Resolutions from the Last Will and Testament

Mutual forbearance

On June 28, 1804, Barton W. Stone (1772-1844) and five other men signed the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. This document was one of the most significant of the Restoration Movement. It expressed a desire to dissolve their recently-formed body (the Springfield Presbytery) as they recognized that all such denominational bodies and creeds were inherently divisive. The Last Will and Testament also encouraged the members of other such bodies to do the same and unite together simply upon the teachings of the Bible.

“We will, that this body die, be dissolved, and sink into union with the Body of Christ at large; for there is but one Body, and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.”

“We will, that the people henceforth take the Bible as the only sure guide to heaven; and as many as are offended with other books, which stand in competition with it, may cast them into the fire if they choose; for it is better to enter into life having one book, than having many to be cast into hell.”

“Finally, we will that all our sister bodies read their Bibles carefully, that they may see their fate there determined, and prepare for death before it is too late.”

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Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

James 2:13

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

This passage contains an important lesson for us, yet it is often misused by those who twist this passage in order to defend their particular ideology. Like anything else in the Bible, context is important. So in this article, we are going to see what this verse – in its context – teaches us so we can properly apply it and not be guilty of misusing or misapplying it.Continue Reading

Understanding Romans 14

Argument

Romans 14 teaches the need to accept and not judge those with whom we differ on matters of opinion. Some have tried to expand the scope of this chapter to include matters of faith. However, we are not to tolerate departures from the faith (cf. Jude 3; Galatians 1:6-9; 2:3-5). Yet on matters of opinion, we need to be sure we understand and apply what Paul wrote in this chapter.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:1-6).

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Judge with Righteous Judgment (Season 6, Episode 5)

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Judge with Righteous Judgment (Season 6, Episode 5)

When it comes to what the Bible says about judging, most people only think of Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge…” They ignore the context and claim that Jesus is condemning all types of judging. However, Jesus taught that there are certain judgments we must make – “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). What does this mean? How can we make these judgments? We will consider these questions in this episode.

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Sermon on the Mount (Part 5): A Just Life

Sermon on the Mount (Part 5): A Just Life

In this lesson, we are going to consider how the life of a disciple is a just life. The word just means to be fair. As we will see, this does not mean that we treat everyone the same. This may sound surprising, but misunderstanding this about “justice” is common. Politically it is seen in systems like socialism. Culturally it is seen in the acceptance of sins like homosexuality. Jesus was not advocating some sort of “social justice” or instructing us to be tolerant of sin and error. Instead, He taught that we should be just in our lives. This passage explains what that means.
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Do Not Look at His Appearance

Handshake

After God had rejected Saul as king over Israel, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king. Before God indicated that Jesse’s youngest son David would be chosen, Samuel assumed that his oldest son Eliab would be the Lord’s choice.

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

David was “a man after [God’s] heart” (Acts 13:22). Yet Samuel, having never met any of these men previously, did not know the heart of David, Eliab, or any of the others. He was passing judgment and making assumptions based upon what these men looked like. God indicated to Samuel that this was the wrong way to evaluate their worthiness to lead God’s people.
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Do This First

Number One

In every area of life, there are certain things that must be done first before something else can be done (e.g., you must put your socks on first before putting on your shoes). That does not mean that the secondary action is less important, but the sequence is.

Sometimes, the order in which we do certain tasks are of necessity. The wise man said, “Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then, build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). Housing is important, but if the planting is not done at the time to plant, there will be no harvest. The house will be useless if one does not have food to eat.

Other times, the order in which actions are to be carried out is of divine decree. Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). If one is baptized before he believes, he has not done what Jesus said he must do to be saved. One must believe first, then be baptized in order to be saved.

Matthew recorded a few times in which Jesus taught that something must be done first before something else could be done. In this article, I want us to notice what Jesus said on these occasions and see what lessons we can learn.
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