Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

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Motivated but not wasteful

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Motivated but not wasteful

 

     When Jesus sent out His disciples in what is often referred to as “the limited commission” (Matt. 10), He clearly told them to shake the dust of their feet and move on if people did not receive their words (verse 14). There are some valuable lessons to learn from this.

 

Do not focus on those who do not want it

 It is so easy to lose our desire to tell others the good news because so many people do not want it. But our Lord does not want us to focus on those who reject it. If we do, we are no longer working for Him. Though Jesus knew that many would reject Him (Matt. 7:13-14), He still came and made salvation available to everyone. Christ did this because He does not want any to perish (II Pet. 3:9). We must remember that because Jesus made salvation available to everyone, everyone needs to hear the gospel message. Do not neglect sharing the word with those who may be interested because you wasted time with someone who clearly did not want it.

 

Do not force people to listen

Some religious radicals believe their “god” wants them to kill those who reject him. Christ wants us to love all people (Matt. 22:39).  We demonstrate that love by offering the lifesaving message. If people reject it, we move on and hope that the seed we planted will grow in the future. It is not our place to get angry or give ultimatums. Our weapons are not carnal (II Cor. 10:4). We carry the sword of the spirit, which is the soul-saving word of God (Eph. 6:17; Rom. 1:16).

 

Do not forget to move on

Consider our original passage.  Jesus told his followers to shake the dust off their feet as they departed. In other words, they were to leave and continue teaching. God’s people never stop teaching because there are many more doors of opportunity. One neighbor says no, but there are others. One coworker says no, but there are others. The key is to not grow weary in well-doing (Gal. 6:9).

 

This bulletin points out two facts. You either need to obey the gospel or need to share it. May we all do what is needed to follow Christ!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Chuck            

Plenty of motivation

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Plenty of motivation

 

There is no question that Satan would like God’s people to keep the gospel to themselves. This is why Christ admonished His followers to not hide their lights under bushels (Matt. 5:15). Saints should not find joy in having the light and keeping it to themselves.  Rather, there are many reasons why children of God should seek out opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Here are a few to consider:

 

They are commanded

Those who make it their aim to please God know that they must walk by faith (Heb. 11:6).  This entails both listening to God’s word and doing what it tells us (Rom. 10:17; James 1:22). Jesus plainly stated that we ought to spread the good news (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20). We should be honored that Jesus has invited us to share His message! Indeed, those who love the Lord will keep His commandments (John 14:15).  This alone is plenty of motivation for Christians to seek and teach others. But there is more.

 

They are aware of the terror of the Lord

Before becoming Christians, we all find ourselves guilty of sin and have no way to directly deal with it (Eph. 2:12). The thought of losing our souls and enduring eternal punishment is part of the reason we each became Christians. Recall what Paul wrote: "knowing therefore , the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Cor. 6:11). Because we know the awful fate that awaits those lost in sin, we too should be motivated to share the gospel message with those around us. But there is more.

 

They had people that helped them

Recall Jesus’ lesson about extending mercy because we each received mercy (Matt. 18:23-35). As Christians, we should appreciate those who took the time to teach us. It should also remind us of the importance of sharing that message with others. We might be the last person with an opportunity to give the good news to a person! This, too, is plenty of motivation to teach others. But there is even more.

 

They have joy in planting and watering God’s word

No one enjoys telling bad news. However, the gospel is fundamentally good news – it explains a way out of the sin we would otherwise be ensnared by!  It is hard to keep the story of Jesus Christ and salvation to ourselves (Acts 8:4). We get a thrill out of sharing God’s word. Imagine how we will at harvest (Luke 15:10). We should also be heartened to know that we are only tasked with planting and watering as God will give the increase (I Cor. 6-9). Thus, we should be motivated to know that we can share the word with everyone and not worry over who might receive it. But there is even more.

 

They know it helps them get stronger

When we share good news with someone else, we then share in their joy when they receive it. Students are not the only ones who benefit from lessons as the teacher must also study and prepare. When we are told that when we teach, we also teach ourselves (Rom. 2:1). This is exactly why saints are told it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). We should thus be motivated to share the gospel with others as we know we will receive joy in return. But there is even more.

 

 

They know the laborers are few

We know that sharing the gospel is an important task. With so few available to share it, we should be motivated to get to work (Matt. 9:37-38). God’s people want to be useful in His kingdom and are full of zeal (Titus 2:14).

 

Having discussed all of these points, how can God’s people not be motivated to go and teach the gospel?

 

                                                                                             Chuck                                                                       

Defending the truth

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Defending the truth

 

As I write this bulletin, there are plans for me to meet with a local religious leader and one of their members to talk about the Bible. The member just wants the religious leader and I to present what the Bible teaches about salvation so she can determine who is telling the truth.  I think open discussions are great and would be thrilled if more people could listen. When I present from the Bible though, I need to remember the points our Lord makes about defending our faith.

Consider the event in Matthew 21:23-27. Jesus was in the temple teaching when the elders and chief priest confronted Him. They wanted to talk about the idea of authority and asked Jesus a couple of questions. Let’s break down this encounter to learn how to stand up for what we believe.

Have a willingness to talk

The first thing that we notice from our Savior is that He didn’t run away. He actually welcomed the opportunity to have a discussion openly.  Christ didn’t say he would talk about this later, privately, when no one else is around. As a matter of fact, it was while He was in front of those people, whom He was teaching, that he agreed to talk (verse 24).  There is something seriously wrong with any religious teacher who would refuse to talk about what he believes openly.

Establish that it goes both ways

Nobody wants to participate in a discussion where someone is on the defensive all the time. It is never fair to force one person to defend what they believe while the other person just asks further questions.  These situations are never profitable for people who are genuinely seeking the truth. When Jesus was asked questions (verse 23), He also stated that he would gladly answer their questions if they would answer His (verse 24).  If both parties state and defend what they believe, listeners can decide for themselves. If someone refuses to state what they believe or will not defend it, we should be concerned.

Focus on facts, not personalities

All-knowing Jesus could have easily belittled or made fun of the religious leaders who confronted Him. He could have brought up past events or, knowing their hearts, even challenged their motives. Notice that He did not though. Truth and true motives will surface during the discussion. Jesus asked them a simple question, and they refused to answer (verse 25-27). I recognize that focusing on Biblical facts will anger some people, but this just reveals that they are more interested in “winning” the argument rather than sharing Biblical truth. Truth does not need to be defended with name-calling, belittling, yelling or lost tempers.

Do not be afraid to expose error

The short confrontation between Jesus and the leaders of the synagogue ended when Jesus told them that because they would not answer His question, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things,” (verse 27). If someone wants to talk about the word of God, they need to be prepared to face the consequences. Jesus was not going to apologize, nor did He need to. By refusing to answer questions from Jesus, these men demonstrated that they could not refute His teachings. This is evidence that Jesus was right.

We do not need to sugarcoat our faith to defend it.  We must be willing to state that if “2 + 2 is 4”, than any other answer is wrong. We cannot be for something without being against something contrary.  This requires courage. Remember, the only thing that suffer from sound investigation is error. Let us all be willing to give an answer for the hope that is within us (I Pet. 3:15).

 

                                                                                                   Chuck                                              

 

Do we have to sin?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Do we have to sin?

 

There is no way anyone in this world is ever going to take sin seriously if they accept the false notion that man must sin. A lot of this stems from the doctrine of depravity. This teaching promotes the idea that we sin because of Adam and Eve and that we inherit their original sin, meaning we are born in sin. This could not be any farther from the truth. Let’s take a closer BIBLICAL look.

 

We begin by looking at Adam and Eve. They both were given laws to obey (Gen. 2:16-17). We read in the next chapter how they both broke God’s law and were punished. Why did they sin? The Bible does not mention being born in depravity. Rather, the inspired word, brings up the concept of temptation. James states that sin comes about when we give in to temptation (Jas. 1:13-15). This is no different than what happens to every other person.

 

Some might conclude that Adam and Eve sinned because temptation is irresistible. Fortunately for us as God’s children, this idea is also not found in the Bible! Nowhere in the scriptures are we told we have to yield to temptation. Actually, we are told there is no temptation that cannot be resisted if one turns to God for help (I Cor. 10:13; Jas. 4:7). I am not denying the fact that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Even Christians were told if they say they have no sin, they are a liar (I John 1:8).  However, knowing that we will sin is not the same as saying we have to sin.

 

That difference is what we need to focus on if we are going to gain a proper understanding. That fact that we are commanded not to sin (I John 2:1) implies that we do not have to. To even suggest that everyone must sin implies that we have an unjust God. A just and loving God will not command us to do something impossible for us.  Let us also not forget the punishment for sin. Every sin has consequences (Rom. 6:23), meaning that men are held accountable for their actions. Again, why punish someone who could not help it?

 

     It is wrong for us to think that God’s grace and mercy means He overlooks sin because we are forced to transgress. This idea is not found in the Bible. God’s mercy and grace has been offered to mankind so he/she can obtain forgiveness for their SINS! There is no forgiveness without repentance (Luke 13:3). To repent means to turn about. How could we truly repent if we knew that sin was irresistible and would thus happen again? If we live our lives committing the same sins over and over, we are addicted to them. This person is not walking in the light but rather in darkness (I John 1:3-7).

 

     How many employers would accept the same lame excuse over and over for not arriving at work on time? How many spouses would accept the same lame excuse regarding adultery? As God’s people, we know there are sins we committed in the past and then successfully never did again. We succeeded because we made up our minds to turn away (repent) and not go down that pathway again.

 

    My point is that we can choose to make the right choice, but we do not always do this. We sometimes falter because we fail to walk in faith. When we do not walk by faith, we succumb to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye or the pride of life (I John 2:16). When we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (verse 15).  When a person puts off the old man of sin (Rom. 6:3-6), the Lord and other Christians expect that they have left their former life of sin behind.  If they do sin, the Lord and other Christians are right to be disappointed because we have no excuse for sinning.

 

     God’s people get stronger by resisting sin (James 1:2-4).  Are they sinlessly perfect? No. But they are certainly sinning less and less.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Chuck                                                                       

How not to sin

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How not to sin

 

In our first article, we pointed out that we sometimes sin but are never forced to. Some may struggle with this idea and wonder how sin can effectively be resisted. While this is easier said than done, our Lord has left us with ways to escape temptations (I Cor. 10:13).

We must start by hating every false way (Psa. 119:104). It is impossible to resist temptation if we are comfortable with it and actually enjoy the evils that surround us.  It becomes easier to transgress when we think some sins are not as bad as others.

There is power in prayer. Jesus, early in His earthly ministry, taught His followers to pray. “Father, do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” (Matt. 6:13). Also, during the night of our Lord’s betrayal He told Peter, James and John to pray to avoid entering into temptation (Matt. 26:41). These sorts of prayers are a good preventative measure and help us stay focused on spiritual things rather than the enticing nature of the temptation.

However, prayer is not going help a person who does not turn away. Paul mentioned that we ought to “Flee youthful lusts” (II Tim. 2:22). People who play with fire get burned. We need to realize that when a situation is obviously leading toward sin, we need to get out of that situation. Remaining in the situation and just trying to resist means we may eventually wear down and succumb. Consider how the Corinthians were told that evil companions corrupt good morals (I Cor. 15:33). We must know when to walk, or run, away.

Another great tool that can help us resist sin is to confess faults to one another (James 5:16). If brethren are aware of what tempts us, they can help hold us accountable. God obviously does, but our Lord also knows the value brethren can offer each other by bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).

Taking sin seriously is the only way we can have victory over it. Remember, sin is so bad that Jesus Christ had to sacrifice His own life because of it!  Let it not be in vain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Chuck                      

 

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