The Letter to the Laodiceans

by William J. Stewart

Colossians 4:16 reads, “…when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

Have you ever wondered about the letter to Laodicea? Where is it? Why is it not in the Bible? There has been plenty of speculation about the Laodicean letter. If it is an inspired epistle that is missing, we have a problem! If it is an uninspired letter, why would Paul set it on par with the Colossian letter, which is in the canon of Scripture? Continue reading

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Enter Into His Gates

by William J. Stewart

The Psalms are filled with expressions of praise and thanksgiving before God. In some, we read about the troubles which the psalmist endured, and can see the transformation from a spirit of distress to one of trust and expectation of the grace of God. In the process of this lifting of the weight of trials, we consistently see the writer giving praise and thanksgiving to God. Yet other Psalms are for that sole purpose—to give thanks to the LORD and to praise His holy name. This is the manner of Psalm 100.

The Psalm is identified in the psalmist’s notation as “A Psalm of praise” (KJV) or “A Psalm of thanksgiving” (NKJV). Let us consider verse by verse this psalm of praise and thanksgiving. Continue reading

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Checking The Greek

by William J. Stewart

I’ve heard a good friend and fellow preacher say from time to time that he knows a little Greek. And then, the punch line comes, “He owns a great little restaurant down the street.” All joking aside, I know that he, like all preachers, would like to be more familiar with the Greek, the language that the New Testament was originally penned in.

My knowledge of Greek is quite limited. I know only a handful of words, and though I have a Greek New Testament, I cannot read it. I am thankful for tools such as Strong’s, Vine’s and Thayer’s. With these, even the unlearned are able to appreciate the significance of words in a text. To illustrate the benefit of checking the Greek, let us look at Jude 3, and see what extra insight the Greek gives us. Continue reading

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The Bible Said It First

by William J. Stewart

As noted in a recent sermon on Biblical illiteracy, people in general do not know the Bible very well, which is unfortunate, for it is the word of life. We need to present ourselves as diligent students of the Bible, for our soul is at stake.

Oddly enough, many folks quote the Bible without even knowing it. Several common phrases people say actually come from the Bible. Did you know the Bible said it first? Continue reading

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Effective Fervent Prayer (2 of 2)

by William J. Stewart

Last week, we considered Elijah, the wonderful example which James uses to demonstrate effective fervent prayer. This week, I want us to look at the context of James 5, and see this inspired man’s musings on prayer.

That it is a text on prayer is evident. Notice:

  • v 13, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him PRAY.”
  • v 14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them PRAY over him…”
  • v 15 “…the PRAYER of faith will save the sick…”
  • v 16 “Confess your trespasses to one another, and PRAY for one another… The effective fervent PRAYER of a righteous man avails much.”
  • v 17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he PRAYED…”
  • v 18 “…he PRAYED again…”

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Effective Fervent Prayer (1 of 2)

by William J. Stewart

There are several occasions when events which took place in the Old Testament are used as lessons in faith for us in the New Testament. Consider the faith of Abraham, as he was willing to give his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God (Genesis 22). It is not until we come to the book of Hebrews that we are told the patriarch concluded “…God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (11:19).

Another case where an Old Testament character and circumstance is used as a faith lesson in the New Testament is found in the prophet Elijah. 1 Kings 17:1 tells us that Elijah foretold a drought which would come; but when we come to the writing of James, we find that he in fact prayed for the drought (James 5:17). Why pray for a drought? Continue reading

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Can we understand the Bible alike?

Unknown

Recently a preacher raised the question: Can we all understand the Bible alike? He declared that we cannot, and asserted that those who believe that we can are simply entertaining an ignorant viewpoint.

Your understanding, my understanding
The claim is frequently made: You understand the Bible one way, and I understand it another. Neither of us should condemn the other. Another variation of the same tune is this: Well, that is your interpretation of the Scriptures. I have mind as well. Perhaps both of us are right.

These statements contain a logical contradiction. Continue reading

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Spectator or Participant

by Wayne Greeson

The “Urban Dictionary” gives a satirical definition to the basketball term “sixth man” as:

“A superfan who believes that his fervent support of a team will have a direct influence on the outcome of a game said team may be involved in.”

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Some Scriptures About Mothers

by William J. Stewart

Happy mother’s day! Below, I’ve included several texts which speak about mothers, in no particular order. What I hope we will see is the exceptionally important role a mother has, and the honour God wants us to give to them. Continue reading

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Buy Up Your Opportunities

by William J. Stewart

The above phrase appears in the 1912 Weymouth New Testament rendering of Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5. To the people of Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Therefore be very careful how you live and act. Let it not be as unwise men, but as wise. Buy up your opportunities, for these are evil times.” The Colossians were told, “Behave wisely in relation to the outside world, buying up your opportunities.”

In the financial market, opportunities are always coming and going, and those who are prudent in business take advantage of such occasions and will profit. In the above texts, the apostle calls upon the child of God to be a wise investor in afar greater arena—our labour for the Lord. Continue reading

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