A Better Possession

The book of Hebrews teaches that the new covenant brings that which is heavenly and abiding, and, consequently, "better." That which is better includes "a better hope" (7:19), "a better covenant" (7:22), "better promises" (8:6), "better sacrifices" (9:23), "a better country" (11:16), "a better life" (11:35), and "better" provision (11:40). Believers also have "a better possession" (10:34) in Jesus Christ, which is the theme of the 2006 Thank Offering. Joined to Jesus Christ in faith, we have in him a better possession than any earthly possession, which passes away. Some of those to whom the author writes in Hebrews 10 were arrested for their faith, while others suffered the loss of their possessions when they showed public sympathy for the brethren. But the encouragement to them from the writer to the Hebrews is that they retained the better possession, that is, heavenly life with Jesus Christ. This knowledge enabled those believers to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. After the seizure of their ... Read more

The Not-So-Secret Secret of Contentment

What is the cure for discontentment? God addresses this in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19. Discontentment The central problem with discontentment is that it is self -centered and involves the sin of coveting. Coveting doesn't start with money or other things; it starts in the heart. The problem is "the love of money" (vs. 10). It's the " desire to be rich" (vs. 9). Coveting starts with a heart that seeks satisfaction in things , rather than in God . Coveting spawns other sins. "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare" (vs. 9). It compromises character, breaks down integrity, and gives rise to other sorts of sin. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils" (vs. 10). Coveting leads "into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction" (vs. 9). "It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs" (vs. 10). Contentment In contrast, contentment marks the God ... Read more

Mountain Religion (Part 2)

[Note: John Belden lives in Neon, Kentucky, where he is the pastor of Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC). The town of Neon is nestled in the mountains of Appalachia. The city once served the needs of several surrounding coal camps. But when the mines began to close, the town and the whole surrounding region were plunged into poverty and welfare. John first came to Neon in the mid-1990s to help build low-income housing. He received his divinity degree from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He has been serving as pastor to CRPC since 2001. This mission work has purchased a vacant building in downtown Neon and is reconstructing it for worship and other ministry. Part 1 of this article appeared in the previous issue of New Horizons .] Many who practice mountain religion end up in a state of burnout. The typical person's story starts with "getting saved" and ends in backsliding. There he stays until the next crisis. Then he starts all over. Once "saved," his efforts turn to staying ... Read more

Helps for Worship #12: Corporate Confession of Faith (Part 2)

"You have come ... to the general assembly and the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven." (Heb. 12:22-23) There is so much more to corporate worship than what meets the eye! One of the profound truths revealed in the New Testament is that, when we worship, we join our hearts and our voices with those of all other saints, living and dead, who are also worshiping the Lord. This is mind-boggling! The Scriptures even teach us that, when we worship, Jesus Christ himself is with us, singing his own praise and declaring his own name in the midst of his brothers and sisters (see Heb. 2:12). That is another reason why our corporate confession of faith is so important in the early part of our worship. We join with the saints of all ages and those alive today in confessing the basic truths about God and what he has done for us by Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. We confess that we are not alone in our faith, but part of a whole heritage of believers in the name of the Lord. For our ... Read more