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
Jesus Christ: The Most Misunderstood Person In History
When reading the Bible, we understand that our redemption from sin is the theme of the book. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me to see how this simple theme and prophecy concerning a coming Savior can be so misunderstood by people. In fact, people not only misunderstood the facts about Christ in “Bible days,” but He is also misunderstood today! What is it that makes Christ so misunderstood? Put simply, it is because people attached their own wishes and thoughts to Him rather than letting Christ speak for Himself! Please take note of the following.
In The First Century:
- Some expected Christ to be a military leader to overthrow Rome and rule in Jerusalem on a literal throne. This happened on several occasions. Please read the following verses and see this fact (Matt. 20:21; Jn. 6:15; Lk. 24:21; Acts 1:6).
- Some looked upon Christ as merely another prophet from God (Matt. 16:13-14; Jn. 4:19). In other words, they did not appreciate who He really is. They thought he was merely another prophet with a message from God. Yet, He was/is much more!
- Still, others saw Christ as an imposter and rebellious to Abraham and the law of Moses (Jn. 5:45-47, 8:38-40, 53-58; Matt. 27:63). Many felt their power and influence threatened by what Christ said and what He represented. Therefore, they lied about the Lord and tried to make folks believe that Jesus was an imposter so that they would not lose the “power” they had.
- There were a few, though, who understood Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (Jn. 3:2, 4:25-29, 42, 9:33-38; Matt. 16:16). These few are what made all the difference in Bible days. These are the ones who taught the truth of Christ wherever they went.
In Like Manner, Today:
- Christ is looked upon as merely a prophet by many. There are people who blatantly deny that He is the Son of God.
- The millennialists still expect Christ to be an earthly ruler with a military campaign to defeat Satan and rule in Jerusalem on earth one day. Yet, Christ never promised such a thing would occur.
- Others see Christ as their personal “genie,” granting wishes and providing earthly treasures. Such is the “gospel of health-and-wealth” taught by many today. Such was never taught by Christ!
- There are also those who look upon Christ as the author and sustainer of the many varied and conflicting churches we see in the world. Does a position that says Christ approves of the religious division of the day agree with such passages as I Corinthians 1:10, John 17:20-21, and Ephesians 4:4-6?
Yet, how many see Christ as He really is? He is our Savior (Lk. 19:10), and redeemer (Titus 2:14). He built only one church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16). He has only one plan of salvation (Acts 2:38) which produces Christians only (Acts 11:26). He is a spiritual king concerned with our spiritual welfare. He wants us in Heaven with Him one day (II Pet. 3:9; Rom. 2:7-11). Do you believe this?
“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?”
Don’t Believe Your Eyes!
Magicians’ sleight of hand fools most people when it is done correctly. When watching them, we are wise when we heed the warning, “Don’t believe your eyes.” In entertainment, many a short man has been made taller on television and in the movies by filming him next to his “leading lady” while he stands on a box! Many a computer has generated scenes and events for movies that could never happen otherwise. Our senses can be fooled in many ways. I remember when Isaac was fooled when his sense of “touch” told him one thing, while his sense of “hearing” told him something else (Gen. 27:22). Since our senses, especially our sense of sight, can be misled, does it not then make sense that through our senses, specifically our sight, Satan will tempt us to do evil? This is what he does!
In the beginning, Satan tempted Eve by what the apostle John described as “the lust of the eyes” (I Jn. 2:16). Satan encouraged Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in contradiction to God’s command (Gen. 3:4-5). When, among other things, Eve “saw” the fruit was “pleasant to the eyes” she ate of that fruit (Gen. 3:6). This was not the only means Satan used to tempt her, but the lust of the eyes, the appeal to what her eyes saw, was a key element in her temptation, her sin, and ultimately her spiritual death (Gen. 2:15-17; Jas. 1:14-15).
In like manner, we must be careful with our sense of sight and what we look at from day to day. We can commit sin if we are not cautious and careful in our observation. We need to appreciate the warnings God has given to us in reference to our sense of sight.
For example, long ago, Job said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). He was wise and saw the dangers associated with using his eyes and mind to lust after a woman. Christ also said that our sense of sight could lead us into sin. He said, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Let us pay close attention to these words! Both God and Satan know that the lust of the eyes can lead us into sin. Therefore, we must be on our guard to make sure we do not sin by lusting after others!
Another sin we can commit with our eyes is to have a “proud look” (Prov. 6:17-19). God hates the proud look; it is an abomination to Him. This is made clear as we read in the Bible of God’s hatred for pride and the proud look as well as God’s commendation for humility (I Pet. 5:5-6; Jas. 4:10).
At times, our little children sing the song, “O, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” After reading of God’s warnings concerning our eyes, perhaps it would be good for the adults to learn this song as well!