NOTES FROM THE MINISTER
For the love of money is the root of all evil:
which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and
pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Timothy 6:10)
Did you ever begin wondering if “going to church” was about raising money?
In some churches there is a constant drive for the raising of money.
"We have a collection for this project."
"We have a collection for the missionaries in some far away land."
"We have a collection for the missionaries in some other far away land."
Once in Florida I was studying with a neighbor who asked me about our attitude toward money.
It seemed like a strange question.
Well, come to find out, he had gone to church with his wife. . .
(he considered himself an unbeliever).
During the service they had taken up a collection for the building fund.
To make a long story short, they didn’t get enough money.
The preacher ordered the doors to be locked, with the admonition that
“no one is to leave the room!” They passed the plate a total of three times.
If you finally make it through all the contributions then they start up with the fundraisers.
They have garage sales, auctions, cookies, donuts, chili feeds etc.
The irony is that the bigger the church… normally the more they beg for money.
Am I missing something?
Didn’t Jesus tell Peter that He would build the church on the fact the
He (Jesus) was the Son of God?
Jesus really didn’t seem all that excited about building earthly monuments did He?
In fact, the one man most concerned about the money in Jesus’ group was Judas!
Jesus (through the Apostle Paul) did make provisions for a contribution.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia,
so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you …..
“is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made
when I come.” (I Corinthians 16:1-2)
Notice that the purpose of this collection was “so that no collections will be made when I come.”
Obviously the point is do this and be done with it!
Just as obviously, Paul pointedly, not only limited the collection
to a single weekly collection, but limited it to one day.
Jesus became very upset when the Jews turned the worship of God into a giant sale-a-thon!
“Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out
those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the
tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves;
and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
And He began to teach and say to them,
"Is it not written,
'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS'?
But you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN."
The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him;
for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.
Do you suppose He would be pleased with all the merchandise being
carried through the churches today?
Does it astonish you that there is still a group of people who believe in Jesus
strongly enough to trust Him?
Jesus’ teaching, has always been an astonishment to “the whole crowd.”
At a Church of Christ, you’ll never be called on to “tithe” (an Old Testament practice).
You’ll never be asked to buy anything.
If you’re visiting, you’ll not be expected to contribute.
You’ll not hear impassioned pleas for money.
Yes, we’ll pass the plate on the Lord’s day…Once!.
We follow the example of New Testament Christians,
“but they first gave themselves to the Lord” (II Corinthians 8:5)
We believe we should share the attitude of the Apostles,
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven
and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything,
since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25)
We are more interested in you than your money…
We believe that’s the way God wants it!
We believe that the purpose of our gathering is to worship God!
Isn’t that why you’ve come?
"WHERE IN THE BIBLE WILL I FIND. . . . ."
THE SINNER'S PRAYER
Millions of tracts have been distributed in hospitals, restaurants, etc.,
with some version of "the sinner's prayer."
There are many differing versions since this "prayer" is man-made
and is not to be found in the Bible.
The Bible makes it very clear that prayer is the privilege of Christians,
not alien sinners (Mat. 6:9; 1 Pet. 3:12).
God has no children out of His family, who can rightfully call Him Father.
One must be "in Christ" to be called a son or daughter of God.
To be in Christ means to be in His church or body
(2 Cor. 6:17-18; Eph. 1:22-23; Col.1:18).
All must enter into Christ in the same way, by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism;
but not by prayer (John 8:24; Luke 13:3; Mat. 10:32-33; Mark 16:15-16).
The first thing a sinner needs to do is not pray, but obey (Heb.5:8-9).
Yet, there are some religious folks who do not enforce God's desires for all men
to be saved in His appointed way (1 Tim. 2:4).
It gives the lost a false security to think they are saved by merely saying,
"Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross
for my sins to save me from eternal death. I open the door of my life
and receive you as my Savior and Lord. I give you my life Help me to be what
you want me to be. Amen."
Peter, by the Holy Spirit's guidance, told lost souls on Pentecost to obey,
rather than pray (Acts 2:38). What Peter said then and what men say today does not match.
Peter is right, men are wrong. Upon the command to "repent and be baptized"
for their salvation, the Bible says, they that "gladly received the word were baptized"
and the Lord added them to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).
They then continued steadfastly in prayer (Acts 2:42).
The Bible says: God does not listen to sinners (John 9:31),
He is far from the wicked (Pro. 15:9),
the sinner's prayer is an abomination (Pro. 28:9),
and that the face of the Lord is against evil doers (Psa. 34:16; 1 Pet. 3:12).
We hope that these thoughts will encourage men to come into Christ,
His church, where they may have the blessing of prayer.
(Extracted from Gary Colley @ www.eecc.org)
MESSAGE AND POEM
Our message is a message of
Hope in a world of despair,
Peace in a world of turmoil,
Love in a world of hate,
Joy in a world of sorrows,
Faith in a world of doubt
Our message focuses on one Man and what His sacrifice has accomplished for us (Eph. 3:10-11).
A Man who lived a life of obedience for us (Rom. 5:19).
A Man who died a death of the disobedient for us (Heb. 2:9).
A Man who was resurrected and now makes intercession for us (Heb.7:25).
A Man who is our "Hope" (I Tim. 1:1), our "Peace" (Eph. 2:14), and our "Life" (Col 3:4).
We believe and teach that salvation is totally by the Grace of God which he bestows on us through the blood of Jesus.
We rest our hope fully, not partly or mostly, but fully, on God's Grace (I Pet. 1:13).
We do not earn, merit, acquire, or add anything to the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins.
Any response on our part (such as trusting in Him, and being baptized as a demonstration of our faith in Him)
is simply an acceptance of His "Indescribable Gift" (II Cor. 9:15).
Therefore, "We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord" (II Cor. 4:5).
I wrote the following poem years ago which briefly summarizes what we believe about
Jesus Christ - Who Himself is Our Message.
It's All About Jesus
|He's Judah's Lion||.....||He's the Chosen Lamb|
|He's the Mighty God||.....||He's the Great I Am|
|He's the Wonderful Counselor||.....||He's the Prince of Peace|
|He's the Great Physician||.....||He's Our High Priest|
|He's the Faithful Witness||.....||He's the Church's Head|
|He's the Great Redeemer||.....||He's the Living Bread|
|He's the Seed of Woman||.....||He's the Nazarene|
|He's the Star of Jacob||.....||He's the Reigning King|
|He's the Son of the Highest||.....||He's the Mediator|
|He's the Second Adam||.....||He's the World's Creator|
|He's David's Lord||.....||He's David's Son|
|He's the Root of David||.....||He's the Holy One|
|He's the Righteous Branch||.....||He's the Governor|
|He's the Suffering Servant||.....||He's the Comforter|
|He's the Alpha||.....||He's the Omega|
|He's the Beginning||.....||He's the End|
|He's the Author||.....||He's the Finisher|
|He's our Brother||.....||He's our Friend|
|He's Jehovah from on High||.....||He's the Shephard that is Nigh|
|He's the Door and He's the Vine||.....||He's the Light that Makes Us Shine|
|He's the Rock and He's the Word||.....||He's the Voice that must be Heard|
|He's the Way, the Truth, and Life||.....||He's Our Peace in a World of Strife|
|He's Our Lord and He's Our Savior||.....||He's the Bread that Gives Life Flavor|
|He's Our Prophet, Priest and King||.....||And to Us He's Everything|
by Wayne Dunaway
JESUS DIED FOR ALL--SO I'M SAVED, RIGHT?
Before Jesus was born, the angel Gabriel told Joseph that the child was to be named "Jesus",
for he will save the people from their sins. How would Jesus Christ save us from our sins?
Isaiah wrote, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6)
Jesus lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15), so God put him forward "as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith.
This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance
He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time,
so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:25-26).
Christ came to "give his life a ransom for many" (Mat. 20:28).
Because God loved us, and because Jesus loved us, "he gave himself for our sins,
that we might be delivered from this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4).
It is by the grace of God that we can be saved from our sins,
but grace is not unconditional (Eph. 2:8-9).
The Bible reveals that Jesus died for the whole world (John. 3:16; 1 John. 2:1-2).
Does that mean everyone will be saved. Certainly not,
for the Bible plainly teaches that many will be lost (Mat. 7:13-14, 21; 25:46).
Those who do the will of the Father and obey the Son will be saved (Mat. 7:21; Heb. 5:9).
In order to receive the redemptive benefits of Jesus' death,
one must submit to all that God requires for the forgiveness of sins. The New Testament makes it clear that one
cannot receive the benefits of the Lord's blood without believing in him.
Jesus said, "Except ye believe that I am he ye will die in your sins" (John 8:24; Heb. 11:6).
To believe in him means to accept the inspired testimony about his nature, his life, and his death, and his resurrection.
Believers were instructed to also repent. Paul preached, "The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked;
but now He commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
Jesus requires that men repent (Luke 13:3, 5).
If a person believes in Jesus Christ and will repent of sin, then that person should confess that Jesus is the Son of God.
Paul said, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that
God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:10).
Notice that this verse does not say anything about repentance,
yet we know from other verses that it is required by God.
This is a good example of an important principle of Bible study.
We must consider all that the Bible has to say about a subject.
Listen to what Jesus said: "He that believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16).
Likewise, Peter told the Jews on Pentecost, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
unto the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38).
If a person today did what the Lord's apostle said to do, would he also be saved?
Other New Testament passages help us understand the nature of New Testament baptism.
Baptism is a command for believers. It is not for infants, for they cannot believe, and they do not have sins.
Baptism is a burial in water, it is not sprinkling or pouring. Notice that in the New Testament much water was required (John 3:23).
Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water, where the sinner was baptized, and they both came up out of the water.
For this reason, the New Testament explicitly says that baptism is a burial (Col. 2:12).
It is also necessary to note that the word baptizo, transliterated "baptize", means immersion.
A person is not baptized because he has already been saved. The person who believes in Jesus and repents of sin is baptized
in order to receive the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Peter wrote years later, "which also after a true likeness, baptism now saves you, not as a removal of dirt
from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:21).
Baptism is necessary for salvation, and this is exactly what we find by way of examples in the book of Acts.
Consider Paul. He was told by Ananias, "And now why do you wait?
Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16).
If you did what Paul did, do you think you also would have your sins washed away?
Paul wrote to the Romans and explained the importance of baptism.
He said that when a person is baptized, he is baptized into Jesus' death.
He is buried with Christ in baptism into the likeness of his death,
and thereby he is raised in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4).
This is the gospel plan of salvation whereby one becomes a child of God (Gal. 3:26-27).
And to all who obey Him, Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9).
(Extracted from Jason Jackson)
The Bible is Right
One of the greatest preachers of the century was Marshall Keeble.
In his unique style, this great Black evangelist had a way of making concepts clear.
One of the phrases he loved most to use was, The Bible is right!
In the book His Hand and Heart by the late Willie Cato, brother Keeble is quoted as saying,
"The Bible is Right! You can go home and fuss all night, but the Bible is right!
You can walk the streets and call Keeble a fool, but the Bible is right!
You can go home and have spasms, but the Bible is right!
If we all die and go to Hell, the Bible is still right!"
We live in an age of rapid change and this year has been filled with surprises.
Political conditions around the world remain in a state of flux and the economy
of most nations, including our own, gives us reason for serious concern.
In the midst of so much uncertainty, it is comforting to know that God
still rules and we have a guide Book that is unchanging.
The Bible is still right, and we have no need to doubt the course
to take in our spiritual journey while on earth.
A changing world has tempted some of our own brethren
to doubt the correctness of practicing and proclaiming first century Christianity in our age.
It has become too common to hear criticism toward those wishing to have
Biblical authority for all we practice. Perhaps we need to be reminded, as a people,
that the Bible claims to be the source of final authority (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Jude 1:3)
and it clearly warns us about departures from the faith, (Gal. 1:8, 9; 2 John 1:9).
The Bible is right!
Since the Bible is right, we need to take seriously its teaching on benevolence.
When Jesus answered the lawyer's question about, "Who is my neighbor?"
in Luke 10, He told the story of the Samaritan who came to the rescue of a traveler on the Jericho road. He had been assaulted and robbed by thieves. The story is primarily centered around benevolence with compassion. Jesus concludes the teaching with the admonition, "Go and do likewise." Since the Bible is right, it becomes the responsibility of every Christian to practice its precepts. The areas of benevolence are as broad as there are human needs.
"Do good to all," (Galatians 6:10) gives this authority to us.
In (James 1:27) there is special emphasis placed on doing benevolence to "fatherless" and "widows."
In every age, the young without parental guidance and the elderly without a caring
family have always been vulnerable because they lack the resources to care for themselves.
The work of caring for homeless, abused and neglected children is right, for the
Bible teaches it and the Bible is right!
It is important to never lose sight of our mission.
It is right, for the Bible teaches it and the Bible is right!
(Extracted from Bill Hamrick)