Thursday, December 21, 2017

Is the Church Really Important?

It is so unfortunate that many people today who claim to be religious, do not feel that the church of our Lord as being all that important. However, we can clearly see in scripture the following:

God planned the church. The apostle Paul said this concerning the church: “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Therefore, if God did plan and purpose the church as the Bible says, then the church must be very important.

We learn also that the Holy Spirit revealed the church. The Lord’s church is revealed on the pages of the Bible, by the Holy Spirit. “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:3-6). There are more than one hundred references to the church in the New Testament. The church must be very important since the New Testament says so much about it.

Jesus died for the church. Jesus said to Peter after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God that “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We learn from the pages of the Bible that “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ purchased the church “with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for the church that He loved and established.

May we all fully understand the importance of the blood bought church of Christ!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Preparing Ourselves for Worship

Most everyone realizes the need for preparation in our lives. Before we leave for work or school, we freshen up, comb our hair, and put on clean clothing. After a hearty breakfast, we leave the house ready to face the day's activities. 

Parents prepare and make sure that their school-age children are ready with their homework before they head to school. One hosting a get together values preparation and usually goes the second mile when company is coming. The menu is planned, grocery shopping done early, and the meal gets put on the table at the right time.

Preparation really does pay off! When we're well prepared, our lives are happier and runs smoother. We've all learned that facing a test in school without studying, getting to work late without our lunch, or serving guests after a long delay, disturbs us. We've learned the value of preparation in various areas of our day to day lives.

Therefore, don't we feel that our worship of God would be better if we made adequate preparation for it? I want to offer just a few suggestions that should make our worship to God much better on the Lord’s day.

First, we need to get up on time. It really makes a difference when we get up, get ready, and leave in plenty of time in order to arrive at the building early so we can greet our brethren, and begin focusing our attention on the privileges and joys of assembling together.

Secondly, we need to come with a prepared, seeking heart. Attending the assembly should not be approached as a matter of habit or burden of duty. It's an opportunity to get completely away from the world and be in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and have a deeper contact with our God. 

Thirdly, we need to come with a prepared attitude. We need to come prepared to give of ourselves. If we come only to receive, we will, in the end, get nothing. The success of the assembly depends on people who are prepared to give of themselves. Assembling isn't just a matter of getting some people together. It's a matter of getting hearts, minds, and needs together. Our preparing for the assembly will most likely make all the difference in the world. Come prepared to worship our almighty God and to edify and encourage one another.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Love of God

Have you ever tried to understand the extent of God’s love for man? The truth is, we can’t wholly grasp the depths of God’s love for us. His love is infinite. Our comprehension is finite.

It seems that true devotion to God is not attainable without a personal awareness of God’s love. I must understand that God loves me. Please notice Paul’s use of the personal pronouns I and me in 1 Timothy 1:12-17: “I thank Christ Jesus...I was formerly a blasphemer...but I obtained mercy...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief...I obtained mercy, that in me first Christ Jesus might show all longsuffering.” Paul was aware of his own sinfulness and unworthiness. This awareness served to magnify his conception of God’s love and mercy. 

Every child of God needs to reflect on the unconditional nature of God’s love. 1 John 4:9-10 tells us, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

We did not, nor can we ever, earn divine love. God’s gift to sinners is His Son, Jesus Christ. God greatly desires to save those who are sinking in sin. Jesus was, and is, the only way for God’s desire to be accomplished. God put Jesus on the cross for you and me. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Let us be devoted in our love for God. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Glad to Worship God

Several years ago when we were living in Ridgway, CO I talked with several people who said they worshiped God by hiking along the mountain trails on Saturday and Sunday. They believed that was how they became close to God. They, along with many others have told me that they didn't need to go to worship services in order to draw near to God. In fact, some have suggested that going to church hinders them from truly communing with God.

How we feel about this matter isn’t the determining factor as to whether or not we’re correct in our thinking. God’s word ultimately must decide whether we need to be regular in our worship with other Christians. 

Long ago, David left us a good example about worshiping God. He said in Psalms 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” In the New Testament we read in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

The instruction is clear for all who want to understand the will of God. We need to come to God in Christ by obeying the first principles of the gospel of Christ, and we must be faithful to our God as long as we live. A part of this faithfulness is assembling with the saints and worshiping God in spirit and in truth. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24). 

How about you? Do you worship God on a regular basis? If not, why not resolve in your heart to begin doing so? May God, in all things, be glorified in our lives (Matthew 5:16).

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Lord's Supper

In Acts 20:7, we're given the example of the early church gathering together to break bread on the first day of the week. Lets look at the Lord’s supper and what it should mean to us. As we gather around the Lord’s table, Christ is with us as the central figure. He is the Son over his own house, whose house we are according to Hebrews 3:6. When Jesus instituted His supper, He said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). His kingdom is here, and He communes with us. He has promised to be with us as meet in His name (Matthew 18:20).

As Christians partake of His body and blood, through the eye of faith, he has communion with every other Christian who is partaking. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Thus, the Lord’s supper is a most beautiful expression of unity and fellowship. Every heart is directed to the one sacrifice made for all.

To partake of the Lord’s supper is a confession of our faith. We show the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” Thus, as long as faithful Christians continue to partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, they are keeping the remembrance of His death alive. This great memorial feast instituted by our Lord will continue until our Lord returns. Do you remember the Lord’s death each Lord’s day as the early Christians did?

Monday, October 30, 2017

History and Geography of the Bible Story on CD

I have just put the "History and Geography of the Bible Story on CD" on sale! This is the first time I have sold this CD for this price. Now until December 31, 2017 you can only purchase the CD for $20.00 from my website

This CD contains over 1,300 PowerPoint charts dealing with the history and geography of the Bible story and compliments the popular "History and Geography of the Bible Story" study manual by Bob and Sandra Waldron. You can read more about it on the website.

This CD would make a great gift for any Bible student. The CD will be shipped to anyone in the United States free of charge. After December 31st the price will return to $25.00.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Moral Issues

Moral issues have become very clouded in today's society. Many sins are now looked upon as little more than unavoidable illnesses. Some may be pushing this philosophy in an attempt to sooth their consciences, but God gives them no comfort from His Holy word.

For example, homosexuality is one such sin that seems to be looked upon as an alternate lifestyle rather than moral perversion. I am not trying to emphasize one sin above another, but I am emphasizing that sin is sin. Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Homosexuality, along with many other similar sins, is clearly condemned in God's word. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."

If any of these sins are part of your life, you need to stop and come to Jesus for washing, sanctification, and justification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor..." 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." It is imperative that we live our lives according to the teaching of God. Our heavenly Father has given us every opportunity to be obedient to Him during our days on this earth. Therefore, let us all have no part of immorality and strive to let our lights shine for Christ. Our eternal destiny depends upon it. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Value of God's Word

Have you ever had something you valued very highly and were afraid that you might lose it? Most of us take great care in protecting what we highly treasure, and try to learn the best way to protect it. Sometimes our efforts to preserve and keep our treasures are useless due to ignorance or neglect of the correct measures to be taken. Therefore, that which provided great benefit and was of much value is lost and can't be recovered no matter how hard we try.

Atheists, secular humanists, and others who don’t want to hear anything about God or His standard for living, enjoy the all the benefits that come from a society that generally practices the teachings of the Bible. These people are willfully ignorant of the knowledge that the Bible and its teachings restrain evil and bring order to society. They’re ignorant that the Bible sets forth the individual as being very valuable. This country is based upon this very idea, and its laws are constituted to protect the individual.

If, as the Atheists and others in ignorance desire, Bible teaching is removed from the great majority of our society, that removal will eventually destroy the value of the individual. When the value of the individual is destroyed, our orderly society and freedoms will be gone. Anarchy, violence and lawlessness will replace the order and freedom, and a dictatorship or other type of oppressive government will take over.

Do you value God's word? Do you want your children, and grandchildren to grow up with freedom to practice what the Bible teaches? If you do, store up the word of God in your heart, and teach your children God’s word, morning, noon and night. It all begins with each one of us. Before our homes can function properly, we must first function properly in the ways and teachings of God. When we are practicing godliness and are truly loyal to Christ, then our homes will reflect that. When our homes reflect Christ, then our local congregations will also reflect Him. It all starts with “ME.”

God’s people long ago were instructed to put Him first above others and all things (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). In the New Testament, Jesus said “And you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). If we will truly value God’s precious word in all aspects of our lives, we will never regret it. We’ll not only save our own children and grandchildren, but we'll help keep this great country of ours free, and under the protection of God.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Choice is Ours

Our lives are full of choices. Every day we come face to face with a decision, a choice, that we must make. The same is true in regard to religious things. Jesus asks us to make choices on whether to accept His way or another way. In Matthew 7:13-14 He pleads for us to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” When asked if there are few who will be saved, He replied saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24).

Ultimately, the choice is ours. Will we strive to enter by the narrow gate or, will we go in the way of destruction? Thus, in the words of Joshua, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Also, in the words of Elijah, “....How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him....” (1 Kings 18:21). As we go through life making choices, we must make sure that we are making the right choice in regards to our life and service for Jesus Christ. The choice to serve and obey Him has to take precedence over everyone and everything else (Matthew 10:34-39).

Finally, listen to the words of Jesus as he says, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23). If we will make the choice to be faithful to Him now, then He will ensure that a mansion is reserved in heaven for us when our life comes to an end here on this earth (John 14:1-3). Make the right choice, the choice to be with Jesus.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Worthy Name

When a person becomes a child of God, he takes the name of Christ. He becomes a “Christian.” 1 Peter 4:16 says, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” This passage indicates to us that we are to glorify God in the name “Christian.” Ephesians 4:1 tells us that we, as Christians, are to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received. “....beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Philippians 1:27 teaches that we are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

It's sad that there are many whose lives do not reflect the image of Christ who they claim to serve. There are many so-called Christians who dance, drink, gamble, and do all the ungodly deeds which are common among worldly people. In the Bible, when God’s children brought shame on God’s Holy name, He disowned them.

If we’re not willing to have the kind of behavior which reflects the high and holy name of God and His Son, but are living like the people of the world, we ought to repent and change our ways before it is everlastingly too late. We must live for Jesus now so that we can live with Him in eternity!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Preparing for Eternity

While most people feel they have many problems to solve and burdens to carry, we should realize that each day brings us closer to eternity. Far too many are allowing the material and financial problems of life to completely overshadow the supreme thing - salvation and a right relationship to God. Since the supreme quest of life is the salvation of the soul, when one is right with God and standing on His divine promises, he’s able to meet every crisis of life. Please consider Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Thus, according to Jesus, there are only two ways leading from time to eternity, and two places in which men will be forever. The broad way leads to the second death. The narrow way leads to life. The final destiny of every person is determined by his conduct in this life. Jesus said in John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” 

There is no transforming power in the grave. If a man dies a sinner, he’ll be a sinner in the resurrection. Whatever preparation we make for eternity must be done now. Let us diligently prepare ourselves so that we can obtain the eternal reward. Hebrews 5:9 says, “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Matters of True Importance

Most of us at some time, have taken some trivial, unimportant matter and treated it as a matter of utmost importance. The apostle Paul indicated to Timothy that some in the church of his day were doing that very thing. He said in 1 Timothy 6:20-21, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith....” He also said in 2 Timothy 2:23, "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife."

The Holy Scriptures thoroughly equip us for every good work according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We have been given everything that pertains to life and Godliness according to 2 Peter 1:3. We need to give diligence in presenting ourselves approved unto God as is commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15.

We should really be spending our time concerning ourselves with matters of real importance rather than wasting time with things that don't concern our spiritual well-being. We should stop concerning ourselves with various things that don't really matter, and focus on things which are truly important. When all is said and done, the most important thing of all is that we are live our lives in such a way that Jesus will say to us at the judgment day, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Repentance is Necessary

One of the hardest things for men and women to do is to repent of their sins. Repentance is a direct challenge to man’s will power. It demands that he humble himself before God, and give up everything that is contrary to His will. God’s demands of repentance have kept many of the high minded out of the kingdom of God.

Repentance is a duty imposed upon all mankind. It is a plain command of God, and no man can refuse to repent without bearing the responsibility that must come upon him. When Jesus gave the world-wide commission, He said, “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations . . .” (Luke 24:47). Paul said “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts  17:30). Can anyone read these scriptures and conclude that he can be saved without repentance? I would hope not!

Let us clear away some of the misunderstanding about repentance by learning what it is NOT. In the first place, repentance is not simply being afraid. Paul convicted Felix of his sins, Felix trembled with fear but he did not repent and turn (Acts 24:25). There are many people today who are afraid when they think of their sinfulness, but they, like Felix, refuse to repent, and die without hope.

In the second place, repentance is not simply being sorry that one has sinned. The murderers of Jesus sorrowed on Pentecost at Peter’s preaching. They were pierced in their hearts by godly sorrow. Yet they were told to repent (Acts 2:38). In the third place, repentance is not simply and solely a reformation of life, A man may quit sin and yet not repent toward God. He may quit because that particular sin renders him unpopular in his business or among his associates. Thus, he may reform his life for selfish reasons, but such reformation is not repentance. Simply stated, repentance is a change of mind, or will, based upon godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10), and resulting in a manner of life directed by Christ (Acts 26:20).

Our Lord gave us an example of repentance which we can all understand. He said, “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went” (Matthew 21-28-29). This boy began to reflect on what he had done, and he realized that he had disobeyed his father, He became conscious of the fact that he sinned against his father, who was responsible for his very existence, and when he came to himself, he acknowledge that wrong, and then corrected it. He changed HIS MIND (repented) and did that which he said he would not do. Jesus said that was repentance.

Christ said to the Pharisees that, “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41). Jesus here says that the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonas. The Bible says: “God saw their works and that they turned from their evil way” (Jonah 3:10). The preaching of the prophet of God changed the mind of the Ninevites, and this change led them to turn from their evil way. This change of mind was repentance.

The Lord has given men two motives as the means of bringing them to repentance. The first motive is fear. The Bible writers say, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). This statement, and all the warnings in the Bible are intended to move us to repent of our sins.

The second motive God uses to bring about repentance is love. The Bible says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4)? The goodness of God is revealed in the life and death of His only Son, Jesus Christ. As we study the life of our Lord, and see the beauty of holiness manifested through His earthly pilgrimage, then follow Him to Calvary and watch Him suffer there, dying for our sins, making it possible for sinners to be saved, and to become children of God, we ask why all this flow of love, why all this display of goodness? The answer comes back to us in the Bible, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We Are Not Saved By Faith Only

The doctrine most commonly taught in the world is that a person is saved at the very moment that they believe in Jesus Christ, without any further acts of obedience. However, the Bible says, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). In addition to this, there is a general misunderstanding of the essentiality of good works to salvation. People often confuse the good works of the gospel of Christ, which the Bible defines as essential, with the works of the law of Moses, or the meritorious works of men in an effort to earn salvation. 

The Bible does not teach that people are saved by works of the Old Testament law of Moses. In Romans 3:20, it says “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” In Colossians 2:14 it says, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” We know that the only hope for salvation for everyone today is through the gospel of Christ. We are not saved by the works of the law, but through the works of faith, through love, in obedience to Christ.

While the Bible says: "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified,” it also says in James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” These works that James is talking about are not the works of the law of Moses, but the works of faith revealed in the gospel of Christ. The law of Moses is dead and its works mean nothing today, but the works of the gospel mean everything!

A person is saved by the blood of Christ, through the grace of God. One is not saved by faith alone, but through obedience to the commandments of Christ. Jesus “....became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). This does not mean that the obedient soul earns, merits, or deserves salvation, but that he qualifies for the mercy and the grace of the Lord, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). The Bible makes it clear in that same passage that while we are being saved through the washing of regeneration (or baptism) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, that it is not by works done in righteousness which we have done ourselves. But if we do not submit ourselves to the righteousness of God in obedience to his word, we cannot be saved.

There are many Bible passages that show that faith is essential and that we are saved by faith and justified by it. Every one of these passages is to be believed and accepted. But there is one similar thing about all these passages on faith and that is that not one single passage ever says we are saved by faith only. There is no such passage in the Bible.

Here is a point that we need to remember: Never in any age or dispensation in human history has God saved man by faith alone. God has always required faith and obedience. No other formula for salvation has ever worked. None ever will. Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). It must be faith plus obedience. This is the embodiment of the principle under which God has always worked in saving man. It is foolish to expect God to make an exception to the rule now and to save anyone by faith only and without obedience to His word. May we all have a soft and understanding heart that will motivate us to ensure that we are striving to please our heavenly Father in all things so that we can look forward to a home with Him forever.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Importance of Obedience

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Not only did God create the heavens and the earth, God also, “created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Every person of the whole human race is loved mightily and tenderly by God our Creator. Whatever God has ever done for the human race, He has done out of genuine love, and with an intense desire to see man happy. In the Book, the Bible, our loving heavenly Father and Creator has revealed to the human race His divine will.

Everything God has ever said to us in His Holy Book has been said for our own good, and is conducive to our happiness here in this life, and in the life that is to come. Our obedience, therefore, to God’s holy will as revealed in the Bible, is for our own personal happiness and eternal welfare.

A study of the Bible and of human history reveals that man’s obedience to God’s will has always brought man happiness, and disobedience has always brought unhappiness. For this reason we have in the Bible an emphasis on obedience. God said, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32). Again, “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19).

Christ himself set the example of obedience to the Father's will. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Christ said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Again Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The inspired Apostle John said, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

Man must come to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). We learn that eternal life depends on our knowing God. But how do we know that we know God? “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3). We cannot claim to scripturally know God, if we refuse to keep His commandments. Obedience shows we know God.

Man needs friendship with God and his Son. Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14). Obedience is an expression of our friendship with Jesus. What a marvelous friend we have in Him! Every human being needs this close friendship with our blessed Lord. Obedience shows our friendship. Faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son is essential to our salvation from sin. “So they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). But our faith is not a saving faith unless it expresses itself in obedience to God’s will. The inspired James said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Saving faith expresses itself in obedience to God’s will. Certainly we know that love for God on our part is indispensable. But love expresses itself in obedience. “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Vocal claims of love for God and His Son are empty sounds unless they come from the hearts of faith, finding expression in willing, loving obedience to God’s will and not our own will. Faithful obedience to God is what truly shows we love God.

May God bless us richly in our obedience to His will.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Lasting Influence

Our influence is something we possess and others use. Do you know who is watching you? Do you know how big of an influence that you have on other people? No you don’t. And because of that we must be very careful how we conduct ourselves every minute of every day because we don’t know who is watching --- besides God. Our influence is represented in different ways. In the book of Matthew alone, Jesus points out three ways that indicate how strong our influence is. First of all our influence is represented by light. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16). This passage tells us that we will be seen no matter what. Therefore we must be the kind of influence or example that others will be able to see Jesus Christ in us. Our influence may only seem like such a little thing to us but Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33). It doesn’t take much influence to make a BIG impression on someone else who is watching you without you even knowing it. The third way that our influence is represented is stated again by Jesus in Matthew 5:13 when He says “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men”.

As we know from our experiences in tasting salt that it is only as good as it is salty. Once it has lost its saltiness, then it is good for nothing! We also know that just a little bit of salt will add spice to many different foods. Is our life characteristic of the light, leaven, and salt? We may not have all the knowledge and wisdom that we would like to have, but there are a lot of little things that we can do to be the RIGHT influence for others to follow. Because it is the little things that others see in us that may make the difference in their eternal salvation.

The three different influences represented above could be good or bad. We know from reading 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 that we should not have a corrupting influence but rather one as Paul describes in Romans 14:21 when he says “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles”. To be able to truly do this as a Christian we must first have the attitude that we “DO CARE” about what kind of influence that others see in us and then to do all we can to keep our brothers and sisters from seeing something in us that would lead them to fall away from the truth. We have a responsibility to ensure that we do EVERYTHING according to the will of God!

We should never try to influence others by physical force (Philemon 14), or by bribery (Acts 8:20; 24:26). But rather by our words (Acts 11:14) and by the example that we lead (Titus 2:7-8; Romans 14:21). We can see from the scriptures that each individual Christian has the responsibility to have a good influence on others (Matthew 5:13-16).

Each Christian should want to influence others in a positive way ALL THE TIME. We need to influence the world (Matthew 5:16), the other brethren (Romans 14:21; 1 Timothy 4:12), our companions (1 Corinthians 7:16; 1 Peter 3:1) and of course our children. Our children see us every day and know what we are really like. If you want to know what your children think is the most important thing in your life just ask them - they’ll tell you. But hang on, it may surprise you also. That’s where your influence is showing, either in a good way or a bad way. And this is the type of influence that will be “A LASTING INFLUENCE”. We all need to ensure that our influence is a godly influence.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper stickers and signs that say, “Don’t tell me what kind of day to have!” Anybody with that kind of attitude probably won’t have a good day. Nevertheless, if we truly want to have a good day, a day filled with joy and happiness, let us try kindness.

I know that being kind is not the habit of many people today, and unfortunately our society sometimes looks with contempt on those who practice kindness. However, we ask, “Who says we must fashion followers rather than style setters?” Just because many people are selfish, critical, unfriendly, and cold doesn’t mean we have to be, especially when being like them is what tends to make us unhappy, lonesome, and down in the dumps.

Don’t be like the rest of the world! Be like God’s Son, Jesus Christ. For three years He went about doing good, and if we want to be pleasing to God, we’ll do the same. We’re told in Ephesians 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” If we follow this advice, we’ll find that kindness gives birth to kindness. 

For us to be kind doesn’t mean that we need to have a lot of money, or do great deeds. Anyone can express concern and care for the feelings of others. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Also, anyone can speak in a kind tone to others. The writer of Proverbs praised the worthy woman by saying, “And in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26). 

Consequently, if we desire to be happy and wish to contribute to the happiness of others, let us try kindness. Kindness will work wonders for us as well as others. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

No Hope Without God

Without God we would have no hope whatsoever of life after death. He offers us the hope of a life hereafter. Those who are in this life without God cannot entertain the hope of eternal life in heaven with God. Paul said of the Gentiles who were once without God, “At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

There is a sharp contrast between the Christian’s view of eternity and that of those who reject God! To the faithful Christian eternity is not a leap into darkness, but is something to desire and look forward to. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21-24 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” Paul was ready to die. He wanted to go and be with Christ.

How about you? Are you living in this world without hope? If so, why not make the changes necessary to be pleasing to God? Paul went on to say regarding the Gentiles, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). By being in Christ, we can be redeemed by His blood, and have the hope of eternal life. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Grace of God

A failure to understand the grace of God with regard to the salvation of man has been fatal to many persons. There are those who believe that God in His mercy and grace will not permit anyone to be lost; consequently, they feel no need for seeking salvation. It is true that the most joyous thought that a convicted sinner can have is that God has offered to give him salvation. It is necessary, however, for us to understand just how one is saved by the grace of God. By definition, grace is unmerited favor. God looked upon man as he had sinned and as he was without hope in the world. Although man did not deserve it, God formulated a plan whereby man could be saved from his lost condition. Jesus expressed this in these words, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Thus, man has access to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:1-2, the Apostle Paul declared, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

In order for us to be the recipients of the grace of God which comes through Jesus Christ, it is necessary for us to know exactly how grace saves us. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul declared, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Here, we learn that in salvation both God and man have a part. God’s part is to provide a way of salvation, or a means whereby man can be saved; this he does by His grace. Man’s part is to accept the salvation which God so freely offers and this is done through faith.

Man believes in God and then accepts the conditions of salvation which are set forth in the scriptures. Faith saves when faith obeys. In Hebrews 11:30, we read, "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days." The walls of Jericho fell by faith because Joshua believed what God said and obeyed his command. In the same way, our faith must cause us to obey what God tells us to do.

It is pointed out, however, that Paul declared in Ephesians 2:9, "not of works, lest anyone should boast." It is true that no man can save himself by his own works, but he must work according to God's plan in order to be saved. We are told in Philippians 2:12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Also, James states in James 2:24, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." It is interesting to note that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord according to Genesis 6:8, but that Hebrews 11:7 says "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Noah was saved by the grace of God, through faith on his part which prompted him to obey God's commands. A person may be saved from his sins by the grace of God when he believes what God says and when he obeys the Gospel which is God’s power unto salvation (Romans 1:16). May we all accept God's grace through our faith in His teaching, resulting in our obedience to His will. We can't afford to miss heaven. God certainly has done His part, now we must do ours. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Final Judgment

There are many teachings about the final judgment. Some teach there will be no judgment at all. Most people believe this because the evidence of their lives shows no concern for a judgment. Some think that it is going on now. In a way they are correct because everything we do effects our final judgment, and then the day of the Lord will be more of a sentencing or declaration day than one of judgment (as we understand the word). A few people teach that the judgment has already passed, and this teaching confuses people. If there is no judgment to come, why do people live by strict rules and try to convert people to their beliefs?

Despite all the error and false teaching about the final judgment day, we must recognize that the Bible is certain of its coming. Wicked angels are awaiting judgment (2 Peter 2:4). There are passages all through the pages of the Bible that speak of a final judgment. The wicked need to fear the judgment because the wrath of God will be upon them (Romans 2:8), but the righteous look forward to that great day when God will reward them with eternal life in heaven (Romans 2:7).

We do not know when this will take place for only God knows that time, we can be assured of this from the pages of the Bible; All will die and after that each will face their judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This final judgment will come unexpectantly, like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:36; 2 Peter 3:10). Acts 17:30-31 tells us that God has appointed A DAY in which He will judge the world. Everyone will be judged. Almighty God will judge each individual. The standard of Judgment will be the life that was lived and the actions of the person living that life. Jesus Christ will be the great Judge. God will judge the earth through Christ.

We also know that God keeps records in heaven. He writes down the names of the righteous into the Lamb’s Book of Life, and he also records the names of those who rebel against Him. Here are some of the things for which we will be judged: Our thoughts (Proverbs 23:7: 2 Corinthians 10:5); Secret things (Romans 2:6); Every work (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14); Our words (Matthew 12:36-37); All we have done (1 John 3:4; Galatians 6:7-8); and what we have failed to do (James 4:17). This last one should be the most sobering thought that comes into our mind every day we live.

We know that God’s judgment will be true, just, righteous, and everybody will be treated fairly and justly, and everyone will get what they deserve. There will be no appeals process, because there will be no error in judgment by the perfect God. Prepare to meet thy God.

Article written by: Carey Scott

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Spirit of Christ

As Christians it would be wonderful to fully possess the spirit of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul told the Romans “...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). Therefore, we realize that as Christians we must possess the spirit of Christ. The first question one may ask at this point is “What kind of spirit did Christ possess?” Let’s look at many of the different types of spirit that Christ had. When we think of Christ we often times think that He was obedient as it states in Philippians 2:8. In addition, Jesus was Humble (Matthew 11:29), Forgiving (Luke 23:34), Prayerful (Mark 1:35), Diligent (Luke 2:49), Sympathetic (Hebrews 4:14-15), Merciful (Hebrews 2:17), Self-sacrificing (Matthew 8:20), Pure (1 John 3:3), Loving (John 15:13), Righteous (Matthew 3:15), Patient (1 Peter 2:20-21), Serving (Philippians 2:5-6), and Non-reviling (1 Peter 2:23). I’m sure there are many others that you could name from the scriptures but these are just a few, enough for us to realize that the Christ we serve was perfect. We should want and strive to have the spirit of Christ because we want to be His. As Paul mentioned earlier, we can’t belong to Christ if we don’t take on the spirit of Christ. So how can one obtain this precious spirit? By imitating each spirit that Christ our Lord possessed. When we make a commitment to follow Jesus we are also making a commitment to put on the spirit of Christ. It takes a conscious, sincere effort to follow Jesus. Are we putting on the spirit of Christ? Does He know that we are an imitator of Him?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Plan of Salvation

There are many souls in the world that need to be saved today. The gospel plan of salvation to save man is not difficult but it MUST be followed in order for one to be saved. God loved man so much that he gave His only Son to die for all of us. In John 3:16 it says; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”. We can also see this in Romans 5:8-11. God did his part for man by giving His Son and then he ensured that all men would be able to come to the knowledge of the truth by sending the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, guiding them into all truth “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13). Therefore, it is now up to each one of us to do our part if we really desire eternal salvation. Man must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17; Acts 7:37), Believe it (Acts 16:31; Hebrews 11:6), Repent from past sins and make a determination to serve Christ from this time forward (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30), Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32), and be Baptized (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16; Mark 16:16). Once this has been done then one must continue to live the Christian life and grow in the Christian characteristics (2 Peter 1:5-7). God has given us the opportunity to be saved, now you and I must do our part to obey the commands of God. What man can do, he MUST do!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kindness is from the Heart

I have often thought to myself “what is the one thing that really draws and keeps Christians together?” Well, it didn't take me long to think of the word kindness. When I think of the word kindness I am also reminded of the passage in Ephesians 4:32 which reads “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” To be kind takes a sincere effort on the part of each individual. Because of that, when kindness is shown to another, one can see that the heart of the individual doing the kind deed is the way God wants it to be. The passage continues to say that we should be tenderhearted which means to have sympathy or pity for another. It would be like seeing a little puppy with a hurt leg limping across a yard, and being moved with tenderness, you would help fix the puppy's leg so it could heal properly.

In the same manner we should want to help our brothers and sisters when they are hurting. When we have a sincere, loving concern for another individual then we will naturally be a forgiving person. We know that God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten son for us (John 3:16). God is willing and wants to forgive us as we stumble through our walk of life, but we must be willing to forgive others first (Matthew 6:14-15). When an individual Christian can grasp the love of God then the love of God will be able to pour forth from the Christian. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Devoted to God

Enoch was a man who “walked with God” according to Genesis 5:21-24. The Hebrew writer, in Hebrews 11:5 tells us what that phrase means. He said, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” 

The apostle Paul’s ambition was to be well-pleasing to God. He said in 2 Corinthians 5:9, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” Every child of God ought to have that same ambition. We, too, can walk with God if we’ll devote ourselves to pleasing Him on a daily basis. 

The term “devotion” is sometimes used to describe a spiritual activity, but the word is better defined as an attitude that produces proper activity. Our word “devote” is derived from the Latin word “devotus” whose root means “to vow.” Enoch and Paul had vowed (devoted or consecrated) their lives to God. God was at the center of their every thought and activity. Every duty, no matter how menial or trivial, was done to the glory of God. Pleasing their heavenly Father was the motivation behind every action. 

Let us all be truly devoted and consecrated to God. Let us have a fervent desire to please our heavenly Father. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

Friday, March 10, 2017

What Sin Does to Us

Sin is a terrible thing! It is the worse thing that an individual can do because it separates us from our God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If one chooses to remain in a sinful condition, then one should expect to receive the eternal death that comes as a result of it. Notice the teaching of God which says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23), and “when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15). At the final judgment, punishment will be delivered to those who are not in fellowship with God because they are in sin. Jesus has said, “I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23  -  See also Matthew 25:41-46). We all need to understand that sin, which is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4), will bring with it an eternal separation from God when Jesus, our righteous judge, judges us based on His word at the last day. “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

How Can We Free Ourselves of Sin?
We can only be freed from sin by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). This takes faith in Jesus (Acts 10:43), which results in being repentant of our sins and being baptized into Christ. “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Once we are baptized into Christ, then we need to pray and ask for forgiveness of any sins committed after we become a Christian (Acts 8:22-23).

Friday, February 17, 2017

Christ Living In Me

Who is really in control of our life? By this I mean, "When we make a decision about something, are we more concerned about how it affects our physical, or our spiritual well-being?"

Paul said in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." He said in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." 

Christ indeed should be our life, our whole life. For most people, however, Christ is but a small part of their life. In this busy world of ours we have a tendency to assign certain things their little stations of priority. For example, one might say, "I need to spend ten hours on the job today, two hours with the family, an hour watching TV, and, of course, five minutes in prayer." Religion, then, is just a small, very small, piece of a very large pie. 

First century Christians had a much different perspective on life than modern man. They were servants of Christ, finding time for routine things. Today, people seem to be servants of routine things, trying to find a little time for Christ. 

Some might defend themselves by saying, "I go to church, I put a big check in the collection plate, and if they need me to help out all they have to do is ask." Nonetheless, "Is Christ truly in control of our life?" In other words, "Just who is in control?" "Is it me, or is it the Lord?" 

Let us all do our very best day in and day out to let Christ truly live in us.

Friday, February 3, 2017

How Do You Know You Have Been Saved?

This question often disturbs many people. The Lord has not left us to wonder about this crucial and important subject. Just as He has revealed to us in the Bible the importance of the soul and of salvation, He has also revealed the answer to this question. In 1 John 5:13, we find these words, "These  things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God".

We should point out here that the Christian possesses eternal life IN PROMISE. Paul spoke of being "In hope of eternal life ..." in Titus 1:2. John said that God had "promised us - eternal life" in 1 John 2:25. Jesus himself spoke of eternal life in the world to come in Mark 10:30.

How can one know today that he has the assurance of that hope and promise? Let us take an example from the New Testament. The Apostle Peter had been personally associated with Jesus. He, Peter, had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1-4. He had the power to heal the sick and raise the dead (Acts 3:6-10, and Acts 9:32-41). What was the proof of salvation for this great spiritual leader? Listen as he expressed it in Acts 15:11. "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they". His proof of salvation stood in his faith in the Lord's promise.

A great passage where God provides encouragement or consolation to the Christian is in Hebrews 6:13-20: "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a STRONG CONSOLATION, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Wither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest after the order of Melchisedec". This passage in Hebrews 6, provides consolation and encouragement to the Christian because it shows that: God made a promise to Abraham and kept that promise, verses 13-15. God promised the saints eternal life, verse 16, and further God's promise and his oath backing that promise are immutable, verse 18. In order to have the assurance of this passage applied to our own lives, we must have faith that obeys God's will, Hebrews 6:12, and be patient and faithful, verse 15.

We CAN KNOW if we are in Christ where salvation is, 1 John 5:11. We CAN KNOW if we have repented and have been baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27). We CAN KNOW whether or not we are "standing on the promises" of God.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Testing Our Faith

In James 1:1-12 we read how if we persevere under trials and tribulations that we will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those that love Him. In Hebrews we read that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Yes, it takes a special person, one that really believes in God to be faithful under all circumstances of life. James tells us in verse 2 to “consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials.” Why joy? Because when our faith is tested it produces endurance. If we overcome today’s trial, then tomorrow’s trial will be easier to overcome and our faith will get stronger day by day!

We read also that if we are lacking wisdom, then we need to ask God for it because “God gives to all men generously and without reproach” (verse 5). But, we must ask in total faith without wavering because if we waiver or doubt that God will give us what we ask for then he will not. “For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (verses 7-8). We are also told that the “brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position; and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away” (verses 9-10). The humble will be blessed and the rich will fade away, he and his beauty! Our faith is tested each and every day and the one that perseveres under these tests or trials will receive the crown of life promised by God. Keep on pressing on day by day for the prize that awaits us!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Is Church Membership Essential to Salvation?

When asked, "Is church membership essential to salvation?", men usually reply that saved persons may join the church of their choice, or they say that there is no need to join a church unless one wishes to do so. Are one of these two alternatives correct, or could it be that God presents another alternative through His word, the Bible? The Bible tells, us in Acts, Chapters 1 and 2, about how (on the day of the beginning of the church) Peter spoke to the multitudes in Jerusalem. He explained to them that Jesus, whom they had crucified, was the Christ and was arisen. Upon believing this, the crowd was exceedingly sorry for their treatment of Jesus, and being convinced that Jesus was the Christ, asked Peter, "What shall we do?".

Peter answered them, saying ". . . repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for  the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). As a result of these teachings, Acts 2:41 records, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls". Acts 2:47 amplifies and clarifies this last verse saying, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved".

The Bible is quite clear that obedient believers in Christ were added to the church by the Lord. The addition of the one being saved to the church is done by the Lord, not by the believer, nor by any other person, nor by any other group of persons. As a result of his repentant, obedient faith in Jesus, the believer becomes a member of the Lord's body, which is the Lord's church (see Ephesians 1:22-23). We can consider this membership a divine, dependable reaction to the believer's obedience. Therefore, all Christians are members of the Lord's church, and there are no Christians who are not members of His church. Remember, it is the Lord and only the Lord who decides on the membership of His church (Read Acts 4:12).

We must be clear, the church does not save one. Christ does that and only Christ. One must be in Christ to be saved and no one can be saved outside of Christ. The New Testament teaches that, "being in Christ", "being in the church", and "being in the Lord's body", equally describe one's condition, that of being saved or that of being a Christian (See Galatians 3: 27; Ephesians 1:22,23; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Although unsaved persons may meet with the earthly worship of the body of Christ, their presence in the worship does not infer that Christ has accepted them or added them to the church. Faith in Christ and obedience to His will is the only route into the church. Does this membership in the Lord's church commit the believer to meet with an earthly body, to carry out responsibilities to others, and to perform Christian duties which cannot be done alone? To answer this question, we observe that Acts 2:42 records that the very first Christians continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine. The teachings, or doctrines, of the apostles are found in the pages of the New Testament: They have been recorded and transmitted to us so that we, also, can live toward God as did the early Christians. To answer this last question, let us search the scriptures to see if  there are things taught by command or example which cannot be done alone, or which must be done in a group.

Our search first reveals a command given by the Apostle Paul, as recorded in Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another: and so much more as you see the day approaching". We see here a command directing an earthly meeting together (an assembly) for the purpose of exhorting each other to love and to good works.

A further search of the Bible reveals that the early church, the body of Christ, which worshiped under the direct supervision of the inspired apostles, met together regularly. A few of their activities are listed below; each of which cannot be done alone, that is, they must be done in an earthly assembly or an earthly association of Christians:

Love the brethren. (1 Peter 1:22)
Admonish one another in song. (Colossians 3:16)
Be of the same mind and judgment. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
Pray for one another. (Matthew 5:44)
Submit to church leadership. (Hebrew 13:17)

It is obvious that God both intended and directed his followers to meet together in an earthly assembly. Membership in the local church confers both rights and duties: The right is salvation if, we remain faithful members until death. The duties are those previously mentioned, and others. Some of these other duties are: To obey civil government (Romans 13:1-4); bring forth fruit unto God (John 15:7-8); love and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44-48). worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24); remain unspotted by worldly things (James 1:27); glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and, be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). These things and others are required.

The Bible answer to the question, "Is church membership essential to salvation?", is "Yes!". Membership in the Lord's church is, for Christians, unavoidable and necessary. Jesus is the Savior of the Body (Ephesians 5:23).