In Memory of John Hains

1958 – 2022

In 2 Samuel 1, David wrote “the Son of the Bow,” a lamentation for Saul and his son Jonathan who died in battle against the Philistines. David mourned the loss of these two great heroes of Israel. Saul and Jonathan were very different men, one a valiant and powerful king, yet unfaithful to the Lord; the other, David’s best friend, a kindred spirit, and most importantly, a faithful man of God. David eulogized these two important figures with the phrase, “How the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27)

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JUDE

The author of the book of Jude identifies himself as “…a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James…” (1:1). Mentioning James in this way infers that he was widely known to the brethren. There are four men named James in the New Testament, but only one James whom we know had a brother named Judas (a.k.a.). Jesus’ brother James was a prominent man in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 12:17; 16:13; 21:18; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12). Jude is likely the Lord’s brother, though it seems perhaps our of humility, he identified himself as the brother of James and the Lord’s bondservant.

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God of the living

Oops! All public speakers have those moments where what they intended to say and what they actually said were not the same thing. In the Sunday sermon on January 16, 2022 (The Christian Bucket List) I referenced Matthew 22:31-32, which reads,

But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’

In the lesson, I misquoted the text as “I am the God of the dead, not the God of the living,” which of course is not the case. My apology for any confusion or concern the statement caused.

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1, 2 & 3 JOHN

These three epistles are all associated with the apostle John, brother of James, and son of Zebedee, who was in Jesus’ inner circle of friends. Though he is not named specifically in the books, there are internal evidences which would logically lead to John being the writer. The writer of 1 John was an eyewitness of the Christ (1 John 1:1-2). Not only that, but 1 John 4:6 (…he who knows God hears us…) sets him in an exclusive group who have authority in spiritual matters—the apostles. He refers to his audience as “little children” and to himself as “the elder” speak to his age. Both history and Scripture (John 21:18-23; Revelation 1:9) reveal John was the lone apostle to live into his old age.

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1 & 2 PETER

Prior to being a disciple of Christ, Peter was a fisherman working on the Sea of Galilee working with James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Luke 5:10). Peter and his brother were originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44), but they eventually moved to Capernaum along with Peter’s wife and mother-in-law (Luke 4:31, 38).

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JAMES

James identifies himself as “a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). There are three men named James in the New Testament.

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HEBREWS

As per the name, this book was written to Jewish Christians. In his commentary, Robert Milligan summarized the purpose of the book in this way:

The primary object of our author in writing this Epistle was manifestly to persuade his Hebrews brethren in Christ to persevere to the end in their begun Christian course, and not to fall back again to Judaism … and it was therefore also for our comfort, encouragement and consolation, as well as for the benefit of the persecuted and desponding Hebrew Christian (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews)

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PHILEMON

While Paul was in prison in Rome, he wrote three letters to churches (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) and one personal letter to a beloved friend – Philemon (Philemon 1:1). There are several commendable things about Philemon:

  • The local church met in his home (Philemon 1:2, likely the Colossian church, see above)
  • He was known for his love and faith (Philemon 1:5)
  • He was focused on sharing his faith (Philemon 1:6)
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TITUS

Titus was a young Greek man (Galatians 2:3) whom Paul called “a true son in our common faith” (Titus 1:4). This description would indicate Paul had brought Titus to the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:15). We do not know where or when Paul met him, but after Paul’s first missionary trip had ended, Titus was among those who went with Paul to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-2; Acts 15) to confront the Judaizing teachers who falsely taught the Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved. Titus, with Paul’s support, did not yield to the pressure of the false teachers (Galatians 2:3-5).

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1 & 2 TIMOTHY

Timothy was a young man from the city of Lystra. His mother was Jewish but his father was Greek (Acts 16:1). The disciples at Lystra spoke well of Him, and so Paul desired for Timothy to join him as he traveled preaching the gospel (Acts 16:2-3). Paul spoke of Timothy as “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul took Timothy under his wing and mentored him, serving as a father-figure to him in spiritual things.

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