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Shadyside Church of Christ
Author: Jeffrey KentSubscribed: 9Played: 589
© 2023 Shadyside Church of Christ
Evangelist Jeff Kent and the Shadyside Church of Christ present a weekly lesson to help and encourage listeners in their daily walk with Christ and spread the Gospel. We are non-denominational and all lessons are taken directly from the scriptures.
My Brother's Keeper
There are numerous "firsts" in the book of Genesis, from the creation of all things to the beginning of the Hebrew people. The account of Cain's killing of his brother Abel yields several such firsts. Usually it is pointed out that this was the first murder (which is true), but there are two much more important other firsts in this story. The foundation for these two is laid here, but they are more thoroughly developed in later scriptures.
Sacrificing God's Children
In Israel and Judah's day, some neighboring nations sacrificed their children to their gods. Despite God's commands and warnings, Israel and Judah were influenced by these surrounding nations and ended up doing the same thing. Through the recent actions of numerous elected officials in the United States today, it's become apparent that people are now willing to sacrifice children to a wide variety of "gods" to serve their own purposes. When the true God is a God of life who loves the children, we wonder how long He will withhold His hand from letting us know what He thinks about all of this killing of innocent children?
The Temple of God
Israel served God in a tabernacle in the wilderness, and later Solomon built a temple modeled after it. In the tabernacle were various furnishings: an incense altar, lampstand, table with showbread. Also the ark of the covenant was in the Holy of Holies. Outside was the altar for sacrifices. The priests ministered there daily. Paul asserts that the church is "the temple of the living God" today. The service and ministries of the church are quite striking in correspondence to those of the tabernacle. This is no coincidence, but by God's design.
God of Gentiles Also
Paul affirms in Romans (chapter 3) that God is God of Gentiles also. Why does he need to do this? Did God abandon the Gentiles when He called Abram and promised to make a great nation out of him? Were the nations considered second-rate people because God chose to bring the Messiah into the world through Israel? In the New Testament, we see that the Jews had rules which restricted interaction with Gentile people. Did God authorize this? What does the Bible say about God and the Gentiles?
My Beloved is Mine
Usually when we study about love, it's about the self-sacrificing Greek "agape." But the Song of Solomon tells of a romantic love which has also been given to mankind. It is depicted as being exclusive, gracious and "as strong as death." Together with the covenant love of marriage these two form an indestructible bond of devotion, joy and mutual benefit between husband and wife.
God's Gift of Pleasure
At times, we can get to thinking that life is all about being serious. In fact, the Bible instructs us to approach life soberly and with wisdom. But the Scriptures also teach us that God is big on pleasure! He Himself takes pleasure in His people and has built pleasure and opportunities for happiness into His creation. Leviathan was made to "frolic" in the sea. The bride and groom find joy in their new lives together. A woman throws a party when she recovers her lost coin. Solomon wrote that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, both to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance. Life's pleasures are a gift from God.
The First Adam and the Last
Jesus is called the "last Adam" by Paul. What exactly does he mean by that? There are marvelous comparisons between Christ Jesus, the "last Adam," and the first Adam who was created by God. God even provided "brides" for both Adams, and the comparison between them is also quite striking. The first Adam and his bride were a foreshadowing of the last Adam and His bride. God had a plan.
Bullies try to shame people by making fun of something about them. The world tries to shame Christians these days about their faith. People who believe in God, who believe in the truthfulness of the Bible, who believe in creation, who believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, who believe in a coming judgment day, etc. are derided and looked down upon by the world. Jesus challenges His followers to be ready for such things, lose their lives in His service and not to be ashamed of Him or His words. His question for us: "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
When Jesus came to their house, Martha was very busy with being a good hostess and taking care of her guests, while Mary was busy sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to His word. Both are righteous and godly pursuits, but under the circumstances one lady chose well and one poorly. What can we learn from this situation?
A Living Hope
At our recent holiday gatherings, most of us probably noticed a place that was empty or a face that was missing. It was a reminder of the brevity of life. And if this life is all there is, then truly we should just indulge our passions and die. But God has something better for us - much better. He offers us a new life, another life, a glorious life. It's called eternal life. Life after death. He gives us a living hope based upon the resurrection of His Son Christ Jesus from the dead. It's a life with His Son.
Immanuel means "God with us." Why did God have to become a human being? Well, both Jews (who had the Law) and Gentiles (who did not) had sinned and thus were guilty before God. Sin brings death so this situation left the entire human race in a hopeless mess. But God's plan for mankind's salvation (which was His eternal purpose and plan from the very beginning) was for Him in the person of Immanuel to overcome death by living a sinless life and offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. By man came sin and death, so by Man had to come perfect obedience and life.
Anything is Possible
With God, anything is possible is a theme repeated in scripture. But sometimes we begin to think that God cannot forgive my sin, my terrible sins, my repeated sins, my selfish sins. And sometimes we who have loved ones who need to obey the gospel or return to their first love begin to think that will never happen. We must jettison such wicked thinking and be assured that Christ's blood can make the vilest sinner whole, and that He can soften the most hardened heart. Saul, the Pharisee, is a great example of both.http://cofcshadyside.com
Jesus and Lazarus
We all experience losses and struggles of all kinds. And we all have questions about why God did not answer our prayers to avoid those losses and alleviate our heartaches. But we must remember that our lives fit into a greater narrative which is being worked out upon the earth and that God is the author and director of it. The account of Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11 gives us great insights into the answers to many of these questions we have and serves to renew our faith in One called Jesus Christ.
No Greater Calling
Many of us wonder about our purpose in life, our calling. What does God want me to be knowing the skills, abilities and resources which He has given me? Certainly one should carefully consider such things. But know this that no matter how we put food on the table there is no greater calling than to be a Christian and serve with the Lord Jesus in His fight against all that's evil! There is no greater Master than Him and no greater cause than rescuing men and women from the slimy grasp of Satan.
Understanding Jesus' Baptism
John the Baptist administered "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." Multitudes responded to his message and came and were baptized in the Jordan River confessing their sins. But why is Jesus baptized by John? In fact, He rather insisted upon it. Jesus has no sins and therefore none to confess nor anything of which to repent! So, what is happening here? Hmmm?
We have "friends" all over social media, but are they true friends? If we were down and out, would they come and help us? If our car broke down, would they give us rides? If we were deathly ill, would they visit and help care for us? The Bible says a great deal about friendship which it affirms is based upon love. David & Jonathan's friendship is an example of true friendship, one which we in this day and age find hard to imagine because of the complete devotion the two had for one another.
1 + 1 = 1
When creating marriage, God said that the two shall become one flesh. Both husband and wife have responsibilities which reflect those of Christ (husband) toward the church, and the church (wife) toward Christ. The model is perfect, but the two people coming together in the same space at the same time are both sinners and have many differences. This situation creates one of the greatest tests for the man and the woman as they work together to become "one flesh."
Everyone is Welcome
When Levi gave his reception for Jesus after accepting His call, his house was packed with every sort of person from tax collectors and known sinners to scribes. Jesus defended Levi's guest list by saying that it was the sick who needed made well. It was sinners who needed healed. Repentance was needed for the healing, but everyone was welcome, no matter who they were or what might have been their past. So it should be in the church today. Everyone is welcome!
Are The Jews Still God's Chosen People?
This question has been debated for years and is still debated today. One's answer to this question will even affect how a person interprets some of scripture. Paul in his writings gives us insight as to how to answer this question, but we must go back to God's dealings with Abraham to get a good foundation for our understanding. By the way, what is your answer to this question at the moment?
The Purpose of Teaching
There is a bottom line purpose for preaching and teaching the word of God. The goal of teaching is often seen as converting people to Christ Jesus, but this is only the beginning point. To stop here is to fall far short of the end purpose which the Holy Spirit has set for teaching the word. Experience is telling us that too many churches are failing to pursue this ultimate purpose for teaching the word, and this is no doubt one of the main reason why churches are failing and many congregations are drying up. What IS the purpose for teaching the word of God?