I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
January 31,2012

  News From the Nigerian CLC
Pastor Ude reports that in 2010 there was one graduate from the Bible Institute, and in 2011 there were two. All three have been assigned churches. This year there is the possibility of three new students, one of whom is from Ghana. When he completes his studies, it is his intent to return to Ghana. At the recent West African Conference Pastor Ude baptized this Ghanian. We pray for the young man’s intent to be fulfilled.



In the Jerusalem congregation we read that they had all things in common.“Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common…There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.”Acts 4:32, 34-35 This was clearly the practice as Luke records it in Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was in a sense the mother church and for a long time the largest congregation. The question arises about if we should do this. There are very few who practice this today among Christians. History tells us there were not many who followed the example of Jerusalem.

This is recorded in a historical section of Scripture. There are many things recorded in the historical sections that we do not have to do and even should not do. Scripture must tell us to do likewise. We need passages that speak to us in a teaching or command form that tell us to do something. Think about the record in Acts of Claudius Lysias’ letter to Governor Felix. Acts 23:26-30 Claudius does not in that letter tell the truth. He only learned that Paul was a Roman citizen after the soldiers had bound Paul, which they should not have done. We know the facts from Luke’s account of the arrest. For Lysias to use the word ‘rescue’ in regard to taking Paul is a real stretch of the truth. So because it is in Acts does that mean we can lie and preserve our reputation with stretching the truth? No, of course not. Teaching passages of Scripture give us the direction we should take.

If a congregation wishes to follow the Jerusalem example that is fine for that congregation. We have no further evidence that any other Christian congregations at that time did this. So then it is not binding upon us because we have no further evidence of its practice among the congregations which would lead us to examine this further to find if it was commanded. We have no command passage in Scripture to tell us to do likewise. It is so important to use the context of passages to understand the Word.
With this article we conclude the series on ‘customs’ in which we have simply let Scripture interpret Scripture.
…At Sunday School we taught Bible lessons, passages to remember, Bible stories, games and puzzles. In the Distircts we have attendance of: 1293 Koppedu, 1188 Chittoor, 962 Sri Kalahasti, 1113 Uthukottai, 933 Vaniyambaci, 972 Chennai, 1014 Thiruvallur, 819 Tiruttani.
…Vacation Bible Schools theme this year was ‘Christ is our Manna’…The summer season usually presents some special good opportunities for our mission work. Vacations and increased activities are bound to bring us into contact with new children and new people. Vacation Bible School is made to order and learn Jesus as their Savior for forgiveness of sin…This annual year summer found BELC families and some other Hindu families and some other Muslim families eagerly participating with our members sharing their faith and Christ’s love…In some of our districts we have been running VBS for 25 years…8749 children were enrolled this year…At Indira Nagar church and in some congregations in Chittoor we received very goo response from hindu people, some of them voluntarily came and disbursed some gifts at their own expense

The Shocked- Jn. 8:3-12 Those on whom or near whom judgment has fallen,-Acts16:23-34 Those shocked by love.

We can imagine the woman’s feelings as her accusers have her red-handed. Stoning is the proper punishment for adultery. And not only does she face that, but before the judgment is to be carried out a public spectacle is to be made of her. It would have to be a very hardened individual who would not cringe before all this. Judgment is about to fall.
Our Lord knew well the hypocrisy that drove the Pharisees to drag this ‘sinner’ before Him. A lesson must be taught them. And with that lesson for them comes the woman’s release. Can you imagine the gloom gradually lifting for her as one by one her accusers went away, from the eldest on down? What relief! Yet she knew well how she deserved judgment. But she was to have another chance. When she says, “No one, Lord,” it is hard not to see more in that ‘Lord’ than mere respect for a good teacher.
Our Lord speaks the Gospel, “Neither do I condemn you.” Then He reminds her of the obedience of faith, “Go, and do not sin again.” Our Lord of course could read hearts and knew her repentance. We are not privy to the feelings of another’s heart and must go by what is said.
There is no question that a judgment or disaster of some kind makes a person reassess his life and doings. Many years ago after a flood in a city it was noted that attendance at church was up considerably. People were shocked out of their sinful complacency. Upon reflection of how people died and property was destroyed in a flood, there were those who sought a change in their lives and thus increased church attendance.
In our encountering people in this situation we want to not let them think they escaped because of their uprightness or innocence (remember we are considering unbelievers) or any good in them. The woman was ’caught’ in adultery. She knew her guilt. So we want our prospect to grasp the fact of his unworthiness. Then we want to point out the mercy of God that He spared such a one. The woman was guilty, but she was delivered from the judgment. Our thrust, as is ever the case, is to proclaim the undeserved love and unmerited favor of our Lord. With an individual in this mood of the sinful woman the law has evidently done its job, so our speaking the law is less. We want to communicate what our Lord said in v.12 “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

And then there is that one shocked by a demonstration of love not in connection with a falling judgment. One could say that the jailer escaped the judgment that would have fallen on him over escaped prisoners. The main point we consider though is that Paul and Silas stayed in the cell; an unheard of action by those incarcerated. It was not the case that Paul didn’t escape because his wounds kept him incapacitated. It was not certainly uppermost in Paul’s mind that he would stay so that on the morrow the city authorities might exonerate not just him but the cause of Christ from any shame and disgrace. That thought was there certainly. But uppermost had to be Paul’s concern for the jailer, who undoubtedly would face execution for losing the prisoners.
“When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’” Vv.27-28 The jailer had done evil to Paul. He had treated Paul with no concern at all. Now Paul had a great concern for the jailer. Paul returns good for evil. ”Bless those who persecute you…Repay no one evil for evil…’if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:14-21 This we find in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount also. Peter likewise reminds us in I Pet. 3:9. This is Gospel pure and simple. It is love which the wicked of this world cannot understand. When this love is demonstrated to the individual he may well be “trembling with fear”, shocked into a sense of his own wickedness and unworthiness.
The jailer inquired, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul then spoke the Gospel command, ”Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” That night the Gospel which had been demonstrated in the act of love was then verbalized as Paul and Silas went to the jailer’s house even then baptizing the whole family. This is one of those encounters we yearn for. But notice that the shock that woke the jailer up from his sleep of spiritual death was the act of love. It just cannot be otherwise. And it just cannot be underestimated that words so often are not enough. Our words also can be easily contradicted by our actions.
The love of our Savior from the cross forgiving His very executioners and forgiving a criminal, none of whom deserved it, must permeate our soul as we seek to announce His forgiveness.
Pastor Koenig