Monthly Archives: June 2019

By Bread Alone

Deuteronomy 8:3- And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

A common mistake of man is that once the physical needs are met, we are in a good place. When we are not struggling for every meal and can pay the bills, plus a little extra for ourselves, we have nothing to worry about. That is not to say people in this situation are not well off but it does not mean they are satisfied. In fact, if this is all you are looking for you will never be satisfied. For one, you will be hungry again at some point. Our bodies absorb the energy food provides and depletes it, giving us a need for more. Also, this same food which provides nourishment can at the same time do harm to the body. I would also like to challenge you to think of one person who, though he ate often, did not eventually die anyway. You cannot do it. Then, there is the fleeting, dare we say fickle, nature of money. Though we may have thousands of dollars in our bank accounts there is no guarantee it will stay there for long. We may need to use it all for an emergency that arises or another may come and steal it. Either way, it is not something that lasts and has no loyalty.

So what will give us lasting satisfaction? The answer is simple really. As Moses said in Deuteronomy 8:3, “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (ESV). God is the true nourishment we need and provides for every need. We must remember though that this food is of a spiritual nature. It is something that, if we partake, leads us to everlasting life. In John 6:50-51, Jesus makes the statement that whoever eats of the bread of heaven will not die, following up with the declaration that He is that bread. Jesus is the one who provides for our spiritual nourishment.

This living bread and water, unlike their physical equivalents, can always be found by those seeking it. In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says that those who hunger for righteousness will be filled (some versions say satisfied). Our Lord does not hide it from those who need and desire it. Even when we do not want it, Jesus implores that we take it and gives us every opportunity to do so.

Throughout life, we must remember that only through God can we have true nourishment, only through Him can we be satisfied. This is not to say that we do not need food, water and money while here but there comes a time when they will do us no good. The spiritual food that Jesus offers strengthens us for eternity and only when we stop partaking will that cease. I implore every Christian to indulge their spiritual bodies with the food Jesus provides and cherish it more than anything else. Even to those who do not partake, I pray you will see your need for it and take the generous gift Jesus gives.

Fellowship With Christ

1 Corinthians 10:16- The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

Every first day of the week we come together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. This meal is used as a memorial of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and helps us to remember what He did for us. However, it is so much more than that. To the faithful child of God, it also is a symbol and declaration of our unity to Him. Even then there is more to it and many Christians fail to recognize or do not realize at all what our communion here symbolizes. Today, we are going to look at two aspects of the Lord’s Supper that are just as important as remembering Christ’s death.

  1. It symbolizes a deep relationship: Christ in coming to this earth and dying for us was the greatest sacrifice ever made in history. In doing so He not only redeemed us but also established something truly wonderful. Now, we can have a deep and meaningful relationship with God without the weight of sin sitting on our shoulders. While yes there still needs to be a fear of God and obedience to His will, we may call Him “Abba Father.” Not only that but Christ, who sits at the Father’s right hand, is our elder brother. This communion is a declaration of that closeness and should bring us great joy in the partaking.
  2. It symbolizes our absolute loyalty to God: Again, this is something that many Christians, even if they understand it, overlook. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we say that we are His and wholly dedicated to His cause. This also means that we cannot be living in any sort of sin. In 1 Corinthians 10:21, Paul makes the statement “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” What does this mean? It means that we cannot have one foot in each door. We have to be wholly God’s or wholly Satan’s. If we try, then we are partaking “in an unworthy manner” and are “guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:27). That does not sound like a situation we want to be in.

So as we partake, yes let us think back to the sacrifice of God but also remember what it means to us. We must not forget our relationship or our death to sin. Without them, we are just as lost as before.

What is Fellowship

1 Corinthians 1:9- God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The term fellowship is thrown around often in the religious community. Many use it in a social respect. Others use it simply as a means to promote unity, often in the wrong way. Unfortunately, what the Bible means by fellowship has been forgotten or if not its meaning, its nature. What we will be looking at in this article are the different things Christians have fellowship in and by doing so see what type of fellowship we have.

  1. The meaning of fellowship: Before we dive into what Christians have fellowship in, we need to know the definition of the word. In its most basic sense, fellowship is defined as sharing or participating in something. So yes there is a type of social fellowship. In fact, the Greek word used (koinonia) is used to describe a business partnership between Peter, Andrew, James and John (Luke 5:10). But what is it that Christians share or participate in?
  2. Fellowship in Christ: This is basic Christian principles. We all share in our love for Christ and in the fact He died for all of us. We all share in His blood and participate in the works He has given us to do. This fellowship is so strong it even connects us with those who have gone on before. Also, God is constantly calling us into this fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9). It is not something that is difficult to gain or kept from us but one that can easily be found and is given.
  3. Fellowship in the gospel: How do we have fellowship in the gospel? Well, to put it simply, we all believe in what it says, its power and love for it. Not only that, but we participate in its spreading. We are all workers with the same goal and the same doctrine (Philippians 1:5). Another way we have fellowship here is in our obedience to it. With this, our relationship and fellowship with Christ is strengthened as well as our love for each other.
  4. Fellowship in suffering: Many would see this and shrink away from this fellowship. However, it is more a blessing than we realize. While suffering together, we can have the support we need but more importantly we suffer with Christ (Philippians 3:10). In doing so we become more like Him and become stronger spiritually. This does not mean that God wants us to suffer, but He knows that in so doing we become better as a result.
  5. Fellowship in the light: By walking in the light, we have fellowship with one another and with God (1 John 1:1-7). It is this that binds us and we must stay in this light to have fellowship with God. If we turn back to the darkness, we lose that closeness with Him and cannot reap the benefits of this fellowship.
  6. Fellowship in the Lord’s Supper: Most Christians are aware that there is a fellowship here. In partaking, we “participate in the blood and body of Jesus” (1 Corinthians 10:16). We together share in our remembrance of His death. We together declare in our partaking the allegiance we have to Christ. We together reap the benefits of His sacrifice. It is the greatest fellowship we could ever have and it is boggling how any could neglect this declaration of fellowship, not only with our fellow Christians but with Jesus as well

I hope now that we have an understanding of what biblical fellowship is. It is much more than just a social gathering and spending time together. That is not to say those times are not needed, but in regard to Christian fellowship it is something else. I hope we see that its nature was spiritual and not physical. It is these types of fellowship that we need to improve and grow in and what will ultimately get us to heaven.

The Authority of Elders

1 Peter 5:2- shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly

As the leaders of congregations, elders have many duties. First off, they are responsible for the teaching of the flock. This means not only must they take an active role in teaching but that they keep an eye on what is being taught. It is they who protect the flock, fighting false doctrine whenever it rears its ugly head and addressing any sin within the congregation. Finally, they are to care the members, putting their needs above their own and serving them dutifully and faithfully. This demands that they know their members well and to love them enough to sometimes put up with difficult people.

Though we only listed three duties, they have a wide range of applications that can be both difficult and time consuming. However, there are those who wish go beyond their God-given duties and add more than is allowed. This begs the question on where the authority of elders ends. Before any man becomes an elder, he must know the answer to this question and have the humility to not go beyond God’s boundaries.

First off, he is not to go beyond God’s word. This goes without saying but there are many who fail to understand this. The authority goes to their heads and they believe that they can do as they please. In situations where this happens, the congregation accepts false teachings and as such the congregation is hurt as a whole. Their overall relationship with God is destroyed.

Second, he is only in charge of the congregation he is an elder of. As seen in our main passage, 1 Peter 5:2, the apostle tells the elders to shepherd their flock. Though this responsibility is daunting in and of itself, there are those who desire to go beyond this. They wish to see the elders of one congregation oversee the work of many and in essence “sponsor” them. For many, the original intention is good but regardless it does more harm than they realize. It falls under the first category we mentioned and tarnishes not only their relationship with God but also those of other congregations as well.

Lastly, he is not in it for himself. The author has not heard of many cases of this but there are men who become elders desiring the power and prestige it can bring. In these cases, they use their position to achieve their own desires and the good of the congregation comes second. These men have missed the point of being elders. They are there not only to serve God but also the congregation. Their goal must be to see their group grow spiritually and without this desire they will not be effective leaders.

The job of an elder is not always easy but as Paul says in 1 Timothy 3, it is a good and necessary work. Though we did not cover them here, the qualifications alone are hard to live up to and then the work itself is not easy. However, all men should desire to fit the standard if not have the position itself. Those that do strive to become elders must understand these qualifications and exactly what the job entails before making this decision. One final note though is that elders do not become them of their own initiative but are appointed by others. Though this is the case, the choice to accept is still the man’s and he must understand it thoroughly. Let us all take time to study every aspect of God’s word, including this.