Does the Bible compete with anything for time in your life?

Today’s generation is faced with a problem like no other – an unprecedented proliferation of opportunities to be entertained or indulged; each one playing a part in stifling and smothering the desirability and presence of God’s Word.

For thousands of years, the Word of God has been a captivating safe haven for people who have been confronted by war, disease and persecution. Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves in a societal landscape saturated with mind consuming distractions which range – according to whatever view you adopt – from ‘harmless’ to ‘insidious’. The reality is that however you see it, most ‘harmless’ activities can end up becoming ‘insidious’ by virtue of the amount of time we spend consumed in them.

For many of us, social media has successfully dominated our lives and taken large amounts of time away from our family or time away from Gods Word. For others the problem might be gaming, a hobby, holidays, having a TV in the lounge – you name it. Perhaps the problem exists, but is not yet known to you.

Even if we are convinced that our pursuit, habit or hobby is harmless, Christ’s words to the ecclesia of Laodicea should prompt us to constantly reassess our conviction. When Christ said to the Laodicean’s that he would “spue you out of my mouth”, he didn’t issue this stark warning because Laodicea had become subjected to some dark and insidious form of Baal worship, No! Their problem was not immorality, wrong doctrine, child sacrifice, or some other form of blatantly perverted evil.

The influence that repulsed Christ so much, was materialism; the Laodiceans lived amongst general prosperity and comfort, and they weren’t in any hurry to oppose it. Where the Smyrnan’s were incredibly thankful to have a loaf of bread on the table, the Laodiceans were complaining about the brand of the coffee they were just served. Where the Smyrnans suffered shocking persecution at the hands of the Roman authorities, the Laodiceans used wax to caress their shiny sports edition cars.

Transplant the Laodiceans to our age, and they would’ve had a rort! The deafening roar of the crowd as they cheer on the chariots at the Colosseum would be old-school entertainment when compared to the pounding roar of today’s V8 supercar. Better still, the vision of the elite cars projected onto the living room wall, complete with some ground shaking surround-sound would make for an adrenaline-on-tap experience which would leave the chariots in the dust.

The age in which we live today has had the benefit of thousands of years to master the art of stimulating every sensory, making todays offerings far more sophisticated than the classic Laodicean experience. Today’s selection of indulgence is highly customised to our unique taste, easily justifiable and always ‘in your face’; every minute of the day comes with an incessant and unrelenting invitation to lapse into an indulgent habit – the only remedy being a constant and determined effort, to make righteous decisions.

Sometimes (more than we like to admit?) we give in to mindless habits, and steal and plunder the time that belongs to God – and sometimes, we don’t even realise we are doing it. How do we know when we are plundering time that is due only to God? Perhaps one litmus test is to reflect on our growth in Christ. Paul talks about constantly growing in the word as a lifelong endeavour and you would recall he admonished the Hebrews for not progressing beyond a very basic understanding of scripture. The problem of not progressing beyond the milk of the word is a serious challenge for our ecclesia while faced by the constant allurement of materialism.

It’s a challenge that has seen brethren and sisters who, while hesitant to open their Bible and study the word, are studiously committed to their personal interests – be it sports, politics, gaming, hobbies or entertainment. In those fields of interest, study is not a problem, time is not an issue. For example, it might be a fanatical knowledge of the cricketing world has consumed time over many years, leaving scriptural knowledge to pay the price.

Perhaps Revelation has been consigned to the ‘too hard basket’ and instead we have reclined and enjoyed an entrancing TV series. A decision like this requires self-discipline no doubt, but as a brother recently pointed out, consider the implications of this; that Revelation is the bridegroom’s last impassioned letter to us, his bride – whom he loves. It would be difficult when our bridegroom comes to have to explain to him why we have not read his letter to us – what legitimate excuse could we possibly have? Consider how our Lord would feel if we allow our focus to become consumed on temporary things, while ecclesial resourcefulness is in deficit, with attendance dropping, welfare becoming consigned to the work of a few and gospel proclamation under pressure.

It’s not hard to flick on the TV, sit back and revel in the drama of sport. It’s not hard to become experts in retail products that we covet. It’s not hard to follow a TV season, or spend each evening flicking through social media. It takes effort and time to open to the word of God and develop a deep personal conviction of God, his expectations and his love. But despite the effort, this should be our ultimate aspiration in life, beyond anything else!

Christ has called followers who are prepared to dedicate themselves to him in every way possible and therefore reassessing how we spend our time in this age, needs to be a conscious, repeated effort. If a habit or hobby has consistently taken our interest, or time, or enthusiasm away from God’s word or ecclesia, than we must remove the roadblock and clear the way for time in service to God.

If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mat 5:30

The most important commandment in the Bible calls for dedication from every fibre of our being – not just our spare time.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Duet 6:5-9

Let’s take every opportunity we can to indulge Gods Word – to meditate upon it day and night, encourage others to talk about it at the meeting, consider its principles together with our closest friends and family, and expound them to those who are yet to learn the truth.

Our sacrifice is not one made on the cross, the stake, or in persecution; the challenge which materialism presents to faith today is far more alluring than times past, but no less fateful as our Lord has made abundantly clear.

As each day brings us closer to his return, let’s determine to give Gods Word the premium time in our daily schedule that it deserves, for truly there is little in this life that should compete for time with the Word of God.

Imagine, that your time has come.

That moment has finally arrived.

Christ has returned, and you stand before him, about receive the final judgement.

Your mind flashes over the events of your life, the choices you made, the people you befriended, the priorities you chose, the habits you established… and you feel a sense of unease.

Christ turns to you and says;

I know your works, that you were neither cold or hot: I wished you were either hot or cold.

Because you were lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spue you out of my mouth.

For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing’, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Christ spoke these words to the ecclesia of Laodicea.

Out of context, one could be forgiven for thinking that this ecclesia had become subject to some dark and insidious form of Baal worship.

Infact the reality was far from it. Their problem was not immorality, or wrong doctrine, child sacrifice, or some other form of blatantly perverted evil.

The influence that repulsed Christ so much, was materialism.

You see, the Laodiceans lived amongst general prosperity and comfort, and they weren’t in any hurry to oppose it.

Where the Smyrnan’s were thankful to have a loaf of bread on the table, the Laodiceans were complaining about the brand of the coffee they were just served.

Where they suffered persecution at the hands of the Roman authorities, the Laodiceans were each tweaking and squeaking their shiny sports edition cars.

Transplant the Laodiceans to our age, and they would’ve had a rort!

The deafening roar of the crowd as they cheer on the chariots at the Colosseum would be old-school entertainment when compared to the pounding roar of the V8 supercar. Better still, the vision of the elite cars projected onto the living room wall, complete with some ground shaking surround-sound, and popcorn.

The age in which we live has mastered the art of stimulating every sensory. Its offering is far more advanced than the classic Laodicean experience.

An array of indulgences are available; sports, TV, movies, social media, personal devices, food, cars, fashion, careers, houses, not to mention the offerings on the internet.

The indulgence is customised to your unique desire, easily justifiable, and innocent enough.

Such was the experience of the Laodicean. But what of the state of their faith?

Oh don’t worry, they read their Bibles occasionally.

But sadly they could tell you more about the Cricket, than they could tell you about the Prophets.

They had no time to study and meditate on their Bible. Perhaps they were too busy?

They rarely made a personal effort to preach the gospel.

The regular feed of TV and Social Media left the welfare of others untouched.

Indulgence was permissible, and the concept of COMPLETE self sacrifice remained just that – a concept.

There is no question of whether or not we live in a Laodicean age.

The question is whether or not we choose to enjoy the same indulgences, or a life of COMPLETE self sacrifice.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”


Who are the Christadelphians?

“Christianity was in its earliest days, entirely unpolitical: The best representatives in our time are the Christadelphians.” – Bertrand Russel

“Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church.” – The BBC

The Christadelphians reject many of the major doctrines of modern Christendom, and have an understanding of the Gospel that is true to the original teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is recognized – even by historians – that many of the doctrines of the major churches were introduced in many cases under political pressure, or for political expediency. In other cases and especially around the 4th century, Christian practices adopted pagan characteristics in order to entice pagan worshippers. However the doctrines and practices of the Christadelphian community dispense with centuries of pagan and political influence, and are derived only through scriptural precedent.

Continued, personal and independent study of the Bible is the primary emphasis of the community, with sole reliance on Scriptures for guidance in a way of life.

The Christadelphians organise locally into groups called “ecclesias”, which is a Bible word in Greek that means A called out assembly. We have no clergy, and share responsibilities for various tasks among the baptized members of the ecclesia. Our ecclesias associate with one another by having what we term – fellowship, which is Christian association in many forms.

There are Christadelphians in many parts of the world, for example in Britain and parts of Europe, many African countries, the Far East from India to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, North and South America from Canada to Argentina, and in the islands of the Caribbean. The community includes people of many races and cultures.

A brief summary of Christadelphian beliefs are listed below.

  • The Bible is the only true message from God and was entirely given by him.
  • There is only one God, the Father, who made the world and has a great purpose for it.
  • The Holy Spirit is God’s own power; by which He works out His own holy will.
  • Jesus is the Son of God. He is also Son of man through being born of Mary.
  • Jesus overcame all temptation and died to save his followers from sin and death.
  • Jesus was raised from the dead by God. Later he ascended to heaven but will return.
  • When he returns he will raise and judge the responsible dead and give immortality to the faithful.
  • He will be King over the restored Kingdom of God in Israel and over the whole world.
  • His immortalised followers will help him to bring everlasting righteousness and peace worldwide.
  • The devil is not a supernatural being but is another name for sin, destroyed only in Christ.
  • Salvation involves covering from sin through Christ, and freedom from sin and death at his coming.
  • When man dies he ceases to exist. The only hope of life is by the resurrection at Christ’s return.
  • Belief in God’s Promises about the Kingdom of God and the work of Jesus Christ is essential.
  • Repentance and baptism into Christ by immersion in water and daily following of Christ are all necessary for ultimate salvation.

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