Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


Leave a comment

Let Brotherly Love Continue

Hebrews 13:1 is made up of only four words, but those four words send a strong message: “Let brotherly love continue.” Perhaps you have heard someone jokingly misquote the verse to read, “Let brotherly love begin.” It is true that brotherly love must begin to exist before it can “continue,” but in reality, the absence of such love is no joking matter.

Is it not a huge plus for the Lord’s Cause when His people have a genuine brotherly love among themselves? The love and care that Christians have for one another is a powerful force in the world. Even those who are not disciples of Jesus notice, respect, and in some cases are attracted by the genuine love that saints show for one another. Here are a few plusses or positive things that take place when brotherly love continues to abound among the members of God’s church.

Brotherly love sends a message. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).

Brotherly love hides a multitude of sins. “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” (1 Peter 4:8).

Brotherly love takes action, rather than just sitting on the sideline or just talking and making suggestions about what should be done. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17,18).

Brotherly love helps provide a healthy atmosphere in which to grow spiritually and worship together because love “is kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Brotherly love presents an attractive picture to small kids and youth that observe it, including our own children and grandchildren. How can brotherly love not make a good impression on them when it can be said honestly that “the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other?” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

Brotherly love binds Christians together. Since we, as members of the church, have the same Father, we are one family in the Christ (Galatians 3:26,27). That means because we are “kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10), we hurt when our spiritual family members hurt, we share in their joys, and we seek to comfort one another during times of disappointment or grief (Romans 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Brotherly love causes us to be determined to handle personal conflicts properly – in the way that the Lord instructs us. Jesus says for us to “go and tell” the brother that has offended us (Matthew 18:15-17). Brotherly love motivates us to do just that.

Brotherly love reminds us of just how wonderful heaven will be. “Night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face . . .” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Just as the apostle Paul longed to see his brethren in this life, so we look forward to being reunited with the saints of God in heaven, where we will worship Him forever and never again be separated from our faithful brothers and sisters in the Lord. Surely every disciple of Jesus enjoys being on thereceiving end of brotherly love. But are you and I also on the giving side of such love? Do we really demonstrate genuine love toward our brethren in the Christ? Beloved, “Let brotherly love continue.” It pays huge dividends. As the old song says, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” I am so thankful that my life is blessed by brothers and sisters who demonstrate brotherly love.

~ Roger D. Campbell ~

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Where Have All the Gospel Preachers Gone?

Some of us recall the song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” The singing trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary made it into a huge hit in the 1960’s. One could probably write some new lyrics to that same tune and come up with a thought-provoking song, just changing the title to, “Where Have All the Gospel Preachers Gone?”.

When I ask, “Where have all the gospel preachers gone?”, I do not mean to imply that we have no faithful proclaimers of God’s word left. Indeed, there are a great number of loyal evangelists still laboring in the Kingdom. Nor do I suggest that every brother in the Lord needs to serve as a fulltime gospel preacher. However, with the world’s population rapidly approaching 7 billion people, surely none would doubt that we need a much larger work force of gospel preachers!

The Bible teaches that those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But only those who hear the gospel and believe are able to call on Him for salvation. “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). People must obey the gospel in order to be saved (10:16), and the role of gospel preachers in that process is a vital one. I want to pose three questions about gospel preachers.

(1) Why do we still need evangelists/gospel preachers? In Ephesians 4:11 we read that in the first-century church there were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The work of an evangelist is to preach the word of God (2 Timothy 4:2,5). In the church today, why do we still need brothers working in that capacity? First, we still need evangelists because one phase of a preacher’s work is to preach the gospel to those who are lost. Again, only those who hear, believe, and obey the gospel can be saved from sin (Mark 16:15,16). Since there are still lost people (the world is full of them!), there is still a work for evangelists to do.

Second, we still need gospel preachers because another aspect of their work is to exhort and encourage those that are already in the Christ. The church remains in need of sound preaching to edify it (Acts 20:32). When Barnabas went to Antioch to assist the saints in the Lord’s work, he “. . .encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (Acts 11:23).

A third element of an evangelist’s work is to train the faithful to teach others the word of God (2 Timothy 2:2). Since the harvest is still plenteous, and since the seed-sowing workers are still few (Matthew 9:37), then it is surely the case that we still stand in need of brothers to be evangelists.

Fourth, God expects His preachers to charge men and women not to teach any doctrine other than His (1 Timothy 1:3), and when people stray from the truth in conduct or teaching, preachers of the gospel must exhort and rebuke with all authority (Titus 2:15). Therefore, since there is still a place for warning and exposing error, evangelists are greatly needed in our day.

(2) What kind of evangelists do we need? We need men that are mighty in the Scriptures like Apollos was (Acts 18:24). We need preachers who are reliable and dependable like Timothy showed himself to be (Philippians 2:19-23). We need men to preach with the courage of Peter and John (Acts 4:13). We need evangelists who have the big-picture mentality that Paul did, being ready to become all things to all men in order to save the lost (1 Corinthians 9:22).

We need men of the Book who have a servant’s heart like Barnabas had. That brother was unselfish with his possessions (Acts 4:36, 37), unselfish in how he used his special ability to exhort the saints (Acts 11:22,23), and unselfish with his time (stay with him as he traveled from place to place to spread the good news and you will feel tired, Acts 13-15). We need gospel preachers who will not retreat or retire when afflictions come (2 Timothy 4:5). And, of course, we need evangelists who have the compassion of the Christ (Matthew 9:35).

(3) From where will our next preachers come? Which of our brothers in the Christ will step up, step out, and say, “Here am I, send me?” (Isaiah 6:8). No concerned soldier of the Christ will oppose the concept of “someone” serving as an evangelist. It may be, though, that some members of the church desire that preachers of the gospel come from other families and not their own. “If you want preachers, do not come looking for my son or my grandson. I want him to be a technician, lawyer, doctor, business man, or computer guru.” Such is the mentality of many folks in the church today. In the overall scheme of things, because little emphasis is given to the work of an evangelist and the need to train faithful brothers to serve in that role, the church suffers as a result. Our power to reach out to the lost and edify the saved is limited by a lack of evangelists. How sad. Will we have to skip a generation before there is a renewed zeal in preparing and training men to preach the unsearchable riches of the Christ? Surely not!

Brethren, would you join me in praying for open doors to spread the gospel? (Colossians 4:3). Will you join me in praying for the Lord to send forth more laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:37,38)? And, will you join me in praying to our great God to raise up more faithful gospel preachers right here, right now, in this part of the world? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Where have all the preachers gone?

~ Roger D. Campbell ~


Leave a comment

A Brief Overview of Old Testament History

The Bible records much human history. It does not record everything that any single person did, but it provides us with much historical information. Yet, the Bible is more – much more, than “just a history book.” Every portion of the biblical record, including its historical sections, is somehow connected to God’s desire and plan to save men from sin through His Son Jesus (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

What about the history of the Old Testament books? It, too, is related to God’s intention to save sinners through Jesus (1 Timothy 1:15). While we no longer live under the Law of Moses, what is written in the portion of our Bible known as “the Old Testament” was written for our learning (Romans 15:4). Numerous New Testament references to events that happened during the Old Testament era serve to remind us that (1) those were true, historical events and not some type of myth, and (2) the Lord expects us to learn lessons from those events (for example, Hebrews 11 mentions many). Having a good, basic knowledge of Old Testament history can be a tremendous aid in learning the lessons that God wants us to learn.

Soon after I became a Christian, I was blessed to be introduced to a scheme which divides the history of the Old Testament into 12 periods. This is a manmade breakdown or analysis of that history, but it neither distorts nor adds anything to the biblical text. It is simply a way of identifying the activities that took place during various stages of history. We taught this approach to Old Testament history to our kids when they were young, and I have taught it in congregations with which I have worked extensively on three different continents. I now present it to you with the sincere hope that it can be helpful to you in getting a good feel for major Old Testament events and their proper chronological order.

Period 1 – “Before the Flood” – This is the period of history from the creation of the world to the universal flood. Biblical references: Genesis 1-7.

Period 2 – “After the Flood” – It covers the time from the flood to God’s call of Abraham to leave his homeland. Biblical references: Genesis 8-11.

Period 3 – “Patriarchal” – From the call of Abraham to the death of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Biblical references: Genesis 12-50. Note that these first three periods include all of the events in the Book of Genesis.

Period 4 – “Bondage in Egypt and Exodus” – From the death of Joseph to the time that the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea as they were leaving Egypt. Biblical references: Exodus 1-14.

Period 5 – “Wilderness Wanderings” – The 40 years that the Israelites spent in the wilderness, which went from their crossing of the Red Sea until they crossed the Jordan River to enter the land of promise, called “Canaan.” Biblical references: Exodus 15-40; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy; Joshua 1-3.

Period 6 – “Conquest and Possession” – It covers the time from the children of Israel entering Canaan to the death of Joshua. During this time the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, possessed it, and divided its territory among its tribes. Biblical references: Joshua 4-24.

Period 7 – “The Judges” – This was the history from Joshua’s death to the time that Saul was anointed as Israel’s first human king. During this time, God delivered and led Israel through judges. Biblical references: Judges; Ruth; 1 Samuel 1-9.

Period 8 – “The United Kingdom” – This goes from the anointing of Saul as king to the death of Solomon. For 120 years the nation of Israel basically was united under three kings, with Saul, David, and Solomon each ruling for 40 years. Biblical references: 1 Samuel 10-31; 2 Samuel; 1 Kings 1-11; 1 Chronicles 10-29; 2 Chronicles 1-9.

Period 9 – “The Divided Kingdom” – After King Solomon died, the Israelites divided into two nations. The Northern Kingdom was called “Israel,” while the Southern Kingdom was known as “Judah.” This period goes from Solomon’s death to the Northern Kingdom being destroyed by the Assyrian Empire. Biblical references: 1 Kings 12-22; 2 Kings 1-17; 2 Chronicles 10-28.

Period 10 – “Judah Alone” – From the fall of Israel to the fall of Judah at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. We call it “Judah Alone” due to the fact that during this period, among God’s people, Judah was the only remaining nation. When Judah fell, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. Biblical references: 2 Kings 18-24; 2 Chronicles 29- 36; portions of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

Period 11 – “Babylonian Captivity/Exile” – The events from the final fall of the Southern Kingdom to the decree of King Cyrus which allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. During this time, a number of Jews were carried into exile or captivity by the Babylonians. Biblical references: 2 Kings 25:22-30; parts of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

Period 12 – “Restoration” – King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire allowed (not forced) the Jews to return to their homeland. This time span started with the king’s decree and ended with the close of the work of Nehemiah. During this time the Jews rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, restored proper worship, and rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. Biblical references: Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

A study of Old Testament history can be a great blessing. “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition . . .” (1 Corinthians 10:11). 

~ Roger D. Campbell ~


Leave a comment

What About Keeping the Ten Commandments?

Ten instructions which came from the Lord God were of such special significance that the Bible calls them “the Ten Commandments” (Exodus 34:28). Those who are familiar with the Bible are well aware of what those ten commands stated. Many people have even taken the time to memorize them.

To whom were the Ten Commandments given? The Ten Commandments are recorded in two chapters of the Bible. We first read them in Exodus 20. On that occasion, they were not given in written form, but orally. By Moses? No, by Jehovah. The people to whom the Ten Commandments were addressed were those who were at Mt. Sinai – and they were the ones whom God had just delivered out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 19:1; 20:1,2). Now, who would that be? Answer: the children of Israel. The second biblical record of the Ten Commandments is found in Deuteronomy 5. Again, the context makes it plain that the Ten Commandments were given only to the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 5:1-3,15).

Of which law were the Ten Commandments a part? Answer: the Law of Moses. By the Jews’ counting, that law included over 600 distinct laws. Instead of the law consisting only of the Ten Commandments, in fact, those were only ten of the instructions contained therein. What did Jesus do with the old law? He abolished it (Ephesians 2:15). He took it out of the way in order to establish His own covenant (Hebrews 10:9). Since we are married to the Christ, it would be a form of spiritual adultery to go back and try to follow the old law at the same time we try to follow His new one (Romans 7:1-4).

So, what do you think, should we encourage people to keep the Ten Commandments today? Today we are under the authority of God’s Son and are supposed to observe all things that He instructs (Matthew 28:18,20). God wants the church to be subject unto the Christ (Ephesians 5:24). Those who have fellowship with the Godhead are those who abide in the teaching of Jesus (2 John 9). Again, when Jesus died, He abolished the old law, including the Ten Commandments.

“But Jesus encouraged people to keep the Ten Commandments.” There are recorded incidents in the life of Jesus that show that He really did teach people to follow them. For instance, He told a rich young ruler, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not bear false witness’ . . .” (Mark 10:17). But, remember when Jesus said that. It was during the time that the old law was still in force. During His public ministry, He also told a leper to present an offering based on what Moses commanded (Mark 1:44). Why? Because Moses’ law was still in effect at that time. If you reason that we should tell folks to keep the Ten Commandments because Jesus encouraged such, then should we also exhort people to offer sacrifices which the old law prescribed?! When the Christ died, He took away the old law – all of it.

“But if we say that we are no longer required to keep the Ten Commandments, then that means that it would be okay to murder, to steal, and do all of the other things that the Ten Commandments forbid people to do.” That is a false conclusion. The New Testament condemns stealing (Ephesians 4:28). Stealing is not wrong because the Ten Commandments said so, but because that is what the gospel teaches. Murder is wrong, but not because of the Ten Commandments. Murder is wrong today because the new covenant says so (Galatians 5:21).

What must a person do in order to be in the right relationship with our Creator? The answer that some suggest is that all one must do is keep the Ten Commandments. There are a great number of folks, in fact, who take comfort in the thought that they keep the Ten Commandments (or at least they think they do). Here are a couple of questions for thought. Can one be saved without believing in Jesus as the Son of God? No – belief in the Christ is essential in order to have eternal life (John 3:14-18). But what do the Ten Commandments teach us about the Deity of Jesus? Not one word. What about the forgiveness of sins? What did the Ten Commandments say about salvation or forgiveness? Again, nothing at all. Thus, it is folly to turn to the Ten Commandments in order to find out what to do in order to be saved and to be in the right relationship with God.

Consider one final matter. The fourth of the Ten Commandments was the instruction to keep the Sabbath. That meant that the sixth day of the week (Saturday) was a day in which Israelites were not allowed to work (Exodus 20:8-11). Under the new covenant of God’s Son, there is no such restriction on working on Saturday. The Sabbath law is no longer binding.

~ Roger D. Campbell ~