“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching” (2 Timothy 4:14-15, NASB).
Most modern readers of the New Testament are interested in heroic characters, or in the study of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Church – in short we focus on positive things which lift us up. Yet we recognize that the Biblical writers also tell of less wholesome things and people, those whom we might call “villains.” Continue reading “Villains”
So there was a division among the people over him. John 7:43 ESV.
Who is Jesus? What did he come to earth to do? Or did he even come to earth? Might he have been just a good man? What did he actually teach?
People are sharply divided over all these questions. They always have been, even since the days when Jesus lived. Continue reading “Division because of Jesus”
“Write to the messenger of the congregation in Thyatira: ‘The Son of God, with eyes like a fiery flame, and feet like glowing brass, says these things: I know your works, love, faith, service, and steadfastness, and that your last works are more than the first.’” (Revelation 2:18-19 McCord)
Jesus was aware of what the Christians in Thyatira were doing. He knew their works, their love, the faith that they had, the service they were giving and that they were steadfastness – they were continuing to be faithful in spite of what they were going through. In fact, their activity was increasing. They were growing as Christians.
This is a message that we find in each of these letters to the congregations in Asia: Jesus knew what they were doing. This should be a message to Christians today, as well: Jesus knows what we are doing. He knows what each of us is involved in, as well as what each congregation is actively doing for him. Are we growing in what we are doing? Is our love, faith and serving increasing as we remain faithful to Jesus? Continue reading “Hold on to what you have”
There is such a contrast between the two letters of Peter. The first letter was written to Christians beginning to go through persecution. It was a letter of encouragement, of hope. Despite what they were going through they needed to remember Jesus who endured suffering as well.
The second letter, written a couple of years later, was encouragement of a different type. This time, the encouragement was to remain true to God’s word and not to be led astray by false teachers. Continue reading “Hold true to God’s word”
“Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3 NET).
Jude (or Judas, as his name really was in Greek) wanted to write a letter to Christians about the salvation we have in Jesus. But that was a letter he couldn’t at that time write because of what was happening to the Christians.
Jude could not write the letter he intended because “certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Continue reading “The letter he didn’t plan to write”
Some men seem more interested in preserving their reputations and methodologies than in defending the truth. God is and ever will be the judge of all motives of the heart, and we never desire to encroach upon his prerogative. But actions that race more quickly to recommend one’s own work rather than hold up the soundness of biblical teaching leave a sour taste in the mouth of those who observe them. Continue reading “By whom the gospel is ill served”
The name “Benedict Arnold” has long been anathema to citizens of the United States. His deceitful actions were designed to return the rule of this country to Great Britain. Another name is about to join that hall of shame: Bernard Madoff. Continue reading Great Swelling Words