Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 21 Number 4 April 2019
Page 10

Breathing In

Mark McWhorter

Mark McWhorterBefore the apostle Paul was converted to Christianity, his name was Saul. Saul was a devout Jew who believed Christians were Jewish apostates. He believed they were practicing a false religion. He believed they had left God and were worshipping a false teacher, Jesus.

He persecuted Christians. He went into their homes and dragged them off to prison. He took pleasure in the death of Christians.

In Acts 9:1, we read, “And Saul, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.” Notice that Saul was involved in threats and killing of Christians. It says he was ‘breathing out’ these things. The Greek actually gives a deeper message with those words. The Greek means he was ‘breathing these things in.’ He was not just doing these things. His life was completely involved in and devoted to these things. Just as his life was dependent on breathing in oxygen to live, his spiritual life was dependent on his persecution of Christians.

Saul had a one-track mind. He believed that to be a true follower of God, to be a true Jew, he had to destroy the church; he had to destroy Christians. How sad that he had this understanding. He knew the Old Testament Scriptures, but he refused to accept that Christ had fulfilled them. There are people living today who hate Christians. There are people who want to destroy the church. They literally ‘live’ or ‘breath in’ that hatred. Hopefully, someone will be able to teach them the truth. Hopefully, they will realize how wrong they are.

Study your Bible. Learn how to obey God. Learn how to follow Jesus. Make sure that you are ‘breathing in’ the truth. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Exaltation of Men

Donald R. Fox

Donald R. FoxIn my judgment, when we look at the history of mankind, one thing stands out. With overloaded egos bursting at the seams, the Neros, the Hitlers, tyrants and dictators throughout history, we see the exaltation and elevation of men. With this adulation and the blind followers they create come woes, tears and death, the by-product, a consequence of exaltation of men.

From the better understood secular world and the adoration of men, we move to the lesser-known spiritual world, the church of the Bible. With the multitude of churches all claiming to follow the Bible, it has become for many honest people a most confusing situation.

According to New Testament Scriptures, each fully organized congregation of Christians in the first century was governed by a plurality of elders and deacons. Further, each congregation of the Lord’s people, Christians, were self-governing, independent of other congregations. Their source of authority and their guide was solely the Bible, the Scriptures. Absent were creeds of men, “think so’s” and opinions of men. No higher ecumenical bodies were over these congregations. Divisions and exaltations were condemned (1 Corinthians 1:10).

It is interesting to note that in early church history, exaltation of men led to the greatest change in the original scriptural church government. It is clear and verifiable that the apostolic churches had a plurality of elders or bishops. At first the elders of any particular congregation would select one of their number to preside at their meetings for the transaction of business, and in the course of time he came to be known as “The Bishop.” Little by little, he came to feel his importance till he was exalted above his fellow elders. No change, perhaps, in the whole history of the changing forms of church government can be specified as more destructive to the primitive constitution of the church, or more destructive to its spiritual interests. This entire perversion of the original view of the Christian Church, says Neander, was itself the origin of the whole system of the Roman Catholic religion—the germ from which sprang the popery of the Dark Ages. (Shepherd 54-55 & Schaff)

Would it be nice, and would it not make a world of difference, if men heeded the words of our Savior Jesus Christ? “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).

Works Cited

Shepherd, J.W. The Church, The Falling Away, and The Restoration. 17th Ed. Cincinnati: Standard, P., 1943.

Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. Vol. 1. Chapters IX and X. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.

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