the BREAD of Life

After miraculously feeding 5,000+ people, Jesus crosses the sea of Galilee, and those having eaten, follow Him.

Jesus, knowing what is in the heart of a person said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)

He then preaches to them where he says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 3:51)

Those hearing this statement were confused, so too many today. How are we to understand this statement about Jesus being the BREAD of life and the necessity of eating it? This is a figurative statement with a major lesson behind it. Here are 5 clues to help us understand its meaning and how to comply.

The first clue, Jesus said in verse 35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Two things are discovered; 1) whoever is to have the blessing of the Bread of Life must come to Him, and 2) they must BELIEVE on Him. In this same book of John, we learn that BELIEF comes from reading about Him. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31; cf. Rom 10:17) So, the first clue teaches us that to eat His flesh is a figure for reading His word.

Next, Jesus continues by comparing Himself to the manna that came down from heaven (6:31-34). He then says, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (38-39). From this we learn that He, as the Bread of Life, came down from heaven to RAISE up certain people. The Bread of Life is related to being RAISED up to heaven.

Related to this is the next clue found in verse 40. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (47,54) Speaking again about ‘belief,’ Jesus relates the raising up to those same people having EVERLASTING LIFE. Remember, Belief comes from reading about Jesus.

The fourth clue is found in verse 62. Many of the disciples began to murmur, wondering who could hear it. In response Jesus said, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” It’s interesting that He now speaks of ASCENDING into heaven after telling them He came down. This Bread of Life came down, like the manna, but this Bread will ASCEND back into heaven. In our time, we know what happens later. Jesus will ASCEND into heaven, but not before instructing the Apostles in Matt 28:19-20, where we read; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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.” (Matt 28:19-20). Once again, we see the repeated theme of teaching, learning, and obeying.

The commentary of scripture is telling us that the eating of the Bread of Life is related to learning, reading, and obeying the instructions from Jesus. In John 1 He is also called The Word.

However, some of the DISCIPLES turned. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. The last clue is found in Peter’s statement. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-68)

While they may not have fully appreciated the depth of Jesus’ words, Peter seems to recognize something. Eternal Life is related to the teaching of Jesus. He would fully understand later; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” (John 16:13). So, being a DISCIPLE, (a learner, i.e. pupil), is our fifth clue. It’s not enough to just believe, we must do.

Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is not literal. Neither is it related to the Lord’s Supper, which is not literal either. What it means is to be a Hearing, believing, obedient follower of Christ.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

Thou hast the words of eternal life

The statement above is one of the most significant realizations a person can make. (John 6:68)

Before we look at some take aways, let’s first notice an implication.

For there to be an ‘eternal life’ there stands to reason there is also an eternal DEATH. This should bother people much more than it does.

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” (Mark 3:29)

That’s the warning. Now let’s see what we might do to have ETERNAL LIFE.

There are some 30 specific references in the New Testament to “ETERNAL LIFE.” It seems to this writer that this holds some significance.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN OF ME; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:29) The context of our opening verse is about learning. “HEARING” is another way the Bible says the same thing. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Mat 7:24-29). These verses clearly teach there is individual responsibility to Hear & LEARN. Some would have you believe that you’re unable to do either except miraculously. UNTRUE! We are all called by the Gospel message. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thess 2:14)

The beginning of attaining Eternal Life is LEARNING.

Matthew 7:24-29 is a link in the chain connecting the first action with the next; we must be INVOLVED in doing the things that we’ve LEARNED. We’re involved by obeying the commands of God. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

The clear teaching by Jesus here, and in other places (cf. Phil 2:12), is that the INDIVIDUAL is responsible to LEARN & get INVOLVED in his own salvation. “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40b). In the immediate context of this verse, they LEARNED to be baptized in the name of Jesus. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Eternal Life is for those INVOLVED people that obey.

When we write articles like this some will often decry “LEGALISM” or say that we’re working our way into heaven. Nothing of the sort is being said. Obedience to the will of God is FAITH (Heb 11:6). We trust that God will do what He promises for those that obey Him. God works through our faith. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Col 2:12). Eternal Life is for those who are emotionally engaged.

Therefore, that the person striving for Eternal Life must have FAITH from the heart and is not just checking boxes on a list. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37). He said in another place, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And also, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

Eternal Life is for those that have FAITH.

It then stands to reason that as a person LEARNS, is INVOLVED, this person must FINISH what he began. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28) The clear teaching here, and other places (cf. John 15:1-6; Rom 11:21; Rev 2:10), is that there’s no such thing as “once saved, always saved.”

Eternal Life is for those that ENDURE to the end.

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

      — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

What do you get when you Read the BIBLE?

We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, that gives us all the information and instruction we need for life and godliness.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Peter 1:21; cf 1:3-4)

We also believe that we can understand the Bible, and know & do the will of the Lord.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” [Eph 3:4]

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Col 3:17]

What we get when we read the BIBLE?

The Bible reveals an answer to this question.

First, The Bible says we may BELIEVE. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [Jno. 20:30-31] Another word often associated with belief is Faith, which is of the same Greek origin. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, God’s inspired revealed word, we may BELIEVE.

How then can we Believe, or have Faith, without reading?

Second, The Bible says we will have INSTRUCTION in righteousness. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:16-17; cf. 2Peter 1:3-4]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, God has given us INSTRUCTIONS on how to live, grow, and how to get to heaven.

How then can we speak or act without reading?

Third, The Bible says that we can BE READY to give an answer, or a defense. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Pet 3:15]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that when we read the Bible, we can give an answer to any and all who ask us why we have hope.

How can we defend our hope (or our faith) without reading?

Fourth, The Bible says we will know LOVE because He first loved us. “We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:19; cr. Rom 5:6-10]. The Bible also says that we LOVE God by keeping His commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3; cr. Jno. 14:15]

We conclude from this evidence and more, that we don’t truly know LOVE or how to LOVE unless we read about the sacrifice of Christ as revealed in the word of God. We also conclude that part of LOVING God is to do His will.

How can we truly know or practice LOVE without reading?

Fifth, The Bible says that Jesus has the words of ETERNAL LIFE. “…thou hast the words of eternal life.” [Jno. 6:68b; Luke 24:27; 2Cor 2:9-12; Eph 3:3-4] Those words have been revealed through the inspired written word of God (Revealed to the Apostles, whom spoke it, then wrote it) [2Th 2:15; 3:14]. These words are researchable and reviewable (Acts 17:11) and have universal application to all.

We conclude from this evidence, and more, that we may only know how to have ETERNAL LIFE through reading (hearing) and obeying the word of God. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Heb 5:9].

How can you know we’re saved in hope without reading?

     — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

Bible Reading Plan for 2022

One of the difficulties in reading the Bible is confusion over the how each book fits in with the chronology of the other books. This is especially true with the Old Testament prophets.

This Bible Reading plan will include a list for each book in chronological order (or at least in order of its period in the Old Testament).

It is still possible to read the whole bible in about one year, just 15 – 20 minutes per day.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” [Eph 3:4] “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Rom 10:17]

These bookmarks will help you to know how each of the books of the Old Testament and the Prophets fit into the narrative. The book of Job fits in the Patriarchal period. The Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, & Song of Songs fit into the time of the United Kingdom under David & Solomon.

Here is a chart showing you how much time it takes to read the Whole Bible in 1 year or years, or multiple times in a year.

May God bless our efforts to know more of His word.

     — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

To ASPIRE to a quiet life

The last few years have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty. The reality is, since the fall from the Garden, every year is a year of uncertainty.

time and chance happens to them all.” [Ecc 9:11b]

Even with all this uncertainty, the Scriptures show us that it’s possible to smooth out the hills and valleys.

As we approach the New Year, many of us will be setting resolutions for 2022. Before we decide on what weight we want, or financial goals, let us consider what Paul told the saints at Thessalonica.

Read 1Thess 4:9-12.

v9-10: “But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another; for indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, that ye ABOUND more and more;” (emph mine seb)

The first thing we notice is the goal to ABOUND in LOVE. That’s a worthy goal. Faith, Hope & Love are 3 great things, but the greatest of these is Love… [1Cor 13:13]

  • We start by Loving the Lord thy God (Mat 22:37),
  • We are to Love Others (Mat 22:39),
  • We must also Love being Virtuous in keeping God’s commands (1John 5:3; John 14:15),
  • We ought also Love our Enemies (Luke 6:27).
  • We ought also to Love His Appearing in the Sky (2Tim 4:8).

v11a: “and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,”

The second thing Paul writes what we might say, STAY IN YOUR LANE. The word “study” is philotimeomai, and means, eager or earnest to do something: labor, strive, study. [Strong’s Greek Dictionary]

In other words, we are to STRIVE for peace, not to STRIVE with others. This is not to say we should roll over whenever someone teaches error. Rather, it’s about not STRIVING over pointless matters. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” [Rm 12:18]. We’re to strive for a quiet life, which means that we won’t be busybodies nor disorderly [Rom 13:13; 1Peter 4:15; 1Tim 5:13; 2Thess 3:11-12]

v11b: “and to work with your hands…

Part of living a quite life is through working to PROVIDE for the care of our own households. This wasn’t the first time Paul wrote about working to provide for our own; [Eph 4:28] nor was it the last time [1Tim 5:8].

v11c “…, even as we charged you;”

This is not Paul’s own guess work; to live a quiet life is an INSTRUCTION from the Lord. [1Cor 14:37].

v12a “that ye may walk becomingly toward them that are without,”

To live a quiet life ultimately is about our influence toward all. Paul wants us to have a good REPORT from outsiders so that we will not hinder the gospel. This is also a qualification of Elder. [1Tim 3:7; 2Co 8:21; Col 4:5; 1Pet 2:12]

v12b “and may have need of nothing.”

Finally, Paul concludes that we are to EXCEL in these things so that we “lack nothing.” Once you carry your own water, you will appreciate every drop. [Gal 6:5]. This doesn’t mean we won’t need someone’s help sometimes, just that we should be striving so that we won’t need it.

Paul often worked so as not be a burden on others so that the gospel would not be hindered. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” [2Thess 3:7-9].

As we think about 2022, let us ASPIRE to Abound in Love, to Study to be quiet, as Instructed by the Lord, to have a good Report of outsiders, and to Excel more & more. May God bless us all.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

5 Strategies to Endure GRIEF

Nobody is immune to sorrow, loss, and pain. Sometimes we add in guilt for feeling joy during times of celebration.

It is possible to be happy and to experience Joy without guilt. While I’m no expert, I have experienced GRIEF and have gone through its seven stages.

I’m no expert; I’m just a student of the Bible and have found some strategies that have helped me. Perhaps they can help someone else who may be struggling with the weight of GRIEF.

It may help to know that after every winter there is a spring.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

[Ecc 3:4]

5 Strategies for Living through GRIEF, (from my own experience).

1) You never get over death, nor should you, but you may GROW through it. That hole in our hearts never gets smaller, but our hearts can GROW larger with time. If we will Look up, we can GET UP. [1King 19; Col 3:1-4]

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” [Jas 1:2-3]

2) It’s OK to REMEMBER our loved one that sleeps. If you mention my mother’s name you might make us cry. If you don’t, you’ll break our hearts. Talk about your loved one who sleeps. A word of warning; it’s possible to steal another’s joy. You can end every conversation by REQUIRING others to REMEMBER your pain. This may be difficult to understand right now while you’re engulfed in sorrow, but be aware of other’s joy or pain and that it’s unfair to steal another’s joy. There’s a time for every season. [Ecc 3:1-13].

RECOGNIZING other’s Pain or Joy gives one perspective. Perspective is powerful, but it’s up to you to RECEIVE it. Perspective is a self-soothing tool. It’s no real comfort to say that somebody else has it worse than you. How would you comfort that person with the most pain? (REMEMBER Job? Jas 5:11). But there is Someone who feels what you feel.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Heb 4:15]

3) Don’t IGNORE your feelings, nor your physical health. It’s easy to let GRIEF permeate every part of our life and destroy it. Don’t IGNORE your emotions, but also don’t IGNORE the rest of your life. Get up & move, take a shower, and do what needs to be done. Keep doing those IMPORTANT things. Also, don’t ISOLATE yourself from others. You’ll be surprised by how many people are grieving something. You can grieve & still do what is IMPORTANT. Go to worship [2Sam 12:20-23], celebrate birthdays, and do your work. You’ll discover an INCREASE in strength you never thought possible.

And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” [1Kings 19]

4) Ecclesiastes 7 talks about the “house of mourning.” It’s better because it’s there that we will consider our own END and take it to heart. The end of the book concludes with this lesson; “fear God & keep keep His commandments.” Life is frail & short [Jas 4:14]. Think on ETERNAL life. The hope of being resurrected unto ETERNAL life is our only true comfort. [1Thess 4:13-18]

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” [1Thess 4:13]

5) Prevent the repetitious spiraling FALL into darkness. GRIEF doesn’t have to define you & become your identity. Instead, FOCUS on the FUTURE and the FRUITFUL things you can do. There are people you can help, like those that have helped you. It’s possible to FEEL joy again. Ask yourself this, “What would your loved one want for you?” Do they want you to give up or to FEEL joy again? We know, through scripture, what they truly want for you. [Php 3:13; Luke 16:27-28]

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Phil 3:13-14]

It may not feel like comfort at this moment, but you’re not alone. One thing I noticed during my two plus years of trial & loss was how many others needed help. There were others who were just beginning their grief as I was working through mine. Your pain now can become another’s lifeline later. We’re all in this together.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ that meets at Franklin & Juniper Street in Borger, Texas.

The CROSS of Christ

One of the saddest days in history, while simultaneously being the greatest day, was the day that Jesus died on an ancient Roman cross of execution.

While this is the time of year many are talking about His birth, can we remember and be ready to talk about His death?

What does the CROSS of Christ mean to us? While books can and have been written on this subject, this article will look at just a few aspects of the Cross of Christ.

We have no instructions on how nor when to celebrate His birth, but we do have instructions on how & when to remember His death… His death on a CROSS.

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the thir d day he shall rise again.” [Matt 20:18-19]

Jesus lived a perfect life free of sin [Heb 4:15; 1Pet 2:21-22]. Yet, His short life on earth ended as if He were the vilest of sinners by being executed on a Cross.

The Cross of Christ means death by CRUCIFIXION. It is the execution of a person by nailing them to a post with their arms outstretched on a cross member lifting the person up on full display to all. Our Savior knew all of this. He told His disciples about it [Mat 16:21; Joh 3:14], and He did it anyway. The Cross of Christ represents CRUCIFIXION still [Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14].

The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION by His own. The prophet Isaiah foretold this, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” [Isa 53:3] During His last hours on earth, the ones who cried “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” [John 12:13], just days earlier, were calling out for His death. This despite the evidence of scripture, and His own works and words, the Jews REJECTED Him. The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION still. [John 15:18]

The Cross of Christ represents His OBEDIENCE to God the Father. “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” [Mar 14:36; Joh 8:29; Heb 5:7] It amazes me how fervent some will fight against our need for OBEDIENCE to Christ while claiming to follow the example of Jesus. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Heb 5:8-9]. The Cross of Christ represents OBEDIENCE still. [2Thess 1:8-9]

The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING. Jesus suffered even before reaching the cross. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.” [John 19:1; Mark 15:15-20]. The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING still today; “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;” [1Pet 4:1-2]. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” [2:21].

The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE. Jesus died because He was the only acceptable Sacrifice for our sin. The blood of animals can never take away sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4], and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” [Heb 9:22]. Christ shed His own blood, becoming, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29, 36]. The Gospel we obey, by which we may be saved, is the Death (on a Cross), Burial, and resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. The death of Christ is God’s grace toward us who deserve nothing from Him. He provided the Lamb, the SACRIFICE [cf. Gen 22:8].

The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE still. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” [Rom 12:1; cf. Phil 4:18]

So you see, the Cross of Christ represents so much more than an object to be viewed. What happened on that Cross, and our response to it is what truly matters. May God bless us all.

     — spencer

5 Myths about the BIRTH of Jesus

Yes, I can hear your eyes rolling after having read the title, perhaps thinking, “Another holiday bashing lesson.”

Before you toss this bulletin aside, know that this article is about seizing opportunities as they become available. Every year for about 5 or 6 weeks, the world is talking about Jesus. [1Co 16:9; 2Cor 2:12]

We might as well join in the conversation, but more accurately. (Where have we heard that before? Acts 18:26)

We can have friendly conversations about Christ with the hopes that we may lead others to Him.

Many of the Myths about the BIRTH of Jesus surround the popular manger scenes on display and many of the pageants performed this time of year. The rest are based on assumptions of what people think the bible says.

The FIRST Myth is that Jesus was BORN on December 25th (or January 6, or 7 according to some denominations). If you were to ask the average person when Jesus was born, they would say, “Dec 25th of course!” When you point out that no date is revealed, they may say, “It doesn’t matter, let’s just all agree.”

How can we have the conversation? Instead of taking the “you’re wrong, here’s why approach” we might ask, “do you know a day of birth that we are certain about?” The day of Pentecost is the day the church BEGAN. [Mat 16:18, 28; Acts 2]

The SECOND Myth is that the shepherds came to worship Jesus and brought Him gifts. My favorite unscriptural song this time of year is the little drummer boy. Full of emotion, zero scripture.  

How can we talk about this? The shepherds truly did see the star and hear the announcement of His birth, the angel saying, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:12]. What did they do? They went to INVESTIGATE the words of the angel to see the sign. “So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child” [Luke 2:15- 17]

The FOURTH Myth is that Joseph & Mary RECEIVED the wise men at the manger. What does the Bible say and how can we have a conversation about it?

Perhaps you could show folks the scriptures where Herod ordered children under 2yo and younger be killed. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” [Matt 2:9-12] This same passage has Joseph & Mary RECEIVING the wise men in their “HOUSE” after they returned to their home from Bethlehem.

Which brings us to the FOURTH Myth; the Myth that there were THREE wise men. The bible says there were THREE kinds of gifts of “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” The number of wise men is unrevealed. The divine text simply states, “behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” [Matt. 2:1].

Why do we do this? The goal is to get folks to read for themselves the biblical narrative. Perhaps we could invite our friends to read the BIRTH story with us and they would see it for themselves. If folks read it, perhaps they’ll question the many other false things they have heard.

Which brings us to the FIFTH Myth, that this is a HOLY DAY (Holiday) we are commanded to observe. Many folks are CEO believers (Christmas & Easter Only). Some are commanded to attend a midnight mass. Clearly the BIRTH story of Christ is important especially as a fulfillment of prophecy.

Why should we talk about this? There is a day specified that we are commanded to observe; A Memorial of His Death, upon the first Day of the Week. Jesus commands us to remember His Death each first day of the week.

“…this do in remembrance of me.” [Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; 1Cor 11:17-34; Acts 20:7]

     — spencer

We’re Looking for a church, part 2

Last week we began to answer those who say, “We’re looking for a church.” To answer we had to first describe what the church is NOT.

  • It is not a DIVISION.
  • It is not a BUILDING.
  • It is not just a NAME.
  • It is not an ORGANIZATION for general benevolence.
  • It is not for ENTERTAINMNET.

In this article we will look at a few things to consider when looking for a ‘church.’

By the way; we use this language accommodatively. We’re looking for Christians who are coming together as a church to do the work of the Lord in a local area.

We must search the scriptures with honest hearts and answer such requests in a kind, loving and scriptural way. We also need to be careful not to treat the church of Christ as just another denomination by using denominational language. (1Peter 4:11)

What are you looking for in a CHURCH?

Are you looking for the church (people) that CONFORMS to the scriptures in the New Testament, or one that conforms to the CULTURE of our times? Are you looking for God’s people that CONFORM themselves to the doctrine of Christ, or one that conforms to your schedule, your likes, your daycare needs?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” [Rom 12:2; 2John 1:9]

Are you looking for a church whose HEAD is Christ, sitting in HEAVEN on His throne, or one that has a HEADQUARTERS on earth with unqualified men at its head?

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” [Mat 23:9; Acts 2:30-36; Col 1:18]

Are you looking for a church that is scripturally UNIFIED with Christ, or one that is UNIFIED only in their diversity of practices, and tolerance of sin?

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Eph 4:3-6]

Are you looking for the church that will be RAISED up on the last day, or the many that will be REFUSED by Christ for their works done without His authority? Christ will only RAISE one church, His church.  

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; Eph 5:23]

Are you looking for the one that is being CONSTRUCTED by Christ, or the one that is being built in a way that is CONTRARY to Christ?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Mat 16:18; Eph 2:19-20; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10]

Are you looking for the church that you can read & HEAR about in the Bible, that requires a HEARTFUL obedience to God’s instructions? The one we can’t join, but are added to when we obey from the HEART that form of doctrine (water baptism).

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” [Rom 6:17; cf 3-4; Acts 2:38-47; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21]

Much more can be said about how to Identify the Lord’s church. Would you like to learn what the Bible says about the church of Christ? We want to help you to be set free by the truth of God’s Word. [John 8:32]

— spencer

Looking for a church? pt1

How many times have you heard someone make that statement? How many times have you invited them to worship only to hear them try to explain why the church of Christ doesn’t fit in with their expectations?
 
Yeah, me too. Many times, you’ll see people post on social media groups about seeking a church.
 
They will also list the criterion by which they will choose a church. Things like; Daycare, children’s & single’s programs. One person said to me, “I didn’t join my church because of their food & carnivals, but I would join one without them.”
 
How can we answer our neighbors better? We can help them find THE church,

but we have to be ready to give them an answer. Let’s prepare ourselves to answer such requests in a kind, loving and scriptural way. Before we can show them what the bible says, we need to see if they’re willing to have a conversation about what the bible says. Many have never heard what you know about what the bible says about the Lord’s church. Many only have a denominational understanding.
 
If you get to have the conversation, the first thing that might help is to show them what the church is NOT.
 
First, it is not a DENOMINATION. It’s not even non-denominational. The church that Christ built is UN-DENOMINATIONAL. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1Cor 1:12-13)
 
Second, the church is not an EDIFICE, a building, nor a place. The church of the bible is a People. The church is spoken of as if it’s a building, (eg; “Let’s go to church.”). John wrote to people not a building; “I wrote unto the church:” (3John 1:9; cf Phm 1:2; Col 1:24; 4:15). People are the church (Heb 3:6; 1Co 3:16)
 
Third, the church is not the Lord’s church just because of a NAME. Talking about the church as a name contributes to the denominational concept. The phrase, “church of Christ” denotes ownership. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28). There are many buildings with a sign on front that says, “the church of Christ,” but that doesn’t make it so. There are identifying marks that will tell us if it’s the church that the Lord bought. The church at Ephesus was in danger of having their candlestick removed unless they repent. (Rev 2:1-5)
 
I know this point confuses many. We all recognize that many denominations wear man made NAMES and wear the NAME of their founders. (eg. Lutheran). The New Testament uses many identifying phrases; (often including location)
·       My church; Matt 16:18
·       church of the Lord, church of God; Acts 20:28; 1Cor 1:2
·       The body, The church; Col 1:18; Eph 1:22-23; 5:23; 1Thess 1:1
·       Household of God, church of the living God; Eph 2:19; 1Tim 3:15
·       Church of the Firstborn; Heb 12:23
·       God’s field, God’s building; 1Cor 3:9
·       The Flock; 1Peter 5:3; Acts 20:28
·       Church of Christ; Rom 16:16
 
Fourth, the church is not an ORGANIZATION for general benevolence nor a political action committee. This is one of the main points of confusion. Our culture today believes that the church exists to ease the physical needs of mankind or to raise up a political movement. The primary purpose of the church found in the bible is as a gospel teaching ORGANIZATION. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1Tim 3:15, 5:3-16; cf. Mat 28:18-20; Eph 3:10)
 
Fifthly and finally, the church does not exist for entertainment nor MERRYMAKING purposes. This doesn’t mean one must be sad & unhappy when they worship the Lord. What it does mean is that the church exists for a higher purpose than carnal entertainment. “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.” (1Cor 11:22).
 
Next week we’ll take a look at what IS the church found in the New Testament.
— spencer