Be an Andrew

I imagine that if someone were to make a list of the most influential leaders in the New Testament church, Peter would probably be near the top of the list.  He would probably be second, with only Paul, who wrote at least thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New testament and whose story makes up about half of the book of Acts, ahead of him.

Peter himself was an influential figure in the early church. He was one of Jesus’ “inner circle” along with James and John. He was the one who spoke up above the rest on Pentecost, preaching that sermon in Acts 2 that moved 3000 souls to respond to the gospel in obedient faith.  He first preached the gospel to Gentiles in Acts 10.  Two New Testament letters bear his name, and it is generally accepted that he played a major role in the composition of Mark’s account of the gospel.  There is no doubt that Peter leaves a towering example for Christians to follow.

There are many great Christians in the Lord’s body who can preach and teach and write, and who are influential in the modern day. Perhaps we could say they are the “Peters” of our day. But let’s face it,  not everyone can be a Peter.  Not everyone will be able to preach and teach the gospel publicly as he did.  Not everyone is going to have the success he did in reaching souls.  Not everyone is going to be able to write books and articles that will have an impact on the brotherhood.

If you can’t be a Peter, then why not try your hand at being an Andrew.  Andrew doesn’t get a lot of the recognition he deserves for his work in the kingdom.  After all, who was it that first introduced Peter to Jesus?  In John 1:40-42, we find that it was Andrew who followed Jesus first, then went and found his brother and told him, “We have found the Messiah.”  In John 6:8-9, it was Andrew who introduced a  boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus.

I know that we need people in the church who can preach and teach the gospel like Peter did.  But who are we going to preach to if no one is brought in to hear it?  Every mature Christian must be a teacher to some degree (Heb. 5:12), but not everyone can be a Peter.  So why not be an Andrew?  Let’s all ask ourselves, when was the last time I introduced someone to Jesus?

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

 

Beware Of Dogs – Phil. 3

For Christians, it is ever important that we be aware of false teaching, and learn the truth so that we will not be led astray.  In Phil. 3, Paul gives attention to two specific groups of false teachers who the members of the church in that city needed to be aware of, and who we still need to watch out for today.

Things I Wish Christians Would Not Say: Karma

As you can probably judge from the title, there are certain words and phrases that have found their way into our modern vernacular that I believe (yes, my opinion) Christians really have no business using.  One such word is, “karma.”

How it’s used: 

The word is usually used as a short way of saying, “what goes around comes around.”   If someone commits a particularly heinous crime, I might hear someone say, “Karma will catch up to him/her.”   It comforts us to think that those who do evil will be punished, and that those who do good will be rewarded.

Why I am opposed to its use:

                First, the idea of karma finds its origins in many Eastern religions (Buddhism, for example).  Karma, according to Encyclopedia Britannica (2012), “refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).” (cited from Wikipedia).  The idea of Karma is often closely tied to beliefs about reincarnation in those religions.  My question is, what business does a Christian have using language that is so closely tied to false religion?

Secondly, the idea of “what goes around comes around,” is not a Biblical one, at least, not in the way we commonly think.  Yes, it is true that ultimately the wicked will receive punishment and the righteous will be rewarded. But remember that those who are righteous are not counted righteous because of works of merit (Eph. 2:9), but because of faithful obedience to the gospel, which is only possible because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

When we talk about karma though, we aren’t usually using the word as a reference to ultimate reward or punishment, but we use it almost in hopes that bad things will happen to bad people in this life.  But we know, from experience and from Biblical example, that the reward or punishment many times doesn’t come in this life.

How many faithful Christians were persecuted and even killed for their faith? Paul, Peter, James and many others who were faithful Christians and did many good works, received bad things in this life. In fact, we know that Paul said that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim. 3:12). That doesn’t sound much like the traditional idea of karma to me.

Maybe I am being nitpicky, but with these things considered, it just doesn’t seem logical for a Christian to use a word like “karma” in our conversations.

 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29)