Connecting Sydney Christadelphian Young People
The search for truth How do we know the Bible is true? The truth about lies Can we save the planet?
believing the truth
ometimes it’s hard to believe the truth.
In the face of so much opposition, doubts will inevitably worm their way into our minds. How can only a few thousand people, out of 6 billion on the planet, have the truth? Nearly all other Christian denominations believe in the trinity, the devil, and an immortal soul. How can what the majority of people believe be wrong? When assailed by these questions and doubts, it sometimes seems easier to try and ﬁt into the norm, to conform to the popular doctrines that have been espoused over the centuries. At these times it is important to remember who has the authority to say what is true and what is not. It is not mankind, who although may have the best intentions, is a fallen creature and susceptible to fallacies and falsities that masquerade as the truth. The only unquestionable authority is the Lord Almighty, for He is the “God of truth” (Psalm 31:5), and He has given us His words of truth in the Bible. We should use these times of doubt to rethink why we believe what we believe, and reafﬁrm our faith in what the Bible says. Do we want to believe because someone has told us it to be true, or do we want to believe because that is what the Bible says? We should never believe something because another person has told us it to be true, but search it out for ourselves. Then we can say “your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth” (Psalm 26:3). With love in the Lord, The Editorial Team
Cover artwork: Shoshanna Hindmarsh
The Vine is published every two months by the Sydney Christadelphian Young People Editorial Team: Jenny Galbraith, Tim Mogg, Jenni Sawell, Katie Shields, Leah Sawell Masthead design: Alisa Thompson Layout: Jenny Galbraith
Contributors: Belinda Errington, Judy Lowe, Jono Smith,Craig Blewett, Andrew Errington, Adam Wyszynski, Asha Watson, Ali Verdich, The Vine is published to the glory of our Heavenly Father, through whom all things are made possible. Opinions expressed in The Vine are the authors’ and not necessarily held by the Editorial Team.
CONTENTS 3 The search for truth
11 Photo Spread!
How can we know what we believe is the truth?
Photos the Mustard Jar event at Heritage College!
5 Passionate Prayer
13 The truth about lies
Hannah prayed passionately, trusted God, and became an inspiration for us all.
Is it ever okay to lie?
6 In the lab with David Philp
17 Can we save the planet?
Find out why he continually wears that pink shirt.
With the world in a panic over the state of the environment, should we be worried?
7 How do we know the Bible
Does archaeological evidence and the Bible ďŹ t together?
Review of Superchick album Beauty from Pain. The Vine
ave you ever looked at the confusion of the world around you and thought, “How do I KNOW if what I think I know to be true really is true?” If you have asked yourself this question, read on, you may learn something. If you haven’t, read on you may learn something. It’s a pretty tough question. SO tough
in fact that I’m not going to even bother trying to answer it. If I may, I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to consider this tricky little question and how we can search for the answer. In this modern age we have access to so much more information than any other time in history. There are so many places from which we can learn. We are presented with different opinions everywhere we turn. From the gentlemen at the front of a meeting hall on a Sunday, from our friends, media, internet. Just to name a few. SO, what does this mean for a seeker of truth? Who should we listen to? How do we deal with contradicting information? Should we hide away from all the possible negative inﬂuences and radical ideas that are lurking out there? There is a lot to be gained from listening to the various opinions being thrown at us. Listening to different points of view opens the door to so many new ideas and ways of thinking. The important thing is the personal process of seeking out truth. While we seek out this thing called truth it is important to question everything. Just because you hear something doesn’t mean that you
have to believe it. Do you remember your mother ever saying, “Would you jump off a cliff if someone told you to?” I do. (Usually after I had done something that seemed like a good idea, but afterwards, had very painful consequences) The obvious answer to my Mum’s cliff
Being a Christian is much, much more than just ﬁguring out the answers in order to comply with a proscribed set of doctrines in order to receive salvation... question is that you wouldn’t. So why would you with your spiritual life? Take in everything you hear. Think about it. Talk about it with your friends. Pray about it. Read about it. Compare it with your life experience. Be prepared to think about the possibility of everything you ever knew to be true, to be false. At the end of this little mental journey you need to make a decision. There is no use standing on the edge of a cliff your whole life wondering whether to jump or not. Maybe jumping will be fun, maybe it will hurt. Maybe it will do both. Figure it out! Spend the time to make sure you have the right answer and act on it. Being a Christian is much, much more than just ﬁguring out the answers in order to comply with a proscribed set of doctrines in order to receive salvation. It’s about James chapter 1, pure and undeﬁled religion is looking after widows and orphans and keeping unpolluted by the world. It’s about listening to God, letting Him work in your heart and
letting what you have learned change you and motivate you to share His love with everyone you meet. James 2 goes on to talk about faith. Studying God’s word helps to build faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see. This is why it is so important to continually search out truth and question everything we hear. If we didn’t do these things and we just accepted what we were told we would not have faith. We would have robots. We might know truth, but it wouldn’t affect our hearts. Continually questioning, searching and seeking for truth is the only way to ﬁnd it. The purpose of studying the Bible is not so that you can become smart and reel off facts about it. We study the Bible so that we know what God wants us to do with our lives. Every time we open the Bible we are hearing the word of God. The Creator of the universe is
...It’s about listening to God, letting Him work in your heart and letting what you have learned change you and motivate you to share His love with everyone you meet. speaking directly to us. Through prayer we have the opportunity to speak to Him. I think that is the most amazing thing in the world, yet too often I ﬁnd myself picking up my Bible and looking at a bunch of black squiggles on thin white paper. If I was seeing clearly I would see the living word of God, with power to teach, uplift and save. Tim Mogg The Vine
When we desire something so much that it makes us miserable do we passionately pray about it? Do we actually believe God will help us? Hannah did, and that is why she is an inspiration to us all.
lthough Hannah’s story is only recorded in two chapters (1 Sam 1 and 2) out of the total 1129 in the entire Bible, she can teach us a lot about our relationship with God. Hannah’s husband Elkanah loved her so much that “he gave to her a worthy portion” (1 Sam 1:5), more than his other wife Peninnah and her children. But despite having a loving husband, Hannah’s life wasn’t all rosy. Hannah grieved constantly because she could not have children. She fretted, wept and was so sad that she couldn’t eat. Between Peninnah’s taunting and Elkanah’s inability to understand, Hannah felt incredibly alone. So Hannah decided that despite all her pain and “bitterness of soul” (1 Sam 1:10) she would pray to the Lord. And as she prayed she cried. She promised God that if He would remember her prayer and give her a baby boy, she would give the baby to Him. After praying wholeheartedly to God, Hannah no longer felt sad. She was calm because she trusted in God. Often when we are as depressed we ﬁnd it difﬁcult to pray, but if we take all our worries to God trusting that He will hear us, we will ﬁnd peace like Hannah did after her prayer. The simple act of surrendering control to God and acknowledging He is in control will bring us peace of mind. 5
Not only will praying to God help us relax but He has the power to give us what we ask for! “Therefore I say unto you, whatever you desire, when you pray believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them” (Mark 11:24). However we don’t always receive what we ask for (James 4:3). And we don’t always get an answer as soon as we ask for one. Hannah waited years to fall pregnant and when God saw it was the right time, she did. If we don’t receive what we ask for immediately, we should still keep praying. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Not only did Hannah receive the baby boy she so fervently prayed for, but three more boys and a girl! Hannah didn’t only pray when she was in pain but when she was happy. After Samuel was born Hannah prayed again saying, “My heart rejoices in the Lord” (1 Sam 2:1). To build a relationship with God, we need to talk to Him when we are happy as well as when we are sad. Relationships don’t work if they are ‘take take take,’ you have to be willing to give a little too. Give God praises and dedicate your life to following Jesus, and God will reward you in abundance. “Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of inheritance for you follow the Lord Christ” (Col 3:24). Katie Shields
In the lab with...
David James Philp, ex-Sutherland, now hailing from Canberra, is a long-standing attendee of SCYP events. In recent years, he has been the butt of many a joke involving a nauseating pink shirt. So David, how do you keep yourself occupied during the long trips to and from Canberra? I generally listen to AM radio and whinge about the rest of the Canberra Crew’s bad taste in music. If I am lucky, someone will ask a simple question that I can answer in exhaustive scientiﬁc detail. Everybody knows that you consider yourself a scientist, but what is it that you actually do? I model infectious diseases. Seriously – I describe how diseases like bird ﬂu will spread throughout the population, and estimate the efﬁcacy of various interventions to prevent that spread. That doesn’t sound too complicated. Why do you think you tend to confuse people when you talk to them? Because I’m very scatterbrained myself. I tend to jump around from topic to topic without really ﬁnishing things, coming up with stuff that turns out to be irrelevant. I know that there are many young people out there who would like to get to know you better, but aren’t sure how to start a conversation with you – where should they begin? They can say anything, really – I like talking about lots of different things, even though I often make a fool of myself because I don’t know anything about the subject we’re discussing. I think sometimes people assume I’m not interested in something because I don’t talk much, but it’s actually because I’m shy. You’re approaching 30 at an alarming rate – what makes you keep coming along to SCYP, and what would make you stop gracing us with your presence? Truly speaking, I often go because Belinda drags me along… but when I go, I always enjoy SCYP because the spiritual subjects are things I don’t often take time to think about – things I wouldn’t hear anywhere else. I also think it’s important for people to give back to SCYP after we’ve moved out of the age group. I will probably stop coming along when I’m too fat to ﬁt through the Shaftesbury Rd kitchen door. And ﬁnally, what’s the deal with the shirt? Do people really want to know that? I actually quite like wearing a lairy shirt. I used to wear it to uni and stuff. Interview by Belinda Errington
The Vine The Vine
How do we know the Bible is true? Does archaeological evidence and the Bible ﬁt together? Judy Lowe travelled to Egypt and Israel to ﬁnd out!
here is a very short answer to this question, plus a very long answer. If we believe there is a God in heaven who created all things and who loves and cares for each one of us, then we have faith that what is written in His word is true. This is irrespective of what archaeologists may or may not discover. This is the short answer. The long answer is very complex. Take for example the story of the Exodus. Did it really happen exactly as recorded in the Bible? Many archaeologists believe not. Why do they say this? To understand their reasons we need to know something of Egypt’s history. Historians have divided ancient Egypt’s history into three great kingdoms. They are : 1. THE OLD KINGDOM 3150 BC to 2460 BC Containing Dynasties 1-6 This is the pyramid building age when the sphinx and the three great stone pyramids, plus others, were built. After this we have the 1st Intermediate Period followed by: 2. THE MIDDLE KINGDOM 1991 BC to 1730 BC Mainly Dynasty 12 This is the great classical age of Egypt, renowned for art and literature. It was Egypt’s greatest period, yet the period we hear least about. Then we have the 2nd Intermediate Period followed by: 3. THE NEW KINGDOM 1552 BC to 1069 BC Dynasties 18-19 This period is one of great military conquest.
The dates given here are the conventional dates used by most archaeologists who would place the Exodus in the time of Rameses II of the 19th Dynasty, New Kingdom. We’ve all heard of old Rameses haven’t we? He who built monuments all over Egypt, making himself out to be the greatest? But Rameses II could not possibly be the pharoah of the Exodus. Why not? Firstly, his mummy is in the Cairo museum. Believe it or not, one look at this mummy and it is obviously that of an arthritic old man. He died in his 90s. He did not drown in the Red Sea. No way. Secondly, after his reign there is absolutely no evidence of a conquest of Caanan. For these and other reasons many archaeologists claim that either the Exodus did not happen, or that it was a series of events which took place over many decades, put together later to make a story. So where does this leave us who do believe it was indeed a literal event? In April 2005, my husband Don and I travelled to Egypt and Israel with two Christian archaeologists, David Down and our leader David Coltheart. They believe conventional Egyptian dating is in error and should be shortened by about 500 years. This is because many pharaohs ruled concurrently with others. They say evidence for the Exodus and the conquest of Caanan is there if looked for in the right time, and to prove this theory, David Coltheart showed us many examples.
Here is just one: At Luxor in Egypt, in the massive Karnak Temple is a wall, on which is depicted many objects taken from Jerusalem to Egypt by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III of the 18th Dynasty – New Kingdom. Who was this pharaoh? He was Egypt’s greatest conquering pharaoh, far greater than old Rameses II who reigned 170 years later. He is identiﬁed in the Bible: 1 Kings 14:25 says “In the ﬁfth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made”. Among the war booty engraved on this wall could clearly be seen these golden shields and what is believed to be the Ark of the Covenant. So King Shishak and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III are one and the same person and he is contemporary with Rehoboam son of Solomon. This is very strong evidence for redating. So when was the Exodus? Joseph’s arrival in Egypt and all the subsequent events leading up to the Exodus took place during the reigns of the seven pharaohs of the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom - Egypt’s greatest age. The Exodus itself happened in the reign of the next pharaoh, Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty and David has good evidence to conﬁrm this. According to his revised dating it happened in 1445 BC. The Bible also gives us a date. 1 Kings 6:1 says “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites
had come out of Egypt in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord”. We know Solomon began to reign in 970 BC. Therefore the fourth year of his reign would be 970 – 4 = 966 BC. Add another 480 years to this and presto! 966 + 480 = 1446 BC the Bible’s date for the Exodus. So, if we accept the theory of revised dating as expounded by David Down and others, the archaeological evidence does indeed agree with the Bible record and we can be sure the Bible is true. One last interesting fact which the two Davids do not examine: The Greek Island Santorini was formerly called Thera. In ancient times it exploded in one huge volcanic eruption. Science has dated this well known eruption to a generation either side of what date? 1450 BC! Was this God’s way of causing the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea? All this is but a small part of a fascinating story. Are you curious for more? Who was Moses’ foster mum? Who were the Hyksos? Who was the Queen of Sheba whom our Lord Jesus called Queen of the South? David Down has published a book entitled “Unwrapping The Pharaohs”. Whilst I doubt some of the very early dates, it is nevertheless a very well researched book, easy to read and beautifully illustrated. It answers these and many other questions. I thoroughly recommend it. Stay tuned.
Religions of the world Throughout the ages people have searched for truth. In this quest many different religions and philosophies were formed, each proclaiming they had the real truth. But what do they really mean when they say truth, and what do other religions regard as the truth?
: Everyone has heard about it, but what do Muslims believe? To start
with, Islam means the total surrender of one’s self to Allah, and Muslim means one who submits to Allah. Muslims believe Islam is not a new religion but a restoration of the Abrahamic faith and that the prophet Muhammad was God’s ﬁnal prophet. The Qur’an is considered the literal word of God and is regarded as perfect only in the original Arabic. The Sunnah is the words and deeds of Muhammad and is used mainly for the purpose of dictating Islamic Law. There are also ﬁve duties that Muslims must hold fast to and these are called the Five Pillars of Islam: Shahādatān:The ﬁrst and most important Pillar of Islam, ‘ašhadu ‘al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa ‘ašhadu ‘anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh, or “I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God”. Salah: Ritual prayer, which must be performed ﬁve times a day at ﬁxed times. These prayers must be done facing Mecca and is a time to express gratitude and worship to God. Zakat: Giving to those who are in need of aid. Sawm: The fasting during the month of Ramadan. Hajj: The ﬁnal Pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage to the city of Mecca during Dhu alHijjah, which must be done at least once during a Muslim’s life. These teachings are the fundamental truths of Islam. Followers of Islam must believe that there is no other God other than Allah, submit oneself completely to the will of Allah and follow the Five Pillars of Islam. 9
: This is the traditional religion of Japan
and involves the worship of spirits. Shinto translated literally means “The way of the gods”. Spirits, or Kami, although divine, are considered close to humanity. They inhabit the same world as we do, make the same mistakes as we do, and feel and think the same way as we do. There are Four Afﬁrmations of the Shinto spirit: Tradition and the family: The family is seen as the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved. Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage. Love of nature: Nature is sacred; to be in contact with nature is to be close to the kami. Natural objects are worshipped as containing sacred spirits. Physical cleanliness: Followers of Shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse out their mouth often. Matsuri: Any festival dedicated to the Kami, of which there are many each year Shinto religion is a great love and reverence for nature. It revolves around the cycles of life and death, and the honoring of the Kami. Belief is not a central aspect in Shinto, and proper observation of ritual is more important than whether one “truly believes” in the ritual.
: This is the second
oldest surviving religion and originates from Persia. Zoroastrianism or “Daena: The good religion” is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster. Zoraoaster lived in the 7th century, B.C. The god’s of the Persians in Zoroaster’s day were numerous. Zoroaster attempted to bring reform to the polytheistic belief of the Persians by his teaching. A person who follows the teachings of Zoroaster is called a Behdin, meaning “follower of Daena”. The main beliefs are that there is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one uncreated Creator and to whom all worship is ultimately directed. Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay. Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over chaos, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. This is only a brief look at three of the many religions in the world. Each one of these religions have millions of followers who believe that their religion has the ultimate truth. While each of these these religions may have their good points, any religion that does not have this point has missed the mark; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’” (John 3:16). Jono Smith The Vine
The Truth about Lies
Is it ever okay to lie?
s lying wrong? Surely the answer to this question is quite simply “yes”. In searching for the answer to this simple question, we’ll discover a seemingly complex, yet profoundly simple and vitally important truth. Confused? Well read on… The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth Let’s start with what we know. There are many places where God clearly states that lying is wrong. ‘You shall not steal; neither shall you deal falsely, nor lie to one another” (Leviticus 19:11) See also Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 6:17, Ephesians 4:25, Revelation 21:8. Quite simply, lying by either saying something or not saying something with the intention to deceive is not acceptable. We could close our Bibles here and end the discussion. Yet as good Bible students we must “search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2) and compare “spiritual things with spiritual things” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Lies, lies and more lies On closer reading we ﬁnd that there are several occasions in the Bible where it appears that lying is accepted. Let’s consider three examples: 1. Rahab lied to protect the two spies that she was hiding (Joshua 2:4-6). If lying is wrong why was Rahab commended for this incident? (Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25) 2. David asked Hushai (2 Samuel 15:34) to go 13
and frustrate Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom with deceptive counsel. We then read that God used Hushai’s false counsel to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:14). 3. Pharaoh ordered all male babies to be killed by the midwives. However Shiphrah and Puah, two midwives, lied about how the Hebrew women gave birth (Exodus 1:19). If this was wrong, why did “God deal well with the midwives”? (Exodus 1:20) (See also 1 Samuel 16:1-3, Exodus 2:3-9) The dilemma So on one hand we know that lying is wrong. Yet on the other hand there are examples where people who lied are blessed by God. So what are our options in resolving this dilemma? 1. The Bible is contradicting itself. 2. Lying is wrong and the “contradictory” verses must be explained away. 3. Lying is OK and the verses that say it is wrong must be explained away. 4. None of the above? Considering these options; Option 1 is clearly wrong as the Bible has one author, God, who cannot contradict himself (James 1:17). Option 2 requires many convoluted “explanations” of scripture in order to explain away these clear “contradictory” verses. Option 3 requires even more wresting of scripture to make the verses that tell us lying is wrong, to somehow sanction lying. Before considering Option 4, we need to understand the important divine principle of “weightier” laws.
A divine principle – 8 > 7 It is very important that we do not make the same mistake that the Jews made. God implemented laws, not for the sake of the laws themselves but that they might teach us about the spirit of the law. Time and again God chastised Israel for following the law but forsaking its spirit (Isaiah 1:11, Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 10:12, Proverbs 21:3, Psalms 51:16, 1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus also condemned the Pharisees for ritualistic following of the law while disregarding the spirit of the law. Matthew 23:23 says “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.” (Also see Matthew 23:27, Romans 2:29.) There are laws, but then there are “weightier” (more important) laws. Jesus illustrated this with the 8>7 example. A baby boy would be circumcised on the eighth day even if the eighth day fell on the Sabbath. The law of circumcision was “weightier” than the law of the Sabbath (John 7:22).So then, it is clear that some laws supersede others, because they are more important.
The Love test And so we return to the seemingly contradictory situations where lying is not acceptable, yet it appears to be accepted, and even commended. Lying is not acceptable. Why? Because we normally lie for selﬁsh reasons. It is normally done to protect ourselves or some selﬁsh gain (e.g. Achan in Joshua 7, Peter in Luke 22:54-62). Yet to determine when lying is acceptable we need to apply the simple love test. Is the lie for us or out of obedience to the greatest command – to love God and to love our neighbour? Let’s apply the love test to our three situations we started with: 1. Rahab’s lie did not beneﬁt her – in fact it endangered her life. Yet she lied because she loved the God of Israel and she loved his people. PASSES LOVE TEST. 2. Hushai’s lie did not beneﬁt him – it also put
“The weightiest of all laws is loving God and loving our neighbour. This is the spirit of all laws.”
The weightiest law - 1 > 7 What then is the weightiest or greatest of all laws? Thankfully Jesus answered this question. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the ﬁrst and great commandment. A second likewise is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”’ (Matthew 22:36-39) The weightiest of all laws is loving God and loving our neighbour. This is the spirit of all laws. Jesus went out of his way to make this point on numerous occasions (Matthew 12:10, Luke 13:14), when he showed love by healing people (Law #1) on the Sabbath. He berated the Pharisees for not knowing this. “You hypocrites! Ought not this woman.. be freed from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:15-16)
his life in extreme risk. Yet he too lied because he loved the God of Israel and David, his anointed king. PASSES LOVE TEST. 3. The midwives lies did not beneﬁt them – they too put their lives at extreme risk when confronted on the issue by Pharaoh. Yet they lied because of their love of the God of Israel and their love for his people. PASSES LOVE TEST. On all occasions the law of lying was superseded by the greatest law, the weightiest law, the spirit of the law – the law of love. So to answer our question - Is lying wrong? Yes, unless it is done in order that the greatest law might be upheld - loving God and loving our neighbour. “The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:40) Craig Blewett The Vine
Walking in the Light of the Truth So we have the truth... ...we believe the words of the Bible and understand the call of the gospel... Is that all there is? Will this knowledge save us? 15
ust being aware of God’s plan isn’t enough; it needs to change our hearts, minds and actions. John told us, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). We don’t just want to follow God by giving lip-service, but by the way that we live in truth. So how do we live in truth? How do we live out in our lives that which we believe? It’s easy to believe in something when you don’t have to act on it, when your life does not need to change as a result. We can deny many things because we don’t want it to change the way we live or have lived for many years. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the “scientiﬁc” theories of how the world got here are so popular. Because without a divine being, your conscience allows you to live the way that you want. But we have a much greater hope, and have been called to worship God in Spirit and in truth, and not deceive ourselves by denying the truth of the scriptures. In Ephesians 6, Paul encourages us to gird ourselves with the belt of truth. Like a belt, the truth should be something that holds us together. It should be ﬁrm, strong, secure and unchanging. Most importantly it should be something that we take around with us daily, not just when we feel like it, or when we want to look good. It wasn’t the bracelet of truth. A belt is not just for decoration, a fashion accessory, but is a functional part of what we wear and what people see. We need truth in our lives constantly to function as children of God. In his introduction to Titus, Paul exhorts us that knowing what the truth is should produce a change of heart: “The knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness” (Titus 1:1). So by having knowledge of what the truth is, we can develop godliness, “God-like-ness”. By searching for truth, discovering what God is like and following what we learn, we will lead a life that is pleasing to our Father in heaven who has done so much for us. The Psalmist continues to develop this idea in Psalm 86:11: “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Learning the ways of God can help us to walk constantly in truth, not living a lie (having a divided heart), but constantly walking in truth (an undivided heart). In this way we will give all to God and not just part of our lives. This is such a difﬁcult task to do. The love, mercy and compassion that God shows should encourage us to develop similar attributes. As Jesus said the law and the prophets are about love of God and of neighbour, this is the truth of
the Bible’s message. Peter agrees that by showing love that comes from the heart to those we meet, we are living the truth. 1 Peter 1:22 says “Now that you have puriﬁed yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Truth in the scriptures often seems to be connected to our hearts (see also Psalm 15:2). We need to continually ask ourselves, is our heart in the right place? Do we live a lie, or do we live the truth? Often we forget to live truthfully as Christ showed us. We go to the meeting week-in week-out on a Sunday morning. “Yes, I know the truth”, we say. “I know all the ﬁrst principles, I can recite the 10 commandments, I know the sons of Jacob.” Remember what John said, in 1 John 1:6: “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” We can call Jesus “Lord, Lord” but still miss the point and walk in darkness, being hypocrites. Jesus warned that the rulers were blind leading
He was the perfect example of someone living, walking and talking the truth. He walked the talk. He lived the truth. the blind. They were full of darkness (Matt 15:814). Jesus said to do as they say, but not as they do (Matt 23:3). Here were men who had the truth, they knew all the promises backwards, but because of their attitude, their heart, they were not considered to be true examples of living truth. If we look in the mirror do we see the truth is being shown to us, as the song by Ari-Ben Pickering says, ‘if I was your shadow for only one day, would I be closer to Jesus, or would I be further away’. Have we been transformed into true servants, demonstrating the truth that we know, that Christ died for our sins and showing the love that He showed. He was the perfect example of someone living, walking and talking the truth. He walked the talk. He lived the truth. God’s teachings and laws need to be kept in the forefront of our minds so that when we act our automatic reaction will be exactly what Christ would have done. Let’s not walk in darkness, in the way that leads to death, but be living examples of the truth that we all share. We know Christ and His Father, this is eternal life (John 17:3). Andrew Errington The Vine
save the planet?
As the world goes into panic mode over the state of the environment and predictions about the destruction of the planet are rife, should we as Christians be worried?
he environment that surrounds us every day has recently been kicked upward into our consciousness, due to its prevalence in the media. Front page headlines frequently broadcast environmental issues such as global warming and its effect on the earth’s climate, the current water shortage and the potential drop in real estate prices on Sydney Harbour should sea levels rise as predicted. By travelling the globe last year promoting his ﬁlm entitled An Inconvenient Truth, former United States Vice President, Al Gore, did his best to refocus society’s attention on the environmental crisis we may soon be facing. As a result the world’s panicked population is now debating the best course of action in order to “ﬁx” the problems themselves. Clean coal technology, biomass and wind, solar or geothermal powers (just to name a few) are hotly contested possibilities for generating clean renewable energy. Once this debate is overlaid with the carbon emissions 17
trading scheme (the Kyoto protocol), the cacophony of voices talking about the issue rises to a dull roar. It is really no wonder the average citizen of earth has no idea who or what to turn to. We are extremely close to “mens hearts failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26). Varying opinions exist throughout Christadelphia. From those who share the sense of panic existent around us to others who dismiss the hype generated by the media entirely. Some of us may have heard exhortations or Sunday night talks featuring material from either of these points of view in recent times. But I would doubt that any of us would have difﬁculty ﬁnding information on any of the abovementioned topics, especially about the uncertainty these ideas create in our society. One thing of which we may be certain given our knowledge of and faith in the Bible is that we can have comfort knowing our God is in control. He has no intention whatsoever of letting man, through his incompetence and neglect, destroy His creation beyond all reclamation. It too
easily slips out of our mind as we go about our daily lives that our God has a plan and a purpose with this world. The book of Numbers reminds us that “the whole earth will be ﬁlled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14:21). This statement absolutely applies to the physical environment and ecosystems which surround us, as well as the inward hearts of mankind. The scriptures state for us that “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the honour of Kings to search it out’” (Prov 25:2). Through Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple in the Kingdom age, we are able to create a relatively clear picture of what the environment and life in general will be like. The most concise way to put it is that the environment will return to the state it was in the Garden of Eden. Although we are not told exact details as to how this will occur, God gives us the image to sustain us on our life’s journey toward it. After all, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov 29:18). There will really be no doubt regarding the return of Christ to this earth. Scripture records that “as the lightning comes in the east and shines to the west, so shall the coming of the son of man be” (Matt 24:27). Prophecy reveals that when his feet touch the Mount of Olives, it will rend in two. Think about that for a minute. Based on current knowledge, scientists predict that the resultant earthquake will exceed 10.5 on the Richter scale and the after shocks will circle the globe up to three times. This is over 1000 times more powerful than the largest earthquake felt by the earth to date. Even more impressive is that the Dead Sea, which happens to be the lowest altitude point on earth at present, will be raised some 1500 feet so that it ﬂows into the Mediterranean and brings forth life, rather than being unable to sustain any living thing. This marks the beginning of God’s healing of the earth. There is an undeniable truth evident in all God’s creation, that nature was designed to be self sustaining. Before sin entered the world God looked back on His creation and saw that it was “very good”. Without
the introduction of sin through Adam, nature would have been able to continue its cycle of existence indeﬁnitely. For example, if we cut our hand, our body has an inbuilt healing mechanism. If we ingest an antigen, our immune system will produce an antibody. Our body generally wants to be healthy and live on forever. In the Kingdom Age, under the righteous rule of Christ, the same process of healing will be able to occur to the natural world around us. The earth will return to a similar “very good” state as in the Garden of Eden. After the 1000 years of Christ’s reign, God will be all in all. And with the abolition of all sin and death, perfection will be the norm. So where does this leave us?
“We should do the best we can to look after this earth that God has given us to enjoy. We do not need to be panicked or uncertain like many around us for we have been given the answer.” Our generation has more information available at our ﬁngertips than any other in history. We understand the effects of our way of life on our environment and what we need to do to minimise our negative impact on it as best we can. We should do the best we can to look after this earth that God has given us to enjoy. We do not need to be panicked or uncertain like many around us for we have been given the answer. Remember that God is more in control than we can ever really fathom in this life. He is a loving and caring God with creative force more powerful than any destructive force man is able to conjure. It is our hope and prayer that we will live with Him and His son in that amazing time when His plan and purpose is achieved and He is all and in all. Adam Wyszynski The Vine
“Whatever God says is the truth” - Sally Thompson
“There is no absolute truth, other than what God says is right and wrong” - David Court
“What is truth?” “Only God knows what is the truth, but He’s given us a neat insight into it in His book!” - Rochelle Errington
“Perceptions of reality” - Ben Pooley
Ecclesial Profile ...Punchbowl
Punchbowl Ecclesia is packed with young people who love the Lord.
f you ever visit Punchbowl Ecclesia you’ll ﬁnd many lovely, friendly people and I mean many! We seem to be growing all the time with lots of families and an ever-increasing number of young people. We’re located at 100 Highclere Avenue, Punchbowl (where the fortnightly Sydney CYC classes are held). We have just under 100 members in the ecclesia including up to 50 in the Sunday School. The Senior Sunday School is divided into two classes which are always very enjoyable and thoughtprovoking. In Uncle Barry McClure’s class, we get to ask the challenging questions, and discuss any issues we might have. A group of young people regularly visit older brothers and sisters to do the readings, have a nice chat (and enjoy the delicious suppers after – thanks Aunty Nancy!). It’s really positive to see our young people enjoying the company and fellowship of more mature members of the ecclesia – we appreciate the great example they give us, and hope we provide each other with encouragement too.
We are blessed with having wonderful spiritual examples both older and younger and this year we have witnessed four baptisms already. There’s always something on for the Punchbowl Young People (PYP). We support the various CYC and other young people’s events, have our own PYP activities or just hang out whenever we get the chance. The PYP get together for a monthly Saturday night class where about 30 young people (ages 1330) coming along. This year we are focusing on the Kingdom, with talks given by fellow young brethren. We usually try to combine the class with an activity as well. In the past we’ve had heaps of fun with water sports and boating days, progressive days and camping weekends to name a few. We’re looking forward a Good Deeds Day in May, a bush hike and PYP camp to come later this year. We always enjoy having lots of visitors to boost our numbers even more, so please come along – we look forward to seeing you soon! Ali Verdich
Reviews Superchick: Beauty from pain
Superchick is one of How often do we hear the expressions my very favourite ‘living life to the full’ and ‘savoring each bands. Their lyrics moment for what it is worth and moving are so practical, on to the next’ but we seem to stumble things you can around and get stuck looking for the take to heart and door handle so we can open the door really live out in life. and get out there. This song challenged They talk about not allowing me to get out there - I don’t want to miss yourself to be measured by the world’s out on the beauty in this world and it standards and helped me understand I found that through that if I can’t open the standing up for what you believe in. this CD, I was able to door, there’s always a Superchick’s latest window. And if all else look at situations and album, ‘Beauty from fails, bulldozers were Pain,’ is slightly invented for a reason! take from them the different from their It helped to intensify beauty and purpose earlier style. While the fact that life is too still falling into the that God intended me short to live in regret, genre of pop/punk/ in mistakes of the to gain from them. rock, the lyrics are past. Nothing in life much more about ﬁnding beauty and is accidental; everything has a reason purpose in the times we ﬁnd most and a lesson so that the rest of life can difﬁcult. be sweeter because of it. My favourite song on the album is ‘We I found that through this CD, I was Live’ it became important to me because able to look at situations and take from I gained so much from what it says: them the beauty and purpose that God intended me to gain from them. I highly We live, we love, we forgive and never recommend this CD to anyone who is give up struggling with trying to ﬁnd the reasons coz the days we are given are gifts why certain events are happening or from above have happened around them. Enjoy And today we remember to live and to each day, it is a gift. Asha Watson love.
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