What is GRACE pt1: it’s a GIFT of God

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

(Eph 2:8)

There should be no doubt that Grace is a GIFT. Unfortunately, there is so much misunderstanding and confusion about Grace. Not because the scriptures are confusing (1Cor 14:33), but because there are so many opinions about it.

GRACE is a wonderful thing and ought to be understood by the faithful to fully appreciate it and to motivate us for better service to God.

This and the next four articles will be dedicated to some aspect of GRACE so we can “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Peter 3:18)

This first article examines Grace as the GIFT of God as it is called in the passage above.

“…it is the GIFT of God.”

A gift has 2 parties, a Giver and a receiver. Grace is a Gift Given by God & Christ to the world (Titus 2:11). It is also given without merit on the part of the receiver. There is nothing redeeming about man that generated the gift, it was out of the love of God. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him” (Heb 2:6; cf. Job 7:17; Ps 8:4; 144:3)?

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).

This Gift of Grace is pertaining to Salvation for mankind. “For by Grace you are saved through faith…” Another way of saying this is that the opportunity to be saved, the method, the plan, has been given as a Gift to undeserving people (Rom 5:8-10). As we shall see in the following points, NOT EVERYONE WILL PARTICIPATE IN, NOR ACCEPT THE GIFT OF GRACE. 

The Gift of Grace needs to be received (accepted), and it is possible to receive it IN VAIN (which is to try and apply grace on your own terms, without repentance).

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2Cor 6:1).

Many are confused and deceived because it is taught that the Gift of Grace is given and applied universally. (Universalism is an error that teaches everyone will go to heaven even if it’s against their will, if they’re in unrepentant sins, or even an atheist). While Grace is a Gift for the whole world, not everyone will receive it, or worse, they receive it IN VAIN. To receive it IN VAIN is to make it of none effect.

It must also be noted that the GIFT of Grace may be received, but later one can FALL FROM GRACE.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). And you can make it void; “I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought” (Gal 2:21; ASV)

So you see, while GRACE is a GIFT for all, not everyone will receive (accept) it, nor will everyone remain in it.

Finally, it is THROUGH HIS GRACE & THROUGH OUR FAITH that saves.

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).

Critics will claim that if there is something a person must do to be saved, even a command from God, then it is no longer a GIFT. What they fail to realize is that God’s Gift of Grace is working THROUGH our faith (trusting belief) in God’s plan, and His Son. To obey God is not earning salvation, it’s trusting in His working THROUGH His Grace.

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 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 2:11-12) [emph mine seb].

We see that the Gift of Grace is the opportunity, and the availability of salvation, but it must be received (accepted) in truth, faith, and obedience to God who is giving it and working through it. To believe is to obey as Paul wrote in Romans 10 (often ignored by the faith only crowd). “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report” (Rom 10:16)? Do you see how “obeyed” and “believed” are used inseparably?

The Ephesians were taught about Grace, and they were taught how to receive it, by being baptized into Christ (Acts 19:1-5). Paul would later write to them and say; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). Baptism is a part of God’s Grace in saving mankind, beginning with the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ (cf. Rom 6:3-4).

Jesus Gives the Gift of Grace through His sacrifice, making a way for all of mankind to be saved if they will believe it and obey it. “For by grace we are saved, it is the Gift of God.”

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

Roast Duck Soup

A nephew came to see his kindly old uncle from the country and brought a duck. The kindly old uncle was grateful, had the bird cooked, and shared it with his nephew.

A few days later another visitor arrived.

“I am a friend,” he said, “of the man who gave you the duck.”

The kindly old uncle invited him in to some steaming hot duck soup.

Another man came the next day who was a friend of the friend of the nephew. The kind old man sat him down to a bowl of Duck Broth Soup & Rice.

One day there was a knock at the door and a stranger appeared. “I am the friend of the friend of the friend of the man who brought you the duck from the country,” he said.

“Come in,” said the kindly old uncle.

They seated themselves at the table and the kindly old uncle asked his wife to bring the soup.

When the guest tasted it, it seemed to be nothing more than warm water.

“What sort of soup is this?” he asked the Old Man.

“That,” said the kindly old uncle, “is the soup of the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck.”

This is the difference in watering the gospel and watering it down.

“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1Cor 3:7).

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal 1:6-10).

we can RESTORE the New Testament church

Here’s a question almost nobody asks; Is the Lord pleased with so many varied churches teaching contradicting and erroneous doctrines? The answer is self evident.

We ought to seek to RESTORE the New Testament church that Christ built in the first century.

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.” Matt 16:18

How to continually RESTORE the New Testament church.

  1. RECOGNIZE there are different ones and it is not pleasing to the Lord.
    1. Gal 1:6-10
  2. EXPECT that it can be done. 1Tim 3; Titus 1; Matt 16:18
  3. SEED of the SCRIPTURE is the STANDARD by which we restore. Mark 4:13-20
  4. TRUE JESUS vs fake Jesus. 2Cor 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
  5. ORIGINAL identifying marks of doctrine, organization, and function.
    1. 1John 1:9
  6. RETURN, Restore, Repent. 1Cor 1-5 This was the problem with the church at Corinth. They had become divisive over several issues. “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.”
  7. ESTABLISHED, organized, met. Acts 2:38-47
    1. 1Cor 11:17-34; 16:1-2; Acts 20:7
    2. They worshipped (Sing Acapella, Prayer, Giving, Teaching, & observing the Lord’s death)
    3. They worked together in local congregations (cf. Rom 16:16)
      • Organized with Elders, Deacons, & Saints. (Phil 1:1; 1Tim 3; Titus 1)
    4. The work of these local congregations (congruently with all local congregations) is all about saints…
      • Making Saints. (Matt 28:19)
      • Teaching Saints. (Matt 28:20)
      • Helping needy Saints. (Acts 11:29)

Ye do ERR?

Did you know that it’s possible for folks to make a false denomination because of a misunderstanding of the Bible?

Matt 22:23-33 The Sadducees made a Jewish denomination because they didn’t take notice of the tense of a verb.

Jesus said to them, “Ye do Err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matt 22:29)

“Moreover he said, I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exo 3:6)

Jesus is pointing out that God said “I AM,” not “I WAS.”

The Sadducees entire system of belief about salvation was error.

Acts 23:7 “And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.”

Are you making an error in your faith not knowing the scriptures?

How would we know?

Some have…

Shipwrecked their faith: 1Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Neglected Salvation: Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;.

Fallen from Grace: Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Departed from God: Heb 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

Drawn back to perdition: Heb 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

>Spencer, Evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper St.

Give us a KING

Kingdom of Christ

Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1Samuel 8:5).

The last Judge of the “Judges Period” of OT History was Samuel. His sons were behaving in a disorderly way and the people had become frustrated. They respond to this by asking for a King.

God is never caught by surprise and had already warned them about this situation. In Deuteronomy He said, “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But…” (Deut 17:14-16)

It’s here where we begin our study.

God warned Israel about this situation long before they had even taken the land in which they now reside. Now that they have asked for a KING, He tells Samuel to remind them of this lesson. Then, after the lesson, it is interesting to notice their reaction and it is also important to know what God is doing.

First, He says; “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them” (1Sam 8:9). God wants them to KNOW what they’re asking.

Second, this KING will IMPOSE heavy burdens on them. “This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take…”

  • (11) your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
  • (12) And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
  • (13) And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
  • (14) And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
  • (15) And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
  • (16) And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
  • (17) He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
  • (18) And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

By the end of the UNITED KINGDOM period this truth will become the sore spot for the people. “Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee” (1Kings 12:4).

After this warning about their request, the people say, “NEVERTHELESS the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (1Sam 8:19-20).

Amazing!! Even after hearing the warnings, they REFUSE to obey. Isn’t this still true today? It’s a common response of the disobedient. It was a similar response of the nation of Israel at their first attempt to enter the land of Canaan. “And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt” (Num 14:4).

This next point is important. “And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king” (1Sam 8:7,22). GOD GAVE them a KING, but that is not the complete picture. We need to study the whole counsel of God.

In Hosea, after this and their subsequent apostasy, the prophet said, “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath” (Hosea 13:11). They had rejected God, so He gave them a KING. Later, He will remove the earthly king (cf. Jer 22:29-30).

Religious scholars today make the mistake in claiming that God is intent on setting up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. That contradicts what God has done and what He has said. God has promised to set up a Spiritual Kingdom beginning at Pentecost (cf. Joh 18:36; Dan 2:44). Christ is KING, and reigns now, sitting on His throne in Heaven at the right hand of God.

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:34-36).

Let us never make the same mistake as they and ask for a different king. Christ is KING. “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15).

Spencer

Listen Here.

Living STONES

https://www.bible.ca/premillennialism-rapture-replacement-theology-supersessionism-kingdom-is-church.htm

There’s a common misconception about the Kingdom of God. It’s taught in error that Jesus will one day set up a physical kingdom, reigning in Jerusalem. According to the error, His plans were foiled by the Jews who rejected Him, and murdered Him. This is commonly called the doctrine of PREMILLENIALISM. Is this true?

It’s against scripture for Christ to reign from a physical throne in Jerusalem. “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jer 22:30).

Never trust a doctrine based on the premise that mankind foiled God’s plans. LOL. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged,” (Isaiah 42:4).

His own disciples expected an earthly kingdom, but Jesus said, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21; cf John 18:36).

However, He does have a Kingdom and it does have a TEMPLE on earth, a spiritual house. In Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom, the church, there is a Temple and it’s being built continually with LIVING STONES. What does the bible say about these living STONES?

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).

God’s Temple today is a SPIRITUAL HOUSE. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1Cor 3:9-15; cf. 1Pet 2:5). The church of Christ is the Spiritual House of God, the individuals are the living stones.

The church of Christ is the TEMPLE of God and individual members are the living stones. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1Cor 3:16-17)? “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (6:19; Eph 2:21-22)? Anyone that claims that there will be a physical kingdom on earth has overlooked that the Kingdom of God is the church of Christ. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13).

There is only ONE Kingdom, ONE BODY. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph 1:22-23; cf. Eph 4:4). Since the church is the Kingdom, and the church is His body, then there is only ONE BODY (temple) in His Kingdom.

Every Temple has a foundation, and this Spiritual Temple is no exception. NO OTHER FOUNDATION exists except the Chief Cornerstone, which is Christ. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:20-21). Referring back to a previous passage about the Spiritual House, Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11; cf. Matt 16:18).

As was prophesied, this Kingdom is an ENDURING Kingdom if we keep His commands “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb 3:6).

Lastly, since people are the Living Stones, we are to STAND FIRM. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” (Col 1:23). The stones that STAND FIRM are precious STONES, but those stones that are not of precious material will be burned. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1Cor 3:12-13).

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist in Borger, Texas.

THE KINGDOM is the CHURCH:

The Same Beginning: Pentecost. (Mark 9:1; Acts 2:47)

The Same Duration: Forever.

(Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 12:28; Ephesians 3:21)

The Same Ownership: God and Christ. (Ephesians 5:5)

The same historical period: During Roman empire.

(Luke 2:1; Acts 2:1; Colossians 1:13)

The same eschatological beginning: In the “Last Days” or “end times

(Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20; Acts 2:15–17; James 5:1–3)

Kingdom and church used interchangeably: (Matthew 16:18)

6 things Jesus TAUGHT in His last week

Jesus spent His time on earth teaching and preaching. From the very earliest days He was found in the Temple hearing and asking questions, and all that heard were amazed at His answers (Luke 2:46-47).

Throughout His ministry He is teaching. Even when He saw the 5,000 that followed Him, having compassion on them, He TAUGHT them.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)

Therefore, it should be no surprise that He was seen teaching even up to His last days on Earth.

During His last week He was in the Temple teaching amidst those who sought to take His life.

What was it that Jesus TAUGHT them that still has application for us today?

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt 21:12-13)

1) When Jesus TURNED over the money changers tables and cast out those that bought and sold in the TEMPLE, He is teaching us a lesson about proper authorized worship. In the New Testament age, the church is His TEMPLE (1Cor 6:19). We are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). There is a right way and a wrong way to worship. He TAUGHT that it’s possible to have vain worship (Mark 7:6-7). It would behoove us to learn what it is to properly worship Him in our lives, but also when we gather together as a church. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:17-34; Heb 10:24-25)

“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

(see Matt 21:23-27).

2) Jesus TAUGHT that there are only 2 sources of AUTHORITY; from above or from below. We must understand this lesson today. Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth (Matt 28:18). He is to have the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). He is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15). Therefore, we are to study His word to know what it is that He commands for how we are to speak and act (Col 3:17). (cf. 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10)

“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (see Matt 21:33-46)

3) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT a lesson that covers much of OT history and ultimately a lesson about UNITY with God. The record of the bible shows that God desires mankind to be UNITED with Him through His Son, and His word, but the world, and the children of Israel, would not. Today, we are UNIFIED through Christ into one body (Eph 4:3-6). We cannot expect any UNITY with God, any peace, unless we keep His commands. Many folks say there’s unity in diversity of doctrines. This contradicts the word. God is not an author of confusion. (1Cor 14:33; see Col 2:14; Heb 7:12; 9:16-22)

“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

(see Matt 22:1-14)

4) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT about the Kingdom of Heaven. Many are called, but few are chosen. Even those who respond to the call, if they don’t have the proper GARMENT, they will be rejected. The only way to understand this is by seeing what it is we are to put on and how. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). People claim we are to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Not so. We are to put on Christ in water baptism through faith. (see Acts 2:38; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21)

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” (see Matt 22:23-33)

5) In the challenge from the Sadducees, Jesus TAUGHT about the proper way to HANDLE the word of truth. It’s possible to make an error, be mistaken, and be lost because we don’t know the scriptures on how to be saved and how to live a godly life. (see 2Tim 2:15; 3:15-17)

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (see Matt 24)

6) Jesus was asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Since then, many have wrested this text to predict the end of the world when Jesus would return (1Thess 4:13-18). A careful reading will show what Jesus actually TAUGHT about the TIME of His return. Notice what He said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt 24:34). It’s very clear that much of what He said would occur within the lifetime of those who were hearing Him.

But of that day and hour…” The day of His return to Earth to gather the saints, to destroy the world, and to judge all nations, “…knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; see 2Peter 3:10; Dan 2:31-45).

Close) Jesus TAUGHT throughout His life even up to His last moments. It makes me think about myself and the myriad of loved ones who do not know God and have not obeyed the Gospel. Shall we try to teach them?

— spencer

Spencer has been preaching in Borger Texas since 2014.

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

Why We Left the World

It was a dark and stormy night that frigid evening in November of 1997. It was dark, and the storm was within our hearts, because we had just learned some things about our condition toward God.

By that time my wife and I had been engaged for a few weeks in some simple bible studies with Uncle Charlie.  

The study had just ended having studied what God required of us to receive His grace. We didn’t answer at that moment. Uncle Charlie said, “Ok then, I guess I’ll be going.” I knew he wanted an answer, but none came.

After he left, we talked. We talked for an hour.

WHY WE LEFT THE WORLD.

We weren’t terrible people; we were just a young couple with 3 children trying our best to take care of ourselves. We both believed in God but never really knew about our responsibility toward Him. Until that night.

That night we realized the LOVE that God had toward us and the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We realized that this LOVE was demonstrated through the death of Christ on a cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We realized that to LOVE God we must keep His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Luke 6:46)

That night we heard a very clear EXPLANATION from the scriptures about our sin condition and the sin solution. There were no words without a passage to support them. The passages themselves are very EASY to understand.

  • I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
  • Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33)
  • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)

We knew that it was an all or nothing decision. Before we would do anything, we agreed that this was an all or nothing endeavor.

God would not take a half-hearted lip service. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) We had a godly FEAR of the Lord. A mix of Reverence, Awe and Terror. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31)

We agreed together, but when? “Now,” we said. “TONIGHT.” To delay may mean death. It was well after 10:00pm when I called Uncle Charlie to tell him we desired to obey the gospel in water baptism. He asked, “when?” I answered, “TONIGHT.” He joyfully replied, “LET’S GO!” Had he tried to put us off, or schedule a TIME to be baptized we would likely never have done it. We knew that the TIME was right now, as soon as possible. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

What is the biblical TIMING for baptism? Immediately upon understanding your condition toward God and understanding what HE requires of thee. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33)

That night we put on Christ through baptism. That night we obeyed the Gospel. That night we began our newness of life.

We slept peacefully that night knowing that we had done what the Lord had commanded to be done. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice giving thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15)

— spencer