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Thoughts To Ponder

But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ
(Ephesians 4:15)

 

 

 


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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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Moral Issues of Our Time

Wednesday Evening College  Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Wednesday Evenings at 7:00
Download the current outlines:

Lesson 1 - Seeking Wisdom to Overcome Satan
Lesson 2 - Attitudes Towards Others - Pride, Bitterness and Dishonesty
Lesson 3 - The Snare of Drugs and Alcohol

Lesson 4 - The Snare of Sexual Immorality
Lesson 5 - Abortion, Suicide and the Sanctity of Life
Lesson 6 - God's Grace, Transgender Identity and Homosexuality

 

How to Build Up the Church
 

by Gus Nichols

 

In many places the true church is very weak. The mem­bers are few in number, and poor in this world's goods. In some cases they have no efficient leadership, while in other in­stances the members are often worldly minded and under re­proach. Even in a few cases there is strife and bitterness among the members. In almost all places where the Cause is weak, the members are despised in the eyes of the world, persecuted, and misrepresented. But weak congregations should remember that God does not save by many nor few, and also, they should remember that strong congregations were once weak. Neither should they lose sight of the fact that a large membership does not always mean the church is strong. If the members are weak in faith and in spiritual strength, the church cannot be strong. It is our purpose to offer some simple suggestions, which, when put into practice, will inevitably build up the church.

Attend it Up

Nothing is more encouraging than for all the members to at­tend the public services of the church. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb. 10:25) The
early disciples came together upon the first day of the week to break bread in memory of Christ.
(Acts 20:7) The first day of every week in the year is the Lord's day. Thus, fifty-two days in each year the disciples celebrated the resurrection of their loving Savior by properly observing the day of the resurrection. (Mk. 16:9; Rev. 1:10) They also celebrated the Lord's death just as often as they did his resurrection. Hence, they observed the Lord's supper on the first day of the week. (Acts 2:42; 20:7) This builds up the church. It edifies and strengthens the members, and shows to the world that we really believe the gospel, and that we are living for the Lord.

Teach It Up

The church cannot grow without the word of God. Peter says: "As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby." (1 Pet. 2:2) When the time comes that a little baby may grow into a strong man or woman without food, then may the church grow without the word of God. Paul says: "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an in­heritance among all them which are sanctified." (Acts 20:32) Yes, the word "is able to build you up." One can not live the Christian life without the word. Jesus says "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) Hence, God says: "Feed the church of God."  (Acts 20:28)  In the Commission, the Lord commanded his disciples to teach all nations and baptize them, then teach those baptized to observe all things which he has commanded. (Matt. 28:19-20) Brethren will do better when they are taught better. Members should study to the end that they may be approved of God, and that they may be able to teach others. (2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 5:12)

(click here for the entire article...)


All Seek Their Own
 

by Norman E. Sewell

 

It continues to amaze me how often we read the Scriptures and fail to see some of the statements found in them. A few years ago I was visiting in another community and worshipped on Lords day morning with the local church and heard the preacher there read from Philippians 2:19-24. Notice part of that with me. Paul wrote: But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel" (vv. 19-23). Somehow I had missed the statement "for all seek their own," or at least it had failed to register in my mind. Now, having finally seen it I believe there is a powerful lesson taught by Paul in that short statement, especially when combined with other clear statements of Scripture.

 All of us have experienced dealings with people who show that they are very selfish. Selfishness in fact seems to be part of being human unless we train ourselves not to be, and the only reason to so train ourselves is that God wants us, as his children, not to long for pre-eminence, or to think only of ourselves and what we may want, but of what is also good for each other. Earlier in this same chapter Paul told the Philippian brethren: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4). To the Christians Paul wrote: "Let no one seek his own, but each one the others well-being" (1 Cor. 10:24). In fact, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians showing the nature of the love that God commands us to have he wrote that love "does not seek its own" (1 Cor. 13:5). So loving one another as God demands would do away with such selfishness.

(click here for the entire article...)


The Rat-Race
 

by Fanning Yater Tant

Every one of us inhabits two worlds. One is the outer, visible, material world; the other is the inner world of the spirit. This outer world has in it fire and flood and famine. It has earthquakes, wars, cruelty, and injustice. It has fierce competition, trickery, deceit, the enormous pressure of modern society. It is familiarly called "the rat-race." The other world, the world of the spirit, has to do with one's reaction or response to the rat-race. It is in this inner world that the Christian finds strength and capability to cope with the outer world. This is precisely what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote, "We are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed... Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:8-9, 16-18).

How to Survive

As I write these lines l have just received word of the death by suicide of a lovely twenty-four year old girl in New York City. She was the daughter of a friend of mine (Jewish), and apparently had much to live for. Her parents are wealthy, and the girl had had everything that most people would call "the good life." Educated at one of the most prestigious girls' school of the East, attractive and talented, she had made frequent trips to Europe, Hawaii, and other well publicized vacation spots (including Las Vegas), but her restless spirit had never found that elusive thing without which none of us can long survive inner peace. Agnostic (perhaps atheistic), she simply found herself unable to cope with "the rat-race," and had accepted the solution once contemplated by Shakespeare's melancholy Dane: "To die; to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heartaches and the thousand natural shocks, That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished." Even her Jewish faith could not measure up when the crucial test confronted her. There are certain essentials of the spirit, certain basic requisites that are absolutely vital to survival.

(click here for the entire article...)


Are You Beautiful?
 

by Rick Liggin

 

Modesty aside, do you think you’re attractive? Do you think you’re beautiful, if you’re a woman, or handsome, if you’re a man? Are you concerned about being beautiful, staying beautiful, and being around beautiful (handsome) people? No one wants to be ugly. All of us, to some degree, want to be beautiful or handsome…or, at least, attractive. But how do you determine who is or who is not beautiful? How do you define beauty and attractiveness? For many people, and especially for men, attractiveness and beauty are judged purely by what we see physically—by what a person looks like; by his or her outward appearance.

This was Samson’s problem! You will remember that most of the stories about him in the book of Judges involve a woman: first, his Philistine wife (Judges 14:1-20); then a prostitute (16:1-3); and finally, Delilah (16:4-21). And how was it that Samson chose his women? It was by what she “looked” like to him! That is certainly how he picked his wife. He saw this Philistine woman in Timnah, and he wanted her; so he said to his father, Manoah, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me” (14:1-3; 14:7 – NASB).

Are we as shallow as Samson was in how we “judge” beauty today? Does “beauty” depend on what a person “looks like” to us? Are we too physically oriented when it comes to how we define “beauty”? Let me ask you: what is “attractive” to you? On what basis do you decide who is “beautiful”?

(click here for the entire article...)


Seeing the Road Ahead
 

by Alan Jones

A few years ago I was traveling south on 1-69 in northern Indiana when I encountered a traffic slowdown.  Soon I found out why we had slowed to a crawl.  
There was a horrible accident on the northbound side.

Everyone was slowing down to look. The accident involved two semis. One was turned on its side with all of the glass gone from the tractor. The nose of the other tractor was shoved in like an accordion.

Immediately I prayed for the welfare of the drivers and the comfort of their families.  Their lives had been suddenly and unexpectedly changed.  As the drivers left the terminal for the highway, they did not know what awaited them on the road ahead.  The backup caused by the accident was five miles long and was still growing.  Motorists caught in it had a certain timetable in mind to get to work or to get home from work, to get to a vacation destination or to return home. But, they, too, did not know what awaited them on the road ahead.  Their timetable went out the window.  They were making good time when suddenly and unexpectedly they were forced to stop and wait, and wait, and wait.

Man can’t see the future.  Solomon wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow. For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov 27:1).  A humble person will plan accordingly.  James admonished, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we will live and also do this or that.’  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).

(click here for the entire article...)


Burnout
 

by Brian V. Sullivan

 

Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary describes "burnout" as: "exhaustion of physical or emotional strength" (p. 189). Burnout is one of those terms that we hear used more often today than we did ten or twenty years ago. It can involve anyone, but often affects people who are in a high stress situation or occupation.

Factors That May Cause Burnout

1. Burnout may be the result of expecting too much from yourself. We speak of someone who imposes unrealistic goals, or standards of what is acceptable or suitable. They may have been reared in homes where they were never commended for what they did. No matter how good it was, it was never quite good enough. As a result, they have set before themselves an impossible level of attainment. Even if they did achieve it, they probably would never find satisfaction in it, for they would not be convinced that it was as good as what others might do. Paul, writing by inspiration, spoke of some who "measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12). That measurement cuts both ways. There is the possibility of setting the standard too low, and there is the possibility of setting it too high, but either way Paul says it is "not wise". It is good to realize that God never expected us to do more than what we are able to do, nor should we expect the same of ourselves. Do the best you can do, and rejoice in it, never mind how it stacks up against others or what others might think.

2. Burnout may be the result of one becoming a workaholic. This condition describes someone who gets so wrapped up in their work that they never seem to let it rest. Solomon, in the long ago, suggested that "much study is wearisome to the flesh" (Ecc 12:12). Burnout can happen in many different situations in life, but often is found in those who tend to do excessive amounts of "head-work" rather than "back-work".

(click here for the entire article...)


Majoring and Minoring
 

by Connie W. Adams

 

More and more we are hearing that "we need to major in the gospels and minor in the epistles." What is that all about? What it is about is the so-called "new hermeneutic." It places greater importance on what Jesus said and did than on what the apostles said and did. It is a part of the scheme to rid ourselves of the restraining influences of finding a direct statement, approved apostolic ex-ample or necessary inference to authorize our teaching and practice.

We have some among us who are terrorized by the ghost of tradition. Never mind that traditions are sometimes approved and other times condemned. Paul wrote, "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern" (Phil. 3:17). He also said, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15). The church at Thessalonica was charged to "withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us" (2 Thess. 3:6). So, all traditions are not to be rejected.

The Source of Apostolic Teaching

Those who worry about putting too much emphasis on the epistles need to be reminded of the source of the message in the epistles. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth, bringing to their remembrance what Jesus had taught them, and revealing to them truth which Jesus had not expressed while with them in person. Read John 16:7-14. Paul said, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches" and then added, "But we have the mind of Christ"
(
1 Cor. 2:13,16). "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord"
(I Cor. 14:37).

Now, if the apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit, had the mind of Christ, and what they wrote were the words of Christ, how say some among us that we need to minor in the epistles?

New Testament congregations which received and obeyed apostolic instruction in the epistles were following the will of Christ. That is why Jude wrote, "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 17). Those words were a pattern to shape our thinking and practice.

(click here for the entire article...)


Growing Doubts About the Resurrection of the Dead
 

by Wayne Jackson

 

In his defense before Agrippa, Paul asked his Jewish audience: “Why is it judged incredible with you, if God doth raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

There have always been those who found the concept of the bodily resurrection incredible, i.e., unbelievable, and their modern counterparts are appearing increasingly—even in today’s church.

False Ideas

The ancient Greeks disdained the notion that the body could ever be raised. Thus when Paul spoke concerning “the resurrection of the dead [ones—plural]” in Athens, his message was mocked (Acts 17:32). During the time of Jesus, the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the body (Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:6-8).

Even some Christians in the primitive church had fallen for this error and so affirmed: “There is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12)—a heresy which Paul attempted to correct. In the late decades of the apostolic age, a sect known as the Gnostics arose, denying the resurrection of the body.

In our own age, atheism, of course, rejects the idea that the human body will be raised from the dead. An article in the Soviet Encyclopedia asserts that the concept of the resurrection is in “decisive contradiction with scientific natural knowledge” (Smith 1999, 455).

Religious modernism repudiates the idea of the resurrection, since, having “demythologized” the Scriptures, it rejects any element of the miraculous.

Cultish groups also have a problem with the doctrine that God will raise the body. The Jehovah’s Witnesses assert that the incorrigibly wicked “will never be remembered for resurrection” (Make Sure of All Things 1953, 314).

(click here for the entire article...)


Christians and Mental Illness
 

by M. W. Bassford

Yesterday, I put up a post about whether suicide was a sin.  This produced a number of wide-ranging and interesting discussions online, but one conversation in particular stood out.  A brother in Christ wrote about his struggles with depression and suicide and complained about what he saw as the insensitivity of his congregation to his problems.

This is an area where the experience of different Christians at different churches can vary dramatically.  There are congregations (and I would include my congregation among them) that have a very compassionate attitude toward mental illness in general and depression in particular.  We talk about these problems from the pulpit and from the lectern, members feel free to be open about their particular issues, and we encourage such members to seek professional help.

On the other extreme (so I’ve heard, though I’ve never seen this in real life) are churches that deny that faithful Christians should struggle with depression at all.  If you’re depressed, the reasoning goes, it points to a failure to put Philippians 4:4 into practice.  Counselors are regarded with extreme suspicion, and members who do have problems with mental illness pop their pills in shadowy disrepute.

This is a complicated issue, but I thought others might be interested in how I see it.  I don’t have any professional training in dealing with depression and mental illness, but I have considerable experience.  Though I was never formally diagnosed, in retrospect it’s clear to me that I’ve gone through periods of clinical depression.  After our daughter died, my wife was suicidally depressed.  The experience led her to go back to school and get a master’s degree in social work, thus becoming a mental-health professional herself.

In addition, I’ve been a hymn writer for 20 years.  The stereotypes about artistic excellence and mental instability have at least some truth to them, so many of my closest friends and collaborators grapple with chronic depression.  Also, in my work as a preacher, I’ve studied and worked with any number of people who battle depression and other mental problems.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that mental illness has been one of the themes of my adult life.

(click here for the entire article...)


Mind Your Own Business
 

by Donnie V. Rader

 

One of the commands of God that we sometimes act as if we haven't read is the one that tells us to mind our own business. The text says, "that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you" (1 Thess. 4:11, emphasis mine DVR, NKJV).

Yes, the Bible actually tells us to mind our own business! Thus, we need to consider some ways we sometimes violate this instruction and just how serious that is.

It Is a Sin

Remember that sin is a violation of the law of God (1 Jn. 3:4). Since the law of God tells us to mind our own business and not another's (1 Thess. 4:11), then it would be a sin to behave contrary.

In the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul stated that there were some in the church who were "busybodies" (2 Thess. 3:11). A busybody is one who is not busied in his own business, but over busied in that of others' (Vines). If he did not cease his practice, he was to be disfellowshiped (2 Thess. 3:6-15). That tells how serious being a busybody (minding the business of other people) can be. God said such a one is "disorderly."

In 1 Timothy 5:13 Paul rebukes those who are idle, wandering from house to house telling things that they should not. He calls them "gossips and busybodies."

Peter wrote that we should not suffer as a "busybody in other people's matters" (1 Pet. 4:15).

How We Are Sometimes Guilty

1. In our conversation. Quite often we find ourselves talking about other people, their money, the things they do, what they buy and what we think about all of that. It may be that the things we talk about are personal which should not be of any concern to us.

(click here for the entire article...)


"Let Love of the Brethren Continue"
 

by Jefferson Davis Tant

 

The most enduring quality in this world is that of love. The great apostle who suffered so much at the hands of false brethren, who was repeatedly imperiled by the elements, who was savagely persecuted by misguided zealots, who was forsaken by fellow-workers, who languished in prison for the crime of preaching the gospel of Christ in an effort to save souls, could still write the moving words "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing... but now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love."
(1 Cor.13)

The Jews had wantonly crucified his Lord. The Jews had hunted Paul as a criminal, with vows and plots to take his life. The Jews had devastated the redeemed body of Christ. And what did Paul, in turn, feel for them? "Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved." (Rom. 10:1)

What does God have in store for those of us who violate the greatest command of all — the command of love? How is it that some of us "Christians" can harbor ill-will, bitterness, hatred, animosity, or any such attitude toward brethren in Christ and claim to be followers of the one who is love personified? Are we greater than the one who pleads for mercy to be shown to the very ones who drove spikes through his hands and feet? To be sure, we preach and listen to many sermons on first principles, the "Issues," giving, attendance, etc. , but I am afraid we sometimes "have left undone the weightier matters of the law."

(click here for the entire article...)


Mastering Self - God Demands Self-Denial
 

by Donnie V. Rader

 

Jesus said, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mark 8:34). Self-denial is one of the most basic attributes of Christianity. Yet, it is one of the most difficult to attain. One reason for that is that it requires great strength of will.

Man has a great problem mastering himself. Those who willfully engage in sin have not learned to control themselves. Those who are overcome in a moment of temptation have a problem (at least for the moment) with self-control. When we get angry and let our tempers flare and our words fly, our character is then flawed due to not practicing self-discipline. We exhibit a lack of will power when we overeat, are lazy, or are addicted to alcohol, tobacco or some other drug. Thus, mastering self requires constant work for all of us. The difference in us is that we may need to work on it in different areas of our lives.

Shakespeare wrote, "Brave Conquerors! for so you are, that war against your own affections and the huge army of the world's desires." John Sterling said, "The worst education which teaches self-denial is better than the best which teaches everything else, and not that."

There are more passages that imply the principle of self-denial than we may think at first. To learn and grow in self-denial is to grow in heart, in soul, and in character. This is one quality that we can use every moment of every day in every place.

With this article we begin a series of five articles on mastering self.

Defining Self-Denial

1. Different words used in the New Testament. There are three different words or phrases used in the Bible that point to the same concept of denying or controlling self. (a) Jesus used the phrase "deny himself " (Mark 8:34). (b) The NKJV uses the words "self-control" in 2 Peter 1:6, Titus 1:8. (c) The word "temperance" or "temperate" is used in the KJV in 2 Peter 1:6, 1 Corinthians 9:25, and Titus 2:2.

(click here for the entire article...)


Another Form of Worldliness
 

by Lloyd Moyer

 

Worldliness in any form is fatal to the child of God and the church of the Lord. The above statement simply means that any time a child of God or a church of the Lord engages in worldliness in any form their acceptability to God is forfeited. This being true, we need to study the subject of worldliness. I fear that when most people talk and think about worldliness, they have in mind such sins as drunkenness, adultery, lasciviousness and immorality in general.

However, there is another form of worldliness I wish to discuss in this article. It has to do with the idea of "peaceful co-existence." This term is used in reference to the existence of two (or more) opposite ideologies. To have this "peaceful co-existence" both sides are urged to "make concessions," "to be tolerant" and to avoid "absolutism," "radicalism," "extreme views" in either direction. By employing such terms and preaching such ideas the Communists have taken captive millions of people since 1917. By this example we can see the effectiveness of this course in world events. It seems that there is something terribly wrong with one taking a firm stand on anything today. It is the "middle-of-the-roader" who is most popular. My definition of this type person is one who talks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time; makes concessions so as to lead others to believe that he is for both sides and yet, against both sides The "middle-of-the-roader" is one who has no strong convictions either way. Therefore, he is very popular. This makes a good politician but a very poor Christian.

(click here for the entire article...)


Reaction to Heresy

by Irven Lee

 

"Heresy must needs come." (I Corinthians 11: 19.) Paul said, "I know this," when he warned the elders that wolves would enter the flock. (Acts 20:29-32.) Peter said, "There shall be false teachers among you." (2 Peter 2:1-3.) John Said, "Many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4: 1.) What are we to do?

Prevalence of Heretics

It is not so easy to detect the false, to distinguish from the true. It is very easy to be deceived. The Lord knows this, so He has warned more often in the New Testament concerning the sin and danger of heresy than He has of the sine of lying, drunkenness, murders and stealing combined. It must be serious! Are we awake to the danger?

"Many shall follow their pernicious ways." (2 Peter 2:1-3.) Will the time ever come when you will stand with a factious man in his evil way? Are you sure? Maybe you have stood there already! Paul knew that good people (disciples) might be led away by these grievous wolves, so he warned night and day with tears at Ephesus. (Acts 20:29-32.) He commended them to the word and warned them, but later he was leaving Timothy at this very place (Ephesus) to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." (I Timothy 1:3.) The grievous wolves would speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them, he said. The perverse things may not have been believed by these heretics. They would speak them to get a following "to draw away disciples after them." Believe this! Men may be found who will "speak things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake." (Titus 1:11.) They will make merchandise of the souls of men. This is true but many follow their pernicious ways. Diotrephes had a following.

Skill of Heretics

Do not minimize the skill of some heretics. Paul marveled at how soon the churches of Galatia were disturbed and how seriously by the perverters. They ran well for a time, and had treated Paul is if he were an angel, but the time soon came when those who "desired to make a fair shew in the flesh" and to avoid persecution were turning them back to the weak and beggarly elements. (Galatians 6:12.) Watch for the ulterior motives in heretics. If it happened to the churches of Galatia, it can happen to us. "Beware of false prophets."

(click here for the entire article...)


Divine Authority and Human Relations

By Connie W. Adams

 

When Satan tempted Jesus to make stones into bread, Jesus responded by saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). This was a reference to the incident recorded in Deuteronomy 8 when God gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness. He gave specific instructions as to how much to gather for a day's supply. Any more than that would breed worms and stink and they could not use it. They were to look beyond the actual manna to the source of their very existence. God was their provider and they were answerable to him. So it is in all human relations. The God who made the world and who made us has the right to command, to direct, and to enforce obedience. He also has the right to enact punishment upon the disobedient.

Order in the Family

Concerning the family Jesus said, "Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage was created by God, even as he created the universe and set in motion the laws by which it is ordered. As God made man and determined the bounds of his habitation, even so God made marriage and set in motion the laws by which it functions. Notice that "at the beginning" he made them male and female. That denies evolution, even the theistic brand. Both male and female were distinctly formed by God and that was done "at the beginning."

Notice further that in marriage male and female become one. There is a perfect and intimate union of mind, soul, and body. They function not as adversaries, or competitors, but with one heart and soul. This union is a divine creation and it is just as damaging to disregard that as it is to reject God's authority in the natural creation. For man to "put asunder" what "God hath joined together" is to invite great harm upon this relationship. The balance of moral behavior is poised upon the permanence and stability of God's divine order for the family. To "put asunder" what God has joined together is to tear down the basic unit of all orderly human society. No wonder such violation of divine authority results in broken hearts, devastated children, rebellious behavior, hatred, and every evil work. Malice, bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred, lying, cheating, stealing, and murder often follow in the wake of man's presumption in tearing apart what God joined together.

(click here for the entire article...)


How Far Will You Follow Another Person?

By Larry Rouse

 

How are you building your personal faith? Jesus exhorted us to be like the man to “who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock” because every foundation will be tested in the floods of life! (Lk 6:48-49) Every person has a foundation upon which they make their decisions and live their lives. Unfortunately some have not seriously looked at what is the real basis of their lives.

Satan has many “alternatives” to what he mockingly would call a “radical ultra-legalistic religion” (There are also many other labels you might insert here). Satan seeks to keep the words of God from the hearts of men. Jesus simply pointed out that the foundation that is built on Him involves serving Him as an absolute Lord and that means handling His delivered words as the only source of direction in our lives. (Lk 6:46; Jn 17:8, 20) Any approach that does not involve a principled, careful approach to the words of Christ is a rejection of Jesus as Lord. The approach you take towards the words of Christ is the very attitude you take towards the Lordship of Christ. "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.” (Jn 12:48) The influence of Satan urges people to avoid what he calls “legalism” which is in fact a direct attack upon Jesus as Lord.

How Satan Uses Relationships

One of the most powerful weapons Satan has is human relationships. Jesus plainly warned any who would seek to be His disciple that he must put God first. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Lk 14:26) I cannot think of a more difficult test than this. Abraham’s faith was great because he was willing to sacrifice his only son. This was a “flood” that tested the foundation of faith Abraham had built. The words of Jesus will lead each of us to similar conflicts. Have we built a faith that will cost us something? Is it a faith that follows God and not men? (Gal 1:10)

The Challenge of Choosing a Mate

Outside of the decision to become a Christian, the decision as to who you marry is one of the most important choices you will make. Do you want to go to heaven? If you are serious about that then your choice will produce a relationship where both husband and wife are “heirs together of the grace of life.” (1 Pt 3:7) You will find one who is a Christian and will help you go to heaven.

When one foolishly allows their hearts to become attached to one who is not a Christian, there will be a great test of faith. On one hand there is the desire to please to one you love but then there is also the direction that Jesus gives to His followers. Most who choose to marry a non-Christian fall away from the Lord.

(click here for the entire article...)


Beware of the Leaven of Politics

by Larry Rouse

 

The lure of the political spirit is a genuine danger to the cause of Christ. There is a legitimate realm where the Christian can seek to exercise influence for good in the community and country where he lives. Working for proper causes through the government or other organizations can be a good choice when proper considerations and priorities are in place. We need to be reminded, however, that the political realm remains firmly in the hands of “the ruler of this world.”

Jesus gave a grave warning concerning His disciples partaking of the spirit (a condition of heart that comes through shared ideals) of influential groups of His day. “…He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known"” (Luke 12:1). The spirit of this world seeks to obtain its objective at any cost. The worldly man may show concern for a given issue, be it serving God, helping the poor, etc., when the real goal is the obtaining of personal power. This is hypocrisy. The ruler of this world has no concern for principles, people and especially of God’s way.

The political way of creating crisis

It is far easier to stir emotions that shut down the mind rather than build a reasonable case for a cause. H.L. Mencken said this over 50 years ago:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

(click here for the entire article...)


Bearing Fruit and Winning Souls

By Irvin Himmel

 

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise (Prov. 11:30).

Every life is like some kind of tree. A righteous life is like a good tree bearing good fruit. A wicked life is like a bad tree bearing bad fruit. Jesus said, "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Mt. 7:17,18).

Fruit of a Righteous Life

A righteous person produces fruit that may be considered "a tree of life." This includes the following:

(1) Good Influence In Word and Deed. The faithful child of God, "by his good deeds, is as a tree of life to those whose lives he sustains" (Whiteside). Many around us can be uplifted by the power of a good example. The Christian wields a wholesome influence as the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world" (Matt. 5:13-16). Good words have added weight when backed by good deeds.

(2) Food For Souls Through Teaching. The truly righteous man is more than a "Good Samaritan." He feeds hungry souls the bread of life. While people of the world often perform humanitarian acts that aid the temporal man, the Christian sees his main task as helping the spiritually destitute.

(click here for the entire article...)


"Every Scripture Inspired of God"

By Clinton D. Hamilton

 

The Bible is a supernatural revelation. The word revelation means an uncovering. Since the Bible is an expression of the mind of God, it is a revelation, an uncovering. The New Testament is "God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory" (I Cor. 2.7). None of this world's rulers knew about this wisdom before it was revealed for "Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which entered not into the heart of man, whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him" these "God revealed ... through the Spirit for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:8-10).

(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

 

 

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