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Such As I Have, Give I Thee

Such As I Have Give I Thee

     When the term “such as I have give I thee” is contemplated, folks are most likely to think of the power of miracles as existed in the apostles in the babyhood of the church. We are familiar with this phrase as this is what the Spirit had Luke record in Acts 3:6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  This miracle was not performed simply to benefit the lame man, but was profitable to all who saw him “walking and praising God” as well. This is because it brought attention to the “power” by which this miracle was done. Then, in Acts 3:12-26 we can read the inspired sermon which followed this great miracle.  

     Contrary to the teaching of some, God no longer provides this power for His servants to perform miracles.   This does not mean that God doesn’t provide for those that love Him. The Spirit had Peter pen what we read in 2Peter 1:3-4 which show that God’s power is still in effect, and also contains His Promises to man.  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

       We also have the Words of the Spirit through the pen of Paul as he was directed to write in Romans 1:16-17 so that we might know how the power of God is manifested to mankind today. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith The gospel is God’s power to save and is also available to us to take to others for their benefit.

     2Thessalonians 2:14-17 shows what God gives today, how He gives it, and how we access His “grace”. It is the means by which we can have the “everlasting consolation”, hope and comfort God offers. This is also how we are to be strengthened to carry out the Work of the Lord. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. 

         So, what do we have, and what can we give others? We know from 1Corinthians 2:12-13 what the apostles received, and with what they were charged to “give” others. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. We pointed out that Romans 1:17 teaches “the just shall live by faith”. Therefore, the answer to our question above, is we have the same thing the apostles received. We have God’s Word, and in that Word, Romans 10:17 tells us how we might have faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God God’s Word preached and taught produces faith.

       This is where we, the Christians of today come in. God, in His infinite wisdom, not only formulated the plan, brought it into being through His Son’s death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to heaven. But He gave His Word to His apostles, through the Spirit (the Comforter) as the Lord promised them, and also determined that man, those that had been saved through obedience to the gospel, take it to others. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18b-20, we find Commandment from Christ to His eleven apostles. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

       The formula is: Go, teach, baptize, and teach.   This is what we have and what we can give. This is why the Spirit had Paul admonish Timothy in 2Timothy 4:1-2. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  God sent His Son. His Son authorized us to go, teach, and baptize. The Spirit gave us the Word. Such as I have, give I thee. Let us help you know and follow God in accordance to His Word. God’s grace is available to us through His Word.   Titus 2:11-12 tells us: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Foolishness Of God?

The Foolishness of God?

     It is possible that on the first of April, you either participated in, or were the victim of some harmless prank or foolishness. This is because of the tradition of “April Fools’ Day”.   There are varied ideas as to how this tradition came to be, some themselves foolish, yet none proven. Some records show that “April Fools’ Day” has existed as far back as the twelfth century. Various cultures also participate in it differently.

     As a child we may have delighted in being on the “giving end” of one of the many pranks played on such a day. We delighted in the “fooling” of another. As maturity is achieved, many see the silliness of such pranks as childish or adolescent. Perhaps some are just “sticks in the mud”, and resist such frivolities. Nevertheless, others continue to participate in the irrationality that surrounds these traditional days.

     There are indeed many “foolish” things in which one may participate and many things which man thinks to be foolish. When we dislike, or are incapable of doing something, we often deem it “foolishness”. When we disagree with something to the point of refusal to participate, again we denounce it as “foolishness”.   Such is the case in the only occurrence of God’s Word when foolishness is ascribed to Him. 1Corinthians 1:23-25 is this passage. Contextually applied, it is easy to see that the “foolishness” that is being exposed is that of man, and not God. Nothing God has said or Commanded is foolish. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  It was the Greeks that considered the preaching of the cross foolishness.  The Jews “stumbled” at the preaching of the gospel because it went against their preconceived notions and therefore, to them, also foolishness.

     As rational human beings, blessed with the capacity and capability to learn and discern, should we not be able to determine what is foolish and what is not? Should not this especially be the case when it comes to the destination of our eternal soul?   God’s Word is given to mankind so we can see where foolishness leads. Proverbs 19:3 informs us of the path that is taken when foolishness is embraced. The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD Perhaps this is why the Spirit had the palmist pen the Words we find in the first part of Psalm 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

     When God is not considered nor regarded, much of what man does becomes foolishness.   The Pharisees in Mark 7:5 considered the eating with “unwashen hands” foolishness and defiling, as it did not align with the “tradition of the elders”.  Jesus’s response to His disciples regarding this in Mark 7:18 was given so they would know not to follow tradition. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;  His Words from Mark 7:20-23, also places man’s foolishness in some dubious company. And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21  For from within, out of the heart (mind) of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. 

     How do such thoughts as these listed above get “into” the man? He has to put them into himself by learning.  There are those who study philosophy, psychology, theology, and all others sorts of things. Then, they consider themselves wiser than others. It is obvious that they do not consider God’s Word.  1Corinthians 1:27-29 shows us the fallacy of the world’s wisdom.    But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 

     Are you willing to risk your soul to the “wisdom of man”? Do you think Jesus was “fooling” when He made the statement in Mark 7:7-8? This was in the same context of the Words of Jesus above. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 

       Wouldn’t you rather depend on the Word of God and the instruction He has provided for salvation? 1Corinthians 1:21 shows that only God’s Wisdom can bring one to salvation. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Why not follow God’s Word and obey the gospel as outlined in His Word so you can be saved?   God’s Commandments are not now, nor were they ever foolishness.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Commandments From God

Commandments From God

    When we receive Commandments from God, how do we react? That is a question that each will have to ask and answer for themselves. What one “states” when the question is asked, should be the same as they do!

How did Israel of old react?   In Jeremiah 6:16, the Spirit had the prophet issue God’s Commandments so that they might have peace.   What was their response? Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. All the Commandments of God are for the good of mankind.

     God gave Old Testament people Commandments to follow. Isaac was given a promise from God in Genesis 26:3-5, because of the fidelity of his father in regard to God’s Commandments. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws

       Joshua 1:8-9 is where we read of the Commandments of God to His people Israel, as they were being led into the Promised Land.   This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. All this was for their benefit and to fulfill God’s plan.

     Jesus, in Matthew 21:28-31 presented two scenarios to help the Jews of His Day see the fallacy of only “appearing” to keep the Laws of God. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 

Those of Jesus day needed to know that keeping God’s Commandments would lead them to the kingdom. This kingdom, the church for which Christ died, was the fulfillment of God’s plan for man.

     Jesus’ teaching was forwarded by His disciples in Matthew 10:5-7 as Israel was being prepared to receive the kingdom. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

       The gospel consists of the New Testament Commandments of God. As the gospel was being preached in the first century, the Gentiles were granted entrance when Peter was sent to Cornelius. Notice the attitude of Cornelius in Acts 10:33 when it came to “receiving” what God offered. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then there are the Words of Paul as the Holy Spirit had him write in Romans 1:16 to show the “power of God unto salvation” is the gospel. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

       There is also Romans 16:25-26 which confirms that the gospel is the Commandments of God. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: This is in exact alignment with the Word’s of Jesus as recorded in John 14:15. He said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  

      1John 5:3 was written to Christians, so this same concept is applied under the Law, and the Gospel. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  Don’t be as king Saul of old in 1Samuel 15:13. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORDThe reply? (vs 14) And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?    Obey the gospel, the Commandments of God today. Obey it all the way. To do otherwise means eternal destruction. If you need help or additional teaching, we can help guide you through His Word.      

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Receiving The Blessings Of God

Receiving the Blessings of God

     There are many who think that God does not bless them.  More often than not, this is because they don’t consider of what God’s blessings to man consist.   Many are selfish, and think if they don’t receive financial wealth or maintain physical health with little or no effort, they aren’t “blessed”.

     All God has given man is a blessing to him. Christ created the Earth on which we live. According to Hebrews 1:3, He set all things in order and upholds them by the word of His power. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Surely this is one of God’s many blessing to all of mankind.

     In fact, God blesses all, and Jesus said so in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus pointed out that all the Jews were God’s children under that Old Testament Law, and both the “good and the bad” received the benefit of God’s temporal blessings upon them. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

     Another excellent example of God’s Blessings being liberally applied to all His Old Testament children is the forty years when Israel wandered in the wilderness.   In Exodus 16:35 we read of the “blessing” God provided them. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. Will any argue that all the Israelites were continually obedient to God’s Commands? No! In fact, their own disobedience was the very reason it took forty years for Israel to travel to the Promised Land.

       Old Testament Israel’s shoes and clothing not wearing out while they wandered were also physical blessings from God. The rain for nourishment of the earth is a physical blessing. These blessings from God require little to no effort on the part of the recipients. Some blessings of God do require the recipients to “do something” before receiving the blessing.   In the case of the manna, the Israelites had to “go out”, and “pick up”, the manna so they could eat.   The same with the quail the Lord sent for their sustenance. Numbers 11:32 proves this to be so. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 

       The same concept applies to the spiritual blessings God has richly given man. The “physical” blessings Israel received were so the future blessings of a “spiritual” nature would come to be. Galatians 4:4-5 helps us to see this and none who believe in Christ would deny that Jesus’ coming is a blessing to man. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Jesus also said in the latter part of John 10:10 why He came. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Can any say this is not a blessing?

       God’s temporal blessings, (rain, sun, etc.) require no effort whatsoever on the part of the ones who benefit therefrom. But even some of God’s “spiritual blessings” to man require some effort of those who would be profited by them.  God does not “rain down” Salvation upon man. We are shown in Acts 10:34 that all are to receive God’s spiritual blessings in the same way. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: In Colossians 3:24-25 the Spirit had Paul explain this in such a way that the brethren there could not possibly misunderstand. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 

     In Philippians 2:12 the Spirit also had Paul remind the brethren who worshipped there that one’s Salvation was not simply “handed to them”. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

James 1:25 additionally affirms this. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed

       Of course, all should realize there are no spiritual blessings anywhere, except in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 confirms it.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Seek to become a Christian, a child of God in accordance to His Word and “work” to prepare yourself to enjoy the eternal blessings He has promised to the obedient and the faithful.   That’s the only way those blessings can be received of God.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Do You Have Time For God?

Do You Have Time For God?

       We are all “busy people”. In 1Kings 20:39-40 we read of a prophet that was “too busy” to do as the king asked him.   And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.  In verses 41 and 42 we read of the cost incurred because of his actions. And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. 42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. In essence, he didn’t “have time” to do as Commanded. The price was his life, and that of his people.  

      Today, we live in busy times. Many have had their schedules altered and made more difficult as a result of various things. Time is at a premium. We seem to have more demands on our time that we did just a short while ago.   FACT: We have as much time now as we have always had. There has always been twenty-four hours in a day. The “key” is what we do with the time God has granted us.   The churches of Macedonia in 2Corinthians 8:3-5 are an excellent example of how to use our time in service to God. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.    When one “gives themselves” to God, they dedicate themselves to God and finding time to serve Him is no problem.

     The apostle Paul also serves as an excellent example to us as to how we are to spend our time in service to God. In 2Corinthians 12:14-15a we can read to what degree Paul served God for the benefit of the Corinthians. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; . . .   From this we can surely see how important it is to find time for God.  

     But still, folks continue to offer the same lame excuse: “I don’t have time to . . . “ Incredibly, they even apply this to service to God.   This “dog won’t hunt” as the saying goes.   Most have time for all else they wish to do! We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1 of the FACT that there is indeed time for all man is to do while on this earth.   To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Then we see in Ecclesiastes 3 2-8, a list of a number of “purposes” in which a person could participate. Surely this includes time for God.   As we read Hebrews 12:28 we clearly see that the Spirit has the penman write these Hebrew Christians that the kingdom has come, and in that kingdom, one MUST make time for God. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

       Now, think of the “time” God has dedicated toward humanity. It is easily seen in 1Peter 1:18-20 that even before “time” began God had a plan that would be carried out.   Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you This was done for the saving of man’s soul and happened in God’s timeframe.

           God chose a people through whom to bring His Son to earth. They were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He gave them a law, and separated them for this purpose. This took many years. We then read in Galatians 4:4-5 when this happened and why. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  In God’s “New Testament Law” God gives promises. One of these promises is Salvation through Christ.   In 2Peter 3:9 we are told that God still offers “time” so people can repent and come to Christ. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  This shows God still has time for us, if we will turn to Him as directed in His New Testament Word, and be obedient to the gospel.

        Christ provided the sacrifice for salvation in His death on the cross, and we have been given time to obey Him in accordance to His Word that we might contact the blood of Christ.  Why will you not make time for God?  If you don’t make time for God, there is a huge price to pay.   Are you willing to pay that price and spend eternity in Hell?   Your choice – Choose wisely.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

APPLICATION REQUIRED

Application Required

     The title of this article might jump to our minds, especially if we are in the market for a job. Gone are the days in which one could simply walk into a place of work, have a brief conversation, and procure employment.    Now- adays one must set up an appointment with a Human Resources specialist, prepare a resume’, gather references, then fill out the application. Upon arrival to the meeting with the HR person, questions which should have already been answered by the arduous preparation of documents that you have provided, will be asked to see if you are a “good fit” for the desired position. Afterward, you will endure a “probationary period” before being fully accepted.  

      Another “application” with which we are familiar, is that which deals with medications and such.   Some of us become “acutely aware” of the need to “apply” the required medications, ointments, poultices etc. to relieve itchy, painful effects of disease or injury.   One can have all the “medicine” in the world, and if not “applied”, they do nothing to relieve the discomfort or heal the condition. Medicine left in the bottle or tube is useless. The same could be said of a crutch or a cane. Until “applied” properly, it cannot support the weight, or provide the balance, for which it was intended. “Application required”.

     Yet another way in which we might think of the subject at hand, is in the automobile we drive, or the way in which we are conveyed from place to place as we conduct the business of life.   Many a young man has desired to own a car with “muscle” or power. They may want such to impress others by owning one as a “status symbol” or for some other reason. However, unless that vehicle is put into use, its “power” cannot be fully realized.   Potential power is not in effect until the “application” of that which releases the power.  A motor has no power until it is “engaged”. Crank the vehicle, put it in gear, engage the power, and go.    “Application required”.

      Let’s now examine this concept in light of God’s Word, and how we are to “apply” it. We are clearly told in 2Peter 1:3-4 that God has provided all we need to have life, and so we can live godly.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But what happens when this is improperly applied, or not applied at all? “Application required”.

        We earlier mentioned “medicines”. The same concept is in place to those who are charged with providing medications and healthcare. If one refuses to go to the doctor, or refuse the help offered, can he/she “blame the doctor when health is not restored? This too has a spiritual application. In Mark 2:17, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”   The scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and many Jews refused Jesus and His teaching.   “Application required”.

     In John 11:25-26 as Jesus spoke to Martha, following the death of her brother Lazarus, He instructed her as to the source of the resurrection after He had told her Lazarus was going to rise again. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? This “life” is only found in Christ. This is also what Jesus was telling Nicodemus in John 3:5 when He told him how man would enter into the kingdom of God, which is the church. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  “Application required”.

    The brethren in Rome were told in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is God’s power to save “whosoever believeth”. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.Sadly, some have erred in their understanding of this passage.  Some teach one may “believe” their way to Salvation. That is not what this scripture teaches at all. This is readily apparent from the Words of Christ Himself in Mark 16:16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  Therefore, the teaching of the gospel must be “applied”, and one must not only believe, but also must be baptized.   “Application required”.

     In fact, one must participate in every single step in the gospel plan of Salvation to receive the promise of eternal life. Perhaps you don’t know what these are. They are: 1) Hear – Romans 10:17;   2) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God – John 8:24; 3) Repent of sins – Luke 13:3;  Confess that Jesus is God’s Son – Romans 10:9-10; Be Baptized into Christ – Acts 22:16; And remain faithful until death – 2Peter 2:20-21. And, if one is a Christian and hasn’t remained faithful, God provided for this as well.   In Acts 8:22, Simon the former sorcerer, who was an “erring Christian was told what to do to “restore himself” to a proper relationship to God.

     These are God’s Laws for the healing of the soul, the “spiritual medicine” that every soul needs.   If you desire to be saved: “Application required”.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Raised From The Dead

Raised From The Dead

     Throughout the New Testament, we have multiple accounts of people who were raised from the dead. The first occurrence is in the city of Nain in Luke 7:11-15.   This is when the dead son of the widow was raised from the dead by Jesus, while the young man was in route to his own funeral. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 

     Then, there’s Luke 8:49-55 and the case of Jairus’ daughter.   While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 

     Jesus, by the power of His voice, called both of these dead young people back from the realm of death before they were buried so that they might continue their time on the earth, among their families and perhaps to even raise children of their own. This brought their families great joy.

      But who could forget the John 11 account when Jesus raised Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary from the dead?   This case is a bit different from the two above, in that John had been dead four days and was in the tomb. Upon Jesus’ arrival at Bethany, and following His conversation with Martha and Mary, He went to the burial site. John 11:38-45 we read the conclusion of this event.   Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 

     In addition to these, we have the disciples who had been “sleeping”, now walking in Jerusalem in Matthew 27:52-53 immediately after the death of Jesus on the cross.      We also have the Acts 9:36-42 “raising” of Tabitha (Dorcas), by Peter, and the account of the death and the restoration of life in Acts 20:7-12 of Eutychus by the hands of Paul, as the Spirit worked through them both. As incredible as these “resurrections” were, all of these who had been raised from the dead would die again later.  

     However, there is a “resurrection” that has far more impact than all of these and that provides great benefits to those who will follow God’s Word. That, of course, is the resurrection of Christ. When Christ was raised from the dead, He would not die again.      His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension is how Jesus provided what He promised in John 10:10b. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

     That promise was fulfilled in the New Testament age, which began at Pentecost, A.D. 33.     The apostles received “power from on high” and delivered the inspired message.  Because Christ was raised from the dead, we too can have the hope of the resurrection. 1Peter 1:3-5 tells us what we shall receive and when we shall receive it.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

       Won’t you hear that inspired message, obey the gospel and make the preparation for that final resurrection? Hear His Word, and believe. Then repent of your sins, confess Jesus as the Son of God, be baptized into Christ, and remain faithful until death.   You can have that inheritance.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Church - The Body of Christ

THE CHURCH -- THE BODY OF CHRIST

The church which Christ said He would build (Matt. 16:18), and which was established on the first Pentecost after His resurrection (Acts 2:47) is called in the scriptures, "the body of Christ." In Ephesians 1:22, 23, Paul calls it " ... the church, which is' his body." In Colossians 1:18, he calls it" ... the body, the church ... "

THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES THERE IS ONE BODY

The figure of the church of Christ as the spiritual body of Christ emphasizes the singularity of the church. Christ spoke of building "my church" - singular (Matt. 16:18). Paul wrote that "we have many members in one body" (Rom. 12:4,5); also, "But now are they many members, yet but one body" (I Cor. 12:20). Both Jew and Gentile are reconciled unto God in one body (Eph. 2:16). "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:4,5). The church is the body. The body is one. Therefore, the church of Christ is one. Let each be sure he is a member of this one.

CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY - THE CHURCH

Christ's dominion over the church is complete. He was given "to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body. " (Eph. 1: 22,23). He is "the head of the body, the church" (Col. 1:18). As members of one's physical body are subject to his mind, so must the members of Christ's spiritual body (the church) must do. What he does not command and teach, the church must not do nor teach (II John- 9,10). The "effectual working" of "every part" (i.e., every member) is dependent on growing up "into him in all things, which is the head of Christ" (Eph. 4:15,16).

CHRISTIANS ARE MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

The relationship of a Christian to Christ as the head of the body (the church) is that of complete subjection (Eph. 5:24). The relationship of a Christian to fellow Christians as members of the one body (the church) is that of complete union and harmony. Every joint is to supply his part to make the body strong (Eph. 4:16). All the members are united in the one body (Rom. 12:4,5; I Cor. 12:12-20). Each member must perform his own work (I Cor. 12:14-19). One member is as important as any other member (I Cor. 12:21-23). There must be no schism in the body (I Cor. 12:24,25). There must be mutual sympathetic care for each other (I Cor. 12:25-27).

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING MEMBERS OF THE BODY

Christ is the saviour of the body (Eph. 5:23). If one wishes to be among the saved, he must be in the body. Men are "called unto the peace of God" in one body (Col. 3:15). If one desires this peace, he must be in the body. Man is "reconciled unto God in one body" (Eph. 2:16). If one is to have the benefits of this reconciliation, he must be in the body. The "fullness of him that filleth all in all" is in the one body (Eph. 1:23). If one is to enjoy this fullness, he must be in the body. One cannot be subject to the head and united with Christ without being a member of the body.

HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE BODY

Paul wrote to the members of the church at Corinth (I Cor. 1:2), "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. " (I Cor. 12:13). This is by being "buried with Christ in baptism" (Rom. 6:3). Have you done this?

Written in 1983 - Joe Wilson (brother in-law)

– deceased 6/23/18

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The Church Is The Body Of Christ – Song

The church is the body of Christ we are told,

It consists of the ones saved from sin,

The rich and the poor and the young and the young and the old,

Whom the Lord adds as they’re born again.

The church is the kingdom of God we are told,

And its king is our Savior and Lord,

The spiritual blessings we freely receive,

Are bestowed as we live by the Word.

The church is the bride of the Lamb that was slain,

And this marriage took place long ago,

If we’re true to the groom until He comes again,

We are promised a mansion we know.

And the Lord of the church wills that Christians be one,

As was prayed in Gethsemane’s prayer,

But the doctrine of men mock the prayer of God’s Son,

There’s division and strife everywhere.

One church, only one church, for her life none but Jesus could pay,

Some day He will take her to Heaven on high,

That’s why I’m a member today.

Written circa 1981 – O. D. Wilson (father in-law)

 – deceased 1995

One sentiment, expressed in an article and a song by two generations. This is because both are based on Bible truth. To which “body” do you belong? If not the body of Christ, as shown in God’s New Testament, you need to think of where you’ll spend eternity.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

For What Are You Watching?

For What Are You Watching?

    It is clear from the myriad of references in the Word of God, that it is of most importance for one to “watch”.   However, it is equally important that we watch for the proper things and at the proper time.  There are some employees who tend to be guilty of “watching the clock”. Unfortunately, so are some church members. Ephesians 6:5-8, written in regard to servants, also applies employees, as well as “servants” of Christ, should put a stop to this habit of “clock watching”. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;  7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 

     The Jews of the Old Testament had long awaited the promised Messiah.   In John 1:40-42, (while still under the Law of Moses), Andrew heard the proclamation of John the baptizer, then followed Jesus and went with Him to His dwelling place. Upon hearing the Lord speak, first went to find Peter his brother. Oh, what joy to receive that for which one has been watching. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.  One irrefutable proof that the Messiah which had been promised, had indeed arrived was that He knew Peter, never having been introduced. These Jews had been watching for the Messiah and were richly rewarded when the promise of God to them was fulfilled.

       The purpose of the promise which was to be fulfilled when Christ came was prophesied in Isaiah 2:2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house (the church) shall be established in the top of the mountains (Jerusalem), and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it The kingdom did not exist until after the Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, and until the Spirit had delivered the gospel to the apostles. The kingdom began in Acts 2:41 when folks obeyed the gospel. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Then in Acts 2:47b we see to what God added them. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.  We have no need to “watch for” this kingdom, which is the church, as it has been in existence since A.D. 33, at 9:00 a.m. at Pentecost, in Jerusalem.

       Since the kingdom has already come, why are we to be watching?   The Spirit had Paul answer this in Ephesians 5:15-17.   We are to be “watching” all around us because of evil. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. To understand what the will of the Lord is, is to know His Word.

     Now, that we have entered into the church in the New Testament age, the final dispensation of time that God has promised, for what are we to be watching? Those of us who are Christians, (have been baptized into Christ), are a part of the kingdom, the church. Therefore, two things spring to mind. 1) We are to remain strong in “the faith”, which is the Word. This is written to Christians, and we can read this in 1Corinthians 16:13.   Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 2) Titus 2:13 tells us we are to be watching for the Lord’s return. Looking for (watching for) that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

     There is also a very good reason why those not “in Christ” would not want to watch for His final return. 2Peter 3:10 tells us: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  When the Lord returns, time will be no more.   Time will end as the earth will be destroyed.  We also know what will happen to those not in Christ. We read in 2Thessalonians 1:8-9 what will happen to them, as well who will glorify and admire Him. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;  10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

       However, there is something you can do so you do not suffer the wrath of God at the coming of Christ. Obey the gospel today. Then remain faithful the rest of your life.   If you need help with this, let us know. We will assist you in coming to the knowledge of the truth. Then you too will want to “watch” for His return.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Teaching

Teaching

   The need for teaching is acute in this day and age. There is an on-going debate regarding the damage being done to our school-age youth, as many are forced to participate in “distance learning” during the current pandemic, while schools in many places remain closed. Some hold the position that as long as the youth are “educated”, they are receiving the tools needed to succeed in todays and tomorrows society. We know this is not the case as an alarming number of our young, and older folks are taking their own lives as times are tough and the ways are rough. Some folks have obviously not been taught that taking their lives is a sure ticket to condemnation.

     There is no excuse for NOT TEACHING, even in the face of a pandemic, or any other difficult time. In fact, that is the best time to teach certain things. This is because during difficult times, some are more receptive to the type of instruction that is needed to persevere during such periods.  

    The church MUST continue to teach, regardless of the difficulty of times, circumstances or situations.   This is because to do so is COMMANDED by our Lord.   In Matthew 28:18-20 we have the Great Commission, spoken by Christ to His apostles. When the wording is considered, one must realize it is a command and one can see the perpetual nature of it. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  

      Based on this final record from the pen of Matthew as the Spirit directed, one can fully understand that the command is: “Teach, Baptize, and Teach”. This requires that one be taught before conversion, be baptized into Christ, and then must continue to be taught so that they might grow and mature as they learn more of the Word so they can teach others.

        It is apparent from Acts 8:4 that the early church did not “forget” about teaching, even in the face of tribulation. As Saul was busy persecuting the church, the church continued to teach and preach. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. This “duty” belongs to the church in times good, or bad. Elders are to “lead the effort” in this as Titus 1:9 teaches in the qualifications of elders.  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.  Evangelists, which includes all preachers, are also responsible as 2Timothy 2:2 directs.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Then we can see in Hebrews 5:12 that this also is the function of every Christian who has spent any time in the kingdom.   For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 

        It is also important what is taught and when. The lost are to be taught the gospel of Christ so they can become saved. Romans 1:16-17 is where the Spirit had Paul point this out. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. And Romans 10:17 shows that faith comes from the hearing of God’s Word. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

     The “new” Christian is to be fed with the “milk of the Word” as we read in 1Peter 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: The gospel is directed to all and must be taught as Titus 2:11-12 teaches, and also tells us why it must be taught. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world Those who are “seasoned” Christians also need instruction. Hebrews 5:13-14 shows the difference in the “spiritual diet” of the new Christian and the established one. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  The truth needs to be taught to all, and all need the truth as Jesus said in John 8:32.   And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  He was speaking of one becoming “free” from sin.

     The reason we MUST continue to teach and preach the truth, is that folks won’t always “hold to the truth”. 2Timothy 4:3-4 warns of the “bondage” to be suffered by all who shun the truth. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables

     Let’s not allow folks to be “bound” by fables and false teaching. Let’s teach the truth to all who will listen and hear so they can make an informed choice regarding their soul’s eternal destination.

  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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