|Live Services||Before Now|
|Editorial||"Destined To Become Family"|
|Q&A||Sermons by Women?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel, Feeding The Flock|
On Saturday, December 6, 2003, Dave Harris will be presenting the sermon, “Before Now.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream.”
"Destined To Become Family"
by Edwin Pope
Having just returned from a few days in Boise, Idaho, where my wife and I spent Thanksgiving this year with our daughter and two of our grandchildren, I am reminded once again of the importance of family and why God gives such credence to this institution throughout His written Word.
God shows, in Exodus 20:12 that we are to show honor and respect to our parents, even stating that obedience to this command is rewarded with long life, no doubt taking into consideration that obedience to this command is a requirement for eternal life in His Kingdom. He illustrates in Malachi 4:5-6 that He intends sending the prophet Elijah, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord for the purpose of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers.
In Ephesians 5:22 God shows that wives are to submit to their husbands and in verse 28 that husbands are to love their wives as they love themselves. In chapter 6 of Ephesians, verses 1-3 children are told, again, to obey and to honor their parents and, in verse 4, fathers are admonished not to provoke their children but to bring them up in the Ways of God. Additional instruction is given to family members as to the way they should conduct their lives together as they seek to build the family relationship in obedience to their God.
Man was created some 6,000 years ago with the ability to reproduce himself after his own kind and able to replenish the earth and to rule over it (Genesis 1:26-28). Prior to the creation of man, this world was inhabited by angels (Psalms 148:1-6). Angels ruled on the face of the earth under the leadership of the arch-angel, Lucifer, whose name was changed, later, to Satan, after his rebellion from God’s Ways (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan continues to rule this world, today (John14:30). (See also, Luke 4:5-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2-3).
However, it is not God’s purpose that the world should be under the rule of angels, forever. In fact, angels are created to be helpers to mankind, especially as men are called to God’s Way for the purpose of salvation. Angels are created beings who will never have an opportunity to be part of a family. They neither marry nor are given in marriage and they are not capable of the reproductive process (Luke 20:34-36).
Yet, God has an ultimate plan of rulership which will exist down through eternity. The Family of God will rule this world throughout eternity, and God is presently in the process of creating sons and daughters to be a part of that family. God is reproducing Himself through the conversion process of which we now have a part. And when one is called of God, it is for that very purpose! We read in Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Of course, the present family in heaven consists of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The family present on earth today includes all of those who are begotten members of the family who received God’s Spirit upon baptism and the laying on of hands, whether living or having died “in Christ” and now awaiting the resurrection. These, along with any who are called and chosen in the future and remain faithful to God and His Way will be born of God at the time of the “resurrection of the just” which will occur at Christ’s second coming.
In Hebrews chapter 2, verses 10-11 we read; “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…”
John tells us in 1 John 3:2; “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” And Paul reveals in Ephesians 1:4-6; “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”
In the meantime brethren, we must ourselves continue to be faithful to God’s Way, faithfully building and caring for our own family relationships. If we do these things we are destined to become members of the Family of God!
This Week in the News
EU WARNS ISRAEL
As AFP reported on December 3, “The EU delivered a stern warning to Israel, declaring that its security barrier ‘must not invade’ Palestinian territory.” The article continued: “While Israel’s ‘fundamental’ security needs were obvious, ‘the route of the wall must not invade Palestinian territory,’ … [Italy’s Foreign Minister] Franco Frattini [said]. ‘We have repeated that frankly and many times to our Israeli friends,’ he added.”
Although a meeting of the European Foreign Affairs Ministers of last Friday and Saturday in Naples, Italy, did not reach agreement on the final wording of the European Constitution in such areas as voting powers and a reference to Christian heritage in the Constitution, much was accomplished during the meeting. As AP reported on November 29, “A plan by France, Britain and Germany to craft an INDEPENDENT MILITARY ROLE FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION while keeping NATO as the continent’s primary defender WON BROAD SUPPORT Saturday from foreign ministers meeting to draft a new EU constitution.” The article continued:
“The plan would create a planning and command cell for the EU at NATO’S military headquarters in southern Belgium… The draft text reads: ‘If a member state is the victim of an armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall give it aid and assistance by all the means of their power.'”
Donald Rumsfeld criticized this proposal. The United States is very skeptical regarding the European desires for an independent army. As Der Spiegel Online reported on December 1, 2003, German Foreign Minister Peter Struck rejected Mr. Rumsfeld’s concerns, stating that the proposal intends to”strengthen the European pillar of NATO. The proposal does not intend to compete with NATO, but it is an addition.”
EU CONSTITUTION IN DOUBT?
As AP reported on November 29, “[fifteen] foreign ministers facing a deadline in two weeks for a final draft European Union constitution must still decide whether it should provide for a foreign minister or mention God when the expanded grouping [of ten new member states] enters the world stage [next May].” If the charter would be agreed on during the next summit in Brussels on December 12 and 13, it would take effect January 1, 2005. As Zenit reported on November 26, “at least eight countries — Spain, Italy, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — of the 25 that will make up the European Union beginning next May are calling for the introduction of a reference to Christianity in the preamble of the future Constitution. The Pope has voiced his support for this proposal repeatedly. France and Belgium have rejected the proposal.”
Another hurdle is the allocation of voting power. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in November: “You can’t just go and give 82 million Germans 29 votes, and then give a combined 80 million Poles and Spaniards 54 votes.” On foreign policy, Great Britain objects to the title of foreign minister, arguing it suggests a European super-state.
FISCHER PREDESTINED TO BE EU FOREIGN MINISTER?
As euobserver.com reported on December 1, 2003, “the current German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer is ‘pre-destined’ to be the EU’s first Foreign Minister, according to close friend and colleague Daniel Cohn-Bendit.” The article quoted Cohn-Bendit as saying, “You can hear it all over Europe.” He predicted that once Schroeder and Fischer win the next German elections in 2006, thereby guaranteeing Fischer’s continued post as German Foreign Minister, Fischer could then go to Brussels. Der Spiegel Online reported that, according to close friends of Fischer, Fischer never gave up his goal to become EU Foreign Minister.
US ANTI-TERRORISM PROGRAM ENDED
As USA Today reported on December 2, 2003, “The Bush administration is ending an anti-terrorism program that required tens of thousands of foreigners to register and stay in contact with the government while visiting the USA. The program, created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, required men and boys from 25 mostly Middle Eastern countries to re-register after 30 days and again one year after arrival.”
Those 25 countries are:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The article pointed out the relative failure of this program, as follows: “But critics noted that would-be terrorists were least likely to register with the government and get fingerprinted and photographed. And on Monday, Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security’s border and transportation chief, acknowledged that no ‘national security leads’ came out of it.” In addition, the negative side-effects of the program were described as follows:
“Of the 83,519 visitors registered since November 2002, nearly 14,000 were told to appear in court. Officials said most of those likely will be deported for minor visa violations.”
Beginning in January, the US government will enforce a new “entry-exit program for visitors” at airports and seaports nationwide. According to the article, “visitors with visas will be digitally photographed and fingerprinted. Those who would have been required to register under the old program [men and boys from 25 mostly Middle Eastern countries, listed above] will be put through a second, more detailed round of questioning.”
Sermons by Women?
Is it in accordance with the Bible for Christian women to give sermons or Bible studies, or to publish, or have published, their Biblical or spiritual articles?
The Bible is very clear that such conduct would be in violation of Scripture. We are setting forth below excerpts from pages 13-14 of our booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families”:
“Notice 1 Timothy 2:11-15 where Paul says, ‘Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence…’ Notice, too, the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, ‘Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak… And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.'”
These passages clearly teach that women are not to give sermons or Bible studies in church. Older women can teach younger women in private, but not from the pulpit (compare Titus 2:1-5). We also note that Aquilla and Priscilla took Apollos aside to explain to him the Way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26). Priscilla did not teach Apollos publicly, in front of others.
In addition, women are not to teach Biblical or spiritual matters in a public forum, such as television, the Internet, or the printing press. This conduct would not be in accordance with the spirit of God’s law instructing women to “keep silent in the churches” (compare, again, 1 Corinthians 14:34). To continue with our excerpts from pages 14 and 15 of our booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families”:
“In today’s world of mass communication, churches often use radio, television, the printing press or even the Internet to publish spiritual material. Women should not deliver sermons on radio or television, either, nor should they write Biblical, prophetic, ecclesiastical or spiritual articles. They could write articles in addressing topics such as child rearing, homemaking, cooking, or other matters relating more to our physical lives, thereby avoiding a possible conflict in writing about spiritual matters…
“Rienecker’s Lexikon zur Bibel points out, under ‘Women,’ ‘The relationship between man and woman, ordained by God, can also be seen in the role of service and function within the church… Paul does not allow the women to teach, that is, to fill the office of teacher in the church (1 Timothy 2:12). It is different when Apollos is introduced more fully, in a personal conversation with Aquilla and Priscilla, to the teachings of God. (Acts 18:26).'”
The message of Scripture is unambiguous: Christian women are not to teach Biblical or spiritual matters in church or in a public forum. It may be difficult for some to accept and apply God’s Word on this issue. Sadly, due to the violation of these clear instructions, unhappy or failed marriages have been the result in many cases. If you want to read more about the God-given roles and functions of husbands and wives in a Christian marriage, as well as the Biblical rules of childrearing, please read our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Family.”
Preaching the Gospel, Feeding The Flock
The final batch of responses for the Global Church of God’s recent advertising campaign in the UK were received recently. An additional 449 responses for the booklet “God’s Commanded Holy Days” were received, giving a final total of 2049. A small booklet reprint was necessary to accommodate these further requests.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
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