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Showing posts from May, 2016

The Only Begotten Son of God by Andy Erwin

     The translation of the Greek word monogenes has been discussed for several years now.  Should the word be translated “only begotten” pertaining to Jesus as the only begotten Son of God (cf. John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; 1 John 4:9)?      We also find another instance of the word monogenes being translated “only begotten” in the KJV, with regard to Abraham and his son Isaac, who was the “only begotten son” of Abraham through whom the promises would come (Hebrews 11:17).  And, in three instances monogenes is translated “only” in Luke’s Gospel (cf. Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38).  In these cases perhaps Bible translators believed it was simply not necessary to stress the “only begotten” relationships of the children to the parents, and deferred to the lesser translation of “only” and “only one.”      Concerning Christ, modern translations of the New Testament will render monogenes as “a unique one” or the “unique Son.” What Is the Issue?      Words convey ideas.  The words we choose conve

An Exposition of Romas 7 by Raymond Elliott

     Who was the wretched, miserable, pitiable, unhappy man in Romans 7:24?  Was this man Saul, the un-regenerated Pharisee?  Or, was this man the redeemed apostle Paul? Romans 6      The apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter six concerning the person who had become a disciple of the Lord.  By using the personal pronoun, he included himself in the following: He had “died to sin” and would no longer live as a sinner (v.2). He was “baptized into Christ Jesus” (v.3). He began to “walk in newness of life” (v. 4). The “old man was crucified with Him” (v. 6). He was no longer a “slave of sin” (v. 6). He had been “freed from sin” (v. 7). He was “dead to sin” and “alive unto Christ” (v. 11). Sin no longer reigned in his “mortal body” (v. 12). Sin had no ruling power over him because he was “under grace” (v. 14). He was no longer a slave to sin but a willing, obedient servant of Jesus Christ and righteousness (vv. 16-18). Becoming a slave to God, Paul bore “fruit to holin

The Church at Laodicea by Ron Thomas

     In Central Illinois we are surrounded by agricultural fields of corn and beans. The interstate from my home is about a twenty-five minute drive. About thirty miles south of where I live is the convergence of two interstates, with the junction located near the city of Effingham.  Consequently, Effingham prospers.      During ancient times Roman roads were major conduits of transportation throughout the empire, and it was in Laodicea that the junction of three roads met. With as much traffic as these roads brought to the city it grew rapidly and became very wealthy.  One can just imagine what the residents of the city might have thought as they were prospering financially.      When prosperity comes, the wise man prepares for the heartache that is just around the corner. In the middle of the first century a devastating earthquake hit the area and destroyed many cities; Laodicea was one of them. Though destroyed by an earthquake the city was proud of their self-sufficiency and, thus,

The Church at Philadelphia by Ron Thomas

“Philadelphia” is literally translated “love-brother,” or, “brotherly love.”  The city was known for its fertile land and for being the gateway to the east. Later in its history it became known as a little Athens.  It was a “missionary” city that sought to promote both the Greek language and culture. This missionary spirit of the city’s leaders would naturally filter down to the general population. The Lord’s church would have those within who would likely have adopted such an approach to spreading the message of Christ, which was one of substance and value.      The Lord opens His address to the church with the identification of one who could open and close the door – with no one altering the Lord’s decision. Many years previous to this letter, the Lord said to His apostles that He (Jesus) has the “keys to the kingdom.” This phrase is used in clear association with the church He has since established. Thus, whatever Satan hurls against the Lord’s church will not overcome what the Crea

The Church at Sardis by Ron Thomas

     It comes without a shock to any thoughtful person that our place of residence can influence our thinking. If we live in a socially liberal environment, and because of this look at social issues differently than if we lived in a socially conservative environment, would there be a large surprise in this? Sardis was not socially conservative, but it did have a social perspective of looking at life. They were a wealthy commercial city with a glorious past, and that historical environment played a role in the current thinking.      It is said of Sardis that its location was an area where confidence came easily because of their “impregnable” location. Unfortunately for them they lived with a perceived idea about themselves and, consequently, their overconfidence had them twice fall to invaders.  They also experienced in A.D. 17 a significant set-back when a natural calamity (earthquake) destroyed the city. Though rebuilt, the status it once had was never regained, but their perception w

The Church at Thyatira by Ron Thomas

     In our day we find it relatively easy to locate employment and “go to church” whenever and wherever we desire; we are doubly fortunate in that this is an opportunity free of any hindrance. In some locations of the ancient past this was not at all a possibility. If you had an opportunity to go back to that time, how would you get along in such an environment? A Confrontation      Thyatira was a wealthy city, but not large. It was noted for being a city of commerce and trade (cf. Acts 16:14), with trade guilds (unions) having prominence in the city. They were powerful and no man could find employment unless he was a member of one of the many guilds (cf. Acts 19:24-29). Each guild had its own patron deity and festive occasions surrounded them.  These patron deities and their festive occasions were associated with idolatry – something no faithful Christian would allow to enter into his life. Not to allow such was a serious problem if one wanted to provide for his family; thus, a Chri

The Church at Pergamos by Ron Thomas

When we lived on the island of Guam nearly thirty years ago, I had occasion to sleep in the jungle under the stars.  I had something to sleep on and a machete. The machete was to help me cut through the denseness of the jungle in order to have a place to walk, sit, and/or sleep. One side of that machete was sharp; the other not at all. With much force I could cut my way through, but if I used the wrong side progress through the jungle would come to a near stop. The Sword of Christ      Jesus opens His words to the church at Pergamum as one who wields a sword that is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (even a machete). This imagery is not lost on those who understand the nature of battle. Whereas one side of the sword is sharp, but the other dull, the Lord’s sword is as sharp as a razor on both sides.      Of course, the imagery of a sword is not to be understood as anything but a metaphor.  The sword of the Lord is His word (Hebrews 4:12); this single volume of the Lord’s he

The Church at Smyrna by Ron Thomas

The church at Ephesus was exhorted to remember their first love just as they were commended in their works.  From Ephesus we learn that one’s motivation needs to be properly aligned with the Lord’s will; this will result in purity of teaching because one will only teach as the Lord authorizes (cf. Romans 15:18). What do we learn from the Lord’s words to Smyrna?      The city of Smyrna has a history of both destruction and abundance.  When the Lord addressed His letter to the church in Smyrna the city was in the midst of abundance.  By the end of the first century the city “…had become the highway terminus and commercial metropolis of an immensely fertile hinterland.” ( The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia , revised edition, volume 4, p. 555)      In such an environment vice runs rampant. Smyrna was plagued with immorality and debauchery.  The leaders of the city of Smyrna desired to please Rome and so they sought and won the rights to a temple erected in honor of Tiberius, a t

The Church at Ephesus by Ron Thomas

     When one reads the book of Revelation for the first time it is not long until he is introduced to the problem of interpreting the book properly.       Our problem becomes all the worse when we are introduced to a form of interpretation known as Premillennialism.      Premillennialism is an ideology that interprets the events in Revelation as yet being fulfilled.  Premillennialists believe, “Everything in the book of Revelation looks forward to, and clusters around, that marvelous time when Christ shall come with clouds, revealed visibly to every human being on earth.  Practically every book in the Bible refers to the second coming of Christ, but the book of Revelation centers altogether around that marvelous event.” (John R. Rice, Bible Lessons on the Book of Revelation , p.1)      Part of the problem with this approach is that it has obscured a proper understanding of our Lord’s words to the seven churches of Revelation, and if one seeks to understand the book with a premillennia

Lessons Learned from the Rich Young Ruler by Ernest Underwood

     The subject of salvation, one’s personal salvation from sin, is the most important subject with which anyone will ever have to deal. Its proper study, and the obedient and application of it, involves one’s eternal destiny.      The New Testament teaches that the purpose of Jesus’ leaving heaven and coming to earth as Man was to make the way for man to be saved from his sins and ultimately live eternally in heaven with Him. What must man do to accomplish this? Let us notice a few lessons to be learned from the “Rich Young Ruler” (Mark 10:17 ff.). A Biblical Question & Answer      The young man came to Jesus with this question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)  As we listen to the answer that Jesus gave this young man we must remember that He had not yet died on the cross.  Jesus lived and died while the Law of Moses was still in effect. Thus, He told the young man to keep the law under which he was living. Jesus even enumerated some

In Love, Forgiving Others by Gerald Cowan

     There are four essential matters in forgiveness, for which we often fail.  We will discuss them.  There are two categorical essentials in the matter of salvation – basic but general matters – which are not properly emphasized.  We will also emphasize them. After the general discussion of the subject, we will add three concluding considerations. FOUR DIFFICULT ESSENTIALS (1)   Admitting we are wrong and asking forgiveness.   It is hard on our pride and self-esteem as well as the image others have of us.  An inflated sense of our own importance requires us to protect our image and influence  as much as possible, even when we know it is faulty and undeserved (Romans  12:3, Galatians  6:3). (2)  Seeking and accepting forgiveness when we do not feel we deserve it, or when we do not intend to repent and make necessary changes.   The last part of the statement is valid.  Hypocrisy is pointless.  Pretending to repent and change is not enough – you will probably be found out and then y

Elders, Bishops, Pastors by Ronald D. Bryant

     Several terms are used in the New Testament to designate those who lead a local congregation.  An understanding of these terms and their connection is essential to an understanding of the nature and purpose of this office. ELDERS      The word “elder” is a translation of the Greek word “ presbuteros. ” It is found 67 times in the New Testament, and 62 times it is translated “elder.”  It was commonly used to designate “an aged person.”      In 1Timothy 5:1 it contrasts an older man to younger men.  In such instances age is the only point of consideration.      In Acts 20:17 the term is official and refers to leaders; to those that guide.  The elders guide the flock. Age is but one of the qualifications.      They are to be men not only of age, but men that are mature, respected; men of recognized faith and integrity.  This point is established in a number of ways, including the fact that a novice [ neophutos -a new plant, i.e., a new convert to the faith] is not qualified to serve

Saved by God's Grace by Robert L. Waggoner

     When we speak about having been saved from sin we generally mean that we are no longer eternally condemned for our sins, that because God has forgiven our sins we have been reconciled to God, and that we may therefore enjoy companionship with God. This salvation is a gift from God because he is gracious (Psalm 84:11; 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 112:4; 116:5; 145:8, 17; John 1:14). This salvation is specifically based upon what God has accomplished through Christ and our response to it (Romans 5:15, 17-18). God’s Plan of Salvation      Before Adam and Eve sinned they had close associations with God. Inasmuch as Adam was the representative head of all humanity, his sin caused all humanity to die and to be separated from God (Romans 5:12). But God had a plan whereby humanity could be reconciled to him. This plan was prepared before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20) but not revealed until after Christ’s death on the cross (Ephesians 3:8-11; 1 Peter 1:10