Mark and Avoid

X-mark

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18, KJV).

At the close of his letter to Rome, Paul told the brethren to “mark” and “avoid” certain people. In other words, he was urging them to observe these individuals and be aware of who they were so they could not keep company with them.

Why would the apostle tell these brethren to do this? What was this to accomplish? What would this look like in practice? It is important that we understand what Paul was teaching here. We can answer these questions from the word of God.Continue Reading

Elders in Every Church (Part 4): Other Qualifications for Elders

Elders in Every Church (Part 4): Other Qualifications for Elders

In addition to an elder being a mature man who exemplifies the life of a Christian, there are certain qualifications on top of the character qualifications we discussed in the previous two lessons. In this lesson, we will notice the qualifications that pertain to his family, his ability, as well as other miscellaneous qualifications.
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Godly Sorrow

Prayer

There are many reasons to sorrow in this life. However, in this article we will focus on sorrowing over sin. Paul discussed this in his second letter to Corinth:

For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter” (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).

Sorrow can be produced by our own sins or the sins of others. Generally, sorrow is destructive unless we have the right kind of sorrow – godly sorrow. What is godly sorrow? Why is it beneficial for us? We will examine the passage above and seek to answer those questions in this article.
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The Psalm of the Word (Part 10): Life

The Psalm of the Word

Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.

I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.

May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.

May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.

May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.

May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.

(Psalm 119:73-80)

God is our Creator – the giver of life. Understanding this fact should cause us to serve the Lord and do so in a certain way. Let us notice the connection between God being our Maker and our Master.
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The Psalm of the Word (Part 9): Affliction

The Psalm of the Word

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.

Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.

Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.

You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.

The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.

Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.

The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

(Psalm 119:65-72)

It may sound strange when we read it, but the psalmist said that it was good that he was afflicted. How could affliction be considered a good thing? And what kind of affliction was he talking about? Let us consider these questions.
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Those Who Have No Right to Speak God’s Word

Microphone

We sometimes hear celebrities, politicians, and other godless people quoting (or misquoting) the Bible. They often do so in an attempt to defend an unscriptural position (e.g. support for same-sex “marriage,” opposition to the death penalty, etc.). When we hear them, we might think, “What business do they have in speaking about the Bible?” God asked the same type of question in the following text.

But to the wicked God says, ‘What right have you to tell of My statutes and to take My covenant in your mouth? For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you. When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you associate with adulterers. You let your mouth loose in evil and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silence; you thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes” (Psalm 50:16-21).

There are certain ones who have no right to speak God’s word. Let us notice who was identified in the text.
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Who Is Affected By Sin?

Pollution

Many people choose to ignore sin. Sadly, even some Christians do this. They ignore the sins of others because they see the sins as being between them and God and so they are of no concern. They often ignore their own sin believing that God’s grace will cover them. Yet sin cannot be ignored.

The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5).

In the verse above, sin is described as pollution. This analogy is used because sin affects more than just the one who committed the sin. So in this article, I want us to consider this question: Who is affected by sin?
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