The Exhorter

Pliny’s Letter – Considering Extra-Biblical Account from History

By John Guzzetta    Our most important source of information about God’s will for the church is the New Testament, especially the book of Acts.  In fact, the New Testament is really the only source that counts.  The book of Acts and epistles record the practices of the early church under the direction of the apostles, and were recorded by inspiration—God’s blueprint for the church.  As Christians we do not appeal to “the practices of the early church” but rather to the word of God.  What Christians of the second, third, and fourth centuries did is no more helpful for...

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More Non-Christian Witnesses – Part 2

By John Guzzetta    Last week, we looked at Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan, #96, and discovered that while Pliny was no friend of Christ or the church, his letter provides an important witness to the existence and influence of the gospel in the ancient world.    You see, for many decades in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, certain skeptical scholars suggested that the gospels, the book of Acts, and the epistles, were nothing more than stories developed slowly over centuries.  That the “church” was, if anything at all, a small group of gullible Jews led by a couple of...

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No Division Among You – Parts 3 & 4

No Division Among You - Part 3 of 4 In accomplishing such unity as should exist in the church of the Corinthians, Paul calls upon them, and us, to “be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” “Perfectly joined together” is another idiom which has been condensed into its fundamental meaning by most of the newer translations, which read something like “that you be united” (ESV). There is, however, something lost in such, for the idea behind the phrase is that of “repairing; mending; restoring.” It is used of mending nets in Mt.4.21, and in Lk.6.10 it describes the...

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No Divisions Among You – Part 2

In the congregation at Corinth, there are numerous problems that threaten the unity of the group. Paul has been informed that there already exist “contentions” (quarrels/factions) among them, and he is clearly concerned that the simmering issues not result in full-blown division. Thus he begins the instructive part of the entire Corinthian letter with this exhortation. It includes a three-fold entreaty – he “pleads” (literally “to call near”, then to “appeal; implore; beseech”) with them; he reminds them that they are family (“brethren”); he notes the authority of God behind his words (“by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”)....

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No Divisions Among You – Part 1

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  (1 Cor.1.10 – NKJV) Discipleship in many ways is a fiercely individual undertaking. It demands some degree of independence to stand up and stand out in a selfish and sinful world. But that same determination to serve the Lord also brings us into a relationship with others who want to serve the Lord. And we come...

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I will set no worthless thing before my eyes

“I will set no worthless thing before my eyes” (Psalm 101:3) Last Sunday evening the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. But Monday the news was all about the half-time show. I didn’t see the show, but the reports I read described shock, disappointment, anger and dismay. Frankly I was slightly surprised at that reaction. First, if we know anything about the Super Bowl, we should have expected a half-time show filled with immorality, immodesty and impropriety. The organizers of this event continue to push the limits of decorum. That is what they do. Second, if we know anything about the...

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Living to be Like Him — Perfecting Holiness in Our Lives

Toward the end of his life, the apostle Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote these words,“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (I Peter 1:15,16). Can we actually be holy? Why is it that we feel holiness is unattainable? How could Peter make such a plea? Look at Peter’s life – he was rebuked by Jesus after confessing Him to be the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:13-23); he denied the Lord three times after saying he...

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Ron Drumm’s Honduras 2019 Presentation

  Here's a pdf of the PowerPoint presentation Ron gave on Sunday, November 24th. Click the thumbnail below to download:

Don’t Remember the Failing Christians

In talking to people who leave the church, I hear one justification more than any other. The departing Christian leaves because of the members: they are hypocritical, they gossip, they are unfriendly/unloving. I’ve become cynical about these claims.  When somebody says, “I’m leaving because nobody reaches out to me,” I hear “I’m leaving because nobody reached out to me except for those who did.” Let’s suppose the disgruntled Christian has indeed seen brethren be hypocritical, gossipy, unfriendly, politically fixated, or unloving.  Certainly, brethren can be all these things. Who believes all Christians are all these things all the time? When a Christian...

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Love the Appearing of Jesus

It is apparent that a great event can bring forth many different emotions on the part of human beings. God’s word reveals how the death Christ should move us to love and look forward to the future appearing of Jesus. Yet, on the other hand, His return will cause others to lament as they fail to presently recognize the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. Paul also spoke of those who would love the appearing of Jesus when He returns. The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of what Jesus came into the world to accomplish. Yes,...

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