As we begin a new year, many are making resolutions for the year to come. As we think about things we want to do better, many Christians will resolve to read the Bible more. As we seek to spend more time in God’s word, we ought also seek to gain a deeper knowledge of it, and have a better understanding of it.
The Lord’s church is the church for which Christ died. He shed his blood to purchase the church. Unfortunately, when man gets involved, he sometimes departs from the way that God has laid out for his church. It behooves the child of God, therefore, to ensure that he is in the church that Christ purchased with his blood.
One of the key issues Paul deals with in the letter of 1 Corinthians is the need for unity within the body of Christ. Christians cannot be divided if we hope to reach the world with the gospel. Our Lord prayed for unity among believers in John 17, so that the world would know that he was sent by the Father. When the church is divided, not only is it sinful, but it robs us of our effectiveness in reaching the world with the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest news that has ever been heard. It is central to the life of a Christian, and must be our focus in all that we do. Paul appreciated how the Philippian church was involved in the spreading of the gospel, and he gives instruction to live as those who have been called by the gospel.
Many skeptics argue that we cannot trust the New Testament documents to be accurately telling the truth about Jesus and the church. We can answer those charges by examining several lines of evidence regarding the historical reliability of the New Testament. In this lesson, we consider whether or not the New Testament contains eyewitness testimony, and then examine how we can know that the New Testament as we have it is an accurate translation of what was written in the first century.
There are a number of questions people ask when they find out you are a member of the church of Christ. The questions about music or weekly observance are almost always near the top of the list. Another charge I sometimes hear is that we do not believe in the Old Testament. While it is true that we do not believe that Old Covenant is still binding (Col 2:14), that does not mean we completely disregard the Old Testament. Here are just a few reasons why that is the case.
First, we believe that just like the New Testament, the Old Testament is inspired of God. Paul wrote that ALL Scripture is God-breathed in 2 Tim. 3:16, and Peter, speaking specifically of the prophecies of the Old Testament, says in 2 Peter 1:21 that “no prophecy of Scripture was every produced by the will of men, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
A second reason that we believe the Old Testament is still worth our study is because Jesus himself taught from it. In Luke 4, after reading from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue, Jesus took the opportunity in verse 21 to teach the people that “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” In a number of places he refers to the Old Testament in his teaching, such as making references to the “sign of Jonah” in predicting his resurrection from the dead (Mt. 12:38-42) and references to Daniel’s prophecy when standing trial before the Council (Mk. 14:62 cf. Dan. 7:13-14).
A third reason that we do not ignore the Old Testament is because the other New Testament writers taught from it as well. Paul quoted from and made references the Old Testament in his letters (Rom 3:10-18, 9:6-33; Gal. 3). One might say that the key to understanding the book of Hebrews lies in understanding the Old Testament, especially the books of Moses. Additionally, we could consider examples of Peter and other writers making reference to Old Testament passages (James 2:23-26; 1 Pet. 2:6-8)
Finally, the express words of Paul in Romans 15:4 give us a good reason to not neglect our study of the Old Testament. He wrote, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction…” In my opinion, this was easily seen in our recent Wednesday night series covering the book of Ruth. There was much we could learn from what we usually thought of as simply a beautiful love story.
There is considerable benefit in studying God’s first 39 books of revelation in addition to continuing to deeply study the 27 books given specifically to the church in the New Testament. Let’s not neglect more than half of God’s inspired word just because we are no longer bound by it’s laws. Study the Old Testament. All of God’s people would be better for it.
In this evening lesson, we continue examining the five core doctrines of Calvinism, focusing on the third part of the TULIP acronym, Limited Atonement. Through this lesson, we hope to demonstrate that Christ died to give all people the opportunity to be saved, and to teach anything different robs the gospel of it’s power to save (Rom. 1:16)