The Spirit Realm – Part 2

by William J. Stewart

There are several occasions recorded in the Bible of interaction between the spiritual and physical realms. This should not surprise us: our Creator is a Spirit and He has made us in His image (despite being in the flesh, we are spirits). As we have previously noted, spirit beings were given duty over the nations before the coming of the Messiah. Oh, and let’s not forget, we have a spiritual enemy, the devil. Having said all this, one might think we would see occurrence after occurrence of interaction – that it would be commonplace. It is not. The connection between the two realms is continual, but the incidents of interaction which are visible, audible and experienced by humanity are relatively few. Let’s notice some of them now.

Years ago, I penned a series on the appearances and activity of the Christ in the Old Testament. The LORD appeared to Abraham (Genesis 12, 17, 18, 22), Hagar (Genesis 16), Isaac (Genesis 26), Jacob (Genesis 31, 32, 35), Moses (Exodus 3, 19, 20, 33), all of Israel (Exodus 13, 14), and others. Continue reading

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The Spirit Realm – Part 1

by William J. Stewart

The existence of a spirit realm and activity in that realm is mentioned throughout the Bible. In fact, there are a number of texts that seem to indicate the Lord gave angels a measure of responsibility over the nations. Deuteronomy 32:8 from the LXX reads:

When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.

Job 1:6 speaks of a day on which “the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD…” (cf. Job 2:1). This does not appear to be a worship assembly, but rather angelic beings presenting themselves to the LORD. Psalm 82 pictures the same kind of scene, as the Lord (who will inherit all nations, v 8), stands judging “the gods” for their failures among the nations (v 1-5). Continue reading

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Growth of the Church

CHURCH HISTORY | PART 2 | Keith Sharp

Introduction

Shortly before the Lord ascended to the Father, He gave the Great Commission, commanding, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). As He was about to ascend, in reply to the apostles’ question when the kingdom of God would come, the Lord promised them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Church Begins

The kingdom, the church (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:22-24,28), came with power (Mark 9:1), when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8). Continue reading

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The Beginning

CHURCH HISTORY | PART 1 | Keith Sharp

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:8-12).

The church is the revelation of the secret hidden in the mind of God but made known by the Holy Spirit to the inspired apostles and prophets of Christ. The Lord purposed the church “from the beginning of the ages”; indeed, it is the fulfillment of His “eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When “the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” behold the church, God’s people brought to salvation in Christ Jesus, they see “the manifold (many sided) wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:8-12). Continue reading

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Question from Nigeria about Registering Churches

Question
Is it good to register churches of Christ in Nigeria together?

Answer
The key to this question is the word “together.” If the government requires congregations to register, they should do so (Romans 13:1-2).

Thankfully, neither the government of Nigeria nor that of the United States has any such requirement. The question really involves the corporation known as “Church of Christ – Nigeria,” which seeks to control all churches of Christ and preachers associated with them throughout Nigeria. This has in effect set up a denomination in Nigeria known as “Church of Christ – Nigeria.” Although it is lengthy, I reproduce below an e-mail from Brother Sunday Ayandare of Ibadan, Nigeria, which he sent to Brother Paul Williams in South Africa in 2007, which explains “Church of Christ – Nigeria.” Continue reading

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Question from Nigeria about a Christian Marrying an Unbeliever

Question
Can a Christian marry unbeliever?

Answer
Sometimes there is a course that is “well” but another path that is “better” (1 Corinthians 7:38). I believe this is the case with the answer to your question. Continue reading

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Question from Sri Lanka about the Lord’s Supper

Question
Luke, 22:19 – And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Why did he said that we should remembrance his death? Is there an another meaning for that verse? Continue reading

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The Samuel Complex

by William J. Stewart

When he was an old man, the elders of Israel approached Samuel, who served as a prophet, priest and judge among his people, and said, “make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). The prophet was broken up (Strong’s 03415) over their demand. The LORD assured Samuel, “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me” (1 Samuel 8:7). Continue reading

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Gossip

by Keith Sharp

Arkansas is unusually blessed. There are only four kinds of poisonous snakes in North America, and all four are found here!

The deadliest is also the smallest, the coral snake. It reminds me of the tongue – small but dangerous. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21; cf. James 3:1-12). The use of the tongue produces fruit, and if we love to use the tongue, we must eat its fruit.

One of the chief dangers of the tongue is gossip. What does the Bible teach about gossip? Continue reading

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Introduction to Proverbs

by Keith Sharp

As the psalms of Israel reached their apex with David, the wisdom literature of the Hebrews ascended to its pinnacle with Solomon, the son of David.

When Solomon ascended the throne, the Lord appeared to him in a dream, telling him to ask what he would, and Solomon humbly requested the wisdom necessary to rule Israel (1 Kings 3:4-9). The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request, and granted him wisdom, prosperity, and honor (verses 10:13). Solomon’s rule was peaceful and prosperous, giving Solomon and others time to reflect upon the nature of things and the means with which to experiment (1 Kings 4:20-25). King Solomon was the wisest mere mortal who ever lived and the wealthiest person of his day (1 Kings 3:16-28; 4:29-34; 10:1-9,23-24). Continue reading

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