Monday, June 29, 2020

Let’s Go to Worship!






Introduction

In Psalms 122:1 it reads, I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD." This should be a Christian’s attitude every first day of the week. Yet for some it seems like a burden; “Worship again? We just went last week. How often do we have to go? Every week?!”



Stop Going to Church!

Since I became a Christian, I stopped going to church. I still attend worship services but I don’t go to church. I don’t forsake the assembling of the saints (Heb. 10:25) but at the same time I don’t go to church.  Confused?

For most people this statement sounds absurd. It sounds like I’m contradicting myself; saying one thing and then reversing it in the very next breath. So how can a believer in God, who follows the Bible, not go to Church? The answer is simple, we go to worship! The church is not the building but the people in the local congregation.


The term for this is ecclesia; pronounced (ĭ-klē′zhē-ə,) the definition, according to The Free Dictionary online is:


2. a. A church or congregation.

b. The collective body of Christian believers regarded as constituting a universal church.



Regardless of where you are right now, even reading this article; if you are a Christian, you are in the church. We go to the building for worship because that is the focus of coming together; worshipping God.



SOME FACTS ABOUT THE CHURCH


      1) Belongs to God – 1 Tim. 3:15

2) The body of Christ – Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:24

3) Christ, the foundation-stone of – Mt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:11

4) Christ, the head and Savior of – Eph. 1:22, 5:23

5) Loved by Christ – Eph. 5:25

6) Purchased by the blood of Christ - Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25

7) Sanctified and cleansed by Christ – Eph. 5:26, 27

8) Subject to Christ – Eph. 5:24

9) The object of the grace of God – 2 Cor. 8:1

10) Displays the wisdom of God – Eph. 3:10

11) God defends – Mt. 16:18; Rom. 8:31-39

12) God provides for it – Eph. 4:11, 12

13) Glory to be ascribed to God by – Eph. 3:21

14) Elect – 1 Pet. 2:9

15) Glorious – Eph. 5:27

16) Unity of – Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:10, 12:12; Eph. 4:3-4

17) Baptized into – 1 Cor. 12: 13

18) Added to by the Lord - Acts 2: 47

19) Is edified by the word – 1 Cor. 14:4; Eph. 4:15, 16

20) The wicked persecute - Acts 8:1-3; Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Thess. 2:14, 15

21) Not to be despised – 1 Cor. 11:22

22) Defiling of, will be punished – 1 Cor. 3:17

23) Extent of, predicted – Isa. 2:2; Dan. 2:34, 35, 44



Conclusion

In the coming weeks we will look at the worship service and what is the function of the church. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below.






Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Sermons--Women preachers; Authorized or Not?



This week's sermon comes from Jeremiah Cox, a preacher who will be holding a gospel meeting for the 8th Street church of Christ in February.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Throne of Hell?





Introduction

In Chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation, we see a detailed vision of the throne room of Heaven. Keeping in mind that this is not a literal description; rather a figurative one as announced in Rev. 1:3. But we see God sitting on His throne and His Son, Jesus, approaching the throne in regards to the scroll with the seven seals.

A lot of people these days think that there is a similar scene in Hell; while God sits on His throne in Heaven, Satan sits on his throne in Hell. According to scripture, nothing could be further from the truth.



You’re in My Chair!

Over the last few decades I’ve always heard young people talk about Hell and the fact they believe that Satan sits upon a throne; watching over his dominion of lost souls. I’ve even heard people say that they would boldly walk up to him and say, “You’re sitting in my chair” which would be some kind of challenge to claim his throne and therefore rule the dominion instead.

One such individual I’ve pleaded with to become a Christian to avoid Hell and her response was, “If I end up in Hell, I’m going to try and take over.”

Such foolish belief would easily tell you that they have never read anything in the scriptures about Hell or anything else for that matter. Most of the things that talk about is information passed down from friends and family; none of them have read scriptures either.




Hell Vs. Hades

One of the challenges in reading scripture is knowing when Hell; the eternal place is referenced and Hades; the land of the Dead. These are two different places.

Hades is the place where everyone, who departs from the Mortal Realm will go after death. People do not directly go to Heaven or Hell as there is a judgment that takes place before that (Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Pet. 2:4)

HADES

Jesus tells a story in Lk. 16:19-31 about where people go when they die. Those who are righteous; Paradise, and those who are unrighteous; Torment. If you’re familiar with the old Hercules and Xena TV series you know that the Greek Mythology will have you believe that this Underworld (Tartarus and the Elysian Fields) is the final resting place of the souls. Hades was the god of that realm. They believed that Heaven was the home of the gods and no one else would, or could, go there.

But Jesus explained that souls went here when they died and would remain until the day of judgment. Even on the cross, the one thief told Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom and Jesus’ reply was, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43) He wasn’t telling the thief they we going to Heaven but, rather, Hades on the side of Paradise.



HELL

No one in scripture talked more about Hell than Jesus. The reason was that He didn’t want anyone to end up there. In Mk. 9:43-48, Jesus was referring to the local dumping ground, Gehenna, or The Valley of the Son of Hinnom when he spoke of Hell. He referenced Isa. 66:24 for emphasis as the locals would make that connection. Dead animals, thieves, and destitute people would be tossed in this “landfill”. A fire would sweep back and forth from side of the area to the other burning the bodies. Of course, when the fire hasn’t yet reached certain parts, flies would come in and lay eggs and creates maggots (worms) that would feast on the carcass.

It’s a disgusting visual for sure but it’s guaranteed to assure that no one would want to end up there. Some believe that the Hellfire would eventually burn out and there’s no truth to that. Jesus said in Mt. 25:41 and 46, that the fire is everlasting. Paul confirms this in 2 Thess. 1:9.



Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, Hell is not a party nor is it a place that people can “contend for the throne”. It is a place of eternal punishment for all sinners, and the devil and his angels alike (Mt. 25:41). Satan knows his outcome in the end but it is his goal to take as many souls with him to “share” in his misery. He is a cunning individual (Jn. 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8) and it is his goal to get people to assume he will rule Hell and invite others to join him.

You can avoid Hell and eternal punishment by doing what God has commanded us in his Holy World (Mt. 7:21; Jn. 8:31). Choose eternal life today!


Monday, January 20, 2020

The Bible is Enough




 Introduction

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 the apostle Paul wrote, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. If Christians believe this statement; that it’s from God Himself, then why do most go after books written by men?



The Need for more Revelation?

Over the last two decades or more people have been buying books written by denominational preachers looking for further inspiration in their lives. To most of them, they see the bible as no longer worthwhile here in the 21st century. They wanted something more “hip” and “now” compared to a book written over two centuries ago.

And these people are not picky either. Regardless of their belief’s compared to the author’s, they will buy up every book on the market to be more fulfilled. I personally have browsed through some of these books to see what the hype was all about. They are filled with feel-good stories to give you a “warm, fuzzy feeling” about your life. What these books don’t do is condemn you of sin and instruct you on how to repent of those sins.



Sin Doesn’t Sell

One of the main reasons why none of these books discuss sin and what you can do about it is because, if they did, they wouldn't sell anymore books. No one would come to their church and be inspired by their message on a weekly basis.

Instead of offering the invitation at the end of a sermon; telling you what you must do in order to be saved, they offer an altar call. They’ll have people flock down to the front, recite the Sinner’s Prayer, and consider themselves saved. Of course, with the Televangelists they won’t call it the Sinner’s Prayer but more like the “Salvation Prayer”. Essentially, it’s the same thing but it sounds less offensive. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you know most everything that is said and done today is offensive to someone.

These preachers will then declare you to be saved. They’ll encourage you to get in a bible-based church and start your new life as a “Christian”. You’ll notice I put that word in quotes. It’s because no prayer has made anyone a Christian; just delusional. Mind you, you can still be a better person; change the way you see things and live your life for God but, in the end, you’ll still be condemned to Hell as you didn’t do what God told you (Mt. 7:21-23).



What does the Bible Say?

As stated at the beginning of this article, as Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 3:16-17, the Bible is all we need. Does Jesus say the same thing? Yes, he does! Look at Jn. 8:31, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. Here Jesus shows two things: 1) Although they believed (vs. 30), there was more to do. 2) Abide in “my word” suggests that there is no other word with which one can be saved.

This is crucial to those who say all I have to do is believe in Jesus and I’m saved. Jesus never said to believe on him only. He said you must do something in addition to believing and that is to abide, or continue, in his word. Jesus also said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments.” This also proves that there is more than just belief to being saved.



Conclusion

Books by men are just that; Men’s books. They may inspire you but they won’t save you. God’s book is the one that will save you and it is also the one that will judge you at the end of time (Jn. 12:48).

Here is how you can become a true Christian…

Hear the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)


Believe Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24)


Confess Jesus is the Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10)


Repent of your sins (Acts 2:38)


Become baptized to wash away your sins (Acts 22:16)


Live Faithfully even unto Death (Jn. 8:31; Rev. 2:10)


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Sermons--Grover Stevens



This week's sermon is from a old gospel preacher who passed from this life in 1997. Grover Stevens preached, Why I Left the Baptist Church. I provide the link as below this sermon is a rebuttal from a Baptist preacher and a response by a brother in Christ.

Monday, January 13, 2020

I Will Build My Church






Introduction

In Matthew 16:16-18 the idea of the church is first revealed, Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Jesus said, ‘I will build my church.’ Church is singular meaning one and only one.

In the religious world so many denominations claim that they are the church that Jesus talked about. But how can we tell for sure which is ‘The Church’? We go to the scriptures and search for it just like we would search for a friend.



What’s in a Name?

Many people say that the name of the church is unimportant because we are all worshipping God and that’s more important. Really? So if we were to call it the Church of Dan, God wouldn’t have a problem with it? How are people to know that the church of Dan is the same as in the bible?


The name is very important! If I were looking for my friend Joe Smith then anyone with the name of Jones, Smythe, or even Jose would be eliminated. Sure, Joe Smythe is close enough but he’s not my friend.

We use the same idea for the church. In Romans 16:16 the apostle Paul writes, Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you. Since Jesus said he would build his church (Mt. 16:18), we can draw the conclusion that this would be the name; church of Christ.

Some might point out that the phrase “church of God” is used multiple times in the letters to the Corinthian letters. This is very true and is also an acceptable name. However, the name has been transformed into more of a denomination with Pentecostal leanings and so we can eliminate it as well.



Where in the World is…

Now that we’ve established that my friend’s name is Joe Smith, we find out that there are 10 with that name. The next thing we look at is the city my friend is from. Joe Smith is from Glendale, Arizona. That then eliminates the one from Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and the one from Glendale, California.


We apply that same method with the church. Where did it begin? Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he assured the disciples that they would “…receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The first city mentioned is Jerusalem and you will notice that the disciples remained in Jerusalem where they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-5). This shows that The Church began in Jerusalem. To further confirm this, it was first prophesized in Isaiah 2:2-3, Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD'S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  


With this knowledge with can eliminate any church that began elsewhere; Germany (Lutherans), Rome (Catholics), England (Methodists), etc. Like anything you buy in a store, if you want to know where it is made, you turn it over to read the ‘Made in…’ label. If we could turn the church over, it would say ‘Made in Jerusalem’.



Is it really Just a Number?

We now know that my friend’s name is Joe Smith and he lives in Glendale, Arizona. When we look up his name in the phone book, we notice that there are two Joe Smiths in Glendale. So, what do we look for next? His age! My friend Joe Smith is 40 years old, the other one is 25 so that eliminates him.

Again, we can do this with the church. We are unsure of the official year as calendars weren’t really a thing at that time. However, we know that the church (listed in the bible) was established in the first century; approximately 33 A.D. This would eliminate all churches that were established after that. All denominations are established well after the 1st century so they are not the true church.



Conclusion

It’s not difficult to know what the real church is and where it might be found today in the 21st Century. All you have to do is read the scriptures to know what the church was in the 1st century, write down the attributes, and then compare it with those of today. If you’re serious about finding the church of scripture, you can easily eliminate all denominations and their branch congregations. From there, it’s just a matter of knowing the worship service.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday Sermons--Why I left the Methodist Church


This week's sermon is a transcript by Joe Price delivered in 1983. Given the recent discussion of the split in the Methodist church in regards to same sex marriage, and who is right or wrong, this lesson is to show why both sides are wrong and that God did not create a denomination.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Guest Post--A.C. Grider

"Why I Am A Member Of The church Of Christ" A.C. Grider (1912-1990)



I didn’t join the church of Christ. I didn’t select the church of Christ as “my choice” from among many churches. It never occurred to me that I had a choice nor that I desired to make a choice of churches.


I started thinking about my spiritual condition down in Tennessee some years ago—several years ago and made up my mind that I should do something about it. I began to consider what the Lord wanted me to do. I started to study my Bible.


I found that I was a sinner and that Christ was THE savior. I found that if I were ever saved it would only be by Christ. I considered His word relative to what to do to be saved. He said I should repent, Luke 13:3, I did. He said I should confess Him, Matthew 10:32. I did. He said I should be baptized, Mark 16:16. I did. He said if I would do these things I would BE SAVED. I was. But the BIBLE taught that when I was saved the Lord added me to the church, Acts 2:47. He did. 


Now, WHICH CHURCH did he add me to? HIS, Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Romans 16:16. Thus I am a member of the church of Christ because I had NO CHOICE and wanted none. I just wanted to be saved. And I was!


-The Old Paths (19:23), August 5, 2012

Monday, January 6, 2020

What is The Church of Christ?




To kick the New Year off, I thought I'd take us back to basics. First are links to a 2-part article about the church; both written by Kyle Campbell and can be found in the Spirit's Sword newsletter of Mt. Baker church of Christ of Bellingham, WA

What is the church of Christ? Part 1   Part 2


Saturday, January 4, 2020