May 25, 2002
Join us as Dave Harris speaks on Serving God. Services will begin at 2:30pm CT.
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.
"Right Kind of Balance"
by Norbert Link
How balanced are we – including in our approach to God’s truth? The Bible warns against extremes. Solomon cautions us in Ecclesiastes 7:16-17, “Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time?”
During the many years in the Church, I have seen people jump from one extreme to the other. Some of those who seemed to be extremely conservative turned out to be extremely liberal. They did not really change – all they did was to replace one extreme with another.
The Bible encourages us to hold fast to the truth that we have (cp. Revelation 3:11; Jude 3), and, at the same time, to increase in God’s knowledge of the truth (cp. 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:13). To be complacent with what we got (cp. Revelation 3:17) – thereby resisting the acceptance of newly revealed understanding – is as wrong as rejecting the truth that has been delivered to us (cp. 2 Peter 2:15, 21; 3:17). And, if we have rejected aspects of God’s truth, we must return to it. We are told in Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'”
We will be celebrating Pentecost in a very few weeks, reminding us that we have received God’s Holy Spirit. It is God’s Spirit that leads us into all truth (John 16:13) – showing that we do not have all of it yet. Even the apostle Paul said, prior to his death, that “now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Jesus came to teach us new understanding – He came to exalt the law and make it more honorable (cp. Isaiah 42:21), showing us how we need to keep it, not just in the letter, but also in the spirit. He knew that some would resist that new understanding. It takes time to let God’s truth sink in – and some are unwilling to do that. Notice Luke 5:37-39, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. AND NO ONE, HAVING DRUNK OLD WINE, IMMEDIATELY DESIRES NEW; FOR HE SAYS, ‘THE OLD IS BETTER.'”
Some went so far as not to even follow Christ any more when they could not understand aspects of the teaching that He brought (cp. John 6:53-60, 66). We must never make the same mistake of ceasing to follow Christ when He, through the Holy Spirit, reveals new aspects of the truth to us.
A balanced person will be able to combine “the old” with “the new,” seeing how it all fits together. Christ said in Matthew 13:52, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Let’s continue to do so.
This Week in the News
WORLD NEWS HEADLINES
This week has seen momentous focus on the Church in Rome.
Press coverage has revealed a church originally content to “wash its dirty laundry at home” now grappling for a consistent and acceptable public position. Even with the spotlight on priests guilty of activities reviled by both American Catholics and American non-Catholics, the official church position had been cautious and restrained. To a degree, that ended with the American Cardinals summoned to Italy for a conference before the Pope.
Even though there were politically correct statements from the Pope concerning the criminal nature of acts by some of its priests, there remains an intransigent undercurrent supporting church authority.
These events have created more attention worldwide for the Catholic church than even Papal visits. Expect to see this international religion actually rebounding as a moral leader in the near future. Prophecy clearly shows dominance in the end-times by a great religion claiming “Christianity” as its origin and authority.
There is an alarming sense of inattention now extant in the United States concerning Russia. Because of our press reports depicting a Soviet system defeated by Western ethics and values–much less its dollars–Americans, in particular, view the remaining nucleus of Russia as harmless.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Especially when we consider the near future. Right now, Russia is very active in furthering its own interest. It draws on a historic and deep perseverance of national character. News reports gleaned from almost incidental entries reveal a steady flow of international influence. Nowhere is this truer than among many of those nations which emerged out of the Soviet Union and its former allies.
Mr. Putin of Russia has shown that he is willing to go all the way when it serves Russia’s interests. His recent invasion of Georgia has been described, by some, as outright occupation in violation of human rights, but it has received little coverage in the European or American press. Germany’s decision to forgive Russia in excess of seven billion (!) Euro dollars has enraged some Germans, but this must be seen within the bigger picture of prophecy, indicating an original, howbeit fragile, alliance between Germany and Russia.
The powerful current of prophetic events has once again revealed a glimpse of the impending hazards of this world’s looming final troubles.
Political events in Continental Europe received fresh focus as a right wing contender for the leadership of France emerged this week. Extreme-right leader and candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen (73) of the National Front gained second place and bolted into contention with incumbent Jacques Chirac. The run-off election for the French presidency will be held on May 5th. Regardless of the outcome (that Chirac will be reelected as French President is considered as almost certain), the Jewish community in France is already afraid of ensuing anti-Semitic attacks. Le Pen, who considers the Holocaust as a footnote in history, is being compared to Austria’s “leader-in-waiting,” Joerg Haider.
Haider is a declared enemy of Jacques Chirac. He immediately congratulated his friend Le Pen on his victory. “This is a victory of democracy,” Haider said. He also announced that it is his goal to become Austria’s chancellor. Next elections are scheduled for the fall of 2003, and Haider said that he would run for chancellorship if the Austrian people want him to.
One year earlier, in September of 2002, Germany will face its election for a new Chancellor. Last Sunday, Edmund Stoiber’s chances might have increased dramatically, when Gerhard Schroeder’s party suffered a stunning defeat in elections in Saxony-Anhalt in East Germany, ending up far behind the Christian Democrats (CDU). (Edmund Stoiber’s party, the CSU, is the Bavarian sister party of the non-Bavarian CDU).
Distressful, persistent problems underlie current political shifts in Western Europe: Lax immigration policy which feeds a steady stream of cheap labor; regional and national interests versus European integration; and, most fundamentally, a concern about monetary stability and distrust of the stability of the Euro dollar all keep politics on the explosive front burner!
Yet, in spite of these problems, Europe as a force is taking shape. Europe is negotiating, forming alliances and moving within global perspectives in nothing short of astonishing ways. All of these events continue in breath-taking leaps that can only find their parallel in the sudden demise of the Iron Curtain and the staggering fall of the Berlin wall that separated a then divided Germany. In just little more than a decade, the face of Europe has forever changed.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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