When the Shut-in Gets Out

“let us consider one another order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. -Psalm 122:1

 Such a simple concept, assembling together to worship. Yet, this simple concept is so integral to our success. Last Sunday was the first Sunday I was able to attend worship services in the past year.(7/5/15)  I will not even attempt to describe how much I am encouraged and my family is encouraged when I can attend. Being successful and remaining faithful to our Christian faith is so difficult to do alone. As individuals, we need support and encouragement that only comes from worshipping with others. Continue reading “When the Shut-in Gets Out”

Worship

Donald Willis

Worship is “courtesy or reverence paid to worth; hence, honor; respect.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, pg. 988). There is in man an innate quality, which causes him to recognize and pay homage to Deity. There are varying degrees of homage paid, but basically man is a worshipper. Worship is accomplished in more than one way. One is instructed that worship is “honor, reverence, homage in thought, feeling or act (My Emphasis, DW)… The O. T. idea is… the reverential attitude of mind or body or both, combined with the more generic notions of religious adoration, obedience, service.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. V, pg. 3110).

The worship paid to Jehovah under the Law of Moses was one, which appealed to the letter of the law and could only foreshadow the true worship, which would be under the Law of Christ. The worship of Israel was a fleshly observance. God, as conceived by the Jewish nation, was a supreme being interested in the affairs of that particular people. Thus they rendered respect unto him. Many impressions of the real nature of God are given through the writings of the inspired Prophets, but the Jews did not understand. The Jew had the impression that his personal presence had to be in a particular place at a particular time, and if it were, he was worshipping Jehovah. God did require his presence. They brought sacrifices to God offered with their hand, of both animal and vegetable nature. Their worship, then, was one that appealed to the senses of man; i.e., touch, smell, etc.

John 4

But God is Spirit! The aggregate of existent substance is the product of Jehovah’s power. He is the ruling monarch over his creation. He is an infinite and eternal mind, an intelligent being, without material existence. God is interested in man and his worship directed to God. To note the nature of Jehovah, one must conclude that he cannot be worshipped with mere external observances, but an individual’s personal spirit must be imbedded in his worship in order to unite with his Father, who is Spirit. “How utterly heterogeneous (dissimilar, DW) would be a carnal and spurious worship with the perfectly pure and holy nature of God . . .” (Meyer, The Gospel of John, pg.l58-159).

The Samaritan woman was concerned about the place in which to worship God, this mountain or Jerusalem. Jesus explained, “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Heart Worship

God is not pleased to accept the simple outward forms of worship but the heart must accompany an individual’s worship. “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15: 8). The Lord has said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37). Knowing the nature of God to be spirit, man must place the spirit (the part of man made in the image of God) into his worship in order to reach the throne of God with his praises. Fleshly observances are entirely void unless they have the escort of the heart, for they miss the mark of God’s acceptance. “The simplicity of the primitive Christian worship . . . is worthy of particular notice and admiration. Here are no expensive ceremonies: no apparatus calculated merely to impress the senses, and produce emotions in the animal system, ‘to help,’ as has been foolishly said, ‘the spirit of devotion.’ The heart is the subject in which this spirit of devotion is kindled…” (Adam Clark, Commentary, Book V, pg. 681).

 

which this spirit of devotion is kindled…” (Adam Clark, Commentary, Book V, pg. 681).

“Christians shall worship God, not in the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic institution, but in spiritual ordinances, consisting less in bodily exercise and animated and invigorated more with divine power and energy.” (Matthew Henry, Commentary, Vol. 5, pg. 524).

A Proper Attitude in Worship

In our worship and praise to Jehovah, it is necessary to manifest the proper attitude. Simple attendance at the services is not sufficient, although attendance is commanded and therefore necessary (Heb. 10:25).

One observes many different attitudes of people who attend services.

(1) The sentiment of many is to be saturated with the knowledge and spirit of God; to take into their being the spirit of Christ and manifest in their lives the fruit of the spirit. Would that all professed “worshippers” were of this nature!

(2) Some folk attend out of a sense of duty. They apparently have the impression that all God requires of them is personal presence (i.e., this mountain of Jerusalem). Therefore such improper attitudes as the following manifest themselves.

(a) I know that I must attend the Sunday morning services, therefore I am here.

(b) The singing is terrible.

(c) The person wording the prayer made a grammatical error; it seems that someone would be called upon to lead in prayer that would at least know how to speak properly.

(d) The preacher talked for a long time. I never did get the significance of what he was saying. (Reminds me of the little boy who said he thought it was a pretty good “show” for just a quarter.)

Beyond these matters, one cannot help but note the attitude manifested by many during the services.

(1) Gum Chewing. There is nothing wrong with chewing gum, as far as I can determine, but when one comes into the presence of Jehovah to pay his homage to Him, it is completely out of place. The solemnity of the hour would demand our abstinence from this type thing.

(2) Whispering. While gathered to worship God, many cannot manage to withhold just a few words from his/ her neighbor. This has been known to happen during prayer, while one is beseeching his God; during the reading of the Bible, while God speaks to man; and during the exposition of divine truth. This exemplifies the “disinterested” attitude, and one who professes to be a child of God certainly could not be disinterested during his worship.

(3) Note Passing. This falls into the same category as the above and is not only evidenced by young folk, but many adults do the same. FOR SHAME!

(4) Star Gazing. Such simply are disinterested (covered in number 2) in what is being done or said, and wish that everything would hurry up and be over so we can go home. Many, many attenders manifest this attitude!

(5) Fashion Show. Many see only what people wear to the services, and pay little or no attention to the purpose of assembly. You hear them speak of what “Sis. So-and-so” had on instead of the spiritual benefit derived from the assembling together.

Conclusion

Are we partaking of the nature of God when we worship? Remember, God is Spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and in truth. Mere presence is not sufficient, but we must respect the person of God, who demands that approved worship be in a proper spirit or attitude. Worship relates to both man’s observance and God’s acceptance. “Christ’s reign … has primary reference to the inner man… And this serving God in mind, or with the spirit, I denominate the true worship of God. All else is secondary or partial.” (Moses E. Lard, The Pioneers on Worship, pg. 22).

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…” (Matt. 1-2:30).

Truth Magazine VII: 6, pp. 14-15
March 1963

 

Gospel Meetings

By Connie W. Adams

In spite of the claim of some that “the days of gospel meetings are over”, congregations continue to have them. Reports in bulletins and other periodicals indicate that some meetings are productive of much good while others seem to have little good effect. It seems that in the last few years there has been an upswing in the number of people obeying the gospel in meetings. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject, nor to have had the amount of experience in meeting work that others have had. Over the past twenty years I have been privileged to work in a good many meetings in various sections of the country I and within the last four years have preached in sixty meetings. From these experiences some observations have been made, and some judgments formed which I wish to pass along to the reader.

Why the Difference?

You can go to a place for a meeting and preach your heart out to empty seats, with half or less of the members making any attempt to attend, and very few visitors and be chilled to the bone from the indifference. You spend a week trying to revive an almost dead church, while in your heart you wonder if you would not have done more good at home. Then you close there, and the next nights begin somewhere else and right away you sense the difference. Here the meeting house is clean; the tract rack is neat and filled with a good selection. There is warmth and friendliness about the people, the house is comfortably filled the first night and the crowds, interest and enthusiasm mount throughout the week. You preach along the Mme general lines as in the last meeting and several people obey the gospel. You close and go home with a feeling of accomplishment. What makes the difference?

(1) Some brethren have a meeting as a matter of tradition. They have always had a meeting every year, whether they needed it or not! They get a preacher lined up to come, run his picture, in the paper, have some handbills printed (and usually wind up with half of them left over), and think they are ready for a meeting. The members of some of these congregations act like they have just enough religion to make them miserable,

(2) Successful meetings are the result of much planning, prayer and effort. They do not just “happen.” A congregation with a lively program of personal evangelism will nearly always have a few people about ready to obey the gospel when the meeting time comes. The members talk the meeting up. There is an air of expectancy and enthusiasm. I used to hear older preachers talk about a meeting having a good “tone” and did not know what they meant. Now I do. You see members come in all smiles as they introduce you to their neighbor, or a relative, or a co-worker from the office or factory. You see them with the same person when the service is over looking over the tracts and trying to steer their friend into selecting two or three that would be a big help to him in learning the truth. Often zealous members make arrangements for you to come and talk with their friends. In short, the congregations which have good meetings have done their homework.

(3) The preachers responsibility in a meeting is serious. If he is a sour apple by nature, this will be reflected both in and out of the pulpit and will cause some whom he could help to feel that he is unapproachable. He must come fully prepared to preach the truth without fear or favor of man, yet with a genuine warmth and spirit of kindness. He must resolve to preach what is needed. This will not always be appreciated. There may be serious problems in the congregation which require teaching. There may be pressures in a given area which afflict the church. Sometimes the church may be in a battle with institutionalism or the social gospel movement, and need some help. There may be prospects almost ready to obey the truth that need to be taught on certain subjects and persuaded to become Christians. Nearly every congregation has a problem with members being afflicted with the spirit of the world. There are devout saints who need encouragement. There are mature and advanced Bible students who need meat, as well as babes who need milk.

I cannot speak for other preachers, but I cannot spend all day long socializing, or on a golf course, or making an endless round of calls on people who are not really prospects at all, calls that are more social than anything else, then rush to a big meal somewhere, and finally get to the meeting house worn out, get up to preach and do my best work. Regardless of how many times a man has spoken on a subject, he ought to have Some time fo-ponder his lesson, refresh his mind on the passages to be used and recheck the sequence of points he plans to make. Before all the golfers descend on my head, let me add that I have nothing against a man getting a little exercise during a meeting, and if he can find time for a round or two, then that is fine with me. But I have worked with preachers in meetings who played every day and have seen some of them get up and make a flop in the pulpit when I knew they were capable of much better.

The preacher’s private conduct in a meeting can help or hinder not only the meeting but the work in general at that place after he is gone. Some fall into the trap of hearing one side of a dispute and then at, tempt to grind someone’s axe for him. It is not uncommon for members to ask questions of visiting preachers and this often affords opportunity to do much good teaching. Sometimes this may involve close study and even argumentation. Some delight in asking loaded questions, or in trying to see if a difference can be discovered between the visiting and local preacher. I have known of preachers bringing up questions in private homes that raised more doubt than anything else, so that the local preacher would have his hands full for several months putting out the brush fires so carelessly caused. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

Bring a faithful preacher who practices what he preaches, together with a zealous congregation which has made adequate preparation, and you will have a good meeting. The truth will be preached, sinners will be instructed in the way of righteousness, and the saints will be edified. Whether they are “visible” or not there will be good results from such an effort.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 2, pp. 23-24
November 13, 1969

 

 

Godly Families in the Local Church Who Get Involved Together

Where have all the godly families gone? They are disappearing rapidly. They are disappearing from society due to the high rate of divorce, “dead-beat” dads, child abuse (emotional, physical and sexual), and juvenile delinquency. Godly families are also disappearing from local churches of Christ. I see more and more parents attending by themselves without one or more of the children. When you ask the parent where the child is, they offer up some flimsy excuse as to why they could not come. I see more and more disinterested teenagers staying at home or going out with their friends instead of attending a local gospel meeting. I see more and more grandparents bringing grandkids because one parent or both parents have left the church. I see more and more single parents and divorcees in the Lord’s church.

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The Joy of Worship

by Chris Reeves

Many attendance problems that exist in a local church come from church members who really do not enjoy assembling together with the saints to worship the Almighty God of heaven. If Christians who struggle with their attendance would raise the level of joy they have for worshipping God, they would find that attending the worship service is not a problem for them at all. I was raised by parents who taught me not only to attend, but also to enjoy worshipping God when I attend. I was taught to enjoy singing, Bible study, praying, the Lord’s supper, and contributing and I had no trouble at all attending the services.

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Excused Absences

John Isaac Edwards

In the first century, Christians assembled together regularly (Acts 4:31; 11:26; 14:27; 20:7-8; 1 Cor. 5:4; 11:17-18; 14:23, 26). The Hebrew writer commanded, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. . .” (Heb. 10:25). A lot of church members today offer all kinds of excuses for being absent when the saints are assembled. So we take a look at excused absences.
1. Where Is The Scripture? Whatever excuse is made for one’s absence, where is the Scripture that justifies the absence? A good exercise for each of us is to make a list of reasons, along with the Scriptures, that grant exemption to or release from the command to assemble. We’re not talking about what some churches may tolerate, but what the Scriptures allow.
2. Ways Some Members Excuse Absences. There are about as many excuses for absences as there are people absent. Here are a few I’ve heard recently. I was sick. Would this sickness keep you from work, from school, or from play? It’s strange that some are too sick to assemble with the saints, but not too sick to do other things they really want or need to do. Is it possible to be affected with disease or ill health to the point of being unable to assemble with the saints? Sure it is. But that doesn’t excuse one’s missing for every ache and pain.

I’m shut-in. Some seem to have misconceptions of who a shut-in is. A shut-in is “a person who is confined to home, a room, or bed because of illness or incapacity” (Merriam- Webster’s Online Dictionary). Those on the “shut-in” list who attend sporting events, eat out at restaurants, or shop at the mall or grocery store really are not shut-in. It’s odd that some can sit through a basketball game, but are unable to sit through the services of the Lord’s church! Some have used “I’m shut-in” as an excuse for shutting out assembling with the saints.
I had to work. Are there some exceptional situations that may arise beyond one’s control? Absolutely. A doctor, for example, may be called away for emergency surgery. There’s a difference, is there not, in that and the doctor who schedules office visits during the assembling times. Paul was a tentmaker by occupation (Acts 18:3), yet “assembled with the church” (Acts 11:25-26; 20:7). Can you imagine him missing services for tent-making? There may be some jobs I just don’t need to take so as to be present when the church is assembled. What’s more important?
I had a ball game. Why is it that some will not miss a ball game, but will miss the services of the church? Is throwing, catching, and hitting a ball more beneficial and of greater importance than singing, praying, and studying? Jesus said, “. . .whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). One who is not willing to give up a ball game may just not be able to be the Lord’s disciple.
The preacher is gone. Remarkable that some will use the preacher’s being away in gospel meeting work or vacation time (where he assembled with the saints while away) as an excuse for their not assembling with the saints faithfully! The preacher’s been gone, so I think I’ll just stay home tonight—how absurd! A preacher’s absence does not excuse unfaithfulness (Phil. 1:27).
I was away on vacation. Where is the Scripture that teaches we have intermission from our responsibilities to the Lord? Some will choose a vacation destination where there is no church, or go to a place where there is a faithful church, but just not attend. There are others who plan their vacations so as to be with faithful churches of Christ at every service while they are away. Why the difference? I asked one couple where they attended while away on vacation, they responded, “We didn’t. We just kind of lost track of time.”
I had a family gathering. There is a family gathering every time the church is assembled – the church is God’s family (Gal. 3:26; Eph. 2:19). Why not bring your family with you (John 1:40-42)? If they don’t want to go with you, leave them behind and, by your example, teach them a good lesson about “seeking first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). I’ve not totally abandoned. Some have the idea that to be guilty of “forsaking the assembling” (Heb. 10:25), they would have to entirely give up or totally abandon the services of the church. Can one just attend once a week, once a month, once a year, drop in every five years and say, “Don’t worry. I’ll be back. I haven’t abandoned ?

3. Would It Have Been Accepted in the First Century? Paul and Barnabas “assembled themselves with the church” in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Would the excuse you offer for not attending have been made or accepted by them? If it’s not good enough for them, why is it for you?

4. When You’re Absent. There’s more to being absent than meets the eye with most brethren. When one deliberately and willfully is absent from assembling with the saints, he has violated a spiritual “thou shalt not” (Heb. 10:25), sinned “willfully” (Heb. 10:26), failed to consider his brethren to provoke to love and to good works (Heb. 10:24), neglected to exhort one another (Heb. 10:25), not taught and admonished one another in song (Col. 3:16), not fulfilled the command to remember the Lord’s death and lay by in store, when absent on the Lord’s day (1 Cor. 11:23-29; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2), missed an opportunity to encourage visitors, witness baptisms and erring brethren restored, set a good example, and the list goes on. It all boils down to one question: where is your treasure? Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21) –

Truth Magazine Jan. 2012

Preacher And Hearer Equally Responsible

Robert A. Farish, Summerville, Georgia

Much has been written about the responsibility of the preacher. Some have written thoughtfully; others have indulged in irresponsible prattle. Often people feel fully competent to tell a preacher what and how to preach when they themselves might not be able to tell a sinner what to do to be saved. The responsibilities of the preacher, both real and imagined, has long been a favorite subject with both the informed and the uninformed—with the latter generally being the more loquacious. Suggestions or criticisms based on study and experience in preaching is an entirely different thing from airing the petulant views spawned in ignorance, inexperience, or cowardice.

That the responsibility of preaching the Word is great, is evident from even a casual consideration of a few passages. “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.’ (Jas. 3:1) The anathema of God is pronounced upon any who change the gospel. (Gal. 1:8) The Apostles were approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, and Paul states that he so spake—that is, as one approved of God. (I Thess. 2:4) How does a God-approved speaker speak? “Not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts.’ The apostles’ responsibility was to please God in preaching. A method of approach pleasing to men is considered by many to be a paramount responsibility of the preacher. They would require him to give much study and preparation to the method of approach, with little concern’ as to whether or not his “approachers’ are “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.’

Responsibility To Hear

The preacher, however, is not alone in the matter of responsibility; the hearer also is equally responsible. Reluctance on the part of the hearer to accept responsibility is wide spread. We had rather read about another man’s duties than to face our own. But there is no way to avoid the fearful consequences of ignoring accountability as a hearer. No one can say, “I will avoid hearing the gospel, and thus not have a hearer’s responsibility.” Christ said, “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23) This includes every being with faculties capable of receiving a communication intelligently. Not only is it required that you hear, but in addition you must “take heed what you hear’. (verse 24)

The proper attitude must be maintained toward the Word. Upon discovering that your attitude is not right, you must cultivate an attitude that God will approve. Too little attention has been given to shaping our attitude. Those who “receive not the love of the truth’ will be sent “a working of error that they should believe a lie, that they all might be judged who believe not the truth.’ (II Thess. 2:10-12) Paul thanked God that the Thessalonians had accepted the “word of the message as the word of God’ and “not as the word of man’. (I Thess. 2:13) There is to be recognized a vital difference between the words of God and the words of men. While it may be allowable (or even necessary at times) to ‘apologize for the words of some men, it is inexcusable for any one ever to apologize for the word of God.

Hear Discerningly

If the hearer entertains the correct attitude toward he truth, he will re-act properly when he comes into possession of the truth, The Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica. They manifested their nobility in their readiness and carefulness as hearers. While they were open for the truth, yet they were careful. They examined the scriptures to determine if the things taught by Paul were so. Too often today, in contrast to that attitude, hearers consult their prejudices, whims, fancies—allowing such to be the standard by which they accept or reject the things heard.

“Be not carried away by divers and strange teachings.’ (Heb. 13:9) No innovation could have occurred had hearers been more concerned with this warning of the Holy Spirit and less enraptured with the “man-pleasing approach of teachers of divers and strange doctrines. It would be well to scrutinize carefully the doctrine which is taught, even at the expense of missing some thrilling details of the sheep’s skin disguise. The content of the sermon must be the chief concern if one is to hear discerningly. He must not allow the drapery of the preacher’s manner to weigh too heavily with him. Errorists can use just as smooth and fair speech as can true gospel preachers; they can pray just as long and fervent prayers (and sometimes longer). The sincere are pious; but they do not display their piety. The discerning hearer will always give an extra careful study of the teachings of those who are “over-much’ pious.

That the truth of a proposition cannot be determined by a consideration of the manner of the one preaching it is evident from Paul’s statement, ‘For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly, and by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent.’ (Rom. 16:18) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the’ world.’ (I John 4:1)

Hearing Plus Doing

Hearing unaccompanied by doing is profitless. The one who hears, but fails to do, is deluded (Jas. 1:22-25). The wise man is the one who hears and does, while the fool is one who stops at hearing. “Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man and every one that heareth these words of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man.’ (Matt. 7:24-26)

Itching Ears

Hearers can always find teachers who will teach as the hearer demands. As long as hearers allow itching ears to determine what they will hear, there will be teachers willing to be used as tools to tickle their itching ears. “Having itching ears, they will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.’ (II Tim. 4:3,4) A great need exists for hearers who are aware of their responsibilities as such, and strive to measure up to God’s standard of approved hearers.

Churches—God-Centered or Man-Centered?

by Sewell Hall

Religion by its very definition would seem to involve God. The word godly means Godcentered. However, there are those who practice a religion that is all about man rather than God. To say that such religion is godly is not to say that it is wicked, but simply that it is not centered in God. Jesus described such people in his day in the words of Isaiah: “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Paul writes of those who are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” while at the same time “holding a form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:4-5). Jude describes some who are in the church, but are “ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Why would ungodly individuals continue to profess religion? Some do so, “supposing that godliness is a way of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). Others, like Diotrophes (3 John 9), love the preeminence that they have attained in the church. Or, like the rulers of (John 12:43), they may love “the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

Contrasting Churches

Local churches may be led either by godly or by ungodly men — that is, by men who are most concerned for God and things of the Spirit or by men whose concerns are primarily human and temporal. Such churches can be distinguished by the following:

Goals: Godly leaders have as their goal “the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things unto Him who is the head — Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-15). Men whose thinking is not dominated by God have as their primary goal increasing numbers — a big church. They consider numerical growth proof of God’s approval.

Doctrine: Godly leaders are determined to abide in the doctrine of Christ and not to go beyond it (2 John 9). Not godly men, knowing that most of the public “will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4), provide the teachers that will tickle their ears.

Discipline: Godly leaders will insist that, in harmony with God’s instructions, the church “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Ungodly leaders advertise: “Come as you are” and boast that they are not judgmental, receiving everyone regardless of lifestyle.

Worship: Godly leaders insist that God be worshipped “acceptable with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28) while ungodly men place great emphasis on “worship” that pleases the public and they seem concerned only that everyone leave “feeling good about themselves” and eager to return. Preachers: Godly leaders are not nearly as concerned with excellence of speech or of wisdom as that preachers be “determined not to know anything…save Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Ungodly leaders insist that preachers be entertaining and personally popular, even with the world.

Activities: Godly leaders test every proposed action by all the scriptures, determined to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), while ungodly leaders offer whatever people want — sports, entertainment, education, feasts, travel – with little apparent concern for what God wants.

Testing Ourselves

The Bible blesses those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). By contrast it condemns those who have “pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Our taste in churches will help us determine which we are. How will a person who has “pleasure in unrighteousness” feel about a church whose goal above all other things is to remake him into the image of Christ, whose doctrine is “the apostles’ teaching,” a church where he is put on notice that he must live a godly life or be disfellowshipped, where worship is designed exclusively to please God, where preachers preach only the word of God — reproving, rebuking and exhorting — where activities are altogether spiritual? On the other hand, how will one who is hungry and thirsty for righteousness feel about a church he visits where he receives nothing but entertainment, where the “sermons” are little more than jokes and pop psychology, where sin is never rebuked, sinners never convicted or exhorted, and where activities are the same as those offered at a public school, theater or country club. What kind of church are you seeking — the church of your choice or the church of God’s choice? A godly church or an ungodly church?

“Patterns” in the Scripture

by Phillip Owens

In the Old Testament

Early in Scripture we learn that God placed a premium on obedience and punished disobedience (Gen. 2:16-17; 3; 4; et al.).

God expected His people to do things exactly how He said to do them. He told Moses, “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Ex. 25:8,9). At the conclusion of those instructions, God warned, “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown on the mountain” (Ex. 25:40).

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What Is The church of Christ?

INTRODUCTION TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

by Tom Roberts

(Historical Lineage)

Some denominations claim the ability to trace their historical lineage (an unbroken link of churches throughout history) directly to John the Baptist. Of course, this is impossible to do and is a false claim. The Lord’s church was not in existence while John was alive.
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