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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works
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Thoughts To Ponder

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
(Acts 10:34)

 

 


University church of Christ

 

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Hear David Maxson in a Series on the Book of Daniel Held at the University church of Christ
For Audio and PowerPoint click here!



A Study of the Holy Spirit
Adult Bible Class

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Hear Mark Broyles on "Marriage as God Designed It"

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A Study of Evangelism
(Studies in the Cross of Christ)
College Bible Class by Larry Rouse

 


Studies by David Tant at the University church of Christ

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Building a Biblical Home Bible Class Series

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The Christian and Money

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:

Lesson 1 - Money and the Revealing of Our Hearts
Lesson 2 - Earning Money
Lesson 3 - Spending Money and Debt
Lesson 4 - Money and the Family

Lesson 5 - Money and the Local Church
Click Here for Audio

Does the Bible Encourage Bigotry?

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

In the current furor over "gay rights," there seems to be a concerted effort to brand anyone opposed to homosexual behavior as bigots still living in the Dark Ages. We are constantly bombarded with calls to wipe out bigotry and to be more tolerant of people different from us, regardless of the source or nature of that difference.

It is becoming ever more politically expedient to cater to the "gay rights" cause. Our new president-elect promises swift action to overturn the ban on homosexuals in the military. This will force all military personnel to consider all the gays to be just one of the guys. To do otherwise will be to condone bigotry.

Efforts are also underway to ban discrimination against homosexuals in housing, jobs, and other areas. The goal is to force the American public to grant to "gays" all the rights and protection that are rightfully granted to racial and ethnic minorities. The propaganda mills and the liberal news media are working overtime to depict the opposition to this movement as bigotry. Our educational system, in many in-stances, is conditioning our children to accept anyone regardless of his "race, color, or "sexual preference."'

(click here for the entire article...)


Divine Authority and the Creation

by Connie W. Adams

 

One in authority has the right to command, direct, and enforce obedience. He also has the right to administer punishment to the disobedient. When the one having ultimate authority empowers others to act upon his will, then in that manner he authorizes action. One who assumes authority not granted by the one who has the right to empower acts with presumption and flaunts all authority.

In divine matters, as they relate to man, authority springs from the creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). If there is no divine creator, then there is no creation, the universe is the product of chance, man himself is an accident of nature and there is no basis for moral or spiritual authority. This is the very premise from which the secular humanist works. He boldly proclaims "There is no God" and "Man is the measure of himself."

Order in the Universe

But if God created the universe, then order flows from his power to make whatever exists. In God's speech to Job he asked, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? Hath the rain a father or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? (Job 38:4, 22-31).

(click here for the entire article...)


Membership Has Its Responsibilities

by Bubba Garner

 

“Membership has its rewards.” That’s how many companies advertise their special offer of the month.  And truthfully, I like those kind of programs, because they make you feel like you’re getting something for nothing. You receive benefits – either frequent flyer miles or hotel points–  when nothing extra is required of you. You don’t have to pay a monthly fee, you don’t have to recruit other people to join the group.  

Membership itself just has its rewards. What about membership in the local church? Certainly it has its rewards. From a family of fellow believers to those who will help us bear our burdens, we are benefitted greatly by this relationship.  But membership also has its responsibilities. We cannot expect to obtain something for nothing.  There is a requirement that accompanies our commitment. When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he mentioned three words that he had elsewhere famously linked together: “constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father” (2 Thess. 1:3). Faith, hope, and love. We recognize this trio from 1 Cor. 13:13 as well as Col. 1:4-5. But notice the words which precede them in this context: work, labor, and steadfastness. Together, they testify to the responsibilities that come with membership.

In consideration of all that God has done to make us members of the body of Christ, what response is required on the part of every member? 

“Work of faith.”   

Paul commended the Thessalonians because “in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything” (1 Thess. 1:8). They had a faith, but not a faith that stood still. In fact, their faith had a reputation in other parts of the world. But how would the world have known about their belief unless it was something that they had put into practice and worked out?

(click here for the entire article...)


For Times Out of Joint

by Fanning Yater Tant

There is a seething unrest going on in the denominational world today. G. Aiken Taylor, editor of The Presbyterian Journal, says, "Many churchmen believe it is inevitable that denominations, as we have known them, shall pass from the scene. They expect them to be replaced, if the Lord delays his return, by something new - perhaps something as radically different as denominations were when they first appeared." Denominations, of course, are relatively new. Excluding the Catholic denominations (Greek, Roman, and Old) the others have been around only a few hundred years; the oldest of the, Lutheran, this very year will observe the 450th anniversary of Luther's nailing his historic 95 thesis to the door of the old castle church in Wittenberg.

The dedicated Christian has only a passing interest in these vast upheavals in the denominational world. Whatever the "form" of the new churches may be; whether they group around some "mission", or social reform, or world project matters little. As of right now there are a whole covey of emerging "forms" — Campus Crusade for Christ, Christian's Business Men' s Committee International, Inter -Varsity , the Gideons, the Full Gospel Movement, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, International Christian Leadership, and perhaps a dozen others of lesser note. These emerging movements have one thing in common ---they stress social action rather than doctrinal belief; they put the emphasis on this world rather than on the world to come; and they stress fellowship and unitedness by minimizing doctrinal beliefs and convictions. "Coffee house" ministries and "inner city" projects (among the slums and ghettoes) loom large in their thinking. Personal salvation from the power and consequences of sin is important only as it motivates a man to get off his booze and earn a decent living for his wife and children.

(click here for the entire article...)


Behold, The Lamb and the Lion

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

"Behold, the Lamb of God!"
(Jn. 1:36)

"Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah . . ." (Rev. 5:5).

Preachers and other teachers constantly urge us to be more Christ-like. "The spirit of Christ," "the mind of Christ," "Christ-like," and "Christ-like spirit" are terms used to express the same idea.

We can find no fault with these expressions, but rather applaud them, when taken at face value. A Christian should be able to sing "more like Jesus would I be" and mean it.

However, when one hears these terms, he would do well to stay turned for the details. The speaker's Jesus may not be the biblical Jesus. His Jesus may be of the modern imagination a passive, ever-smiling, back-patting, soft-spoken, all-embracing Jesus who would never be critical of people much less become upset enough with them to raise his voice to them.

This is the Jesus that we are urged to become like by a few brethren who are specializing in freeing the church of the pharisaic spirit and restoring "the spirit of Christ." This is a noble work, if this is what they are really doing. Again, one needs to stay turned for the details. If one listens carefully he may sense that these students of the pharisaic spirit have caught the disease through the back door. They thank God that they are not as other brethren are: proud, boastful, negative and condemning but are humble, sweet, positive and up-lifting as they represent their brand of the "spirit of Christ" in the world.

Their distorted portrayal of Jesus, not only weakens the gospel and the church, it undermines the efforts and undercuts the moral support of good brethren who are trying their best to obey the divine charge to "preach the word! ... convince (reprove KJV), rebuke and exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2). They despise those who "rebuke with all authority" (Tit. 2:15), especially those who "rebuke them sharply" (Tit. 1:13). They often suggest to audiences that such preaching may well be the main obstacle hindering our taking the world for Christ. Oh, yes, they can occasionally be stirred to break out of their version of the spirit of Jesus long enough to rebuke sharply those who rebuke sharply.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Flock of God

by Sewell Hall

Few animals are as helpless as sheep. With very little defense against natural enemies, little sense of direction and no ability to find their own food, they are largely dependent on man to provide their needs. In the days before fences, owners of sheep had to stay with them in the wilderness, sometimes for months at a time.

The shepherd had to provide for the sheep all that they could not provide for themselves. He searched out green pastures where they could find food (1 Chronicles 4:39-40) and gently led them there, mindful always of those "with young" (Isaiah 40:11). He even protected them with his life. Young David recounted to King Saul how he had snatched a lamb from the mouth of a lion and killed both lions and bears (1 Samuel 17).

Giving so much of himself to the care of the sheep and being so often without human companionship, the shepherd developed a close relationship with the sheep. He had a name for each one; the sheep knew his voice and came when he called (John 10:3-4). He counted the sheep each night to be sure that all were safely in the fold (Jeremiah 33:13). If even one was missing, he scoured the countryside to find it (Luke 15:4).

(click here for the entire article...)


Doctoring the Bible

by Cled E. Wallace

There is no short cut to a knowledge of the Bible. Publishers of and agents for specially edited Bibles with fancy trimmings and helps of various kinds have reaped a considerable profit for themselves by raising false hopes in the minds of the gullible, who would like to have, and imagine they can get, a knowledge of the Book without much hard work. The price tags attached to such wares are far from modest and in some instances so ridiculous they reflect on the intelligence of the customer. When the Bible with "helps" costs considerably more than twice as much as the same Bible without the "helps," it ought to occur to somebody that too high a value has been placed on human help. Some books of the sort are helpful after a fashion but they contain no magic that will cause one to absorb knowledge from sleeping with one of them under his pillow. This is true even of the best ones.

A lot of sectarian and speculative propaganda is spread about with the help of these doctored, high-priced Bibles. Sales resistance is entirely too low among the brethren, and especially the sisters, when some of these talkative vendors ring the doorbell. When one is let in, he should be viewed with enough suspicion to give a healthy curiosity a chance to determine what he is and what he has. A very intelligent sister asked me to inspect a book she had bought from an agent for a financial consideration of several good American dollars. The agent got the money and she was laboring under the impression that she was getting just what the doctor ordered to help her and her household to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. What she got was "Bible Readings For the Home Circle." Sounds good, doesn't it? And it was mechanically very pleasing to the eye and had pictures in it. The agent of course did not tell the sister that he was a Seventh Day Adventist and the book was arranged for the spread of Adventist doctrine. When she found that out, was she mad!

(click here for the entire article...)


Let All the Earth Keep Silence

by Sewell Hall

 

But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). How often have we heard these words read or sung at the beginning of a service? The silence enjoined by Habakkuk is not a literal silence but the silence of submission and acceptance which would not dare to voice any question or complaint against God.

There is, however, great value in literal silence—a value our generation may well have forgotten. In these days of roaring traffic, noisy factories, humming household appliances and megawatt stereos, an unexpected moment of silence can be almost frightening. The first option we demand for our automobiles is a radio/cassette player; and people going to the mountains or the seashore for a picnic seem more concerned about getting their ghetto blasters or portable TVs than they are about the sandwiches. One thing to be said for many of these people is that they are generous enough to share their sound with everyone within a mile’s radius. With all due respect, however, I think I prefer the selfish kind who, while walking, running or cycling, get their necessary sound from those little earphones that allow the rest of us to make our own selfish choices of what we want to hear—or not hear.

(click here for the entire article...)


Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

by Hiram Hutto

 

That Christians are to engage in "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" is obvious (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). But what are "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" and what is the difference, if any, between them?

It is generally agreed that a hymn is a song of praise to God, while a song is a more comprehensive term embracing not only praise but additional subjects as well, limited by the term "spiritual." What controversy there is centers around the question: What is a psalm?

The Catholic Encyclopedia has this intriguing note, "PSALMOS in classical Greek means the twang of the strings of a musical instrument; its Hebrew equivalent (from ZAMAR 'to trim') means a poem of 'trimmed' and measured form." Some claim that a psalm always retained its etymological meaning, i.e., a song sung to musical accompaniment. In this they are mistaken, for based strictly on etymology, the word psalm meant the sound produced by the twanging or plucking of a string, and only later acquired the idea of accompanied singing (and finally singing, without the instrument inhering in the word).

Relying on such scholars as Trench and Lightfoot, some claim that the "ecclesiastical definitions" of early "church fathers" include the instrument. A more careful reading of the original contexts of these "definitions" has led some later researchers to state that such are not ecclesiastical definitions of a practice contemporary with these leaders, but their effort to explain the superscriptions of many of the Old Testament psalms. These leaders were actually using this, not literally for church music, but allegorically for godly conduct by Christians. Most lexicons define a psalm in the New Testament by such terms as a song or a sacred song without mentioning an instrument.

(click here for the entire article...)


You Better Watch Out, You Better Not....

by Dee Bowman

 

The Devil is no fool. How often we underestimate his cunning and crafty nature. The Scriptures warn of his “wiles” (Eph. 6:11) and tell us of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11). “Wiles” have to do with the Devil's abilities--abilities to concoct methods, plans, strategies for deceiving us. He's good at it. Real good. “Devices” are the tools he uses to make his plans work, to cause us to move toward evil. He's good at that, too. Real good.

Peter tells us in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

This passage should lend a sense of urgency to our situation. It should tell us that we're at war and there's not time for civilian activities, only for constant vigilance and complete concentration as to the whereabouts and stratagem of the enemy.

Be sober. That means be serious about his possible invasion. He is.

Be vigilant. That means watch out. He lurks in the shadows, moves in the dark, skirts the periphery all the time, looking all the while for a chance to strike. Look out.

(click here for the entire article...)


Sin, Repentance and Judging Others

by Doy Moyer

 

Some discussions just seem odd to me. One such oddity goes along these lines (and it seems to happen over and over, especially on social media, so this is not a reference to one particular discussion): Person A: “People who engage in this activity are in sin and need to repent.” (What the specific sin is differs from case to case, and it is irrelevant for this point.)

Person B responds: “We shouldn’t judge others because we are all sinners who need forgiveness.”

By this response, person B sweeps away the point made by person A because we all sin and we don’t want to be judgmental of others. Now it is true that we all need forgiveness, and it is doubtful that many will deny this; no one is claiming perfection here. However, that does not negate the fact that we still need to call attention to sin and the need to repent. Recognizing that we are all guilty of sin is not a reason to think, “Therefore we should never tell anyone else that they ought to repent.”

Consider the case of Isaiah, who, overwhelmed by God’s glory, confessed his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of those around him. Upon receiving forgiveness, he was then ready to go preach to stubborn people who wouldn’t listen to the message of repentance (Isa. 6). The point is that Isaiah did not refrain from preaching about sin and repentance based upon the fact that he himself needed forgiveness.

 

(click here for the entire article...)


How Social Media Posts Can Signal Spiritual Problems

by Doy Moyer

 

Social media is today’s reality, and for whatever it’s worth, it appears to be here to stay. It can be a blessing, but it can also be a “Pandora's box” opening up new ethical questions about the way we conduct ourselves online. While it may be easy enough to separate this reality from who we think we really are in person, the fact is that how we approach and use social media can be quite revealing. Sadly, what it often reveals isn’t very pretty. Christians, then, as in all other areas of life, need to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23). The devil still seeks whom he may devour, and we need to be sober and on the alert (1 Pet. 5:8). This is as true with our time online and in social media as much as anywhere else.

Unfortunately, the use of social media can signal many spiritual problems, even for the child of God who believes in holy conduct. The following areas, for example, can reveal much about our spiritual condition:

The language we use. Anything from innuendo, to OMG, to outright cussing reveals a use of language that is more in line with worldly thinking than with words professing godliness. Are we watching what we say? Do we know what we mean when we say it?

(click here for the entire article...)


Did My Generation Neglect the Grace of God?

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

I cannot understand how so many of the younger generation of preachers (sometimes encouraged by a few older ones) can talk about how woefully the generation before them neglected to tell people about the grace of God. They boldly speak about it as though it was a settled fact of history and that their generation is going to correct the matter by speaking more about grace and less about commandment keeping. As a qualified member of the preceding generation, as one man once said, “I deny the allegation and renounce the alligator.”  They have apparently not read the writings nor listened to the sermons of their predecessors.

All of my generation and those of the generation before me that I know said lots about various aspects of God’s amazing grace. While they may not have specifically mentioned the word “grace” repeatedly in every lesson, they repeatedly preached in a way to convey the idea of grace. When they talked about God’s sending his son as the savior of mankind, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about Christ dying and shedding his blood for us, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about God’s eternal plan in saving all men (Jew and Gentile alike) in one body (the church), they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about the gospel plan of salvation, they were talking about the grace of God. When they talked about how Christians are to live soberly, righteously, and godly, they were talking about that which the grace of God teaches. When they talked about God’s marvelously revealing his will for man through his chosen vessels, they were taking about the grace of God. When they even talked about keeping all the commandments of God, they were talking about the grace of God, because God has given all his commands for their good. (Cf. Deut. 10:13 – “and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Italics mine -EB).

(click here for the entire article...)


What am I Religiously?

by Hugh Fulford

 

(Hint: I am NOT "Church of Christ.")

Like others who are of my religious convictions, I have many family members and friends who do not share those convictions, and who, I have reason to believe, do not clearly understand my religious stance or why I take it. It is especially to these family members and friends of various religious (or even non-religious) persuasions, as well as all the loyal readers of these "News & Views," that I wish to kindly and lovingly present these thoughts, intended to explain as simply as possible why I occupy the religious position that I do.

I profess to be only a Christian, a follower (disciple) of Christ. Having done what I understand the New Testament teaches one must do to be saved (forgiven of sins) and enter a right relationship with God, I affirm that I am only a member of the body of Christ, His church, but I do not claim to be a member of any denomination.

The Bible teaches that when one comes to faith in Christ as God's Son, acknowledges that faith with an open confession of such, repents of all sins, and is baptized for the remission of sins, that person is saved and added to the church. (The following scriptures regarding the human response to God's saving grace need to be carefully studied: Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 5:8-9; Acts 2:36-47; Romans 6:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17, as well as such corollary passages as Matthew 7:21-23; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:26-40; et al).

(click here for the entire article...)


The War Against God

by J. R. Bronger

 

Have you ever wondered why there is such an effort to remove God from public consciousness? I see billboards along the interstate saying things like “God is an imaginary friend,” or “In the beginning man created God,” and “There is no God, don’t believe everything you hear.”

Those most militant in this often equate believing in God with believing in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. If this is the case, then why haven’t we seen billboards proclaiming “The tooth fairy is an imaginary friend”? There is no concerted effort to keep the Tooth Fairy out of schools? There is a reason you know!

Millions of people need money but there is no one who puts a tooth beneath his pillow expecting the Tooth Fairy to replace it with needed money. Yet, millions of people who believe in God pray diligently believing that God hears and answers prayers (1 John 3:22).

Hospitals are filled with the sick and dying but nobody asks Santa to heal their loved ones. However, countless sick petition God to intervene and providentially provide healing. But suppose people actually put a tooth under the pillow expecting an answer from the Tooth Fairy. Or suppose people really wrote Santa asking for healing—would any try to make such unconstitutional? It is doubtful anyone would respond with little more than a “ho hum—how silly can people be?”

(click here for the entire article...)


"If Wishes Were Horses ..."

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

Jerusalem lay in ruins and desolation; her walls were broken and fallen, her gates burned with fire. Rubble and rubbish made passage through her streets difficult and hazardous. In far away Shushan, capital city of the great Artaxerxes, Nehemiah received word from certain men out of Judah; "and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, that were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, 'The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.' And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept...." (Neh. 1:2-8)

But weeping solves few problems. And Nehemiah wasted little time in useless tears. He was grieved at the desolation of the great city — and he determined to do something about it. He recounts his action, "So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king...." (Neh. 2:4,5) Prayer alone was not enough; no matter how fervent his desire, how ardent his longings, how intense and earnest his petition to God, prayer had to be combined with action. So Nehemiah prayed, and immediately then set about to work toward an answer for his prayer. There is an old proverb to the effect that, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride." Wishing is not enough; prayer is not enough. It takes thought, and planning, and WORK.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Cost of Influence and Reputation

by Bill Hall

 

There are people in this world who are possessed with natural ability to lead and command respect of others. Call it charm, charisma, magnetism, or whatever; such people wield a powerful influence on those who look up to them as the embodiment of all they would like to become themselves. Peter apparently possessed such qualities among the apostles. There were David, Deborah, Nehemiah, and others. We have known such people in our day and have been influenced by them. Each reader can probably think of some “hero” of faith that he or she has looked up to through the years.

The opportunities for good that such people possess are tremendous, but so are the responsibilities. It is true that sin is sin, whoever commits it - that sin will separate one person from God just as quickly as it will another. But the adverse consequences of one’s sins increase dramatically with the increase of the influence and reputation he enjoys among others. The confidence of others is a trust that must be carefully protected. Once that trust is in place, the person to whom it is committed has responsibilities that others of more normal influence and reputation do not have. And the more people involved in the trust, the greater the responsibility.

(click here for the entire article...)


Excuses Are not Reasons!

by Dee Bowman

 

The difference between a reason and an excuse should be obvious. If a person has a reason for his conduct or behavior, he will certainly use it, and legitimately. A person who gives a “reason” that is actually not a reason but an excuse, has a problem. I can find little difference–if any–between an excuse and a lie.

In fact, if a thing is presented as a “reason” when it’s not actually a reason, how else would you describe it? A reason is the ground, motive, or cause for which a thing is done. It gives an answer that actually justifies some action, belief, or event. On the other hand, an excuse, given ostensibly to explain the facts in a case, in reality hides the truth and so is merely a pretext or subterfuge.

If folks who are constantly giving excuses for their lack of participation knew how utterly foolish are some of their “reasons,” they would likely desist from their usage right away. Let me illustrate. These are a few of the more common excuses for people’s lack of involvement and particularly for their lack of attendance at the services of the church.

(click here for the entire article...)


Teaching Children About Fornication

by Mark Roberts

 

"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Cor. 6:18).

Perhaps no precept of scripture is as widely ignored as this one. Our society is absolutely obsessed with sex. Advertising, movies and television, printed material, popular music -- it all is filled to the brim with sex, lust, fornication, and adultery. Unfortunately, our young people are deeply affected by their environment. A Center for Disease Control study found that among ninth graders 40% had committed fornication, with the numbers rising to 72% by the time children had reached the twelfth grade. The consequences of this behavior are staggering. Every year 3 million teens acquire a sexually transmitted disease. Every year more than one million teens become pregnant (that is 1 out of every 9 women aged 15-19).

If you are thinking "our" kids escape these statistics by virtue of their association with the Lord's church you can quit fooling yourself. Studies indicate that while "our" kids do not participate in sexual activity at quite the rate worldly children do, "our" children only lag about 20 points behind national averages. Satan is preaching a sermon about sex that kids want to hear, and they are willingly falling into his trap of lies and deception. What can be done?

(click here for the entire article...)


Good Relationships Among Brethren

by R. J. Evans

 

The Scripture provides much information concerning good relationships among those who are children of God.  There are many positive teachings concerning how to get along—especially all the commands to love one another.  There are a number of warnings against gossip, tale bearing, backbiting, slander, and sowing discord among brethren.  The book of Proverbs is filled with wise instruction concerning relationships with others.

In the church, many problems have occurred because someone failed to abide by the teachings of God’s Word.  Brethren are told to put “away lying, each speaking truth with  a neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25); we are warned against causing “dissensions, contentions and heresies” (Gal. 5:20); those who are factious, causing “divisions and offenses” are to be marked (Rom. 16:17); a divisive person is to be rejected “after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10); also, there are warnings against being “idle, wandering from house to house, not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (1 Tim. 5:13)

(click here for the entire article...)


The "Market Driven" Approach and Cultural Influence

by Gary Kerr

 

Many preachers are discouraged. We live in an age of thirty-second sound bites and thirty minute TV programs. Modern advertising techniques have glamorized everything from drinking beer to mopping floors to cleaning toilets.  How does this contribute to the discouragement of preachers? Simply stated, modern culture has put pressure on preachers to become super salesmen, and to market both themselves and the local church in a way that will appeal to the modern mind.

This cultural pressure is apparent in two ways. First, preachers receive criticism about preaching too long. The brethren say, "Make us feel good... and do it in thirty minutes!" Second, preachers are pressured to make the local church appealing to the masses. Thus, we cannot condemn sin because that might offend people and drive them away. We cannot practice New Testament discipline, because that would make us appear unkind and unloving in the eyes of the community. We cannot preach topical lessons on doctrinal subjects because we do not want to appear legalistic in our approach. Brethren in many places have fallen in with the times. They demand that we "market" the church so that we can appeal to today's mind and "win more souls to Christ." In dealing with these problems, I will refer to a book entitled Ashamed of the Gospel by John E. MacArthur, Jr. I recommend this book with some hesitation, because MacArthur is a Calvinist, and there is some Calvinism in the book. However, he is dealing with the same things that local churches of Christ are confronting. What is happening among our brethren is neither new nor unique with us.

(click here for the entire article...)


Do All to The Glory of God

by Leslie Diestelkamp

All glory really belongs to God. It is his by right of his majesty, power and wisdom. He really needs nothing from us, for we are only the creatures of his design and of his determined will. Indeed, "Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever" (I Tim. 1:17). The glory of God is manifested in two ways: (1) His very being portrays his glory. "The glory of the Lord shall endure forever" (Ps. 104:31). The very fact that there is an all-wise, all-powerful God, and that there is only one such God, is the greatest source of honor for him. "I am the first and the last; and beside me there is no God . . . . . . Is there a God beside me? yea there is no God; I know not any." (Isa. 44:6, 8). In Psalms 115 we have the contrast between the true God and the god of the heathen, and the psalmist says, "Not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and thy truth's sake. . . . Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased". (2) But God's work also portrays his glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). This good earth, with all of its wonders, and the universe about us with its limitless design and the perfect precision of its operation, declare the glory of God even to those who cannot read. The work of God, in all of its perfection, is incontestable evidence of His majesty, undeniable proof of his power and unending demonstration of his wisdom. His greatest work was concluded in giving his Son to the purchase the church (Eph. 5:25) and because of the nature of that divine body, Paul exclaimed, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). God is glorified because of the very existence of the church. No physical, material thing portrays God's glory so well as the church, the spiritual body of Christ in which sinful souls find salvation (Eph. 5:23; 2:16).

(click here for the entire article...)


Overcoming Bitterness

by Lawrence Kelly

So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet (Ex 15:22-25).

God knows the hearts of His people better than they know their hearts themselves. Because our hearts are frequently not in the right place, He puts us in circumstances that reveal our shortcomings to us. When the new nation of Israel came out of Egypt their hearts were bitter and one of the first things God did for them was show them their fault. He did this by leading them for three days through a searing desert with no water only to bring them at last to an oasis with bitter water. God brought bitter people face to face with bitter water. This hard circumstance revealed the hearts of the people. After the people complained, God directed Moses to take a particular tree and cast it into the water which made the waters sweet.

(click here for the entire article...)


Is Knowing That Baptism is Essential to Salvation Essential to Salvation? 

by Gary Eubanks

This question may seem a bit obscure and require a moment’s reflection to digest, but it actually addresses a very common and familiar situation.  Anyone who knows much about Evangelicalism knows that at its heart lies the concept of salvation by faith alone.  For Evangelicals, salvation comes at the point of belief and before, and without, baptism.  Yet, Evangelicals also seek, and encourage, baptism.  Hence, the idea that people should be baptized but for some reason other than to be saved is by far the norm.

If anyone wants to be baptized at all, it is because the New Testament instructs people to be baptized.  It is inconceivable that anyone could come away from a reasonably careful reading of the New Testament without getting that impression from it.  This much is not even questioned, much less controversial.  The result, then, is a situation in which baptism is held to be essential to obedience but not essential to salvation.  In the abstract, the idea that something could be essential to obedience but not salvation is not at all strange, since almost all of a typical person’s obedience to God’s commands does follow salvation.

Yet, the fallacy of applying this thinking to the purpose of baptism begins to unravel simply by asking how anyone could manage to become convinced from reading the New Testament that he should be baptized without also noticing in the same texts the very reasons why he should be baptized.  Such a scenario is so improbable that the only reasonable conclusion one can draw is that such people have willfully chosen to ignore New Testament teaching about baptism.  A brief survey of some of the more outstanding texts relating to baptism renders this conclusion self-evident:

(click here for the entire article...)


Commitment and Joy 

by Gary Henry

One of the disadvantages of a complex, fast-paced society like ours is that we get entangled in so many different concerns that there's little time or inclination to be deeply involved in any of them. We don't delve deeply; we dabble. But dabblers accomplish very little. Dwight Moody said, "Give me a person who says This one thing I do, and not These fifty things I dabble in." Trying to do too much often keeps us from doing our best at anything. And to make matters worse, the very spirit of our age militates against the making of serious commitments. Modern people are wary of getting into anything they can't easily get out of. We like to keep our options open. So we have two distinct tendencies that, when coupled together, make for a dangerous situation: we are frantically "busy," but at the same time we don't want to get "involved." We suffer at once from a surplus of activity and a shortage of commitment. Our hectic fiddling with this, that, and the other puts us right there next to the fellow who described himself as being "deeply superficial."

It is little wonder that we "get" so little "out of" what we do. We have forgotten the wise advice of our grandparents who told us, "You get out of things what you put into them." They were telling us some-thing that holds true for all of life’s endeavors: commitment and joy are partners. When we stand at a distance from the work and the relationships that ought to be dear to us, we forfeit the fulfillment that is available to us. But when we dig in, get truly involved, and risk the vulnerability of being genuinely committed, we find that life is a storehouse of satisfaction.

(click here for the entire article...)


Is It Growth or Apostasy? 

by Cled E. Wallace

This is the story as it was told to me. A successful businessman and his wife were driving through the state. She observed and made some remarks about some nice meetinghouses under construction. Some of them were for the use of churches of Christ. She asked her husband why these people appeared to be enjoying a steady growth. His answer was that they are still exercising some evangelistic fervor but indicated that he thought they would get over it in time.

Religious movements display a large amount of zeal in their youth, press their claims with fervor and fight hard for recognition. They grow up, ardor cools and the original convictions that started them rolling are diluted. They become institutionalized and depend more on that than they do individual zeal and personal consecration. Popularity and respectability bring in large numbers of adherents who know little and care less about original principles and aims.

 

(click here for the entire article...)


 

Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

Our God He Is Alive! (Evidences From DNA by Buddy Payne)
PowerPoint
Audio of Lesson

 

Making God Real to Us by Joshua Carter - Nov. 27, 2011
Outline
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

The College Christian by Harold Carswell - Nov. 6, 2011
Outline
Audio of Lesson (Part 1)
Audio of Lesson (Part 2)
Audio of Singing

My Struggle as a College Student by Kyle Gibson- Oct. 23, 2011
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

Click Here for The Weekend Philippians Study
 

 

Does God Care What I Wear?
(Sermons and Articles on Modesty)

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How to Study the Bible
College Class

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The Place and Work of the Apostles

Wednesday Night College Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Learning How God Works
Lesson 2 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 1)
Lesson 3 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 2)

Lesson 4 - The Words Delivered to the Apostles
Lesson 5 - Local Churches and the Apostles
Lesson 6 - Defending the Place of the Apostles

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Hear Bob Buchanon in a Series of Bible Lectures at
the University church of Christ
Jan 13-16, 2013

Click Here For More Details

 


Messianic Prophecies in the Book of Isaiah
Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - The Time and Reign of the Messiah
Lesson 2 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 42)
Lesson 3 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 49)
Lesson 4 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 50)
Lesson 5 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 52-53)
Lesson 6 - The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7)

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Sermon Series on the Book of 1 John
by Robert Harkrider

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The Christian and Money

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Money and the Revealing of Our Hearts
Lesson 2 - Earning Money

Lesson 3 - Spending Money and Debt

 

A Study of Religious Beliefs

Wednesday Night College Bible Class

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Introduction and Approach
Lesson 2 - The Roman Catholic Church
Lesson 3 - An Overview of Islam
Lesson 4 - An Overview of Mormonism
Lesson 5 - An Overview of Pentecostalism
Lesson 6 - An Overview of Calvinism

 


Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

 

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