What Restoration Means

If anything should have been well-maintained, surely it was God’s temple in Jerusalem.

But King Hezekiah’s forebears had drifted far from God, and the temple showed the dire effects of their apostasy.

Time to set things right!

Hezekiah commanded, “. . . carry the uncleanness out from the holy place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the LORD . . . . They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps . . . .

“So the priests went in to the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and every unclean thing which they found in the temple of the LORD they brought out to the court of the house of the LORD. Then the Levites received it to carry out to the Kidron Valley.”

Their efforts were two-pronged. First, they removed what should have never been put into the temple. Second, they replaced what should have never been removed.

“. . . all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness, we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:5-7, 16, 19).

And for us today?

Just as Hezekiah restored the temple to a condition that would once again honor God, so shouldn’t we also be diligent to restore the purity and simplicity Christ desires for His church (Ephesians 5:23-27; Revelation 2:1-7; 3:1-6, 14-22)?

In the New Testament God reveals how He wants His church to be organized, how His people are to worship, what they are to teach, and how they are to live.

Through the centuries, countless unauthorized changes have been made to the divine plan for the church—but could they be called improvements?

Isn’t the call to return to the original divine pattern as needed today as it was in Hezekiah’s?

Are we willing to re-examine our beliefs and practices in light of God’s Word?

The Bible labels Hezekiah’s restoration efforts “these acts of faithfulness” (2 Chronicles 32:1).

May God be able to say the same of us!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Finish or Quit?

Two scenarios contrasted

What can we learn from two of Paul’s associates, Mark and Demas? Paul writes, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 23-24; see Colossians 4:10, 14).

Later Paul mentions both of them again, but note the change: “. . . Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica . . . . Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service” (2 Timothy 4:10-11).

Years before, Mark had deeply disappointed Paul because he returned home instead of continuing on their missionary journey. On the next trip Paul refused to take him along because he “had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:38; see 12:25; 13:5, 13). But now Paul recognizes the positive change in Mark. He who had been a disappointment has become “useful to me for service.”

Both Mark and Demas left Paul in the lurch. Whatever his reasons for leaving, Mark overcame his instability. But the last we hear of Demas is his tragic apostasy. He left because he “loved this present world.”

Learning from their experience

The same sort of scenario continues to play itself out in our day. Sitting perhaps on the same pew are two Christians. At one time Brother A could not be depended on to do his part, but that’s behind him now. Nearby, Brother B participates in the singing and bows his head for the prayers, but his heart is leaning increasingly toward the world. It won’t be long until he leaves the Lord and His church—another of Satan’s statistics.

Demas’ defection should give us pause to examine our own hearts for any indications of misplaced affections drawing us away from the living God (2 Corinthians 13:5; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). On the other hand, if we have fallen short in our Christian walk, we can take a cue from Mark and become once again “useful . . . for service.”

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Even More Dangerous

The danger

The computer spell-check thought I meant “terrorist.” But “errorist” is what I intended.

Oxford English Dictionary defines “errorist” as “One who is inclined to error; one who encourages and propagates error.”

Satan uses both terrorists and errorists to hurt the church.

Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a violent terrorist (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5, 19-20; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13).

Terrorists work from the outside; errorists from within. Satan has been much more successful using errorists.

Errorists corrupt the truth. People then believe the lie and are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Countering the danger

The best safeguard against errorists is to truly love the truth, search for the truth, and compare teachings we hear with the standard of God’s word (Acts 17:10-12).

Beware of errorists!

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Holding True

Talking the talk . . . .

“All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7).

Israel made this pledge only weeks before worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-35).

Similarly, Peter denied he would deny Christ, then denied Him anyway (Matthew 26:31-35).

Though Peter stumbled badly, he repented thoroughly.

Have we ever talked a good religion but failed to follow through?

Walking the walk

If we have confessed Christ and been united with Him in baptism, let’s hold true to our confession! If we’ve fallen short like Peter, let’s turn back before our hearts grow cold.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9),

God is faithful. Let’s reflect His faithfulness!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“In his own eyes”

Where they went wrong

“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right . . .” (Judges 17:6).

The three dots following the word “right” indicate words have been deleted. The title of this article is the missing phrase. Deleting those four words dramatically changes the meaning.

This verse describes the sad decline of Israel in forsaking the true and living God to serve lifeless idols.

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History repeating itself

Many today deny there is an objective, universal standard by which we must live. That standard is God’s word. They lean instead on their own understanding and are guided by their own subjective feelings (Proverbs 3:5-6; 14:12; 28:26a; Jeremiah 10:23; 17:9; 2 Timothy 4:1-4). They do what is right in their own eyes.

Is it any wonder that chaos reigns?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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