Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 20:28
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” These words are spoken to the Ephesian elders when Paul met them at Miletus (Acts 20:17-18). He reminded them of many truths he had taught them during his three years with them and encouraged them to continue to be faithful to God. As we put a “spotlight” on Acts 20:28, this verse reminds elders to watch for themselves as well as for everyone else in the congregation. Elders are men and can fall. This will be noted in the following verses (v. 29-31). Therefore, let elders take heed first of all to self and then to everyone else. This reminds me of the teaching of Matthew 7:1-5. Elders are to be overseers (“a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent,” Thayer’s) and must feed (“nourish, cherish, serve,” ibid.) the flock of God. Too many churches have elders that are mere “check-writers” and “door-lockers.” Elders need to make sure they are guarding and serving the church because Christians have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ (Matt. 26:28; I Pet. 1:18-19)! This makes them special, loved, and saved. Elders are Christians and are recipients of the same blessings. Thus, they have a “vested interest” in making sure the congregation is pure, for in doing this, they are also saving themselves! – Jarrod Jacobs
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:4-6
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” When writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminded the Christians to “keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). In this letter, he did not merely tell them to be united, but by inspiration (I Cor. 14:37), he showed them (and us) the true “platform for unity” in the Lord’s church. If we are to be united, we need to respect the seven “one’s” (body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God) that needs to be among God’s people. These simple words are packed with meaning and truth that deserve more attention than we can devote in this short article. Just understand that when we remember the basis or foundation of religious unity, we will be able to withstand anything that Satan will throw at us! Satan tries to “divide and conquer” in order to get us away from Christ and devour us (I Pet. 5:8). Yet, in Christ, we have unity (Gal. 3:28) and victory (I Cor. 15:57)! Let us be active and fulfill Ephesians 4:3 by living Ephesians 4:4-6!
– Jarrod Jacobs
“He Is Too Narrow!”
The observation is sometimes made about a preacher, elder, or teacher that he is “too narrow.” It is entirely possible, of course, that one may be “too narrow.” However, this is not so often the case as some may think. Some people are so broad that they are mighty shallow. Absence of conviction is often mistaken for broadness of mind. Some people think that they have to be broad in order to match their real or imaginary importance in the business or social world. Noah was a rather important man in his day, yet he preached and practiced that no one could be saved except those who entered the ark he was building (Gen. 6-7; Heb. 11:7). When the flood came, his “narrow” preaching was entirely vindicated. It was better to be “narrow” and be in the ark than to be broad and be drowned in the waters of the Flood. The word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). Yet, have we considered the fact that it is the narrow edge that makes the cut? The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. It must be “narrow” to penetrate and cut, “even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow” (Heb. 4:12). Roy L. Smith has had the following to say about “broad-mindedness” in religion; it is worth reading:
“The preacher is sometimes accused of being narrow-minded because he insists upon Christians forsaking all to follow Christ. But all of life is narrow, and success is to be found only by passing through the narrow gate and the straightened way (Matt. 7:13-14).
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the chemical laboratory. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The slightest deviation from that formula is forbidden.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in music. There can only be eight notes in a measure. The skilled director will not permit his first violin to put in even so much as an extra thirty-second note.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the mathematics classroom. Neither geometry, calculus, nor trigonometry allows for any variation from exact accuracy, even for old time’s sake. The solution of the problem is either right or wrong — no tolerance there.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in biology. One varying result out of a thousand experiments will invalidate an entire theory.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness on the athletic field. The game is played according to the rules, with no favors shown for charity’s sake.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the garage. The mechanic there says that the piston rings must fit the cylinder walls within one two-thousandths part of an inch. Even between friends, there cannot be any variation if the motor is to run smoothly.
“Seeing these things are true, how then shall we expect that broad-mindedness shall rule in the realm of religion and morals?”
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Matthew 16:18-19
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In the shadow of Mount Hermon, a place that had seen idolatry for millennia, Christ promises that based upon Peter’s confession (Matt. 16:16), His church will be built, and that death itself (hades) will not stop its coming! Jesus promises not only the founding of the church but also that Peter would be the one to “open the doors” to this church. Looking forward just a few years, we see this promise fulfilled on the Pentecost following Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. After hearing the gospel preached, Peter answered the Jews’ question in Acts 2:37 by telling those convicted souls to “repent and be baptized … for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). About ten years later, Peter would be sent to Cornelius and his household that they might hear the truth, believe, and obey it (Acts 10-11, 15:7). The statements made on this day echo to this present day!
– Jarrod Jacobs
The Scepter Of The Lord
A scepter is an object unknown to most of us in the United States. A scepter is an object used by the monarch of a country. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines “scepter” as: “The official staff or baton of a king, symbolic of his authority .... ” The term “scepter” is used several times in the Bible. We will use this article to focus on how the term “scepter” applies to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, we see the term “scepter” used for the first time in Genesis 49:10. In preparation for his death, Jacob assembles his twelve sons together and conveys blessings upon them. As he comes to Judah, he says: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and to him shall the gathering of the peoples be.” Here, we find the promise of Christ’s coming (Shiloh) through the physical lineage of Judah (Matt. 1:2-3; Lk. 3:33; Heb. 7:14). Looking further, we read, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” (Ps. 45:6). In other words, this ruling One is righteous in His judgments, and not a wicked king by any means.
One passage that ought to jump out at us after reading Psalm 45:6 is Hebrews 1:8. “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is a scepter of your kingdom.’” Therefore, the statement of David had reference to Christ and His righteous rule!
Paul wrote to Timothy and said that Christ is, “... the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:14-15). When writing the book of Revelation, John said, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings ...” (Rev. 17:14, 19:16). Yes, Christ rules today, and will do so “till he has put all enemies under his feet...” (I Cor. 15:25, 28).
The Lord reigns over us right now, ruling with a scepter of righteousness or uprightness. Therefore, our responsibility is to submit willingly to the Lord, our King. What Christ tells us to do, we must do (Col. 3:17)!
Our King tells us to believe on Him or die in our sins (Jn. 8:24). Christ tells us to repent or perish (Lk. 13:3). Our King commands men to confess Him or be denied in the presence of the Father (Matt. 10:32-33). Jesus also has decreed that one must be baptized in order to be saved or we will be lost (Mk. 16:16). Our responsibility is to submit to His plan, not fight against it!
Similarly, all of the New Testament stands as our instructions for living in this life (II Tim. 3:16-17). We are expected to do all things according to the authority of our King (Col. 3:17). Will we rebel, or will we gladly obey? That is the question! Christ is our King; are we living for Him (Lk. 6:46)? Think about it!!