“It’s a Relationship, not a Religion”

Less Religion, More Relationship (610x351)

We’ve all heard others say, “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” At best, that statement is incomplete; at worst, it’s deceptive. But why isn’t Christianity defined as someone’s relationship with Christ? First, we have a clear passage in Scripture that tells us that Christianity is a religion! James 1:26-27: “If anyone thinks he is […]

1 Timothy, Lesson 7: The Christian Religion

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Last week, Paul finished telling Timothy that the Church is a pillar and bulwark of the truth. Thus, the Church has a role in safeguarding and conveying the truth that Jesus originally gave to His Apostles. However, truth being truth, the Church does not have the authority to alter, delete, or add to this truth.  […]

1 Corinthians, Lesson 25: The Gospel, the Church, the Scriptures, and the Body’s Resurrection

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Paul had shut down speaking in tongues, at least as the Corinthians had practiced it, when they spoke unintelligible sounds from their mouths. Paul viewed real speaking in tongues as something good, which was speaking in a way that increased understanding, not decreased it (think of Acts chapter 2). After all, Paul said this about […]

Luke 6:36-42: What goes around comes around?

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“Stop judging, and you’ll not be judged.” But, of course, you and I have judged. We’ve judged the motives of those who have offended us. We’ve have acted rashly and assumed the worst of others. We’ve spoken harsh words of judgment about them to others within earshot. “Stop condemning, and you’ll not be condemned.” But, […]

1 Timothy, Lesson 6: Deacons, Deaconesses, and the Role of the Church

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We finished with Paul speaking about the requirements for a man to serve as a deacon. What seemed unusual was that Paul had theological requirements for a man to be a deacon, but not to be an overseer! Deacons were to hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, which is knowing […]

Jesus in the Old Testament

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This is our pastor’s article for our July congregational newsletter, helping us to see Jesus in the Old Testament. ———— While speaking to “the Jewish leaders [who] were trying all the harder to kill him,” Jesus said: “You pore over the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. These Scriptures testify of me” […]

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32: The Prodigal Son

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The Pharisees were grousing against the outrageousness of God’s grace. “This man [Jesus] receives sinners and eats with them.” Now, that’s wonderful news for you and me—if we see ourselves as sinners. It also would’ve been splendid news for the Pharisees—if they would’ve be honest enough to admit that they were sinners, too. So, Jesus […]

1 Corinthians, Lesson 24: Worship is to reflect the orderliness of God

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Earlier in chapter 14, Paul told the Corinthians Christians to be infants in evil. Paul was pointing out that they were not infants, but adults, when it came to evil. The only negative topic of chapter 14, the evil to which Paul referred, was speaking in unintelligible tongues. Paul was not against speaking in tongues—but […]

1 Timothy, Lesson 5: Pastors and Deacons

Bishop and Deacon (610x352)

At the end of 1 Timothy chapter 2, Paul covered the role of men and women during worship, pointing to fall into sin as the reason men and women have different roles. Paul’s point was that our differing roles point backward to our fall into sin and, thus, our need for redemption.  And although both […]

Luke 14:15-24: Come, for the Feast is Prepared!

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It’s a sight to behold! The table is creaking, laden with a load of food, all ready to be eaten. You can see baked fowl, roasted beef, a rack of lamb, fruits, bread, fresh vegetables, sauces for dipping, and wine for pouring. And more than that, the host of that banquet has lovingly prepared that […]