Church Blog (Page 3)

Church Blog (Page 3)

Ephesians 1: In Christ

The phrase “in Christ” is one of the most important, yet most overlooked in all the New Testament. Understanding the meaning of being “in Christ” is paramount to understanding Ephesians 1 and fending off many of the religious errors of the day. Ephesians 1:1-14 contains at least seven references to being in Christ (including related phrases: (“in Him,” in the Beloved”). As one must be “in Christ” to be a new creation, one must also be “in Christ” to be:…

Galatians 6: Bearing Burdens, Bearing Fruit, Bearing Marks

Paul begins chapter 6 with yet another exhortation that refutes the error of “once saved, always saved:” “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” First, note the exhortation is given to the brethren. Second, the one overtaken in a trespass is also a brother. Third, the erring brother is to be restored, that is, put back in his…

Galatians 5: You have fallen from grace

In his “Outlines on the New Testament,” Warren Wiersbe makes the following comment on today’s title, taken from Galatians 5:4: “’Fallen from grace’ (v 4) does not mean ‘fallen from salvation’ because such a thing is not possible.” Of course there was not a single biblical text provided to support his point because such cannot be found anywhere in the sacred text. Wiersbe is begging the question, that is, making an argument based on an unfounded conclusion. He further digs…

Galatians 4: The Galatian Allegory

An allegory is a story, almost always fictional, wherein abstract or spiritual ideas and principles are symbolized using people and events. It differs slightly from a parable in that parables teach religious lessons and don’t necessarily center on characters as much as the objects and events. Allegories also differ slightly from fables insofar as fables employ the personification of animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature (e.g., the sun or the wind) as characters. There is an interesting opening…

Galatians 3: The End of the Law

Galatians 3 begins a 3-chapter series of rebukes and illustrations designed to show the inferiority and invalidity of the Law of Moses. It confirms and continues Paul’s teaching about the danger of the Judaizing teachers who wanted to “pervert the gospel of Christ” (1:7), his refusal to give in to the Judaizers (2:3-5), and his public rebuke of Peter’s hypocrisy concerning the Gentiles (2:11-16). In a marvelous use of rhetoric, Paul exposes the Galatians’ lack of discernment (vv 2-5). In…

Galatians 2: False Brethren and a Faulty Pope

In Acts 16, Paul takes on young Timothy as he continues his journey with Silas. Because Timothy’s father was well known to be a Gentile, Paul circumcised Timothy (16:3). We can only speculate that this was done so the preaching of the gospel among the Jews would not be hindered. But in today’s reading, we find Paul taking the opposite stance on circumcision regarding Titus. While Timothy had a Jewish mother, Titus was a Gentile. Also, Paul was keenly aware…

Galatians 1: Another Gospel

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6-7). This has long been a “favorite” text of mine, not because I love to study about perverting the gospel, but because of the clarity of the original text that is not borne out in any English…

2 Corinthians 13: The testimony of witnesses and self-examination

Paul begins his concluding remarks in chapter 13 by reminding the brethren that he will examine them, and that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word will be established.” Throughout Scripture, God has always protected the innocence and integrity of good men by requiring multiple and credible witnesses before receiving an accusation against another. We find this in the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 17:6, in the Law of Christ in Matthew 18:15-20, and in the writing…

2 Corinthians 12: The Third Heaven, Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

There are (at least) two points of considerable interest in this great chapter. First, “What is the third heaven of verse 2?” The general view is that the Jews knew of three heavens as revealed to them in Scripture. The first is the atmosphere or sky wherein the clouds dwell and the birds fly (cf Gen 1 :20; 2 Sam 21:10). The second was the realm beyond the first wherein dwell all the celestial bodies (Gen 1:14ff; Deut 10:22). These…

2 Corinthians 11: A Preacher Talks about His Brethren and Fellow Preachers

The carnality of Corinthian thinking continues on display in chapter 11. As I read and re-read the text, I thought about a couple of dichotomies within the churches of Christ, namely, how different brethren treat their preachers differently. Without painting with too broad a brush, here are a couple of observations from my last 30 years in the church. Many of my white brethren have been perfectly content to allow men to serve them as Paul served the brethren at…