The opening verses of the tenth chapter of Acts give a rather glowing description of a man named Cornelius. The first verse notes that Cornelius was a ranking officer, a centurion, in the Roman army at Caesarea. The second verse describes him as, “A devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” The next four verses depict Cornelius seeing an angel in a vision in answer to his prayers. The angel gave Cornelius instructions to send to the city of Joppa for Simon Peter in order that Peter could come to Cornelius’ home and teach him and his household the gospel. The rest of the chapter deals with God preparing Peter for the mission, the messengers from Cornelius traveling to Joppa, Peter entering the home of Cornelius, Cornelius recounting his vision for Peter, Peter teaching the gospel to those of Cornelius’ household, and their obedient reaction to that teaching, culminating in their being baptized. Now, back to verse two..
Is there right and wrong in religion? If there is, can being mistaken, that is thinking you’re right when you’re actually wrong, jeopardize your eternal salvation? This is a tough question. Not so much because it’s all that difficult to figure out the correct answer, but because it’s often very difficult to properly apply the correct answer. In today’s culture it is perhaps even more difficult, because we rely heavily on subjective feelings to guide us as to what is right and wrong.
It’s a common theme in many congregations to talk about how to make worship more meaningful, more encouraging, even more exciting. Suggestions might include: change the time of worship, drop the announcements, begin with a period of silence, change the order of the service, cut down the sermons, have more prayers, pray shorter prayers, sing more songs, sing fewer songs, sing more songs with a quicker tempo, start on time, et al. The list goes on... When carefully considered, most all of the suggestions have something in common. They’re almost always suggestions for what other people can do to help make my worship more meaningful.
The Wednesday night auditorium class has been using a study guide titled, “The Love Of Christ,” written by Richard Rogers and Bill Yasko for the Sunset International Bible Institute. The fourteen lessons cover basic Christian doctrines, particularly focusing on the worship, work and structure of the church. One lesson dealt with The Organizational Structure Of The Church. That lesson included the work of elders, and within that section church discipline was discussed.
Gary L. Hutchens