by Jeff Curtis
Paul admonished the brethren is Galatia, “Let us not grow weary while doing good” (Galatians 6:9). There are always difficulties to overcome and always to confront us, both in the world and in the church. Just as it was two thousand years ago when he wrote this letter, so it is today.
Adversaries then questioned Paul’s authority as an apostle, and certain theologians today do the same thing. They argue that, when he was writing his epistles, he had no idea that he was writing inspired Scripture. Instead, they say, he was trying to pacify local flocks of his “sheep’ to prevent their being led astray by their Jewish brethren. They assert that Paul was writing so that Jewish and Gentile Christians would get along with one another.
Such views are in error. For Paul, doctrine really did matter. The compromise of revealed truth is never an acceptable solution. When truth is compromised, it is usually at the expense of the most faithful brethren who “lose heart” and become discouraged. When truth isn’t accepted as truth, the authority of Christ suffers and the power of the Holy Spirit is quenched.
Also, Paul was aware that his writings were inspired of God (Gal. 1:11-12; 1Cor. 14:37-38). Peter shared the same viewpoint (2Peter 3:14-16). Error on any scriptural truth should not be taken lightly; but any preacher, teacher, professor theologian or elder who denies the inspiration of the Scriptures is guilt of more than a single mistake. This kind of denial is a systematic error, and anyone who promotes it should be marked as a false teacher. Note what Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy; “5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from [a]sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” (1Tim. 1:5-7).
To “do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10) is a manifold admonition that forbids segregation or favoritism on the grounds of race, gender or economic status. When helping others, Christians should make sure that members of the Lord’s church are taken care of first. In social relationships, the Christian or to an unbeliever – even if it requires foregoing one’s own privileges.
It was not a small feat for the early Christians, even with the help of the Holy Spirit, to blend the religious backgrounds and cultural norms of the politically dominant Roman government, the culturally superior Greeks, and the religiously and morally superior Jews of the first century. All these were brought together by the Spirit in local groups (congregations) capable of meaningful fellowship with each other. Obviously, this required great sacrifice on the part of all who were involved. Head coverings, clean and unclean foods sacrificed to idols were some of the issues that required attention and careful consideration.
At the time Paul was writing his early letters, it must have been difficult to unite converts from three major cultures. Being the devoted disciple that he was, Paul persevered. In time, he succeeded in establishing several ethnically diverse congregations that not only accepted one another but also helped one another. From his own writings as well as Acts, we see predominantly Gentile churches in Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor giving generously to the poor of the Jewish Christians in Palestine.
Swiftly We’re Turning
by Jeff Curtis
My mother would tell me when I was a young adult that “the days go by faster, the older you get.” Well, as a young adult, I didn’t want to believe any such talk. I don’t need to tell that her statement was and is true.
As I get older, and have more grandchildren, the more the days do by more swiftly. So, this should make me think, and I want to encourage us all to think about life and just how fast this year has gone by.
In our hymnals, there is a song on page 616, “Into Our Hands” that we sing occasionally. The opening line says, ‘Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages.’ I see those of you with young children posting pictures of your sweet babies on Facebook and stating that you wish time would slow down. The next line in the song says, ‘Swiftly the hours are changing to years.’ These precious babies will soon be graduating from high school and beginning their own lives.
The next line of the song asks a question, ‘How are we using God’s golden moments?’ That is a very vital question. How are we using the time God has given us? Life is short, James tells us in 4:14; “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” With this thought in mind, ask again the question, how are we using God’s golden moments?
We are coming to the close of one of the most hectic seasons in the life of all Americans, Christmas. Along with the pandemic and colds and flu and other issues with schedules with families. Well, it gets very hectic. Still, these are God’s golden moments. How did we use them? This year, I guess one of the best things that could happen to us was the bombing in Nashville. Not that it was a good thing, but Marilyn and spent all of Christmas day just keeping each other company. We ate, we watched TV, there were no interruptions. It was kinda like long ago. It was a quiet, peaceful day. Of course, we wanted to hear about our grandchildren and what Santa brought them but…
The song goes on to ask; ‘Shall we reap glory? Shall we reap tears?’ That solely depends on you. What will do with the time and tools God has given to each of us. As James said, ‘our life is but a vapor,’ and we are not even promised tomorrow. You were given a promise that you would even be present this morning to worship with the saints.
The chorus of the song says; ‘Into our hands the Gospel is given, into our hands is given the light, haste let us carry God’s precious message, guiding the erring back to the right.’ Christmas is a wonderful time of year to be with family and friends and to share in how we have been blessed throughout the year with these. I love the expressions on my grand babies faces when they open a gift and it’s something they wanted. But, do we allow a secular holiday to overshadow the ultimate job and goal of Christians?
Are we using the golden moments God has given us to share to gospel, share it with the lost and dying of this world, to share it with our children? This Christmas is over. “Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, swiftly the hours are changing to years.” Chances are, our children have already forgotten the excitement of the gifts that were left under the tree. Now, we just want some time to relax and recuperate. Now, a new year is upon us. “The days go by faster, the older we get.”
How are we using God’s precious moments?