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Thoughts To Ponder

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

(Romans 5:1)

 

 


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Hear David Maxson in a Series on the Book of Daniel Held at the University church of Christ
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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
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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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Sunday Night Student Bible Study and Singing 2017

Preparing for Marriage by Scott Smelser
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Audio of Singing

 

Grace and Permissiveness

by Dale Smelser

 

There is cause for concern in some current ideas premised upon the grace of God. What persons with such ideas are saying of grace per se is often fine, but their projected applications are unjustified, especially when they suppose that the fellowship of false teachers and errant brethren is necessitated because such by grace still possess righteousness in Christ. As we examine the subject of grace relative to these problems, we are not alluding to any one person's conclusions, to our knowledge, but considering numerous ideas drifting about in various quarters that do appear to our understanding to be ultimately of one fabric.

The fact of God's favor extended out of love and for his own glory to undeserving sinners is exceedingly precious, and one can only thrill at its exposition in Paul's treatise on justification by faith, the epistle to Rome. The Jew gloried in the law, circumcision, and his Abrahamic parentage. To show that none of these established righteousness, Paul argued that to sinners, which all are, the law is an instrument of condemnation rather than justification. He argued that God's real concern is the cutting away of sin from the heart rather then flesh from the body, and that instead of lineal descendants he wanted spiritual sons of Abraham who imitate his faith.

Instead of futilely glorying in a legalism that could never save because of man's inability to perfectly keep law, Paul declares that we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). A synonym for faith in this sense is trust. We place our trust in God and rely upon his scheme in Christ. It is a scheme relying not merely on conduct, but having the provision of perfect atonement for imperfect conduct, if we qualify.

(click here for the entire article...)


Saved and Sure of Heaven

by Cled Wallace

 

There is immeasurable satisfaction in the personal conviction that one is saved and sure of heaven. Many think they are saved who are not, and the disappointment of a multitude who regard themselves as sure of heaven must be viewed as appalling. Jesus expresses a warning along this line. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23) Human speculation cannot point the way to heaven, nor can human feeling or opinion carry reliable assurance that one is saved. Divine assurance is based on the promises of God and a man should heed the divine admonition to "be not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17)

 

It is important that the information revealed to guide an honest man into a state of blessed assurance should be both simple and clear. The New Testament is not disappointing in this respect. The Lord's will is expressly stated in words that are immediately understandable by all who have any appetite for assurance. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15, 16) "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37, 38) There is nothing in this that all should not easily understand, and he who obeys has the promise of God that his sins are pardoned. He is saved. "Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19) It must be clear that a sinner thus forgiven is saved only from his past sins. It is both unscriptural and unthinkable that this pardon absolves him from the guilt and the consequences of sins he may commit subsequent to his baptism into Christ. Provisions, both ample and divine, are made to insure the Christian's entry into heaven but these provisions are conditional and call for cooperation on his part. The apostle John has something to say about this. "If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with "another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:6, 7) "My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (I John 2:1-3) The Christian must walk in the blood-sealed commandments of the Lord or else sin will conquer him and keep him out of heaven. As an aid, he has constant and instant access to a throne of grace through Jesus our Advocate. It was to Christians Paul wrote: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof." (Romans 6:12) "So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh: for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:12, 13)

(click here for the entire article...)


Selfishness and Marriage

by J. R. Bronger

 

Divorce! This word used to call to mind “breaking up a home,” and with it trauma, unhappiness and all manner of problems. Today, however, it is so commonplace that it rarely raises and eyebrow. There is no need to overwhelm you with statistics in order to prove that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Personal evidence may be sufficient. It is probably safe to assume that you have in some manner been touched by divorce, whether friends, family or perhaps yourself.

Despite the Lord’s teaching that marriage is permanent and man is NOT to separate what God has joined together (Matthew 19:6) divorce continues unabated. The only exception to the Lord’s no divorce policy is sexual immorality (fornication) according to Matthew 19:9. But, did you know that adultery is NOT the reason most couples divorce? Surveys indicate that incompatibility, financial problems, sexual inadequacy, mental and/or physical abuse, no longer in-love, or loving someone else are the leading factors resulting in divorce. Regardless of the name put on the reason for seeking a divorce, the real incentive is selfishness. People divorce for selfish reasons.

A 40-year-old school administrator walked out of her 19-year marriage because she felt her husband was “boring, uneducated, and unmotivated.” Now she wanted someone who was “an intellectual dynamo, and successful in his career.” Her divorce was about her, not her husband. She acted out of selfishness!

(click here for the entire article...)


Divine Authority and Christ

by Connie W. Adams

God, as creator, has ultimate authority over everything created. Paul said on Mars Hill that "God made heaven and earth and all things therein": and then concluded by saying "he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world" (Acts 17:24-31). When we say "God created" we must include Jesus Christ in that. "Let us make man" (Gen. 1:26) is in the plural. Elohim (God) is plural is form. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1-3). "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Col. 1:16).

That "word" which was with God and was God, "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). The greatest evidence for the existence of God is the fact that God came in the person of Jesus Christ. The historical Jesus can be explained on no other basis than the fact that he was divine, as he claimed to be. While he took upon himself the form of a servant, he did not give up the qualities which made him deity. He was "Immanuel, God with us" (Matt 1:22-23). Two things are of note in that statement. (1) He was "with us." He dwelt, or tabernacled among men and they beheld his glory (John 1:14). In the flesh he was subjected to the experiences common to flesh. He "suffered in the flesh." But (2) he was God in the flesh. He did not cease being deity. He was at once the "Son of man" and the "Son of God."

The Promised Lawgiver

Peter said, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22-23).

Peter was quoting Deuteronomy 18:18-19. No wonder on the mount of transfiguration the voice of the Father sounded and said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt 17:5). And no wonder that when the three apostles with him heard this "they fell on their face, and were sore afraid" (v. 6). In Christ, the lawgiver had come and the challenge went forth, "Hear him."

(click here for the entire article...)


Freedom Under God

by Robert F. Turner

Freedom ... The word is almost sacred to the American people, and over the world today it stirs great hope and aspirations. Our Declaration of Independence calls it an "inalienable" right and a truth "self-evident." What is the source of this freedom, and what does it mean to us?

Free agency, the right to choose, is a gift from God. He elevated man above the beasts of the field: making man in his image (Gen. 1:26), sharing with man the power of choice. Man need not be slave to instinct or norm. He may rise above self, pursue ideals, seek truth, and embrace it.

But with power there is responsibility. The ability to choose the right exposes us to the danger of choosing the wrong. The same justice that rewards the righteous, must also condemn the wicked. Freedom, then, cannot be free. Even in the moral realm it imposes obligations, and there are none more bound than those who foolishly demand unbridled liberty and become slaves of their own folly.

In free government a man can vote as he chooses, but he may not vote correctly. He may, by neglect or party politics, fail the responsibilities of this truth and encourage corruption.

In business, free enterprise allows a man to invest as he sees fit. But this is no guarantee of profit. He may invest unwisely, and "loose his shirt," the price paid for untrammeled opportunity.

(click here for the entire article...)


All That Glitters is not Gold

by Dee Bowman

 

Many years ago, my brothers and I went to New York City. We arrived very early in the morning. We could not wait to get our bags into our room and get our first look at Times Square. I shan't soon forget the sight. It was as if we were immersed in a sea of lights. There were lights that cascaded like water falls, lights that sparkled like Christmas, lights that wrote messages, lights that twinkled.

There were pulsating lights, performing lights, lights that made little paths around huge pictures of people. The scene seemed to take you along with it, whether you wanted to go or not. It was as if you were in a current the strength of which was so overpowering you had no resistance.

Society is like those lights. It has a strong attraction. It pulls people with great subtlety. You're caught up in the flow of it before you know it; and when you're in the flow, it takes great power--more than most of us have--to dislodge yourself.

With its various methods of seduction, society invites us into the slime pit of sin. It accomplishes this by making sin attractive. If sin were left to its own, nobody would get involved in it. It promises things; it holds out a certain satisfaction. Sin is never presented to you in its bare form. It's always dressed up in something. And the trappings are well thought out. The Devil is a master of disguises.  He conjures up all manner of packages in which to place this most deadly enemy of mankind. When he has it just right he presents it with deadly skill. You can be in it before you know it.

How do we fight this kind of attraction? What can we do?

(click here for the entire article...)


The Dispersion

by Alan Jones

 

“Has Ezekiel gone mad?” This may have been the reaction of some after they watched Ezekiel shave his head and beard, weigh the hair, divide it into thirds, and then burn a third, strike a third with a sword, and scatter the remaining third to the wind. However, Ezekiel was not mad, but he was signifying the punishment soon to fall on Jerusalem, a punishment which would pave the way for the salvation of the world (Ezek. 5:1-12).

When Ezekiel tossed his hair into the wind, he was not telling God's people anything new.  In giving the blessings and curses of the Law (Deut. 28-30), God had sworn that if Israel disobeyed him, he would scatter them among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other (Deut. 28:64; Ps. 106:26-27). Soon after Ezekiel's hair was swept away by the wind, Jerusalem fell and the Diaspora or Dispersion began.

Against the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah, a remnant from Jerusalem went to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them (Jer. 43). When the Persians gave the order that those taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians could return to their homes, only a small proportion chose to do so.  The sons of Korah wrote that God had scattered them among the nations (Ps. 44:11). Haman described the Jews to the Persian king as “scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom” (Esth. 3:8).

In the 400-year period of silence between Malachi and John the Baptist, the dispersing of the Jews continued both by force and free will. Ptolemy I of Egypt (322-285 B.C.) captured Jerusalem and took home captives, adding greatly to the Jewish population of Alexandria. Antiochus the Great of Syria (223-187 B.C.) removed 2,000 families from Jewish communities in Mesopotamia and Babylon and settled them in Phrygia and Lydia. Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 B.C. and carried away hundreds of Jews to Rome.  During the period “between the Testaments,” the Jews also voluntarily emigrated for the purpose of trade and commerce, as well as colonization, which was encouraged by the Greek kings who sought to “Hellenize” or to bring Greek culture to all of the peoples under their control. The Sibylline Oracles (mid-second century B.C.) say of the Jewish people, “every land and every sea is full of thee.”

(click here for the entire article...)


Holding A Church Hostage

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which h does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish do, putting them out of the church." --
3 John 9,10.

During the Iranian hostage crisis, a TV news series was called: "America held hostage". It showed how a few fanatics with a few weapons were virtually holding the most powerful nation in the world hostage. It was a trying time for our government's officials. If the nation gave into their demands, it would encourage them to more such actions. If it acted against them without meeting their demands, someone was bound to get hurt ¬maybe innocent people. There seemed to be no good solution.

The daily news tells us of new instances. Some at home. Some abroad. A few zealots demanding that the world dance to their tune - or else. One shutters at what might happen if such ones rose to the top in some powerful nation. Perish the thought.

Diotrephes was a spiritual terrorist who held the church where he was a member hostage. He loved preeminence. Somehow he gained the control of the church. The results are well known. He opposed the apostles. He refused to receive those sent by them. He used malicious words against them. He was not content with not receiving faithful brethren, he forbad others from doing so. If they did he put them out of the church. Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been a member of that church? Can you imagine the tension that must have existed? Brethren would almost be afraid to breath for fear of crossing Diotrephes.

(click here for the entire article...)


Pathetic Dust or a Living Hope?
by Doy Moyer

 

He was a good man.

Pray for his family.

Thanks for the memories.

I really, really liked him. A lot.

How often do we hear words like these? No matter the religion or the beliefs to which one held, these words are common in the aftermath of one’s passing. Then, sooner or later, “their memory is forgotten” (Eccl. 9:5).

Is that where it all ends?

I would often ask classes, “How many of you know who your grandparents are?” Most would raise their hands. “How about your great grandparents?” A few would raise their hands. “How about your great-great grandparents?” Rarely would a hand go up. Unless we are really into genealogy (as my mother is), most of us will likely not even know the names of our great grandparents and beyond. As much as I love my grandchildren, I know they will have children, who will have children, who will likely never know my name (but for the novelty of an odd name).

What a cheery thought, right? That depends on your perspective.

Atheist Robert Ingersoll opined at his brother’s graveside that “every life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment jeweled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.” As he put it, one passes to “silence and pathetic dust.”

(click here for the entire article...)


They Shall Walk and not Faint

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

 

It was Isaiah who wrote, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint." (Isa. 40:31.)

There are only a few moments of high drama in life; most of it is commonplace and ordinary. And the real test of the Christian comes not in the moments of high drama, but in the everyday, often monotonous and dreary round of ever recurring chores and responsibilities. Probably most of those who read this paper would, under the right circumstances, be willing to suffer martyrdom rather than surrender the Christian's hope and heritage. We can, indeed "mount up with wings as eagles," under great excitement and tension; we can "run, and not be weary," for a short space of time...

But to walk, day after day after day; to live in some desolate and hopeless environment, bereft of Christian friends and associates; to perform the drudgery, the same unbroken sequence of tired days and weary nights, the same melancholy schedule of activities — how this can erode the soul and deaden the senses! It was this terrible monotony of life which had brutalized the real spirit of man in Millet's famous painting, and which caused Edwin Markham to write of that peasant character:

"Bowed upon the weight of centuries he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world."

(click here for the entire article...)


Turning the Grace of God into a Carnal Weapon

by Larry Rouse

All who know the Lord understand the power of His grace! Those who have seen the blackness of their own sin and were then melted by the message of how God gave His Son for them, can attest to the life-changing power of the gospel. We do not deserve salvation. We cannot earn salvation. In our sin we were once active enemies of God. Still, God, by His grace, gave us the greatest gift that has ever been given (Rom 5:6-8)!

Those who have been changed by this grace, find their hearts and their lives defined by it. Paul plainly proclaimed “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10). When Paul converted some Jews and proselytes to God he urged them to continue “in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43). Our true spiritual growth is measured by our increase in “the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

The perversion of God’s Grace

Satan hates the grace of God, for by it men are rescued from his clutches. Being the cunning adversary that he is, Satan has encouraged many to serve him under the banner of the grace of God! There were those who preached a doctrine of “grace” that left men’s hearts untouched by the teaching of the Spirit of God. Men were told that they could “continue in sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1). Others found under this banner of “grace” that in their hearts they could hate their brethren and exalt themselves over these “inferiors” in their pride (1 John 3:14-15). Jude proclaimed that these men had in fact turned “the grace of our God into lewdness” (Jude 4).

Modern Day Examples

Years ago I read an article by Connie Adams that I never forgot. He received some advice concerning men who claim to define their lives by the “grace” of God and how they actually act under pressure.

“Years ago, an older preacher told me of a warning he had received years before from Cled Wallace. He said, "Watch out for the real sweet men. They will rip you to pieces when they get a chance." I have received more unkind and unjust treatment over the years from those who had the most to say about love, kindness, gentleness and such nobler qualities, but who could not tolerate any criticism about what they were teaching.”

(click here for the entire article...)


When Jesus Does Nothing

by Larry Rouse

 

We would be wise to carefully listen to our Savior who came from heaven to show us the way to God. Throughout His ministry Jesus emphasized His relationship with the Father along with the kind of heart required to know God.

It would take great humility for the Jews that heard Jesus to understand that they really did not know God and that they needed to hear the One who actually had come from God. Jesus stated the obvious to the unbelieving Jews when He said: “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.” (Jn 5:37) Why would they resist listening to the One who came from Heaven and accurately testified of things that these men had never seen? They were blinded by their own relationships and religious pride so that they would not hear. “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:42-44)  

Jesus Taught us how to Handle the Revealed Will of God

Jesus often told others what His relationship with God was like so that men could learn how to have that kind of relationship for themselves. Over and over Jesus described how He handled God’s will. His underlying attitude towards the will of God was exactly the attitude He had towards God Himself, one of a deep reverence for all that God spoke. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Mt 4:4)

(click here for the entire article...)


When Tragedy Strikes

by Doy Moyer

 

What exactly does one say to another when tragedy strikes? We all wish that we had the perfect words that will appropriately capture what everyone is feeling, words that will comfort and encourage even the most downtrodden. We want to come up with deep statements about how “this is life” and “here is what you should be thinking at this time.” The reality is that we feel at a loss, unable to speak what we are feeling deep inside, unable to communicate what we think those who are suffering need to hear when likely they don’t want to hear anything at all. Bumper sticker philosophy and theology hardly provides much comfort when our hearts have been torn by real tragedy. Likely, the silence before we speak is going to be the most profound and appropriate response, at least initially. 

Job’s friends understood this at first. When Job suffered his astounding tragedies, one after the other and no break between, his three friends came to comfort him. For a full week they sat there with him in silence, unable to capture in words what they were witnessing and unwilling to say what they were thinking. Yet it was during this time that they were their wisest and the most comforting to Job, for after they began speaking, Job could only say that they were miserable comforters. 

Silence is sometimes the best response. Once we have had time to reflect, however, we usually can find important lessons that will be embedded in our minds from then on. If we can learn those lessons, then we can be the better for it. 

When the Twin Towers in New York City were taken down by terrorists, people were in shock. It was an unbelievable event. Nearly three thousands lives were taken in one day, and the heart of the United States country was struck hard. What were we going to demonstrate that we were made of? For a time, there was a pulling together of the citizens. More importantly, there was a general recognition of the need to turn to God. Sadly, much of that faded over the years, but this is why we need to be reminded of difficult events and the lessons that come out of them. 

When tragedy strikes, we are forced to consider several important issues: 

1. Why? It is not trite to say that sin has caused the tragic problems of this world. Once sin came into this world, everything changed. Everything became subject to futility (Rom 8:20). The mark left by sin is tragic and ugly. This is the reason the gospel is such an important part of our understanding. 

(click here for the entire article...)


Pride's Connection to Envy

by Ken Mars

 

A neighbor comes over to your house to show you their new car. Your boss wants to tell you about his vacation in Hawaii. A friend tells you their daughter just received a full scholarship from three different universities. Are you happy for them? Can you "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15)? Some can ... and some cannot.

Why is it that some of us find it difficult to genuinely feel glad for our friends and brethren when some good fortune comes to them? Could it possibly be that when we see our neighbor's new car we are really saying to ourselves: "Why can't I have a new car too?" "I deserve it just as much as they do!" or, try this one on for size: "What a shameless waste of money. Don't they have anything better to spend their money on than some fancy car/house/vacation? Why couldn't they have bought something cheaper and given the difference to the poor?" Shades of Judas.

You see, when we find ourselves criticizing someone's good fortune, it may be that we are not really critical of what has been done, but that someone else has prospered rather than us. We may even find it easier to say "I'm so sorry" to one who has experienced some misfortune, because we are in fact quietly content that someone else is suffering and not us.

The real problem here is not just a weak spirit, but a dominating sense of the flesh ... our flesh ... our welfare ... our own exclusive world of "me." When someone else prospers, it's not fair if we don't prosper also, and when another suffers, at least we are not suffering!

(click here for the entire article...)


How to Form a Good Character

by Dee Bowman

 

Character is the accumulation of qualities that distinguishes one person from another. Character is not just one single trait, but the accumulation of all a person is, the sum total of all his traits.

Someone has suggested that reputation is what others think us to be, character is what God knows us to be.

How does a person develop and maintain a good character?

By getting in touch with yourself. Aristotle was not far off the mark when he suggested that one should “know thyself.” Personal integrity is the key to developing a good character. We have to ascertain and admit to what we need in order to form a good character. In order to know where you’re going, you must first realize where you are. “He that speaketh truth in his heart”–that’s necessary to the development of a good character (see Psalm 15:1-2).

By a constant contact with God. It is He who defines what is a good character, for it is He who has defined what is good in the first place. His word is not only an expression of Who and What He is, but a revelation of how we can become like Him, or be a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). His word tells us which way to go. A man of character does not walk just anywhere, but “his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate both day and night” (Psalm 1:2). “Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word” (Psalm 119:9). A man’s character is developed by paying due attention to where he is going, to his path of pursuit, and that means a constant contact with the Father.

(click here for the entire article...)


 

Be Thankful for God's Authority

by Doy Moyer

 

God is Creator. Because of Who He is, He has the inherent right to command and expect obedience. He has the right to tell us what to do, how to think, how to live, how to talk, and how to dress. Name it. God has the power to back it up. We, as His creatures have no right to kick back or demand answers from Him. Like it or not, we are under His authority. But now, why wouldn’t we like it?

Rather than looking at this as some sort of drudgery, why not be thankful for God’s authority? After all, if we wish to glorify God, we can only do so by recognizing the power that only belongs to Him.

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth;

Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

Tell of His glory among the nations,

His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

He also is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

But the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before Him,

Strength and joy are in His place.” (1 Chron. 16:23-27)

If we “seek the Lord and His strength” (vs. 11), then we are necessarily seeking Him in all His authority and power. Shall we love the Lord and despise His authority as if it is a burden to us? May it never be!

Here, then, are some reasons we can be thankful for God’s authority:

1. Because God’s authority means He is the Judge, not me, or you, or anyone else. I don’t have to worry about untangling all the sticky questions about eternity. I don’t need to worry about pleasing other people, especially those in the world. I just need to concern myself with pleasing and glorifying Him based on what He has revealed (2 Cor. 5:8-9; John 12:48). Consequently, we may say with Paul, “to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:3-4). In the final analysis, each of us as individuals will stand before God. What others think at that point will be irrelevant.

(click here for the entire article...)


Cause and Effect of the Doctrine of Balaam

by Gerald E. Evans

Christianity, in its purity, is the same now that it was almost 1900 years ago. That which God approved then he will approve now; and just what he condemned then he will condemn now. So, if we would be approved of God we must stand where we know God approves and avoid all else. All who accept the Bible as the final rule of con-duct recognize that.

In Revelation 2:12-14 the Lord commended the church at Pergamos for some things and censured them for others. They were commended for holding fast his name, and for not denying the faith once delivered to the saints, and all this "where Satan's throne is." That is no small commendation! Those who take such a stand give courage and strength to all who know Christ's appreciation for such a stand. But more, it involves showing honor to Christ. To hold his system of faith in all its essential elements will secure the divine blessing.

But where error exists, Truth demands censure of the error. Some in the church at Pergamos held to the doctrine of Balaam and also to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The Lord emphatically declared of such teaching, "Which thing I hate" (vv. 14-15). Recognizing the Lord's strong disapproval, it should be obvious that we need to determine the underlying cause of men embracing such doctrine. The effect is obvious in verse 14: idolatry and immorality! The basic doctrine of Balaam just could be a sin all too common among Christians: elders, deacons, preachers and other saints!

(click here for the entire article...)


Reaping the Whirlwind

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

One of the truly frightening things about denominationalism, and one that is often overlooked, in the insidious way in which it lays the basis for complete moral anarchy in human affairs. It destroys and undermines the very standard, the authoritative guide, by which men can tell "right" from "wrong" —good from evil. This is the very same spirit which has produced such chaos within our own ranks in recent years. Indeed, the present horrendous wave of lawlessness in the land, with crime soaring at a terrifying rate, is due in no small measure to the preaching that has been done in American pulpits for the last one hundred years!

Preaching the cause of lawlessness? Incredible! you say. But the kind of preaching that has been done in our nation, and sometimes in pulpits of the churches of Christ, weakens and vitiates the actual foundation for all moral judgments and all moral standards,

We look at a certain action and say, "That is right;" we see another act and say, "That is wrong." Now, what do we mean by "right" and "wrong"? By what standard are we reaching our verdict? On what basis do we judge? Why is it "wrong" for a human being to kill and eat a fellow human being, and yet not "wrong" for a beast of the jungle to kill and eat another beast of the jungle? Why can we not say that murder is a noble act, that the murderer is a hero, deserving of praise for his action? Why do we not put a premium on dishonesty? And on cowardice? By what standard, or for what reason, do we declare that theft and falsehood and cruelty are "wrong", but that virtue and honesty and courage are "right"?

Traditional Teaching?

"Well," one replies, "we have been taught that standard. This is that which comes from the scriptures. The Bible teaches that it is 'right' for a man to act a certain way but 'wrong' for him to act in another way." This is certainly true. We have LEARNED to judge between right and wrong, between what is good and what is evil. We have been taught by a long and arduous process of education through many generations as to what is "right" and what is "wrong." Thus moral truth has been embedded in the conscience, and in the consciousness of the race. The world feels the influence of this even in lands where the Bible is not known. The whole human race has learned that lust and greed and dishonesty are "wrong" and that virtues and honesty and love are "right."

(click here for the entire article...)


The Struggles and Advantages of Being Single

by Stephen Rouse

 

God has been teaching me some powerful lessons lately, though many of them have been painful. We live in a society, even among Christians, where the prevailing thought is often “I cannot and will not be happy unless I am in a dating (or whatever you call it) relationship with someone.” This is not right, and this must not be a mindset adopted by children of God.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t hurt on some level because I am single. It’s lonely sometimes… but not all the time. God has helped me recently to start focusing on some of the advantages I have right now that I may not have later if, by His grace, I am to be married.

I’ll first acknowledge the struggles that have been particularly deep for me, and then look at some advantages that have helped me overcome these struggles.

(click here for the entire article...)


 

Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing 2017

 

Preparing for Marriage by Scott Smelser
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

 

 

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

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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

 

 

For Additional Information and Past Audio and Outlines Click Here
 

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