The Church



Character Qualities

Commands of Christ

Basic Life Principles

In 1655, Stephen Charnock took a bold step into the public sphere. He went to Ireland with Henry Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell, who was recently appointed Governor of Ireland, and became the court chaplain.
Often studies of the attributes of God focus mostly upon God the Father. But it is very important to recognize that the other two persons of the Godhead—God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—share equally in every attribute of God the Father. Last month, we examined that the Son of God is fully eternal, an essential attribute we must recognize.
Florence was a center of art and culture. Here lived Michelangelo and other famous artists of the Renaissance. The powerful Medici family ruled this opulent city, and their palace was stunningly adorned with all that money could buy. Silks, jewels, paintings, art, theater, and literature made this one of the preeminent cities in all of Europe. Into this city Savonarola had arrived in the plain black robe of a Dominican friar.
Have you ever felt that you were the only one standing for truth? Has it ever seemed that the pull of error was stronger than the pull of truth? There was a time in early Christian history when the doctrine of the eternal divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ was under tremendous attack throughout the world. In that day of error and compromise, one man, a faithful pastor from Alexandria, stood boldly against heresy to defend the cause of truth. His name was Athanasius.
The final days and hours of a year are a good time to honestly evaluate our own hearts and lives. Have you loved your brother as you ought? Is there a brother in Christ against whom you are holding a grudge? Have you offended anyone and failed to ask forgiveness and seek restoration? If so, take the step of humility and restore. Do this before a new year dawns!
The hills of Scotland have afforded a lovely playground for many generations of young Scottish lads and lasses. In the midst of the heather growing on the wind-swept hills, the lowing of the Highland cattle, the bluebells dotting the land, and the craggy ruins of ancient castles inciting curiosity, all provide an enticement to exploration that is irresistible for a little boy.
Could it be that faithful believers who are serving the Lord, doing good works, boldly proclaiming the truth, and standing firmly against error and compromise are actually neglecting their chief priority? Is it possible that in loving our churches, our families, and our communities, we may be neglecting to cultivate a love for the Lord Himself?
Rare in this world is genuine contentment. Very easily we can compare ourselves with others and then grumble and murmur about our difficult lot in life. Covetousness arises very naturally to the heart of man, and it is very easy to envy the blessings that others enjoy. While it may seem that our trials and difficulties are insurmountable, we can always find another man in circumstances that are worse than our own. Today’s biographical sketch looks at the inspiring example of a pastor who not only became blind and lame, but even lost his voice. Still, he remained content with the providence of God.
Barnabas never wrote a book, although some scholars suggest that he may have been the writer of the Book of Hebrews. No record exists of Barnabas ever preaching a sermon. Nor, as far as the record goes, did Barnabas ever pastor a church or have a solo ministry of any kind. Rather, he is always linked with others and found humbly in the background. However, Barnabas is important not for what he did but rather for those whom he influenced. There are times when influence is stronger than power or position. In fact, in a very real way, influence is power, and Barnabas had the power of encouragement, the power of example, and the ability to give gifts to the Church—gifts that would keep on giving.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Giver of life. The Gospel of John tells us “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4). Jesus gave us life in creation, and He also gives us life in redemption. He told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Being punctual is living in harmony with the nature of God (Who is always precisely on time). It should be part of our motivation to make the best use of every minute of each day, in light of the imminent return of Christ.
Compassion is a practical expression of genuine love, and all believers are commanded to have love toward each other and toward others. The larger our hearts, the more compassion we will have.