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The Good News Bulletin

The Good News Bulletin is our weekly bulletin article.

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Loving God With All Our Heart, Soul, and Mind

 

Loving God With All Our Heart, Soul, and Mind

Harold Hancock

 Matt 22:37-38

“Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. "This is the first and great commandment.”

It is difficult to determine with any precision the significance of each term— heart, soul, and mind as used in Matthew 22:37-38.  The three terms are seemingly used together for effect and emphasis.  Together they suggest that our love for God must be:

Emotional and intellectual— We love God because we know God.  The better we know God, the easier it is to love Him-- He is God (Genesis 1:1); He is our Creator (Genesis 1:26-27); He gives us life (Acts 17:25) and “every good gift and perfect gift” (James 1:17); He purposed and provided us the opportunity to be saved through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-7).  We love Him because He first loved us (1John 4:19). 

Undivided— We love God with ALL of our heart, soul, and mind.  We cannot love God and the world (1John 2:15-17). We cannot  serve two masters--  "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other…” (Matthew 6:24).                 

More—  We must love God more than anyone or anything. God must be first in our lives-- "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).  God will not settle for second place in our hearts and lives.

 Loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind is a choice that we make, and those who love Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind choose to:

Hate Evil — “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Psalms 97:10).  “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:10).

Keep God’s Commandments— “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1John 5:2-3).

Love the Brethren—  “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1John 4:20-21).

Love not the World—  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1John 2:15).  Friendship with the world is “enmity with God;” “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

 Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  It is “the first and great commandment”! (Matthew 22:38).

 


 Saints

Dean Bullock

 We read of saints in the New Testament. Who were they? Were they deceased persons who had been canonized (declared saints by some ecclesiastical authority)? Or were they alive and on earth when the epistles of the New Testament were written? Were they persons who had received "a second work of grace" and thus made a distinct group among the redeemed? Or were all obedient believers saints?

These are good questions, and timely. They help us to get at the truth respecting matters. There were saints at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and many other places. They were on earth when the epistles of the New Testament were written and were much alive. They were not deceased persons whose names had been "placed in the catalogue (canon) of saints and commended to perpetual veneration and invocation." They were people separated from sin and set apart or consecrated to the holy service of God--thus sanctified people.

The Greek word "hagios" is translated “saint”. W. E. Vine (Expository Dictionary) says it "signifies separated (among Greeks, dedicated to the gods), and hence, in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred...In the plural, as used of believers, it designates all such and is not applied merely to persons of exceptional holiness, or to those who, having died, were characterized by exceptional acts of saintliness." He cites  2Thess.1:10 to prove that the Lord's saints are described also as believers and constitute the whole number of the redeemed.

When people perfect their faith by submitting to the gospel of God's grace, they are saved from sin and are set apart or consecrated to the service of God. They are saints.

"I am a Christian but not a saint" stems from a lack of understanding of New Testament teaching. The Corinthians were saint (1Cor. 1:2), but they sinned and were urged to repent.

 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

 

 Current Memory Verse:

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2011 13:01
 

"More Fair-Minded"

“More Fair- Minded”

Harold Hancock

         Luke, the writer of Acts, said of the Bereans, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  Luke was not comparing the Christians in Thessalonica to those who became Christians in Berea, but rather the Jews in Berea to the Jews in Thessalonica.  This is evident  because the word “Jews” in Acts 17:10 is the antecedent of “these” in Acts 17:11.  Furthermore, if one has read First Thessalonians, one knows that the church at Thessalonica was exemplary in many ways (1Thessalonians 1:3,6-7). The Jews at Berea were said to be more “fair-minded” than the Jews of Thessalonica because the Jews of Berea were more open-minded and eager to investigate and to accept the Word of God than the Jews at Thessalonica.

         Today, all-- Jews and Gentiles-- need to be open and receptive to the preaching of the Word of God (James 1:21).  However, we must not be gullible and accept everything man preaches in the name of religion as Truth.  Many false doctrines are taught and believed.  We must search the scriptures-- the inspired Word of God (2Timothy 3:16) -- to see if the things we hear and the things we practice in religion are indeed from God.

        Make sure you are “fair-minded” and encourage those you teach to be “fair-minded”, also.  If the things we hear are Truth, we need to accept them; if they are not Truth, they are not a part of the saving gospel and can cost us our soul (Matthew 7:20-21).  The Truth shall make us free (John 8:32). 


Emphasizing The Basics

Roger Hillis

        If the Lord's church is to survive and prosper, it must never depart from the basics of the gospel.

         A wise and experienced elder once told me, "I've never known a church to grow that didn't emphasize the basics. If a church is struggling, they just need to get back to first principles and preach them like the people have never heard them before." That was good advice.

         If Christians do not have a basic understanding of the elementary principles of the gospel, they have no solid foundation on which to build and grow. One of Christ's parables spoke of the need of making certain that we build on the right foundation (see Matthew 7:24 27). That reminds us of the importance of teaching some of the same lessons over and over again.

         There are several reasons for this: First, there are always young people growing up who have heard these lessons from the time of their birth. But, at a very young age, most of these studies do not sink in. At some point (and really, only God knows when it will be), a lesson that young people have heard numerous times finally takes hold and they understand an important truth for the very first time. We should never assume that our young people know and understand Bible subjects just because we know they have heard them before.

         Secondly, we can never be sure when a visitor will show up and, perhaps, hear a vital Bible lesson at a crucial time in his life. It may be the first and only time that person will ever have the opportunity to understand an important doctrinal point, which could make the difference in his eternal destiny. That's also why we should make certain to explain the plan of salvation during a lesson every time. You just don't know who may be listening carefully and seriously considering obedience. He might have listened many times in the past, have done nothing about what he was learning, and still be receptive this time.

         Also, we must not assume that our older members (not in age, necessarily, but those who have been around a while) can always remember everything they've ever heard. It might have been a long time since they have studied a particular subject, or they might be aware of the truth but not know where the verses are that teach that truth. It is always helpful to be reminded of things we know to be true so that our convictions are deep and not easily shaken. These things help to mature and stabilize us spiritually "till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:13-l4).

         There will be certain subjects that we will never outgrow. We must never be afraid to preach lessons that members have heard many times. When someone has been a Christian for several years, there is almost no way to preach something new to him. As people have said, "If it's new, it isn't true; and if it's true, it isn't new."

         No matter how much "strong meat" of the word people can handle, those who are the most mature spiritually will never grow tired of hearing these basic principles of truth, because they know how important they are. They love all truth and do not have to be entertained with "some new thing" all the time.

         "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12). If people are not growing spiritually, if the church is struggling with carnality and division, if souls are not being saved, look first at the preaching. Maybe we need to just get back to the basics. (Market Street Messenger, June 5, 2011)

 

This Week’s Memory Verse:

 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

 

   

Genesis One--"The Beginning"

There are 1189 chapters in the Bible-- 929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament (Halley's Bible Handbook). Genesis One, however, is unique-- it is the beginning. 

It is the first chapter of the Bible, and it is God's inspired account of creation.  If one wants to start at the beginning-- of the Bible or creation-- he must begin with Genesis One.  Genesis One introduces us to God, the world, and the nature of man.  In Genesis One, we glimpse the world when it was new and pristine, man before his fall, and God's original plan for man in this world.  Genesis One is the root-germ for "the rest of the story," including God's scheme of redemption.


 

Genesis One begins with the words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."   With simplicity, God’s existence is affirmed without explanation, and His eternal nature, wisdom, and omnipotence are implied.  He was in the beginning, and He is the First Cause, the Creator of the universe and man.   With the simple words, “Let there be...,” God spoke the world into existence; something was made from nothing at His command!  In Genesis One, God is revealed  as the Almighty, Eternal God!

Genesis One also intimates a plurality of persons, each fully possessing the essence of deity, as one God.  Perhaps, this “germ of the threefold personality of the Godhead” is seen in the first three verses of Genesis One--”In the beginning God...And the Spirit of God...And God said (hence the Word of God)” (From Creation To The Day of Eternity, Homer Hailey).  A plurality of persons in the Godhead is most definitely alluded to by the plural pronouns Us and Our when God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”  (Genesis 1:26).  This early seed-thought of “One God but three persons in the Godhead” is consistent with later revelation, which states that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3), and that “For by Him (Christ, h.h.) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:16,17).  The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God, and they were all present “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Job 26:13).

The beginning spoken of in Genesis One was the beginning of the heavens and the earth, time, and the present order of things.  In just six days, God created the heavens and the earth, the sea, all of the sea creatures, all of the birds of the air, all of the “creeping things” and animals that live on earth, and man. While this time period seems to be suggested by Genesis One, it is stated explicitly by Moses at the giving of the Law.  "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day" (Exodus 20:11).  The Genesis account does not allow for these days to encompass eons.  After God divided the light from the darkness, we are told that "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day" (Genesis 1:5).   Likewise, each day of creation began and ended with an evening and morning.  With Almighty God, nothing is impossible. God could speak the world into existence, and He could do so as quickly as He wished.  In six literal days, God finished the heavens and the earth and all that is in them; He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1,2).

God created man in His own image and in His own likeness (Genesis 1:26).  Man did not evolve from sea ooze or fish, frogs, horses, apes, or any other kind of animal.  Genesis One does not teach evolution; it contradicts this damnable and degrading theory.  God created man in His own image just one day after He had created the sea creatures and the birds and the same day that He created the animals of earth.  There is neither time nor text in Genesis One to support evolution.

In as much as man is created in the image of God, he is like God in some way. The word image, itself, will allow this likeness to be either outward or inward, physical or moral.  For instance, idols were images that outwardly were shaped like birds, cattle, or other of God's creatures.  Christians are to be conformed to the image of Christ, not outwardly, but inwardly-- in character (Romans 8:29).  Man is not physically in the image of God; God is spirit (John 4:24), but a spirit does not have flesh and bones like man (Luke 24:39).  God did, however, give man an invisible, immaterial spirit, or soul, that will exist eternally (Zechariah 12:1;Matthew 10:28).   It is this spirit of man that is made in the image of God.

Furthermore, God made man morally upright after His image.  This thought is supported by Paul's writings to the Ephesians and Colossians when he exhorted "the new man," or Christian,  to be "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him Who created him" (Colossians 3:10), or to be "created after God in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).  The image of "Him Who created " man, God, is "righteousness and true holiness."  If man was created in the image of God, he was created righteous and holy.

Some have suggested that since God is righteous, wise, wills, and exercises power, man's intellect and his abilities to discern right from wrong, to will, and to have dominion over the creatures may also be attributed to man's unique nature-- made in the image of God.  Perhaps, this is so. Man is the only creature on earth made in the image of God, and seemingly, he is the only creature on earth who possesses these traits.

When God created the heavens and the earth and all the things in them, everything was good.  He gave the sun and moon for seasons, days, and years (Genesis 1:14),  and the herbs for food (Genesis 1:30).  He intended for man (male and female) to procreate and fill the earth, to subdue it, and to have dominion over the creatures that inhabited the sea and roamed the earth (Genesis 1:26,27). Admittedly, now, the earth is cursed with thorns, and man sullies his image of righteousness and endangers his soul with sins, but it was not that way in the beginning.   In the beginning, the world was ideal.

A sense of awe and duty should arise in us from the truths revealed in Genesis One about God and man.  The psalmist said of God, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?…O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:3-5).  Furthermore, the psalmist calls on us to worship and serve God with gladness because it is God who made us and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:1-3).  However, Paul reminds us that God is not worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:25).  Paul further instructs us that since we are God’s offspring, “We ought not to think the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29), and we ought not to change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image of corruptible man, birds, beast or creeping things (Romans 1:23).  The glory of God as seen in creation compels us to worship and obey Him and to make no graven images unto Him.  Furthermore, God’s love for man and His concern for man’s eternal welfare has necessitated God’s scheme of redemption; only in Christ can man renew his image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24) and save his soul (Acts 4:12).  The image of God is stamped on man; he belongs to God and should give himself to God (Matthew 22:20).  Man should seek the “glory of God” given man in the beginning (Romans 3:23).

There may be other chapters of the Bible that are as equally important as Genesis One; however, no one can rightly deny that Genesis One is a great Bible chapter. It enlightens those who read its truths and instills a reverence for God in those who believe.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 09:31
   
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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

No question is more important than this. We make many important decisions in life regarding matters such as education, marriage, and occupation. But none is as transcending as that which affects our soul's eternity (Matt. 16:26).

Read more...

"Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?"

Luke 9:23-25