The Cross as a Symbol

Cross and sunset

It is common to see the image of a cross being used as a symbol – a symbol of “Christianity,” an image in art and jewelry, and so on. However, that is not what we will be discussing here. A Christian does not need a cross around his neck, nor does a church need a cross on its building. Instead, we will be talking about “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18) – the message of the gospel.

In the gospel, the cross is shown as a symbol representing some fundamental concepts. In following Christ, we are to take up our cross (Luke 9:23), making the same traits which are symbolized by the cross manifested in our lives.

So what does the cross symbolize?Continue Reading

Taking Personal Responsibility

Pointing at ManIn a time of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, we are more cut off from others than we had been previously. Obviously, there are challenges to this type of social arrangement – including spiritual challenges. One such challenge is that it is increasingly important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our faith and our standing before God. Paul mentioned this idea in his letter to the brethren in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Paul wanted these brethren to maintain their faithfulness even when he was absent from them and could not encourage them in person. The reason for the lack of in-person interaction is different today. And, of course, Paul was only speaking of himself as being absent from them; the brethren in Philippi were still together. However, the challenge described by Paul is the same. We must maintain our faithfulness, even without the in-person encouragement we are used to receiving from other Christians.

In this article, we are going to notice why personal responsibility is important, some ways in which we are to take personal responsibility, and also why taking personal responsibility should never cause us to think that isolation from fellow Christians is to be preferred.Continue Reading

Social Issues: Conclusion

Social Issues

Many of the topics we have discussed in this study are controversial and can elicit strong emotional responses from individuals. Because of this, we may be tempted to avoid any type of discussion on these issues, especially if we know there will be disagreement.

However, as we have discussed, there are Biblical principles that apply to these topics. Therefore, discussions on these sorts of issues can provide a way to direct others – especially those who are not Christians – to what the Bible teaches. So we should not avoid discussing these things altogether, but we do need to understand the proper way to discuss contentious topics.Continue Reading

Race, Riots, Right, and Wrong (Episode 10)

Race, Riots, Right, and Wrong (Episode 10)

 
 
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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

In this episode we’re going to be looking at some principles relating to current events:

Race, riots, right, and wrong

Current events have turned our national attention to the problem of racism. Protests have occurred across the country, as well as rioting and violence. During events like these, it is important that we remember some Biblical principles.

Additional resources:

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Practicing the Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Most people, religious or not, recognize the “golden rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is based upon Jesus’ statement in our text above. We know the statement, but how do we put it into practice? Let us consider a few thoughts.Continue Reading

Rules for Religious Discussions

Bible Study

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

It is incumbent upon all Christians to be ready to teach others. There are many potential ways to do this. The passage above describes teaching that is done in the course of a discussion – someone “asks you.” These discussions take place in different environments – friendly or hostile, public or private, in person or online, etc. How do we make the best use of our opportunities to discuss the Scriptures with others?

On one hand, we are to “contend earnestly” (Jude 3); on the other hand we must speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We are to “demolish arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV), but “must not be quarrelsome” (2 Timothy 2:24). How do we strike the right balance? We do so by remembering some rules for religious discussions.Continue Reading

Faith Working through Love

Galatians 5:6

In his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul addressed the problem of Jewish Christians wanting to return to or retain parts of the Law of Moses. If one attempted to do this and be “justified by law,” he would have “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

There are not many Christians today who are trying to go back to the Law of Moses as there were in the first century (at least not as overtly as the early Jewish Christians were). Yet this was the first major controversy among the early disciples. Much of the focus in this controversy had to do with circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:10-12) and was a commandment under the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:2-3); however, it was not required for Christians under the law of Christ (Acts 15:1-11; Galatians 2:3-5). So in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he explained that there was something more important than whether or not one was circumcised.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

What mattered for these brethren was “faith working through love.” Let us briefly break down what Paul meant by this.Continue Reading