No church in the New Testament is more like our modern churches than the Corinthian church.
Some claim that Scripture teaches believers will receive various crowns in heaven based on their works in this life. We look at two key themes Scripture teaches, and two main mistakes we can make in studying these passages.
John wrote his first letter to clarify the differences between the genuine gospel as revealed by Jesus to the apostles and the heretical versions of the gospel spreading in the early church. He gives 2 guiding principles for recognizing genuine believers and false teachers.
As his earthly life drew to a close, Peter wrote his second letter to encourage and admonish the churches. What truths did he think were so important that he had to make sure he wrote them down before he died?
The Epistle to Philemon is a private letter written by the Apostle Paul. Along with the letter, Paul returning Onesimus, a slave who ran away from Philemon. This letter appeals to Philemon to take the right action and free Onesimus, but it speaks volumes to us today about how to live our daily lives.
While philosophers often use this letter to talk about the evils of slavery and condemn Paul for not taking a strong stance against it, I think this letter has much more to say to us as individual believers and how we should live our lives.
A friend once asked me if I was on an airplane that was about to crash and had only a couple minutes to use my cell phone to call my family, what would I say? What would I tell them if I knew this would be our last conversation on earth? At first my mind when blank, but then the answer seemed obvious: Hang on to your faith. But to understand why saving faith is that important, you have to really understand the gospel.
Isaiah gives us the fullest revelation of Christ in the Old Testament, most notably the Servant Songs. The exile raised the question: Can fail such that God will abandon us and we forfeit His God? In the Servant Songs, God demonstrates that not only will He remain committed to His people, He will willingly choose to endure suffering in order to forgive and redeem His people.
If we accept that fact that God loves us enough to send his son Jesus Christ to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sins while we were his enemies, does it makes sense that God would hide his will from us now that we are his children? I would argue that the problem is not God hiding his will. The problem is the way we are looking for it.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is filled expressions of praise, joy and confidence, despite the fact that Paul wrote the letter while he was in prison. The Philippian church, unlike many other churches Paul wrote to, was not facing any particular problem or controversy. Instead their challenges were the kind that plague many churches today. We can learn from Paul how to rejoice and persevere in the mundane, ordinary difficulties of life.
The message of Nehemiah is restoration. The book records how God moved Nehemiah to lead the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in approximately 446 BC. As the story unfolds, we see God restore godly leadership to Israel, restore the walls of Jerusalem, restore the broken faith of the people, restore a sense of community and heritage as God’s people, and restore the people’s knowledge of the God’s word and their desire to love and obey Him.