Andrew 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

Join Christ's victorious church 2

'Receive longer as a slave but...a brother.' Philemon 1:15-16 NKJV

What finally brought about an end to slavery? The gospel of Jesus Christ. Note the small letter Paul wrote to Philemon. A runaway slave was thrown into a Roman prison along with Paul, and Paul converted him to Christ. And when the slave was released, Paul sent him back to his owner, Philemon. The custom at that time was to kill escaped slaves after they'd been recaptured. But now Philemon had also become a Christian, another convert of the apostle Paul, who instructed him to 'receive longer as a slave but...a brother' (Philemon 1:15-16 NKJV). And in that new brotherhood slavery found its death knell.Now, fast forward to the days of William Wilberforce, who was convicted of his sin and converted under the preaching of John Wesley. Wilberforce, a slight, hunch-backed man, became one of the most powerful members of Parliament. Consumed by the Gospel and the freedom that Christ offered, Wilberforce devoted all his energies and eloquence to overthrowing the obnoxious African slave trade. And his success in abolishing it throughout the British Empire led to agitation for similar action in the United States. In fact, it was through the proclamations that thundered from pulpits throughout the northern states that abolitionist parties came into being and succeeded in destroying slavery once and for all. So it was through the church that slavery was eradicated.Jesus came 'to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives' (Luke 4:18 NKJV). Are you a member of Christ's redeemed church? If not, you can sign up today!

Soulfood: 1 Sam 24-26 Lk 5:27-39 Ps 110 Pro 17:15-17,


Join Christ's victorious church 1

'On this rock I will build my church.' Matthew 16:18 CEV

The Christian church is twice the size of its nearest rival. The odds against that are staggering. Suppose today a group of missionaries showed up in your town and told you that a peasant who'd been put to death was reputed to have risen again. Furthermore, he was no less than the Creator of the universe. Would you buy it? The apostles did in the pagan Roman Empire, and what's more - they succeeded in overthrowing the Roman Empire. In the face of terrible persecution, Christianity continued to flourish. Even the attempts of Julian the Apostate to overthrow Christianity and re-establish the pagan Roman religions met with no success. When Julian's onslaught against Christianity was at its worst, one of the emperor's followers asked a Christian, 'What is your carpenter's son doing now?' The Christian replied, 'Making a coffin for your emperor!' It wasn't long after this that Julian was mortally wounded in battle. Falling to the ground, he picked up a handful of sand mingled with his blood, tossed it into the air, and declared, 'Thou hast conquered, O Galilean.'

No, the church is not perfect; that's why people like us are welcome there! Nevertheless, there are many valid reasons why the church of Jesus Christ continues to triumph. It's a hospital for the wounded, it's a family for the lonely, and it's a school for those being trained in the principles of discipleship. And ultimately, when everything temporal goes up in smoke, it's the only thing that will be left standing (see 2 Peter 3:10-12). So commit your life to Jesus Christ and join his victorious church!

Soulfood: Mt 5:7 Mt 18:21-35 Ps 103:8-18 Lam 3:22-24,


Handling those who hurt you

'You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.' Genesis 50:20 NLT

At 17, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. At 30, Pharaoh made him ruler of Egypt. During those thirteen years Joseph suffered terribly at the hands of his brothers. Now he held the power of life and death over them. Yet he chose not only to forgive them, but to feed them in the time of famine. It's one of the greatest examples of forgiveness in history. As they stand trembling before him, Joseph says: 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don't be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children. So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them' (Genesis 50:20-21 NLT).

Notice four things: (1) Only God understands people's hearts, therefore only he is qualified to judge them. (2) As you become more mature, you'll be able to see the hand of God at work in some of the situations you've been through; you'll see the 'good' in them rather than the evil. (3) Because you have grown spiritually, you'll acknowledge that others are capable of growing and changing too. (4) Because of the favour and blessing that God has given you, you'll not only speak kindly to your offender but be generous towards them.

Jesus said, 'Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you' (Matthew 5:44 NKJV). Are you willing to do that? Are you at least willing to pray, 'Lord, make me willing?'

Soulfood: 1 Sam 20:30-23:29 Lk 5:12-26 Ps 102:18-28 Pro 17:11-14,

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