Wednesday, June 29, 2011


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     How fast the time goes by.  Another birthday is upon us.  Some of our number here are celebrating birthdays around this time, but the specific birthday I speak of is in reference to America, this great country in which we live.  This birthday is better known as Independence Day.  July 4, 1776, is the day this country was born by declaring its independence from British rule.
     When you speak to people about your independence have you ever wondered why you never read about independence in the Scriptures?  I looked in several concordances and the word 'independence' does not appear.  So why is that?  I believe the answer is still found in the Scriptures.
     When one declares independence, it is for the purpose of proclaiming the breaking away from one power in order to establish an identity of sovereignty.  America declared its independence from Britain by defeating them in battle and proclaiming itself a new nation no longer governed by British rule or law.  New laws would be established and enacted and a new government formed.
     The Scriptures tell us we can't really be independent.  We must be dependent upon someone or something.  If we are dependent upon something we are practicing idolatry.  If we are dependent upon someone, we either belong to God or to Satan.  Lifestyle will determine upon which one we have placed our dependence.  Let us understand full well we can never be independent in this life.
     The good news is we can be free.  Often we equate freedom with independence.  Not true.  I have experienced freedom in my life, and yet I confess I am dependent upon my Creator, my heavenly Father.  Because I have chosen to be dependent upon my God, I have been set free from the law of sin and death (Ro. 8:1,2).  I have been set free from being a slave to sin by becoming a slave to righteousness (Ro. 6:17,18).  I have been set free from the yoke of slavery that binds others to ungodliness.  I have been allowed to live in true freedom because of the death of Jesus on the cross. 
     The title of this article is inaccurate.  There is no such thing as a true independence day.  Only a day when we choose freedom over slavery.  Have you chosen that day?  Are you living as a freeman in Jesus Christ or are you bound to slavery by sin?  Maybe a birthday is what you need.  Spiritual birth takes place at baptism after we die to sin and proclaim our dependence on our Father through Christ (1 Pet. 3:21).  I pray you are truly free. Our battle belongs to the Lord.  Rodger

Monday, June 13, 2011


In the Revelation of Jesus Christ (not John), which was given to Him by the Father, we are told He communicated what was to shortly come to pass to John through His angel. (Rev. 1:1)  This angel is not designated as the Holy Spirit but would imply a special messenger that communicated (signified in signs and symbols) to John the content of the Revelation.  In the second and third chapters Jesus addresses the seven churches who are designated as the recipients of this Revelation.  Through the special messenger of Christ John is told what to write to the angel of the seven churches.  The term 'angel' as it is used here does not make reference to a particular angelic being or human representative, but, "symbolically the representative spirit of each church, the spirit of the church." (Wallace, The Book of Revelation, pg. 84)  What seems to be the focus here is the personality of each church.

Each congregation certainly had a distinct personality from the others and only Smyrna was found to have nothing against them by Christ.  Today there are many congregations of the Lord's church and each possesses a personality made up by those who are its regular members.  Whether that personality is good or bad is between them and the Lord.  I would like to relate this article to this great country of ours and how it relates to the church, and how the church needs to respond to this country.

To be sure the spirit or personality of America is continuing to decline because of the ungodly conduct of the majority of its citizens.  The recent scandal of Anthony Weiner speaks volumes about where we are as a country.  Many New Yorkers represented by Weiner don't think he needs to resign though Democratic leaders are beginning to urge him more and more to resign.  But this call for resignation is more political than moral for the Democrats are fearing a backlash at the voting booths.  To be sure Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents have much to be ashamed of, but the spirit of America is one that really doesn't seem to care about some of the immoralities which are becoming more common place by the day.  The ethics of our elected officials is a whole other matter but also reveals a spirit or personality in rapid decline.

What the church needs to be asking itself is how we are going to respond to such immoralities.  This response must begin in each congregation.  The first question is in regard to our own personality before our God.  Is it one that pleases God?  Would we be like Smyrna or maybe Ephesus?  Some news commentators may call Christians backward or unintelligent, but we can't let such attacks keep us from standing up for the truth of God's word.  Christians of all ages need to come together as one, and our personality, or spirit, must resemble that of Christ.

If we are to be the mirror image of our Lord and Savior then let us strive to make sure our congregations possess the personality worthy of the name of Christ, and so pursue peace and harmony based on His truth.
America is a great country but if we want to remain as such, we must begin now to change its personality back towards a godly people, and that begins with God's people.  Let us be the peculiar people we are supposed to be, that royal priesthood. Let us turn our hearts to God and in so doing lead this nation back to its Creator.  Rodger