Peter, not Jesus, as the Head of the church 1 Corinthians 1:12-13.

e. When Jesus said to Peter “Follow Me” John 21:19, Roman Catholic Church says it is teaching Peter’s Primacy. But when Jesus tells Philip “Follow Me” John 1:43 NO ONE suggests the Roman Church is built upon Philip!!

2. IF this clearly taught Peter’s Superiority over all the other Apostles, then:

a. Why were they still disputing the issue later? Matthew 20:20-28

b. How were James, Cephas & John all “pillars?” Galatians 2:9

c. Then was Paul the Gentile “Pope?” Galatians 2:7-10

d. How was the church of Christ “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone?” Ephesians 2:20

 3. Peter IS IN the foundation, but IS NOT “THE Foundation!”

a. The Church of Christ is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstoneEphesians 2:20

b. NOTHING IN SCRIPTURE separates Peter from the other apostles in their work of establishing the church of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:5: “For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.”  1 Corinthians 9:5:  “Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?”

c. Peter was never acknowledged as being in Rome, or its “Bishop!” (1 Paul was prisoner in Rome and wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Philemon, but NEVER MENTIONED PETER AS BEING IN ROME! (2 Paul wrote Romans and saluted 27 Christians, but NOT Peter!   (3 Peter wrote 2 letters, but never mentioned being in Rome!                 —–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #christianity, #church-of-christ, #peter, #pope, #roman-catholic-church

1 Peter 2:9 I A Chosen Generation II…

1 Peter 2:9

I. A Chosen Generation

II. A Royal Priesthood

III. A Peculiar People (People of God’s Own Possession)

IV. Who have become SHOWERS of the praises of God

#god, #peter, #thankful

Sincerity and Rebuke

When the Lord told His disciples about what was forthcoming there was much perplexity. Peter took this perplexity and, I would suggest, with much sincerity tried to alter the Lord’s approach (Matthew 16:21-22). The Lord was plain spoken in His reply (16:23).

Imagine you are Peter and you just received these hard words from the Lord. How would you reply?

Way too often preachers try to go through the back door in order to help a person learn a most valuable lesson. I suppose there might be some good reason (or reasons) for this occasionally.

Jesus did not go through the back door – He went right through the front door.

I think we can gain much from a consideration of this.

#jesus, #peter, #rebuke, #sincere

Caving In

The first Biblical example of someone caving in that comes to mind is Peter, his from fear of what the crowd might think of him the night Jesus was taken into custody. Peter showed remarkable cowardice. Fortunately he gained a ton of fortitude and made up for it on the day of Pentecost, when he spoke with boldness.

So what was the difference in these two circumstances? In the former, Peter left the disciples and faced the crowd alone. In the latter, he was with the twelve. What lesson do we learn from this?

#coward, #peter

Jesus’ betrayal and trial

There is so much in this account that sends chills down the spine. One thing I’ve been pondering lately is the the look that Jesus gave to Peter after his 3rd denial of Him. What must have been in that look? Was it one of “I told you so” or of disappointment? One of hurt? Or perhaps it was just a gentle loving look. No matter. It was enough to recall to Peter’s mind what the Lord had said to him such a short time before. I can only imagine how Peter must have felt, having learned something about himself that he probably didn’t like. No matter how much zeal he had for the Lord, he was capable of turning tail and running when the rubber met the road. And what an example for us. Peter, the great orator, who brought us the first gospel sermon, was human. Just like us. We need to always be on the lookout and take heed wherein we stand — lest we fall.

#betrayal-of-jesus, #human, #peter, #trial-of-jesus