THE NEWEST ADDITION
TO ITS WEBSITE—
BIBLE CROSSWORD PUZZLES!
As various and sundry school teachers through the years valiantly struggled to impress upon us, learning doesn't have to be boring; it can be fun! OK. Finally we get it! While for some of us there are undoubtedly certain subjects that will never be "fun" to learn (trigonometry and botany spring immediately to mind!), surely it is safe to say that God's Word won't ever be included among such subjects. Surely, two of the nice things about spending a lifetime engaged in a study of the Bible is that there are always new things to learn, and there are always new ways to learn them. When Paul told his young protégé Timothy, "Study to show yourself approved unto God..." (2 Tim. 2:15), the apostle gave Timothy a command that was generic in nature, not specific. That is to say, Paul told Timothy that, yes, he did need to study. But he left it up to Timothy as to how he went about doing that study. We today have the same freedom to choose a variety of means by which we can study God's Word.
We can, for example, simply read and digest the text. We can listen to sermons, classroom lectures, or audio recordings. We can view instruction on the Web or via DVD. We can do worksheets. We can take quizzes. Or, we can even....do crossword puzzles!
Interestingly, up until now each of the methods of learning mentioned in the above paragraph has been readily available via the GOSPEL OF CHRIST Website—except one: crossword puzzles. We are happy to announce, however, that we now have created a new section on our Website that is devoted to learning God's Word via crossword puzzles (proving once and for all what our teachers tried so diligently to drill into us—learning really can be fun!).
Our new crossword puzzles are interactive, which means that you can work them online right from your computer. Plus, each puzzle will be available as a PDF for those people who want to print the puzzles and use them in settings such as classrooms, jail and prison ministries, camps, etc. Additionally, our plans are to produce the puzzles according to a variety of difficulty levels—so that visitors to our Website will be able to find a study level that suits them personally. [And, to answer the obvious question, yes, there is a way for you to get the answers to questions you can't seem to answer on your own; after all, we don't want you to leave our Website frustrated!]
We will be adding new crosswords frequently, so be sure to visit our Website often to see what's new. We will not be mentioning in our bi-weekly newsletter each new crossword puzzle that we add, but we will add a link in the right-hand section of the newsletter, from which readers can easily access the crossword-puzzle page on our Website to check for new additions.
We hope you enjoy this new addition to our Website, and that you can use the crossword puzzles to not only increase your own knowledge of God's Word, but to also teach others as well. As always, our goal at THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST is "to take the whole Gospel to the whole world"—even if we have to use a crossword puzzle to do it! We invite you to join us in this Bible-based goal. Along the way, if we can be of any assistance, feel free to call on us. We are here to serve.
ADDITIONAL BIBLE QUIZZES
NOW AVAILABLE IN OUR
NEW TESTAMENT SERIES
In our April 17, 2007 newsletter, we announced the availability on our Website of the second group of Bible quizzes based generally on the New Testament. We are now pleased to announce the third group of those quizzes. Four new quizzes are available (one each in the easy, moderate, difficult, and extreme categories). Additional quizzes will follow in the months ahead. All of our quizzes can be found on our Website at www.thegospelofchrist.com/quiz.
100TH BIBLE QUIZ
ON ITS WEBSITE!
From time to time we like to share with our readers news about important milestones in our work at THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. For example, in our last newsletter we mentioned that in 2007 our Website had received over 3.5 million page-hits (which was more than double the number of hits received in 2006!).
In this newsletter, we would like to mention another milestone of sorts. In the March 20, 2007 edition of this newsletter, we announced the posting to our Website of the first group of what were at the time our brand-new interactive Bible quizzes. As of this newsletter, we now have posted the 100th quiz to our site. Think for a moment what that means. People from all over the world can go to our Website and take any one (or more!) of the 100 quizzes that are now available. And we will be adding more quizzes—at the rate of 3 or 4 every other week.
One hundred quizzes...and counting? Now that is a milestone! Be sure to visit our site and take some of the quizzes yourself. Go ahead—get addicted to God's Word!
LESSONS THREE AND FOUR
IN ITS NEWLY REVISED SERIES
ON THE BOOK OF ACTS
In our first newsletter of 2008, we announced the availability of the first two lessons ("The Gospel in Jerusalem—Part 1" and "The Gospel in Jerusalem—Part 2") in our newly revised series on the Book of Acts. In this newsletter, we are announcing lessons three and four in that series: "The Gospel in Samaria" and "The Gospel into All the World."
In his lesson on "The Gospel in Samaria" (which covers Acts 9-12), Ben Bailey begins by discussing at length the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, which is presented in Acts 9:1-18. Saul was a devout Jew who, with the blessing of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord" (9:1). But all of that was about to change, because on Saul's trip to Damascus the Lord confronted him in a very forceful manner. To make a long story short, by the time that confrontation (and its aftermath) had ended, Saul was being told by the prophet Ananias, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (see the parallel account of Saul's conversion in Acts 22:16). Acts 9:18 then records that Saul immediately "arose and was baptized."
Today, when people want to know how to get rid of their sins, there is no better place in the whole Bible to send them for the answer to such a question than to Acts 22:16. What washes away our sins? It is baptism. As Jesus Himself put it in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Little wonder, then, that the apostle Peter would later write in 1 Peter 3:21 that "baptism does also now save us." A person would have to have help to misunderstand such plain, simple passages.
As we move along from the conversion of Saul in Acts 9, we are introduced to the conversion of another individual. Acts 10 introduces us to a Roman centurion by the name of Cornelius, who was a Gentile. In Acts 2, the Jews heard the Gospel, the doors of the church were opened, and many Jews became Christians. In Acts 10, the doors of the kingdom were opened for the first recorded time to Gentiles who had not been worshiping according to the Law of Moses that governed the Jews. Thus, Cornelius became the first Gentile convert—the account of which was repeated by Peter in Acts 11 to certain Jewish Christians. After Peter finished speaking, Acts 11:18 records the response of these Jewish Christians: "They glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.' " Exactly! And all non-Jews today who choose to become Christians are the recipients of the blessings that flowed from the events of Acts 10 and 11.
In Acts 12, we learn of how certain ungodly men rose up to kill Christians in an attempt to destroy the church. Yet Acts 12:24 records quite simply that "the word of God grew and multiplied." The point of Acts 12 is that if we as Christians will remain faithful (even in the face of persecution!), God will do His part. After all, He was the one Who said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). Or, as Jesus put it, "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
In his lesson on "The Gospel into All the World" (covering Acts 13-16), Ben notes that this section of Scripture takes us into the last section of the Book of Acts. Acts 13 begins with the dedication of Paul and Barnabas to God's work. The Holy Spirit said in Acts 13:2, "Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." These two men were chosen to carry out the work of God, especially among the Gentiles. In Acts 13, as Paul entered the region of Antioch, he preached the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike. Ultimately, as Paul preached about the Jews' late King David, he also preached about one Who was even greater than David—Jesus Christ—and about how Jesus is the only way to salvation. Paul said to the Jews on that occasion, "Therefore let it be known to you that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses."
As Paul continued his journeys, he found himself (Acts 14) in the regions of Iconium and Lystra—sections of the country that were immersed in idolatry. The people had many false gods, and therefore their worship was not right before God. Thus, in Acts 14:1-18 Paul preached about the sin of idolatry, and about God being the Creator of all things. In fact, in Acts 14:17 Paul said, "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." What is one of the proofs of God as the Creator? It is the very fact that this world works in such an orderly fashion. We have winter, spring, summer, and fall. There is a continuous, orderly cycle. We have rain, which causes plants to spring up from the ground to provide food for us. These things prove that the world is orderly and that there is a Creator. The Universe and all that it contains did not "just happen by chance."
In Acts 14, we also see another response to the Gospel. While many of the Gentiles appreciated and obeyed the Gospel message that Paul preached, man of the Jews loathed it. And because those Jews despised Paul and his message (these were the same Jews who, in Acts 13, had already become upset with Paul because of his preaching), they persecuted Paul, even going so far as to take him outside the city to stone him and leave him for dead. But Paul recovered, and later wrote in Acts 14:22, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." What a dedicated man of God Paul was! His attitude was, "We must be faithful, even in the face of intense suffering and persecution." We today, of course, must exhibit that same attitude in our Christian lives.
In Acts 15, we find Paul, Barnabas, James, and others attending a council of first-century Christians to discuss a matter that had brought some measure of discontent into the church. There were certain Jewish Christians who were saying that the Gentile converts who had obeyed the Gospel needed to be circumcised in order to be right before God. This had created a great stir (and no small amount of confusion) among the Christians because they were unsure as to exactly what they should believe. Thus, the men were called together (including the inspired apostles) for "a meeting of minds" about this matter, with the Holy Spirit preaching and teaching through the apostles. We learn from the events of Acts 15 that circumcision was not required of the new Gentile converts. Nor is circumcision part of the Gospel today, for in Galatians 5:4-6 we are told that in Christ, "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith, working through love."
In Acts 16, as the Gospel goes into the region of Macedonia, we find ourselves introduced to two more conversions in the Book of Acts. First we have the conversion of Lydia and her household. Second, we see the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his household. Both of these conversions are instructive regarding what we today must do to become Christians. We must hear God's Word (Rom. 10:17), believe in Christ as the Son of God (Jn. 3:16), repent of our past sins (Lk. 13:3,5), confess Christ as Lord (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).
Both of these new lessons are now available on our Website, where you will find them in video, audio, and written transcript formats. We invite you to examine them for yourself, and to share them with others.