Delivered out of the power of darkness

More than 30 years ago, we wrote an evangelistic study which we still use today, among others. In that study, the very first text we teach others is Genesis 1.1-3. A main point of this reading emphasizes God’s power as he created the universe with a word. His power is unlimited. He is more powerful than any other. He is omnipotent.

His power overcomes all others. This is what Paul affirms in a prayer in Colossians 1: Continue reading “Delivered out of the power of darkness”

Let there be life

The quote appears now and again, and each time I read it I appreciate it less and less. It is sometimes attributed to Francis of Assisi, but one never sees attribution, so it’s doubtful that the Catholic figure ever wrote it. It appears in several forms, sometimes one compound sentence; at other times, as two separate sentences.

I fail to appreciate it because it sets up a conflict of sorts between words and life. It expresses an unbiblical dichotomy. Continue reading “Let there be life”

Look to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the complete answer of God for the problem and need of mankind. Our problem is not ignorance, which education will solve. Our problem is not poverty, which more robust social programs will eradicate. Our problem is sin. It’s consequence, eternal and spiritual, is separation from God, Isaiah 5.1-2; Colossians 1.21. We cannot now imagine the despair and suffering caused by our rejection of God. No human action will repair that damage. So God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins, 1 Corinthians 6.20. Our Lord declared time and again that he came to save us from ourselves, Luke 19.10. This is the great act of grace on his part, Titus 3.4-7. Continue reading “Look to Jesus Christ”

Power in the epistle of James

It might seem a strange thing to consider the subject of power in the letter of James, since the principal word for it (Greek, dunamis) does not appear in the document at all. But there are other signs of James’s interest.

This servant of the Lord is not interested in power in any pure, static form, but in the effective working of God in a saint’s life. Continue reading “Power in the epistle of James”

Prayer as the Christian’s duty

Prayer is one of the great privileges of God’s children. The Lord has an open-door policy. We may approach his throne at any time. We may ask anything of him, according to his will. We may express any sentiment from the heart. He hears and answers our prayers.

Besides being a great privilege, prayer is also a great duty of the Christian. It is required in order to maintain and strengthen our relationship with God. It is a must for advancing the gospel in the world. Brotherly love requires that we pray often for the family of faith.

One small indication of the duty of prayer comes from the Lord Jesus, as Luke introduces one of his parables. Continue reading “Prayer as the Christian’s duty”

The big issue of fellowship

Fellowship is a big issue among us. Not a few books have been written about it to define what it is, to whom it extends, from whom it ought to be withdrawn.

Fellowship deserves attention. After all, we were created for it. Christ redeemed us so that it could be restored. A whole cluster of words describe it in Scripture. The noun for fellowship, communion, participation, koinonia, is found in the New Testament 17 times, but the teaching on it goes far beyond that group of terms.

In the first chapter of 1 John, the apostle states that our fellowship is with God, Christ, and one another. Continue reading “The big issue of fellowship”

Hands pointed toward heaven. Man's duty.

What it means to be truly human, or the whole duty of man

In our Urbanova congregation, we memorize a Bible verse each week. For this twenty-fourth week of 2019, our verse is Ecclesiastes 12.13. I also used it as the text for my message June 9.

This month at Forthright Magazine, we highlight the theme of duty. So I’d like to share the points I mentioned in my message yesterday from Solomon’s great conclusion to his book.

He wrote in verses 13-14: Continue reading “What it means to be truly human, or the whole duty of man”

Jesus came within God’s timeline

A young man seemed surprised to learn recently that Jesus came to earth to die. He asked if God worked from a timeline, if he accomplished everything within a timeframe that he had set. Yes, God had an eternal purpose and plan and he fulfilled it “when the appropriate time had come” Galatians 4.4.

That plan was set before the creation of the world. (See Ephesians 1.4; 1 Peter 1.20.) So in the Old Testament we can see the Lord making promises and predictions of what — and who — would come. There are so many predictions that prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Bible. Continue reading “Jesus came within God’s timeline”

Our duty to get up and take action

The columnists of Forthright have been invited to devote themselves during the month of June to the topic of duty. They are free to write about any topic. But we’ll highlight on the front page articles tagged with the word “duty.” A few articles of the past tagged this way are already at the top of the front page. Check them out.

The Old Testament speaks frequently of duties of the priest, Levites, and the king. The NLT has Shecaniah saying to Ezra the scribe, who was laid low by the sins of the people: Continue reading “Our duty to get up and take action”