Correcting Misconceptions of Humility

Posted: October 25th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.

Humility is not weakness. Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9), causing Paul to respond, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

Humility does not preclude leadership. Jesus was “meek and lowly” (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Tim 3:2), and this is defined in Rom 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should. 1 Tim 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Pet 5:3).

Humility does not forbid rebuking sin. Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matt 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in Matt 23 as when He was blessing little children in Matt 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error. “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Tim 2:24-25). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal 6:1). Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God’s purpose.

Humility is not inconsistent with personal initiative. The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and executing its work. A song we sing says, “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose”. Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility. Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that “each esteem others better than himself” (Php 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.

Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully, speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others. This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be. When one is constantly thinking: “How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others” he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution – not thinking of self at all. A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).

Conclusion: True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matt 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Cor 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Tim 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Cor 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.

-Sewell Hall


Evangelism Pep Talk – October 2015

Posted: October 25th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles


“For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God…” (1 Thess 1:8-9).

The transformation in the lives of those converted in Thessalonica was so evident that everyone was talking about it. Paul would arrive at new cities and, as he started to preach the gospel, people would immediately identify with what he was saying: “Oh, this is what we heard about in Thessalonica! This is the message that caused them to leave their idols behind!” Their example spoke volumes that could not have been put into words. Paul was just reaping the harvest of the seeds that were first sown through the shining lights of the brethren in Thessalonica.

While teaching and preaching are essential parts of spreading the gospel, it is often true that our actions speak louder than our words. If our example is what it should be, many opportunities will arise to teach the gospel that otherwise may never have shown themselves. We must seriously consider what message our everyday conduct is sending to the world around us. Our actions speak louder than our words whether they are speaking good or evil. Our lives are either adorning the doctrine of Christ (Tit 2:10) or making it tasteless to the world around us (Matt 5:13).

The world should see something different about us… not in a self-righteous, unloving, stiff-necked type of way, but in a refreshing display of hope, peace, love, and joy. They should see an unwavering commitment to honesty and truth, a selfless service, a sincere humility. They should know there is something different about us even before we talk to them about Christ.

The gospel may seem foolish to many (1 Cor 1:23-24). We may be slandered and ridiculed for our faith. Yet, if the world around us stumbles, may it be over the gospel and not our misrepresentation of it. “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet 2:12).


God has continued to give us many open doors for evangelism this last month. I currently just have one regular evangelistic study, but I have a list packed full of contacts who I either study with on an irregular basis or may be interested in setting up a study in the near future. These contacts have arisen from meetup studies, visitors to our assemblies, random conversations in the community, and (my favorite) brethren who ask for my help in teaching their friends and neighbors. When brethren have already established a relationship with someone and adorned the gospel with their lives, hearts are often much more open and eager to listen to the gospel.

Certainly, the goal is that all of us will be comfortable and capable to teach our friends and neighbors ourselves. Yet, the reality is that a lot of work and practice has to take place before we are confident teaching an evangelistic study. And often the best way to get there is to gain experience by assisting another teacher.

So, if you don’t feel comfortable teaching evangelistic studies yourself at this point, don’t let that stop you from asking people for Bible studies. There are more than a few capable teachers at Kirkwood who would be glad to assist you, myself included. So, start asking people for Bible studies… family, friends, neighbors, strangers. Eventually someone is bound to say yes and you never know who it might be.

Our meetup studies have continued to go well in making contacts. We now have 76 members on-line and this last month we had 3 return visitors and 1 new visitor in the 3 studies we conducted. Attendance from our brethren here at Kirkwood and other congregations has also been very encouraging in these studies. The winter months are expected to slow things down a little, but we never know when a truth-seeking heart might decide to show up.

Keep these evangelistic efforts in your hearts and in your prayers this month. Stay salty, stay bright, and keep sowing the seed!



The Example of Lydia

Posted: October 25th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:15)

For the little said of Lydia in Scripture she strikes an impressive character. She was “from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God” (v. 14). That brief resume is augmented by her exchange with Paul and his companions following her conversion.

It is curious that Paul and Silas were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (v. 6) and yet, after receiving the call to bring the gospel to Macedonia, the first person they convert is a woman from Thyatira, a city in the province of Lydia (no kidding) in Asia Minor. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Upon encountering a group of women gathered together by the riverside outside the gate of Philippi, Paul, Timothy, Silas and Luke spoke the gospel to them. And “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (v.14). She tenderly received the truth, obeyed it with her household and invited the men to stay with her.

Being a Jewess, Lydia would have been familiar with the book of Proverbs. It is no coincidence then that her godly character is cut from the same purple cloth of Proverbs 31, the woman of whom Lydia bears more than a passing resemblance.

The Proverbs 31 woman is diligent, hardworking and successful (vv. 13-19), like Lydia. She even wears “purple” (v. 22), the same color of Lydia’s stock, a color reserved for nobility and royalty (cf. Matt 27:28). But the godly woman’s true adornment is “strength and dignity” (v. 25; 1 Tim 2:9-10), the very raiment of Lydia. She is compassionate, “reaching out her hands to the needy” (v. 20), much like Lydia reaching out to a tired band of preachers and inviting them, nay, insisting that they lodge with her.

Lydia understood that “charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is worthy to be praised” (v. 30) and so Luke described her as a “worshiper of God” or a God-fearing woman. She prevailed upon the men, backing Paul into a corner by asking him, “If you judge me faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” Who could argue with that? She showed her faith by her works (James 2:18) and her faithfulness was worthy to be praised. Paul and the gang had no choice but to oblige. That’s called wisdom, another trait of the Proverbs 31 woman (v. 26).

Lydia heard the gospel with an open heart and responded to it, leading her whole household to do the same. How much like the godly woman of Proverbs 31, who leads her family by example? What a woman! What a great example of faith!

-Jerome Sasanecki


Hearts In Tune

Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Php 1:9-10).

Our goal is to allow God’s desires to become our own. We want to “approve the things that are excellent,” allowing God’s truth to fill our minds, yielding our will to His purposes, and rejoicing in the sheer goodness of all things that are good. There is within each of us, perhaps buried under layers of lesser concerns, a longing for hearts that are in tune with God’s heart, hearts that want nothing but what He wants. Coming to have such a heart (and helping others to do so) is what spiritual growth is about. This is why we study and meditate upon God.

It is impossible to grow in likeness to God’s character without learning to love Him, and it is impossible to love God without learning to love what He loves. Thus one of the wisest things we can do is to make a commitment to love only the things that are highest and best, as judged by God’s criteria. Frances de Sales wrote, “Love is the strongest passion of the soul. We become like what we love. Guard against loving wrongly.”

Thomas a Kempis put it in the form of a prayer: “O Lord, let me know what is worth knowing, love what is worth loving, praise what pleases You, honor what is worthy in Your sight, and avoid all that is evil.” In our present state of mind, putting ourselves in God’s hands is not always easy. It is a test not only of our trust, but also of our courage. Our desires are so often going in the opposite direction, to let God define what is desirable can seem almost insane. From our vantage point in time and space, the life of radical faith may seem to involve more sacrifice than serenity. But in the end, the hearts that will have found peace will be those that have come to rest in the purposes of God. On this side of the Cross, there can surely be no doubt as to the benevolence of those purposes. Whatever He desires, it is our privilege to desire the very same things, just because He desires them.

“Help me to want what is most pleasant to You. You know what is best for me, Give what You will, when the right time comes, and in the quantity You prefer. Do with me as You please. Put me where You will. I am in Your hands. I am Your servant. I am ready to do whatever You command. You are the true peace of my heart and the perfect rest of my soul” (Catherine Parr).

-Gary Henry


In A Crooked And Perverse Generation

Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“Do all things without murmurings and questions; that ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world” (Php 2:14, 15).

The Philippian Christians had to serve God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. They were neither the first nor the last to find themselves under such circumstances. In fact, every person who ever served God did so “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” and so must we.

Surely no-one would question the perverseness of the generation in which we live. We are surrounded by indecency. Moral filth lines the shelves of the neighborhood store and video shop. Drug scandals rock the sports and entertainment worlds. Christians working in factories are exposed to bad language, filthy stories, and rumors of immorality among their fellow employees. Our children attend schools that are filled with wickedness. We are not overstating the case – this is the world as it really is, a crooked and perverse generation indeed.

We face two possible choices as Christians: (1) try to clean up the society in which we live, so that we and our children can serve God without the pressures and evil influences that presently exist. We would not discourage reasonable effort on the part of individual Christians along these lines, but success in any such efforts will be on a small scale. It matters not how hard we work at it, by and large, the world will still be a corrupt world when we die: evil will still exist on TV and in the movies; pornography will still be a problem; corruption will still exist in government; and schools will still have their ungodly influences. Our purpose as Christians is to call people out of darkness through the gospel and into light. We can do that, but efforts to eradicate darkness will for the most part be futile. Fortunately, we have another choice: (2) make up our minds to serve God faithfully in whatever environment we find ourselves. This is the only viable choice for the Christian.

It can be done. Consider Noah’s generation when “every imagination of the thoughts of (man’s) heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5); or Lot’s generation when ten righteous souls could not be found in all of Sodom; or Elijah’s generation when wicked Ahab served as king in the wicked nation of Israel; or Daniel’s generation when as a young man he found himself in a foreign land facing pressures to eat the king’s meats and drink his wines (Dan 1:8); or the apostles’ generation when Rome ruled the world and the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees dominated the religious scene. What were these men doing in such crooked and perverse circumstances? They were serving God! That’s what they were doing!

The point is this: if these could serve God in the midst of the crooked and perverse circumstances in which they found themselves, and if the Philippians could shine “as lights in the world” in the midst of their crooked and perverse generation, so can we. Our eternal destiny is not determined by the environment in which we live, but by our own determination to be what we ought to be in whatever environment we find ourselves. We must lay aside our excuses, both for ourselves and our children, and make up our minds to say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15). This we shall do, and with God’s help we shall overcome.

-Bill Hall



Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

To follow up on an article in last week’s bulletin on a “servant’s heart,” note what God says about humility. Humility is a recurrent theme in the teaching of Jesus because of His constant interchange with the Pharisees. Proud, self-righteous, and showy, the Pharisees had little understanding of the humble service that was to characterize the messianic kingdom (see Matt 20:26-28; 23:11-12). The Pharisees, the Jewish nation, and the world of Gentiles had much to learn about lowliness of mind as exemplified and taught by Jesus. So it is with mankind today.

Humility is an attitude, a disposition, a way of thinking about God, ourselves, and fellow men. “Lowliness of mind,” as it is usually defined, contrasts markedly with “high-mindedness”—that state of mind that exalts self above all others (see 2 Tim 6:17; Matt 23:6-7). Humility is not low “self-esteem” or low “self-worth,” but a view of one’s position in the overall scheme of things.

God. Humble men see themselves as a creation of God—a product of the Supreme One. Creatures or products are designed to serve their “creator” or “producer” and that includes man. Jesus who voluntarily humbled Himself to serve God in life and death understood that, and constantly reminded His disciples He came to do “the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38; see John 4:34). Lowliness of mind is to recognize God’s authority, exalt His purpose, and place one’s will beneath His. God’s people see this so clearly in the life of Jesus when He approached the time of His death. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus humbled Himself before heaven’s purpose and prayed three times: “not as I will but as Thou wilt”“Thy will be done” (Matt 26:36-46).

Fellow Men. Humble men, in harmony with the Creator’s scheme, view themselves as servants of their fellow men. Jesus came to earth—not in His own interest but in the interest of sinful man. He took on the “form of a servant” and “humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death” (Php 2:7-8). His example teaches us—“not looking each of you also to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Php 2:4). God’s scheme structured life that men might out of “love be servants one of another” (Gal 5:3). Lowliness of mind exalts God’s will, positions fellow men above oneself, seeks to know the needs of others, and works to accomplish God’s purpose for them. This is so apparent in the life and work of the apostle Paul who on behalf of others labored with travail, hazarded his life, endured imprisonment often, suffered scourging again and again, and faced hunger, thirst, and nakedness.

Self. Humble men recognize their place at the bottom of God’s organizational chart—drawn and tailored personally for each individual. They grasp the idea that they are here not to rule or dictate but to minister and serve—thereby attaining favor and greatness in the eyes of their Creator and in His kingdom (Matt 20:20-28). Lowliness of mind is not ruled by self-importance, lured into service for show, tempted to exalt self above God and men, ensnared by condescending behavior, or inoculated against self-examination—all of which Jesus denounced in His reproof of Pharisaic thinking.

Beyond all this, believers see in God’s scheme of life in Christ that humble service satisfies the deepest longings and needs of man and bears in his soul the fruit of “joy unspeakable” and “peace that passes all understanding” (1 Pet 1:8; Php 4:7). In the words of Jesus: “Blessed are” or “O the bliss” of the “poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Only when a man’s soul is empty and it hungers and thirsts for righteousness can it be filled (Matt 5:3, 6). Humility before God and man will accomplish that.

-L. A.


A Servant’s Heart

Posted: October 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

More than once Jesus’ disciples got into arguments about which one of them would be greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9:46; 22:24). At times they tried to rope Jesus into this discussion (Matt 18:1). They often tried to curry Jesus’ favor so they could have positions of authority and recognition in His coming kingdom (Matt 20:20-21).Time and time again Jesus taught them that true greatness in the kingdom was about humility (Matt 18:3-4) and service (Matt 20:25-28). In everything He did He illustrated what it meant to have a servant’s heart (John 13:5-15). This was one of the major lessons that Jesus sought to teach His disciples, and one that was very slow to sink in.

Jesus seeks to teach us the same lesson today. And before we look down upon the foolishness of Jesus’ disciples, we must ask ourselves if we are really any quicker to develop servant’s hearts ourselves. If we are honest, can we not see the same selfish ambition and pride often surfacing in our own lives? While we understand the concept of selfless and humble service, our hearts are frequently stubborn and resistant to fully implement it in our thinking.

How much time do we spend thinking about ourselves each day? We start our morning in front of the mirror and from that point forward we often make a hundred different decisions based on what we want or how we feel during the day. Becoming more in-tune to the wants and needs of others than we are to our own is something that takes practice. Developing a servant’s heart is something at which we must work diligently.

Yet our society promotes “self.” We are surrounded by talk of self-worth, self-help, and—most infamously—the “selfie.” What once might have been seen as vain is now viewed as common place. The internet wants us to update our profile every couple months so we can effectively promote ourselves to the world. And as we aim to have a healthy self-image, we are really just cultivating a heart that is self-absorbed.

What is the solution? Though difficult, it is not complex. It’s as simple today as it was when Jesus taught His disciples here on earth. We must start day by day and moment by moment cultivating a servant’s heart—the heart of Jesus.

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others” (Php 2:4). “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom 12:10). Instead of being self-absorbed, be fully absorbed in serving. Lose yourself in service to others. Fill your heart so fully with the needs and concerns of others that you no longer have any room for cares of your own. Is that not what our Lord did on our behalf? And that is the example we are called to follow. That is what it means to have a servant’s heart.



“No Big Deal”

Posted: October 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Most Bible students remember the time Elisha, God’s prophet, was traveling from Jericho to Bethel and 42 smart-aleck lads mocked him, saying, “Go up, thou baldhead; go up, thou baldhead” (2 Kings 2:23). The prophet “cursed them in the name of Jehovah” and two she-bears came out of the woods and tore the young men asunder (V 24).

Sounds rather drastic, doesn’t it? Does the punishment in this case fit the crime? Modern man would undoubtedly and decidedly say, “No.” This is ridiculous and far too severe, many of our modern society would argue. But maybe God knows a little something about this case that we don’t know. Could it be that for the good of the nation of Israel—to keep down rampant disrespect and violent behavior—the leaders of Israel needed to severely restrain youthful dishonor toward its prophets and aged citizens?

Students of Moses’ law will well remember that God assigned the death penalty to children who dishonored their parents. “And he that curses his father and mother, shall surely be put to death” (Exod 21:17; see Lev 20:9). Jesus quotes this with approval when he taught Pharisaical Jews to “Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death” (Matt 15:4).

If honoring one’s father and mother is such a serious matter with God and with Jesus, it is only reasonable that God’s people would take seriously the training of their children. But what about unbelievers? That’s another story. A number of years ago a high school student at St. Elmo, a small community in Illinois, pulled out a water pistol in class before his peers and shot his teacher in the face. I can only imagine the laughing and giggling that went on among his fellow students and the great pride the young lad felt at the attention and praise he knew he would receive at the end of the school day.

The teacher, however, viewed the event more seriously than the principal. She performed a worthy and commendable service to the boy and the school when she went over the principal’s head and prosecuted the lad in a court of law. Fortunately, the judge saw the teacher’s point and convicted the student and sentenced him to 100 hours of community service.

The response of the boy’s parents was typical of today’s attitude about these kinds of disrespectful antics. They viewed it, according to a report in a local paper, as “’no big deal’ and ‘a silly prank’” unworthy of the kind of reaction the incident received from the teacher and the judge. These are the sort of parents and the kind of attitude that move this once great country closer to the brink of anarchy that we see developing in many cities today. Too many Americans would view this as a minor incident, when in reality it is an act of disrespect and dishonor that will only increase the longer children go undisciplined and unpunished.

I am sure that the 42 lads who ridiculed Elisha’s bald head were just a gang of kids out to have some “innocent” fun at the expense of their nation’s prophetic leader. Yet, how many Bible readers believe that this is the first instance of “fun” these boys had dreamed up? Likely, there had been “minor” incidents of frivolity that had been passed over by their parents some time before the day of their death. Be that as it is, God empowered Elisha to punish the act severely, knowing it expressed the same disrespect for authority that in time spawns national rebellions and disobedience to God’s will.

Think what family structure and serious discipline in the early days of the rioting teenagers of our cities would have spared our nation. God knows and parents need to discover it.

-L. A.


The Kingdom of God

Posted: October 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Serious Bible students know that “kingdom” and “church” are not always synonymous ideas and do not in all cases denote exactly the same thing. Those same students, however, should recognize that “kingdom” does in some instances denote the people known as the “church.” The word “kingdom,” for example, describes people of every tribe, and tongue, and nation who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus (Rev 5:9-10). This parallels Paul’s use of the term “church” to denote the brethren at Ephesus whom the Lord “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). But what does the term “kingdom” say about the people of God?

King. Kingdoms are ruled by kings, and citizens are subject to their royal authority. The “kingdom of God,” the “kingdom of His dear Son,” or the “kingdom of Christ and God” is the domain of Christians who honor the sovereignty of Jesus and submit to the will of—“the King of kings and Lord of lords” (Acts 8:12; Col 1:13; Eph 5:5; Rev 17:14). God raised Jesus to His right hand, exalted Him above all rule and power and authority, and crowned Him “Lord and Christ.” Jesus possesses “all authority” in heaven and on earth and His will reigns supreme in the hearts of Christians who submit to His authority (Acts 2:33-36; Eph 1:20-23; Matt 28:18).

Citizens. Although in a broad sense all are subject to Christ, even “the uttermost parts of the earth,” the redeemed subjects of His spiritual kingdom are they who have come “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (Heb 12:22-23). There they have received a “kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb 12:28). There citizenship is heavenly and the minds of citizens are set on things above where Christ is seated at God’s right hand (Php 3:20; Col 3:2). They are a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36). Citizens of Christ’s spiritual kingdom are born anew by water and the Spirit; begotten again by incorruptible seed, the word of God; new creatures who by faith have been baptized into Christ and have arisen to walk a new life of righteousness and holiness (John 3:3-5; 1 Pet 1:22-23; 2 Cor 5:7; Gal 3:26-27; Rom 6:3-4).

Realm. Jesus detailed this re-creative process in His most basic parable. The kingdom of heaven is like a sower who went forth to sow seed in a field. Some seed fell on good ground. The seed is “the word of God” or “the word of the kingdom” and the rich soil is an “honest and good heart,” which produces good fruit of 100, 60, and 30 fold. The realm of the king’s rule, the parable vividly illustrates, is “men’s hearts,” where the Lord’s truth, ideas, and will are rooted and in control. The rule comes not with observation; not with marching armies, clanging swords, or pounding horses’ hooves—but with the silent, secret working of eternal principles in receptive hearts of spiritual men (Luke 8:4-15; Matt 13:3-9, 18-23; Luke 17:20-21). The seed sprouts, blossoms, and bears fruit of righteousness, purity, holiness and love (Php 1:9-11; Gal 5:22-23).

Saints, holy men of God, were added to the church of God which is at Corinth” and saints at Colossae were delivered “out of the power of darkness and translated…into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (1 Cor 1:1-2; Col 1:1, 13). Men who switch allegiance, who reject the authority of darkness and sin and submit to the royal law of love, who out of love keep the commands of God’s heavenly king—they are the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar possession of God. The church sees itself as royal subjects to heaven’s will—citizens who each day pray, “Thy will be done” (Matt 6:10). This is what the word “kingdom” tells us about the people of God.

-L. A.


License to Complain

Posted: October 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

We read the other day of a church that was issuing a LICENSE TO COMPLAIN to all members who applied and qualified. To qualify the applicant had to certify:

– I attend all regular and special worship services of the church, expecting a blessing from each experience.

– I pray each day for fellow-members of the congregation that they may be strong and faithful in the Lord.

– I see that my children are present and take part in the Bible classes that are provided for them.

– I volunteer for, gladly accept, and enthusiastically carry out responsibilities in the church.

– I visit the sick and shut-ins and help in evangelistic calling on prospective members.

– I regularly and systematically give of my income to the congregation, always praying for God’s help in making me aware of my financial obligations.

– I firmly believe others in the congregation are motivated by good will in their relationship to and actions toward me and interpret them that way even as I anticipate their love and understanding of me.

It is interesting to note that the church reported that no licenses were issued. Those who applied were not qualified, and those who qualified did not apply!