By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed January 31, 1985)
The title of this lesson is a quotation from the Old Testament and is used by the apostle Paul in Romans 9:13. These words have become the wrestling mat of destruction for so many. It reminds us of what Peter once said about some of Paul’s writings. “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Peter’s reference is to those things in his writings, that Paul also had written in his epistle. But when we listen to the tremendous misuse of Paul’s writings in the Roman letter, the words of Peter certainly fit our day.
This lesson will lay background consideration about the Roman letter and the intent of the words of Paul, “… Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.” The next lesson will deal with the Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed July 19, 1976)
The scriptures abound with the fact that the church gathers as a congregation to worship God. Although the word “worship” defies complete defining, we know it involves an expression of heart due to God’s greatness and goodness. The acts whereby worship is expressed are manifested and ordained in the word of God. We realize an act does not necessarily assure worship, even if it is an action found in the New Testament record of the early church. The reason being, “Worship is something presented by us to God, as a willing acknowledgement of our deep appreciation of what He is and all He has done.” What and how we present is governed by the teaching of God’s word, because man does not have the wisdom to know the proper and best way to express his feelings of reverence for God. Furthermore, the whole sphere of worship must be governed by grace and not merit. If man was permitted to create the ways of expressing worship, it would become man-centered and reckoned on the basis of merit or man’s ingenuity. One would not be able to say that worship was divine in origin and nature. Seeing what has happened in recent years, makes it impossible to imagine what actions would be accepted or solicited from man as worship, if man was to determine what is acceptable worship. Historically and Biblically, we see when man has been left to express his feelings of worship without the counsel of God’s word it has led to the elevation of self, the abdication of our capacity to reason sanely, and often to the practice of gross immoralities. Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed June 15th, 1982)
Our last lesson introduced the problem of honesty today and the need for the child of God to be very conscious of the need for honesty in every aspect of life. The necessity of truthfulness to establish trust is an apparent reason for realizing truth is right.
Jesus made it clear that what God declared about man was true and to be heard by all. The smallest untruthfulness in a testimony casts doubt on the whole testimony. We do not doubt God’s testimony. Why? He is always true. We recall Luke l6:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Read Matthew 25:21-23.
Why should the Christian always bear true testimony? Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed May 31, 1982)
We change pace this lesson by considering some basic thoughts about the Christian, truth, and honesty. It may seem a bit strange to talk of things considered an obvious part of Christianity, but we are living in rather strange times. Paradox is abundant. Men talk about living by love, while passing more laws and filling the courts with lawsuit after lawsuit. Objectivity has been a big cry from our society, but we are faced with not knowing what news report we can trust. Men appear to be on a subjective binge with no source of authority like the days of the Judges (Jgs.17:6;21:25) Hence, we are not exactly surprised that everyone is talking about honesty but social research reveals a tremendous array of dishonesty. In fact, the price of dishonesty has become a staggering burden to our society. Continue reading