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
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
Did Alexander Campbell Start A Church?
When discussing the subject of the church of Christ, we sometimes hear the comment made that the church of Christ was started by Alexander Campbell. Mr. Campbell was a well-known preacher in America in the 1800’s; but did he start the church of Christ or any other church for that matter? The answer is no. Yet, the teaching that Mr. Campbell established a church is made because people do not know the simple teaching of the New Testament concerning the church.
To begin, Alexander Campbell could not have started the church of Christ. This is because folks like Mary, Peter, James, John, Phoebe, and Paul were among the members of it (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:28; Rom. 16:1, 16; Heb. 12:28; Rev. 1:9). Saved people were added to the Lord’s church beginning in Acts 2:47, and continue to be added to it to this day. Alexander Campbell did not live in the first century. Nor did he die to purchase a church (Acts 20:28). Mr. Campbell lived from 1788 to 1866. In other words, he was born almost 1800 years after the Lord’s church was established in Acts 2.
Have you ever been to Paris, Kentucky and visited the Cane Ridge meeting house? If not, you need to go there and look at one of the grave markers in the cemetery. In the cemetery, you will find the grave marker of William Rogers. Mr. Rogers’ headstone looks like many others of that era except for the inscription found upon it. William Rogers’ headstone reads as follows: “Born in Campbell Co., Va., July 7, 1784, removed with his father to Cane Ridge, Bourbon Co., April 1793. United with the Church of Christ at Cane Ridge in 1807.”
A significant date mentioned on the headstone is 1807. This is because 1807 was two years before Alexander Campbell came to America from Ireland and three years before he preached his first sermon in America. How could Alexander Campbell have started the church of Christ if William Rogers was already in it in 1807?
Further, in Celina, TN, there is a church of Christ who can trace the congregation’s beginning back to 1805. How could this be possible since Mr. Campbell wasn’t even in America at the time? The answer, of course, is that it is possible because Mr. Campbell didn’t start the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). The church of Christ began in this country when Christians came here simply preaching and teaching about the church found in the Bible! As was noted above, such things happened long before Alexander Campbell was in this land.
Mr. Campbell did much in his life to spread the gospel, but there is nothing the church of Christ does or practices that had its beginning with Mr. Campbell, or any other man (Gal. 1:6-9). The church of Christ follows what Christ has revealed in the New Testament (Jn. 12:48). If you’re interested in knowing more, contact me.
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 1:22-23
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” These two verses remind us of the supremacy of Christ. He is head over all things (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18). God gave Christ this position, and we need to respect it (Eph. 1:20-21). At the same time, we see how the body (church) is the “fullness of him that filleth all in all.” This speaks of a special relationship wherein Christ is in us, but we also are in Him (Jn. 6:56, 15:4-7, 17:21; I Jn. 3:24; etc.)! This relationship is possible for those who are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). No one can say that the church has little or no importance! Some want to tell us to emphasize Christ and not the church. How can we do this in light of passages like Ephesians 1:22-23? Christ stands supreme as the head over His church, and at the same time, the church is His body! We can be a part of it and enjoy the fellowship in Christ today when we submit to His plan of salvation (Acts 2:38, 47)!
– Jarrod Jacobs