From the minister's desk
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!
First let me say in our tradition “Happy Thanksgiving” to all. Since we know who our Father is, we should be thankful in our giving. But let me relieve you of any stress or tension you may be feeling. I’m not talking about your money yet. Knowing who your Father is, where He is, all that He has done for you and the things He has in store for you ought to make you thankful in your giving! “…it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
This is that time of year when families and friends come together to have a meal and update themselves on current events in their lives. Every household probably offers a prayer to God for the family, food, friends, jobs, health and various issues of life. All say they are thankful! All are thankful for what they have gotten, but what have they given? Every year I’ve asked that you invite a stranger, (non-member, coworker, neighbor or someone who recently had a loss) into your home to share in your blessings. Though many have not God still blesses them. But do you know what your heavenly Father really expects on such occasions?
He gave us wise advice via wise man Solomon: “Happy is the generous man, the one who feeds the poor.” Pro.22:9 Have a Happy Thanksgiving by feeding someone in need or has less than you do. “A poor man’s own brothers turn away from him in embarrassment; how much more will his friends! He calls after them, but they are gone. 19:7 No one in God’s family should be without on Thanksgiving or any other day! If you know of a member in distress, God wants you to know to see what you will do. Remember who your Father is and be ye thankful.
“When you help (or feed) the poor you are lending to the Lord and He pays wonderful interest on your loan.” 19:17 You can be thankful in your giving when you are giving with a godly heart. “Mocking (ignoring) the poor is mocking (ignoring) the God who made them. He will punish those who rejoice at others misfortunes.” 17:5 “If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied, but cursed are those who close their eyes to poverty.” 28:27
Notice the connection between God and the poor. The message is to bless others and God will bless you.
Remember “We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives.” 21:2 Jesus our brother tells us “When you make a dinner or supper, don’t call your friends, brethren, relatives nor your rich neighbors; for they will return the invitation and invite you over. Instead, invite the poor, the cripple and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who can’t repay you.” Lk.14:12-14 Thanks For Your Giving! Really you are only sharing what your Father has given you with others. Be thankful that you are like your Father and you have it to give. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you that you lack nothing…” 2Cor.9:8
God said “All the animals are mine, the cattle on a thousand hills and all the birds upon the mountains. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and everything in it… What I want from you is your true thanks; I want your promises fulfilled. I want you to trust me in your times of trouble so I can rescue you and you give me glory.” Psa.50:10-15 We can glorify God by “first giving our own selves to Him” then obey the teaching. “Now upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him…” 1Cor.16:1-2 “For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man has and not according to what he does not have.” 2Cor.8:12
Whatever you give today in any way “must first be of a willing heart and cheerfully to be acceptable by God.” So, give Him your best as He have given us His best. Then watch how He blesses your life! Thank you for your giving and giving thanks. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
As a minister of Jesus Christ, an overseer of this part of His flock and a teacher in His Kingdom, nothing matters more to me than doing my best to ensure that I have shown, led, taught and made diligent efforts to helping all who “loves the Lord and are called according to His purpose” to learn of God, trust in the word of God and redeem the time he has given each of us. Since none of us know when the last time we will see one another when we separate. No time for foolishness.
Consider the historical overview of the “Heroes of Faith,” both men and women God has listed for us. Heb.11:1-40… Why won’t you spend some time reading the rest of each of their life’s account and what God was so pleased with about them that He honors them in the scriptures. To have their names listed as “all dying in faith, yet not receive the promises, but seeing them afar off, and were persuaded of the promises, they embraced the promises and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They plainly declared that they were seeking a country… But now the desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.” 13-16 He has prepared a city for us as well, Heaven. Have you been persuaded that it exists and working to get there? We must not make him ashamed by calling Him our God and hanging out with Satan.
Pay close attention to the lesson this month. Learn of the good and evil that each of us must endure in this life, knowing that “our light afflictions are but for a moment, and works for us a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal.” 2Cor.4:17-18 This means each of us must make a determined effort to prioritize and refocus our energies and efforts on “the things above and not on the things of the earth.” Col.3:1-2 Learning that “we have been called to be holy as he who has called us is holy.” 1 Pt.1:15-16 We will come to understand more fully how and why our suffering and remaining faithful through it until the end is pleasing to and glorifies God the Father. “We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2Pt.3:18 We are to learn of His suffering, the good and evil in it and have faith that our suffering will be rewarded as well.
Never take your life for granted. Prepare yourself for the good and evil which will come into your life. Be careful not to deceive yourself. “Therefore, if you think you stand (are alright) take heed lest you fall.” Know that “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1Cor.10:12-13 Don’t be over confident in your life’s challenges lest you fall prey to them. Never think that your problems, your evils are only happening to you. Trust that God knows and will not allow you to have any evils in your life that no one else has encountered. But know that He knows your weaknesses, your frailty and what you’re able to endure. Have faith that God will make a way for you to escape or get out of any temptation so you can endure it. Don’t let your trials or sufferings cause you to leave the only one who can help get you through them. Take the good and the evil and leave the outcome to God. “Rejoice in your trials, having faith in God, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul.” 1Pt.16-9 Spend more time with God, in His word and in prayer being “doers of the word and not just hearers and readers only” that your faith may increase. God will reward your faith with eternal life with Him.