Welcome to the October edition of Good News, the monthly newsletter of the Fairview Park church of Christ! We hope that you find the articles below helpful, edifying, and true to the Bible. If you find the articles helpful in your Bible study, please forward this e-mail to a friend. May God bless you as you study his word!
A Noisy Gong
by Jacob Hudgins
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal”(1 Cor 13:1).
We are impressed by big actions. We love feats of strength and athletic prowess. We are amazed at brilliant inventions and acts of genius. God is not. Absent the right heart, our big actions are just a lot of noise to him.
In Mark 10.35-44, the apostles James and John come to Jesus and ask him if they can sit at his right and left hand in glory. Typically, the seats at the right or left of a ruler are reserved for the most honored people in the kingdom. Their request of glory comes from faith in Christ’s ability to establish his kingdom, yet showcases the shallowness of their request. So what makes their request wrong? And how does Jesus deal with it?
“And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem”(Acts 21:4).
As Paul concludes his third missionary journey, an interesting problem develops. The closer he gets to Jerusalem, the more the Spirit testifies (usually through prophets) that he is going to suffer there. This verse even implies that Paul continuing to Jerusalem is direct disobedience to the Spirit.
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months”(James 5:17)
We are often intimidated by Bible characters. They seem too good, too holy, too self-controlled for us. Their deeds seem superhuman, their perspective too great. Yet as James encourages us to effective, fervent praying, he reminds us of a man who prayed this way—and that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours”(James 5:17), yet did amazing things through prayer. Elijah was a regular guy—a mere man, like us—yet he shows us what we can do when we pray in faith.