From the minister's desk
Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future
To you who are doing things in and around the building, teaching OBS, door knocking, bringing folks to Church, providing rides to people, visiting our sick, etc., you are to be commended by us all. Yes, God will reward you, but he told us to consider one another too. “We are to provoke one another to love and good works…” I pray that you do what you do because of your love for the Lord. He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” We are trying to teach and encourage you to “continue in His words that we might be his disciples indeed, to know the truth, for the truth shall make us free.” We want to also be “walking in and doing the works ordained by God,” not just things we feel good doing. Let’s learn what those are and do them.
The year of our Lord 2019 has only 3 days left. All we have done to this point is in the past. This day is the present. How much of your past are you enjoying or is it being tormented by today? How much of what you did or didn’t do, wish you had or had not done have you brought into your present? Since our “physical man is dying daily and our spirit man is renewed day by day,” why not focus on and live in today in total obedience to God? Learn to enjoy His presence, His blessings and His love for you. Everything you got for Christmas is worthless if you don’t have God. Today is His day! What have you done for Him today? What have you brought Him today?
Don’t start the rest of your life today, still focused more on the worldly than on the spiritual.
As a question was asked by God of Israel in today’s sermon; “what more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?” Isa.5 He is asking the same question to us when we are not living up to His expectations. We know how He feels about that and what He is capable of doing if things don’t change. Let’s not go any further being displeasing to God in our attitudes and behaviors that displeases Him.
Our future can be brighter if we continue in the doctrine of Christ and in Christ. We will continue to share the word of God that His people are not lost or bound in captivity “due to a lack of knowledge.” I want to make sure that if this happens, it is because His people chose not to obey, yet knowing what the Lord expects. If you are going to include Christ in anything you do, let Him tell you what and how to do it and your future will certainly be better than your past, allowing you to enjoy great blessings in your present.
Let’s be thankful and show the Lord our gratitude by striving to be better servants today and in the future. Let’s follow Him into 2020. He has an awesome vision!
Well it’s that time of the year again when gifts are bought, received and given. There may or may not be an exchange or ‘give and get in return’ from the person gifted. But when the gift is unwrapped, revealed and is put to use, then the purpose of gifting is fulfilled. Make sure you unwrap and use the gifts given you and have the right attitude of appreciation for the gift and the giver. I wish for every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous life going forward Lord willing.
Abiding in the doctrine of Christ has awesome benefits. Let me share a spiritual perspective for this gift giving event. God gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the gift. God gave this gift out of love for mankind. The purpose of this gift was for mankind’s salvation from eternal condemnation. John3:16-18
If we ‘abide in the words of Jesus’ we would know the purpose of gift giving, have the right attitude in gift giving and be appreciative of the gifts and the gift givers. Do not buy gifts, give and exchange gifts just because everyone else is doing it. Do not try to match gifts, what you think you ought to get and don’t, then allow that to give you a bad attitude toward the gift or the gift giver. The joy is to be in the giving first and getting later. God gave Jesus first and gets His glory when His gift is accepted and obeyed. The purpose is to provide for one’s needs or desires. The attitude is to be from the heart in love, because you want to. ‘Abiding in the words of Jesus’ reveals that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts20:35 Don’t doubt this or wrestle with it, do it and let the Lord show you His truth. “His word is truth.” Abide in it.
‘Abide in the words of Jesus’ and “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure you allot, it shall be measured unto you.” Lk.6:38 There are benefits in knowing how to give that you may receive from the ultimate giver, far greater than you give. Hearing the words of Jesus every Sunday is not the same as abiding in the words of Jesus. Many hear “… sow sparingly… reap sparingly… sow bountifully… reap bountifully… God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto to every good work.” 2Cor.9:6-8 To have a good Christmas, a happy and prosperous life going forward, get in and abide in the words of Jesus!
Scripture says that “to have both the Father and the Son, one must abide in the doctrine of Christ.” 2John9 Knowing this, our focus and goal is to preach and teach the doctrine, the gospel, the words of Jesus to whosoever will listen and obey.
We don’t have the luxury of being around each other 24/7. We only see some of us on Sunday for worship, some in Bible classes and others every now and then. This is not continuing in the doctrine of Christ and His Apostles. Consider these for today; Defiling your body, unworthily taking the communion and forsaking the assembly. 1Cor.3:17 “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” We have taught that this is referring to our bodies in which scripture says the Holy Spirit dwells. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and your spirit which are God’s.” 1Cor.6:19-20 Smoking, drinking, immoral sex acts, foul language, bad attitudes, begrudging and not forgiving others are all things that defile the body and spirit. Abide in the doctrine of Christ.
Communing with the Lord is of the doctrine of Christ. The doctrine says “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoso-ever eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord… For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drink damnation unto himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” 1Cor.11:26-29 There are things that makes one unworthy to partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. To eat or drink in an unworthy manner is in general to come to the Lord's table in a careless, irreverent spirit without the intention or desire to commemorate the death of Christ as the sacrifice for sins, and without the purpose of complying with the obligations thereby assumed. Whosoever will eat of this memorial in a light and frivolous manner, in forgetfulness of the spirit of sacrifice that led to the death of Christ, is guilty of profaning the body and blood of Christ. He incurs the guilt of treating lightly the slain body of the Lord Jesus. To abide in the doctrine of Christ is to not do this in an unworthy manner, especially when one can correct themselves by repenting of the unworthy attribute or behavior before partaking. Pride hinders most people from this simple act and further makes one unworthy. Abide in the doctrine of Christ.
The doctrine of Christ says we are “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together…”
Heb.10:25 Yet many do and think nothing of it. The reasons or excuses offered are not acceptable to God. Are they abiding in the doctrine of Christ? No. Do you think they believe 2John9…? Do think they care? Do you care? Abide in the doctrine of Christ and enjoy “having both the Father and the Son.” Don’t lose your soul by not ‘abiding in the doctrine of Christ’ which is so clearly written and plainly taught to you. Make your calling and election sure.
1 Jo.2:24-25 teaches about abiding in the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles to obtain eternal life. No man can add to or take from these teachings and gain eternal life. 24 “As for you, let that abide in you which ye heard from the beginning. If that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father.” That which they had heard from the beginning was the truth; the beginning was their earliest acquaintance with the gospel; and they heard it by means of preaching. This which they heard, they were to allow to abide in them, literally, to let it settle down and find its permanent home in “the Son and in the Father.” The exhortation is to be steadfast. The admonition is to hold fast to that which had been taught them. The conditional particle "if" governs the sentence and determines the conclusion. If, on condition, that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father." Here is another of the many passages in the scripture clearly establishing the conditionality of salvation and emphasizing the necessity of continued faithfulness.
25 And this is the promise which he promised us, even the life eternal. From this verse we learn that, eternal life is a promise and this promise is conditioned on our holding fast to that which we heard from the beginning. Therefore, eternal life is not a present possession, but a promise. A promise conditional and dependent on our remaining faithful. "In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal." Tit. 1:2 One does not hope for that which he already has. Rom. 8:24, 25… Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sister, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel's sake, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Mark 10:29-30 The Lord often promised eternal life to those who abide faithful: "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee: even as thou gave him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. And this is life eternal that they should know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." John 17:1-3
We are striving for eternal life. We do not have it yet, but it is promised to us if we continue or abide in Christ and His doctrine. We learned that we cannot have the Father without the Son and visa versa. We learned that this promise is conditional. God set the conditions and He does not change. We must “believe in Jesus.” Jo.3:16 We must “believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb.11:6 We must continue steadfastly in the faith and resist the doctrines, temptations and practices that go contrary to the teachings of Christ. Here at the North Las Vegas Church of Christ, we strive to stay with the fundamentals and principles of the doctrines of Christ. We will look and be different from everyone who does not.
If you are striving for eternal life with Jesus our Lord, God our Father, the Holy Spirit and the heavenly host, abide with us, continue with us, work with us and let’s prepare ourselves for the promise!
Since the beginning of time, man’s relationship with God has been predicated on man’s obedience to God. After expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for disobeying, God has continually told mankind of the good and evils they face. He told Cain that “if he would do well, he would be accepted, but if he didn’t, sin lies at the door.” Gen.4:7 As mankind began to multiply upon the earth, so did disobedience. God has never been pleased or ok with disobedience.
We learned that He destroyed every living thing upon the earth except Noah, his family and two of every living thing He had created, in the ark He instructed Noah to build. After the flood, Noah and his household were told to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. They obeyed, spread out over the earth and in time disobedience became rampant again.
God through Abraham chose a people unto himself, Israel. He gave them His laws
to obey. He warned them of the consequences of their disobedience and kept His word. He sent Israel into captivity for 400 years for their disobedience. He delivered them by Moses to take them to a land He would give to them, Canaan. There were 603,550 not counting the Levites. On the way there they disobeyed God many times and each time there were consequences. He said, “thou shall have no other gods beside me.” Exo.20:3-5 They did. He killed 3,000 that day. Exo.32:28… He meant it!
They didn’t learn from the mistakes or disobedience of others and continued their murmuring and complaining and not trusting God until one day God had enough and “sentenced everyone 20 years old and up to death in the wilderness over a period of 40 years.” Num.14:27-37… Remember, there were over 600,000 people who left Egypt and only 2 of them made it to Canaan. Disobedience is sin and God hates sin. If we believe this happened, shouldn’t we be concerned about disobeying God?
“Things written aforetime were written for our learning…” Rom.15:4 Let us learn and obey. “God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap.” Gal.6:7 No one who disobeys God should expect not to be punished for it. He will be destroyed if he does not repent and obey until God calls him home. Please believe it!