Taught by Stephen Rogers,B.A.Freed-Hardeman College and David Lipscomb College, Minister at Washington Avenue church of Christ in Evansville, IN for 25 years, missionary and author.
09.17.15 – Class #1
09.24.15 – Class #2
10.01.15 – Class #3
10.08.15 – Class #4
10.15.15 – Class #5
10.22.15 – Class #6
FBI – 10.22.15 – Session 8 (recorder issues)
10.29.15 – Class #7
11.05.15 – Class #8
11.12.15 – Class #9
12.03.15 – Class #10
No Recording – Session 13
12.10.15 – Class #11
One hundred forty years ago, a brother named Moses Lard finished his commentary on the book of Romans. His comments on the first chapter of that epistle are particularly interesting in light of what is happening in our society today.
In regard to Romans 1:26-27, which says homosexuality is a sin which is “against nature,” Lard had to refer to practices in Paris, France to conclude, “there is little doubt of its existence in other modern cities.” He then referred to the writings of history and mentioned the disgraceful practices that were common in Greece and Rome during the time of Paul’s writing, adding, “Nor were these vices rare, and viewed as we view them” (p. 61). How different this nation was back when Lard wrote! He had to mention foreign cities and ancient practices to even give examples of homosexuality. Then he mentioned how “we,” that is the general public in this nation, view this vice. In Lard’s time, even though there were religious differences, there was a public, united front against sexual sin.
A few pages later, in reference to the sin of murder, Lard says:
This crime, according to the Bible should always be punished with death. But in our day, especially in our country, it generally brings with it only a good deal of notoriety, and not death. But we may rest assured of this, that God will one day visit on the people of this country a fearful retribution for the indulgence which they show to the crime. Take the life of him who willfully and with malice takes the life of his fellow man- do this surely, do it in all cases, and murder will cease. Fail to do this, and you breed mobs” (p. 64).
God ordered such retribution for murderers early in the Bible (Genesis 9:6). Old Testament Israel was told that murder defiled the land with blood, and only the blood of the murderer could cleanse the land (Numbers 35:33). Governmental authorities are given by God as a terror to evil works (Romans 13:1-4). Christians are to respect those that keep the peace in our society, even though they sometimes abuse their power (1 Peter 2:13-17). If Lard thought murderers had notoriety in his day, then what would he say about them today? For years, certain popular music artists have made millions while boasting about killing police officers in their lyrics. Is there any wonder that we now see so many fatal attacks on police officers? Lard’s comments on Romans were finished just a few years removed from the Civil War, an event so horrific that many Bible-believing government officials even up to the President viewed it as God’s punishment on the United States for our sins. What punishment awaits this nation today for its atrocities, especially when we consider that the Supreme Court of this nation has authorized the murder of over 57 million unborn children since 1973?
To be sure “we” have changed in this nation, but God does not change (Malachi 3:6). May God’s holy nation, the church, ever cling to His eternal truths laid out in the Bible (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Sunday the 13th
Monday the 14th
Tuesday the 15th
Wednesday the 16th
Morning Bible Classes
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
In this section of 1 Thessalonians, Paul gives the Thessalonians some practical exhortations that will help the congregation to advance spiritually. The first order he gives involves how the members regard elders. Though the word “elder” is not used in this context, the ones described are those who fulfill the three following roles: 1) “labour among you” 2) are “over you in the Lord” and 3) “admonish you.” Other passages use this type of description of elders, likewise without giving a title. Consider Hebrews 13:7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Also, Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” It is God’s will that each congregation of the Lord’s church have a plurality of faithful men who can function as spiritual overseers of God’s people (Acts 14:23; 20:28-32; Titus 1:5-8; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
The first directive is that we appreciate our elders. The word in the original translated “know” in the KJV also carries the idea of knowing in order to appreciate or respect. These elders were men who diligently labored among the Thessalonians; thus, in God’s plan elders are not merely decision makers, but are, as caring shepherds, busy working among the congregation, sacrificing their time and themselves for the members. Do we appreciate the sacrifice elders make for the congregation? The Bible here commands us to “esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.”
The eldership of a local congregation also has charge over the congregation in the Lord; that is, they are responsible for giving direction to the congregation and have authority vested in them to direct the congregation according to the Lord’s word, giving correction when individuals do not act as they should. Instructions from the eldership are not to be dismissed as if they are no account, but are to be obeyed as long as it is in keeping with the Lord’s commands. The point of this passage is for members to regard their leaders for their work and make them feel that they are loved. If, as a congregation, we are good followers, it will make the work of elders go better, “that they may do it with joy, and not with grief” (Hebrews 13:17).
The final word of exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:13 is, “be at peace among yourselves.” If we fail to regard the leaders of the congregation in high esteem, then contention will likely follow. When critical and disrespectful attitudes prevail, the work of the church is stymied; however, when unity and good fellowship prevail then the church can accomplish great things. An effective leadership is essential to the spiritual health of a congregation, but it takes willing followers to have effective leaders. If I am trying to work for peace among the brethren, then I will hold my tongue and go to the brother with whom I disagree instead of openly criticizing everything. May each of us do everything within our power to promote peace and respect in the Flatwoods congregation.