The Encourager

The Encourager

Displaying 1 - 2 of 194

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 95 96 97


Lessons from the Passover

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Lessons From the Passover

by Jeff Curtis

God said to Israel through Moses, “remember this day” (Exodus 13:2). The day to remember was the day when God’s people were saved from the tenth plague and delivered out of Egypt.

 

At its inception, the Passover emphasized the family aspect of Israel’s religion. Each family was commanded to choose a lamb, kill it at twilight without breaking any of its bones, roast it, and eat its entirety. If there were too few people living in the house to eat the whole lamb, then two families could join together to eat it. The blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled on the doorposts of each house. When God saw the blood on the hose, He “passed over” and did not allow the destroyer to enter. Those eating the Passover meal wore their robes and sandals and kept their staffs (Exod. 12:11), ready to leave in a hurry.

 

As the years passed, this celebration allowed the Israelites to teach their children about their deliverance. Each requirement for the feast was a reminder of how God had delivered them from bondage, passing over the Israelite homes when the firstborn of Egypt died.

 

What lessons can Christians today learn from the Passover? Thinking about the Passover should cause us to do these things:

 

Recognize the importance of worshipping as a family. Of course, when we come together to worship, we do so as a family, God’s family. In addition, we ought to worship the Lord at home with our families. We can sing and pray with our children and instruct them at home, as Israel did in observing the Passover.

 

Remember the role of Christ in salvation. Paul spoke of Christ as “our Passover” (1Cor. 5:7). Jesus was the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29,36), the “Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12). Christ was like the Passover Lamb in that He was unblemished (Exod. 12:5; 1Pet. 1:18,19), not one of His bones were unbroken (Exod. 12:46; John 19:36), and His blood was a sign before God (Exod. 12:13). Like the Passover, His memorial feast includes unleavened bread (Exod. 12:18, 1Cor. 5:8).

 

Realize the value if commemorating our redemption. The Passover Feast was designed to remind Israel of their rescue from Egypt. In a similar way the Lord’s Supper, instituted during the Passover, is intended to serve as a memorial of Jesus’ death and our salvation through His death (Luke 22:19; 1Cor. 11:24-25). We need to be reminded constantly of what Jesus has done for us.

 

Remind each other that we are on a journey. Just as the Israelites were dressed for travel when they ate the Passover, so Christians should always keep in mind that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Remembering Jesus’ death by taking the Lord’s Supper should cause us to look away from this world and to look forward to His second coming.

 

Conclusion. Only Israelites could participate in the Passover. This should remind people today that the Lord’s Supper is to be observed on the Lord’s Day in the Lord’s church by the Lord’s people. Those who desire to participate in the benefits provided by our Passover Lamb and to have fellowship in the Lord’s Supper must be a part of spiritual Israel, the church if the Lord.

 

 

A Working Church Is

Six rules which will move a congregation, if properly applied!

  1. A growing church, because the members are doing the things necessary for  

growth (Col. 2:6-7).

  1. A happy church, for people are happy when they are working for the Lord (John 13:17; 1 Pet. 1:8).
  2. A peaceful church, for people that are busy in the Lord’s work do not have spare time on their hands to stir up trouble (2 Thess. 3:10-12).
  3. A planning church, for nothing worthwhile is accomplished by accident. Their plans are carefully made and followed faithfully (Rom. 12:11).
  4. A praying church, for the members realize the need of constantly being in direct touch with the Lord (1 Pet. 3:12).
  5. A giving church, for we give to that which we love and never consider it a

hardship, nor do we complain because we are to give as we have been prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

Placing Membership

Saturday, January 15, 2022

                                                        PLACING MEMBERSHIP
                                                       by Lee Moses
Sometimes questions arise as to whether it is scripturally necessary, or even scripturally permissible, to “place membership” with a congregation. A modern brother or sister may raise the objection: “I’m a member of the church of Christ, and that’s good enough for me.” What this person means is: “I am a member of the universal church of Christ, but I have no interest in serving in a local congregation.” Others seem to believe that placing membership is a denominational concept, rather than a Scriptural concept. However, the term simply means to identify oneself with a local congregation.

Please consider a few reasons why it is both Scripturally permissible and Scripturally necessary to place membership with a faithful church of Christ after leaving another.

Each Christian Is a Member of a Congregation

In the New Testament, each first-century Christian is understood to be a member of a particular congregation. The New Testament does speak of the universal church of Christ, into which the Lord adds the saved when they are baptized (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23). However, far and away, the New Testament most often uses “church” to refer to the local congregation (Acts 14:27; 20:17; Romans 16:1, 23).

Paul wrote to the “saints which are at Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1). Here it is expressed that he wrote to “saints,” or Christians – but were they not saints who were members of the local church at Ephesus? He wrote “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Corinthians 1:2). “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 1:1). Whether Paul addressed “the saints at [whatever location]” or “the church at [whatever location],” he was addressing the same group.

Each Christian Is to Function in the Church

Members are responsible to function within the body (Romans 12:5; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:16), and the body functions within each local congregation. There is no larger organizational structure of the church (compare with Philippians 1:1). If we do not function within a local church, we do not function within the church at all.

Each Christian Is to Submit to the Elders

Christians have the responsibility to submit to local leadership, while each eldership has the responsibility to oversee the flock they are among (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2). If one never submits to an eldership, he never complies with his responsibility to submit to an eldership, and he hinders elders from performing their responsibility to oversee the flock.

Each Christian Identified with a Local Congregation

After Saul was converted and returned to Jerusalem, he knew he had to identify himself with the congregation there. This is why “he assayed to join himself to the disciples” there (Acts 9:26). There is no difference between this and what is sometimes called “placing membership.” If Saul saw the need to identify himself with a faithful congregation where he was living, why would we not have the same need? If one lives in an area where there are no faithful congregations, placing membership is obviously not an option. In such instances, one should again do what the first century Christians did, and establish congregations in those areas (compare with Acts 8:4ff; 11:19-21). Otherwise, placing membership is both scripturally permissible and scripturally necessary. 

Displaying 1 - 2 of 194

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 95 96 97