Update 62


Doctrine! — How Important?

Edwin Pope plans to continue to speak relative to the doctrines with part 2 of his sermon entitled – “Doctrine! … How Important?”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.

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"That's Good, That's Bad"


Growing up we used to play a game called “That’s Good, That’s Bad”. One person would start a scenario and then everyone would chime in accordingly and say, “That’s good!”, except for the next person in the circle who would say, “No, that’s bad because…” and then everyone would say in unison, “Oh, that’s bad!”, except for the next person in the circle who would say, “No, that’s good because…” and so on and so forth.

For example:
A young man went riding on his favorite horse one day.
That’s good.
No, that’s bad because he fell off and broke his leg.
Oh, that’s bad
No, that’s good because a war broke out and he wasn’t able to be recruited.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad because…

It was a good opportunity to teach us as children that not everything that seemed good was good nor was everything that seemed bad,bad.

The same is true for us today as adults in God’s Church. We are enduring many trials and sometimes we may wonder to what end. We may ask ourselves how anything good could possibly come out of what I am going through now. We can rest assured knowing that God is working out a purpose in our lives, one in which He is refining us and shaping us into His image.

There is a reason for what we are going through now and many times when we say, “Oh, that’s bad”, God is saying, “No, that’s good!”. During these times of hardship it is our part to be happy with whatever state that find ourselves in and to be thankful in all things as God does a GOOD work in us.

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Early in the week, U.S. President George Bush addressed the nation concerning what is tantamount to an approaching war in the Middle East. The nation and the world are being prepared for what is sure to follow. Even as the week winds down, both houses of Congress are falling into line with Presidential policy.

In addition, an internet posting from the “Guardian Unlimited” reported on October 10, 2002:
“British Prime Minister Tony Blair carried a potentially strong hand into talks on Iraq with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening amid signs that the Kremlin may be softening its opposition as the United States and Britain push for tough action.”

Grave concerns are being voiced in Japan about the possibility of war against Iraq. Japan is dependant on Middle East oil, and any major conflict will threaten an already weakened Japanese economy.

In the Middle East and amidst reluctant acceptance, various countries are positioning themselves in a kind of fence-straddling position in order to play both sides. The wild card is Israel. If Saddam Hussein unleashes an attack on Israel in the event of a U.S. led assault, there is a growing fear that this targeted objective may spill over into a broader conflict. Much more is at stake in this coming war than that of the war with Afghanistan. Like Japan, Europe is heavily dependant on the free flow of oil from the Middle East. The world economy has been suffering a downturn already, and the potential for catastrophic damage hangs on these future events as America implements its new security strategy of the pre-emptive use of force.


This week has seen a re-emergence of terror in America. This time, however, it appears that one or two individuals have communities in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. unnerved by wanton acts of indiscriminate murder.

To date, nine shootings with seven resulting in death have occurred. One piece of possible evidence involves a tarot card with a scribbled message to the police with the claim “…I am God.” Tarot cards are used by various psychics and others who try to foretell the future. Some place the origin of their use in Egyptian worship–worship that involved the worship of demonic forces.

The inevitable worry on the part of authorities is that “copy-cat” actions will arise fueling even more terror as schools, businesses and families put their lives on hold. In the prophetic “song of Moses” recorded in Deuteronomy 32, God pleads with His people to consider their “latter end”–verse 29. In verse 30, these timely words appear: “How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them?” This nation will continue to face outbreaks of terror until we turn to God–Who alone is able to bring true and lasting peace and safety!

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Please explain Romans 13:3, stating that "rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil." I could think of many rulers who are a terror to good works. Also, do we have to obey civil rulers and their laws in everything?

Paul is talking here about rulers in general, who uphold certain laws to guarantee a civil and peaceful harmonious lifestyle amongst their citizens. Paul is referring to the submission to and the enforcement of civil and criminal laws, such as theft or murder.

Paul is not talking here about the Hitlers or Neros, etc., who are encouraging their citizens to betray Christians or the Jews, so that they can be killed. We need to remember Christ’s statement to OBEY the Pharisees in all that they tell the people, but later, Peter did not obey them when they told him not to preach in the name of Christ. Christ would not obey them, either, to follow their rules of ceremonial washing, or to have no contact with “sinners.” So, Christ was talking about matters which were not in conflict with God’s word. (Notice, too, that John the Baptist openly rebuked Herod for committing adultery with his brother’s wife (Luke 3:19-20). Also, Daniel refused the obey the order of king Darius, not to pray to God, and his three friends disobeyed the order of king Nebuchadnezzar to worship the golden image).

In John 19:11, Christ told Pilate, “‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the GREATER sin.”

Christ is giving here an implicit forewarning of accountability and judgment on those — including rulers — who are evil. We are to be ambassadors of Christ and of the Kingdom of God. As such, we still need to be subject to the laws of man, as long as they are not in conflict with the laws of God.

Also, in Luke 4:6, Satan states to Christ that all authority over the kingdoms of this world have presently been given to Satan, and that it is he who gives it to whomever he wishes. Christ does not dispute this claim. In fact, we read that Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), who still has a throne on this earth (Rev. 2:13). He and his demons are the current rulers over this world (Eph. 6:12), inspiring civil leaders to obey their will (1. Cor. 2:7-8).

Today, this world is cut off from God, and it is subject to the rule of Satan. God had placed Lucifer on the throne of this earth, but he rebelled and became known as Satan. When he inspired Adam and Eve to sin, God gave mankind 6000 years to find out for themselves that we need God. Still, God decreed that Satan is to remain on his throne, until Jesus Christ comes back to replace him and to restore the government of God on this earth. In that sense, there is “no authority except from God” (Romans 13:1), and all authority “has been given from above” (John 19:11), in that God has not yet replaced Satan and his demons and in that they cannot do anything which God does not ALLOW them to do. At times, God might even directly intervene to insure that a particular person takes over rulership in a particular country, so that God’s overall plan for mankind can be fulfilled (Ex. 9:16). But, we are not to follow them, or their laws, when they are opposing God.

The Broadman Bible Commentary has this to say about Romans 13:3:

“…State officials as rulers deserve the loyalty of Christians only when they do approve good conduct (vv. 3-4a). The corrupt politicians who appeal to the Christian conscience to protect their unjust reign of terror and tyranny should be totally repudiated… As God’s public servant the ruler is to promote the good against the bad.” (p. 257).

The German “Lexikon zur Bibel,” by Fritz Rienecker, points out, under “governing authorities” [“Obrigkeit”]:

“The Bible instructs us, because of God, to obey the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14), and to pray for them (Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:2). The reason is, that every authority is appointed by God and that it is His servant (Romans 13:1,4)… There is, however, a limit to obedience. That limit is reached, when the instructions of the authority prevent a human being from obeying God (Acts 4:19; 5:29). This freedom, not to follow the will of the authority, Peter defends before the spiritual authority of his own people.”

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