Welcome to the November 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 email to a friend. May God bless you as you study his word!
Burn Your Books
by Jacob Hudgins
“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily”(Acts 19:18-20).
Following Christ means burning bridges and cutting ties with our former life. For these former magicians, it included a massive book bonfire. Why did they burn their books?
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect”(1 Cor 1:17)
None of us likes to be misunderstood. It bothers us tremendously when our motives are misinterpreted or our words overanalyzed. At times people come to conclusions about us which are far from reality and this can be deeply unsettling. Imagine how Paul must have felt in dealing with the church at Corinth. He had come only to preach the gospel, and yet by the time he leaves town part of the church opposes him and part idolizes him. In both cases the focus is off Christ and on a man—and this frustrated Paul.
One of the most difficult things about being a Christian is the assurance of persecution and trials. We are all but guaranteed to face some difficulty. It is strange to think that even if you do everything right, and act just like Jesus, you will be hated. That is exactly what we are told in the gospel of John. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’”(2 Cor 12:9). Our times of greatest weakness are the times when Jesus’ power is best demonstrated.
A brother lays in a hospital bed. His one-strong body is weak, or perhaps diseased, or pained by some unknown cause. He has seen others in this position, but the role reversal is hard to take. Yet there are lessons here he could not gain from the strength of youth, and a connection with Jesus that could not be forged at any other time. “My power is made perfect in weakness.”
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The church of Christ at Fairview Park is a group of Christians committed to following just the Bible in all that we say and do. Our goal is to be a local church like those found in the pages of the New Testament. Our collective worship and work reflect this focus.