Careful Building

The New Testament employs the metaphor of building to convey what the church is and how it functions. One merely has to open their bible to the book of Ephesians to see a prime example of this. In this letter Paul speaks of how the church in Ephesus, and by extension all churches, are like a building which is built on a foundation (the teaching about Christ) with an immovable cornerstone (Christ himself) as the unifying factor giving stability and direction. This building rises up from the ground and becomes a place where the presence of God, through his Spirit, really and truly lives: in other words, it becomes a “holy temple”. Furthermore, Paul explains how God gives leaders in the church who are tasked with building up the believers into unity in faith and a deeper knowledge and maturity in Christ.

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The Rejoicing God

God is holy. It is a fearful thing to come into the presence of such a holy God – just ask Isaiah. And it is an even more terrible thing to come under the wrath of God. God compares himself to a lion who will rip the wicked to shreds. Clearly we cannot relate to God in a casual, relaxed way, but rather must come to him in reverence, awe, and humility. We must throw ourselves at his feet, confess our evil, and depend only on his mercy. The mercy and grace by which God saves us demands a life of piety, holiness, and sacrifice.

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Habakkuk and the Problem of Evil

The problem of evil is this: How can a good God allow evil to exist? This is not a new problem, but it remains both perplexing and complex. The prophet Habakkuk, like countless others, also wrestled with the seemingly contradicting realities of the goodness of God and the presence of evil. The difference with Habakkuk is that he was able to converse with God directly. As we listen in on their conversation, God’s answer gives us insight into how we should shape our thinking about the problem of evil.

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Nahum’s Good News

Nahum’s short prophecy is tucked away, often out of sight, in the middle of all the other minor prophets who are lumped together. The main focus of Nahum is a pronouncement of impending doom for the “great” city of Nineveh. Nahum writes, or speaks, with a captivating poetic style that makes his words come alive. But there is more to Nahum than a lyrical prophecy of doom. There is good news here. It is the good news of the just punishment of the wicked which results in lasting peace for the righteous.

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The Great Reversal

The prophecies of Joel revolve around a devastating locust plague. What do these locusts have to do with the gospel? Turns out, they provide a picture of what God will do through Jesus and they provide hope for those who turn to Jesus with repentant hearts. What happens on a relatively small scale in Joel, is going to happen on a world-wide scale sometime in the future.

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The Prodigals

In the second chapter of Hosea we read of Israel’s shocking unfaithfulness in allegory form. Meanwhile in Luke 15, Jesus tells a parable about a son who shockingly leaves his family in disgrace. These initial similarities beckon us to camp out in these passages and discover more.

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When the Spirit Moves – Part 4

This is the fourth of a four-part series on the Spirit of God in the book of Acts 

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

From Ephesus Paul presses on to Jerusalem. In both the cities of Tyre and Caesarea Paul is warned by fellow believers not to go to Jerusalem. In the preceding chapter, Luke mentions that Paul had also been warned “in every town” of the chains and suffering that awaited him in Jerusalem. Even though it is the Holy Spirit warning him, Paul resolves to forge ahead and finish the work set before him. It seems the Spirit is not forbidding Paul to travel back to Jerusalem, rather, he is making him fully aware of what lies in his path. This view is supported by the end result of Paul’s Jerusalem visit which accords with God’s plan for Paul: a visit with Caeser in Rome. 

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