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
“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”
The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?
Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!
Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?
Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?
Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!
Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).
Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Galatians 1:8
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians, stating how surprised he was that they were “so soon removed” from the gospel of Christ to something perverted (Gal. 1:6). He then told them if any man, even an angel from Heaven preaches any other gospel, then let him be “accursed.” To be “accursed” is to be cut off from God and Christ. “Accursed” means to be abhorred, and to essentially be rejected from Christ, wherein He will say, “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Perverting the gospel of Christ is not a joke or something to be taken lightly! It will result in the souls of those false teachers being lost. It will also result in the souls of those who obey the false doctrine being lost! Teaching and following false doctrine will result in our being out of fellowship with Christ (II Jn. 9-11). Therefore, let us take the teaching and spreading of God’s word very seriously. If we preach or teach anything that is not according to the revealed will of God, we will lose our souls!
– Jarrod Jacobs
What Does The Empty Tomb Mean To Us?
Almost 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. When He died, His body was laid in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea (Mk. 15:43-47), there to await His resurrection on the third day. The account of the women and the apostles finding Jesus’ tomb empty is found in Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-10.
The empty tomb means something to Christians. It is important and has great value to all those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. What does the empty tomb mean?
The empty tomb means that death is conquered! Jesus became the “firstfruits of them that slept” (I Cor. 15:20). Colossians 1:18 declares that Christ’s resurrection gives Him the preeminence in all things. Hebrews 2:9 shows us that Christ tasted death for every man. Therefore, Christians have nothing to fear in death.
In writing on the subject of death and the resurrection of all mankind, Paul said, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:54-57). Why not look into the tomb, and see the victory that Christ has given to all since He arose from the dead?
The empty tomb means salvation for all! Before Christ, Jewish people were considered the chosen nation, and they labored to keep the Old Testament (Mosaic) Law. They offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins, but this was not enough (Heb. 10:1-4). Seeing that Jesus gave His life, shed His blood, and arose from the dead, He offers salvation to everyone (Matt. 11:28-30). In Mark 16:15, Jesus instructed His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” In Colossians 1:5-6, 23, we read that this command was carried out! Paul declared that “every creature which is under heaven” heard the gospel. Jesus wanted no one to be ignorant of His will, and neither should we.
The empty tomb means Jesus told the truth! Throughout Jesus’ preaching, He prophesied of His death, burial, and resurrection, and that He is the Son of God. A few passages that declare this are: Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 16:21; John 8:24, 58-59; John 10:30-36; and John 18:36-37. That empty tomb tells mankind that the Son of God walked this earth, told us the truth about all things, that He loves us and wants to save us!
If we can believe that Jesus told us the truth on these things, why do we not believe Him on the other things He teaches in His word? There has been much dispute over certain parts of the Bible for many years. Obviously, Jesus did not teach two or more conflicting doctrines, but spoke the Truth consistently. Knowing this and knowing that He told us the truth about His death, burial, and resurrection; why do we not believe His teachings on other subjects? Why do we not do the things He requires?
Friend, the stone wasn’t rolled back so Jesus could escape. It was rolled back so we could look in! Have you looked with the eye of faith into that empty tomb? I pray that we might all come to a better understanding of what the empty tomb means.