as little CHILDREN

Children have not always been treated very well. They have…

  1. Been Sacrificed; 2Kings 17:31; Eze 16:20-21
  2. Caused to pass through fire; 2Kings 16:3; Jer 32:35;
  3. Sold for debt; 2Kings 4:1.
  4. Eaten. 2King 6:28-29.

Even now children are used as pawns in failing relationships, in manipulating the news, and in politics. These things ought not be so.

What does the bible say about children? Better yet, what does Jesus say?

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matt 18:3)

Jesus uses the qualities of CHILREN as an illustration of those who desire to become CHILDREN of God. He makes it very clear, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” CONVERSION is the process of turning completely around. Comparing it to the CHILDREN, it speaks to our turning from trusting in our own abilities, and trusting fully in Christ, His sacrifice, His promises, His working through our faith. Without faith it’s impossible to please God.

Another quality of CHILDREN is seen in their HUNGER and their cries to be fed. Peter uses this quality to illustrate the need for the child of God to HUNGER for the word. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2).

One of the things we learn from Jesus as He uses CHILDREN for our understanding, is that children are INNOCENT. They do not have sin IMPUTED to them. Some claim that children are born wicked and totally depraved. Jesus didn’t see it this way. When asked about inherited sin, Jesus said it didn’t happen. (see John 9:2-3) When David’s son died in infancy, he desired to “go to him” (2Sam 12:23). Did David want to go to heaven or hell? Clearly, he knew that children are INNOCENT.

One quality every parent has experienced from children is their capacity to LOVE and our capacity to LOVE them sacrificially. Jesus uses that quality when He looked on with tears over Jerusalem (Matt 23:37). In Solomon’s day, he used this capacity for a mother’s LOVE for her child to determine the true mother of a child (1King 3:24-27)

Little children are especially unique in their ability to be DEVOTED to their parents regardless of their qualities. Consider Hebrews 12:4-11. We revere our earthly parents when they disciplined us (maybe not at the time). God wants this level of DEVOTION for His children.

Children are used to REPRESENT the NEW BIRTH of becoming a Christian. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This is very similar language He uses when He placed a child in their midst. The new birth REPRESENTS baptism in water (John 3:5; cr. Rom 6:3-4).

Then there’s the EXPECTATION of parents for the growth of the child. The New Testament writers make this comparison in Hebrews 5. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (5:12-6:2; cr. 1Cor 3:1; 13:11).

Lastly, while children desire to grow and mature, they know that they are unable to do many things for themselves. They recognize their NEED for help from their parents and are ready to ask without embarrassment. Oh, if this child of God could be better at this quality. Children can teach us so much about how to grow, mature, work, and try to do, while simultaneously knowing their complete NEED for the loving care of their parents for their basic needs. “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him” (Matt 7:9-11)?

Let us think on the words of Christ about the example of CHILDREN. Despite how the world sees children, let us see them through the eyes of our Lord and learn the lessons that He has taught us through them.

— spencer

The Life of Christ

bible.ca/maps

The first Sunday of each month has been focused on the Life of Christ through 12 periods.

  1. JOHN Prepares the way, Jan.
  2. His EARLY Preaching, Feb.
  3. SERMON on the Mount, March.
  4. UNDERSTANDING Parables, April.
  5. SEA of Galilea, May.
  6. MINISTRY in Judea, June.
  7. ENTERING Jerusalem, July.
  8. The Lord’s SUPPER, Aug.
  9. Facing the SANHEDRIN, Sept.
  10. IT IS FINISHED. The Cross of Christ, Oct.
  11. DBR & ASCENSION, Nov.
  12. HARD to kick against the goads. Appearance to Saul, Dec.

Following is an outline of the book of Mark that may be a helpful resource moving forward.

May our study on the Life of Christ be a blessing to each of us as we learn more about our Savior.

(Outline Adapted from New Testament Survey, by Merrill C. Tenney, 159-160)

the Truth shall set you FREE, from what?

JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!

FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?

We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.

Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.

The Truth shall set us FREE from:

The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]

Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].

The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].

This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.

Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]

Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].

Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]

None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.

WE CAN BE SET FREE IF….

…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]

The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].

Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].

Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.

— spencer

Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.

the GOSPEL is

Paul wrote to the Galatians warning about those that were troubling them over the GOSPEL. He called it

  • a different gospel
  • a perversion
  • an other gospel

He said that there is not another GOSPEL, and that the GOSPEL they heard originally was not from men, nor did it come from men. He said, “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.” (Gal 1:8,9).

Very strong words with critical consequences. So critical that he says it twice!

Rather than list all the ways the Gospel can by perverted, let’s see what is the GOSPEL.

It stands to reason that since Paul warned of a perverted GOSPEL, that it can be known what is the pure GOSPEL.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

The GOSPEL literally means, “GOOD NEWS.” This Greek word for the GOSPEL is from the root word for evangelist. But it’s not enough to just be GOOD NEWS. The GOSPEL is GOOD NEWS from GOD. More than that, the GOSPEL is the GOOD NEWS about the GRACE of GOD. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

As one looks up every one of the 98 verses where the word is used, they would find that the GOSPEL is something to be OBEYED. If it is to be OBEYED, then there is something we must do. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17; cf. 2Thess 1:8).

As we look for those things we must do, we learn that a person must do these five things in order…

So, the GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, and is to be Obeyed, but for what reason? A search of the scriptures shows that the GOSPEL is for the SALVATION of mankind. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (1Cor 15:1-2; cf. 2Tim 1:10; Eph 1:13)

Continuing our research of the scriptures, two more ideas about the GOSPEL come to our attention. The GOSPEL is the “power of God unto salvation;” (Rom. 1:16), and that it is the Good News to be PREACHED by people by people. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) We have no other thing by which we shall reach people. We are limited to the Power of God through Preaching the Gospel.

Another important thing related to the GOSPEL of the GRACE of GOD, is that it is to be preached to EVERY CREATURE (Mark 16:15; cf Mark 13:10; 14:9). The GOOD NEWS of the GRACE of GOD regarding the SALVATION of man is not to be withheld from any person. To do so would be showing partiality and judging unrighteous judgment (cf. Matt 7:1-2).

The last thing one may notice in their study about the GOSPEL is that it is to be preached out of LOVE (Phil 1:15-17), and it is to be LIVED out for the remainder of our lives. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:” (Phil 1:27)

The GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, it is to be Obeyed so that we may be Saved, this Power message is to be Preached to Every creature out of Love, and it is be Lived out daily in the life of the those that have received its power.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist in Borger Texas. He has labored with the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ for the last 8 years.

I PRESS toward the goal

I PRESS toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14)

What do you do when you hit bottom? Despite the depth of the losses I’ve felt, I’m sure I haven’t experienced that. But there are some examples in scripture that can give us insight.

  • Joseph suffered the loss of all at the hands of his own brothers. (Gen 37:28).
  • A Little maid suffered the loss of all at the hands of a man stealer. (2Kings 5:1-2).
  • Jeremiah suffered the loss of all at the hands of his brethren, being dropped into the depths of a pit. (Jer 38:6)

Then there was the Apostle Paul who said,

“…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2Cor 11:23-27).

Read that again and really focus on each of those experiences. Try to see yourself in his place in stripes, prisons, deaths, beaten, stoned, shipwreck, in the deep, journeyings, perils (water, robbers, his own, heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, in the see, among false brethren), weariness, painfulness, watching, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold and nakedness.

It’s difficult for me to imagine. How did he find the strength to endure such hostility and loss? In the letter to the Philippians, we find a clue, “I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” In other words, he had a very large WHY. With a large enough WHY we can endure any HOW. There’s no bigger WHY than being in heaven with Christ.

Paul endured because of his WHY and with his HOW. We can PRESS just as he did.

To understand how, we need to learn about the word PRESS. From Strong’s we learn that the word press means; “to pursue (literally or figuratively); by implication, to persecute:–ensue, follow (after), given to, (suffer) persecute(-ion), press forward.” Did you see it? The word for press is also translated as “PERSECUTE.” (cf. Phil 3:6). Does that give you a better picture as to how Paul could endure? He Pressed, PERSECUTED toward the mark. Think of it as a full court PRESS as in basketball. Paul transferred his prior PERSECUTION of the church into a PERSECUTION to reach heaven.

He said it this way to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2Tim. 4:7)

In his letter to the Corinthians, he makes another illustration. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1Cor 9:24). He compares it to a RUNNER in a RACE for a prize that only one receives. Not that only one person can go to heaven, but that we should have the attitude of the RUNNER where only one may win.

Paul also EXERCISED himself unto godliness. “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” (1Tim. 4:7; cf. 1Tim 4:8). This word carries the meaning, ‘to train’ oneself. We are in constant training for godliness.

In another similar illustration Paul says, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1Cor. 9:25). The one that will PRESS toward the mark can be compared to one that STRIVES for mastery. Mastery of what? Mastery of being a faithful Christian. (cf. 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17)

Along those same lines, he kept his body in SUBJECTION. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1Cor 9:27; cf. 7:1-9). His meaning is to practice self-control over the lust of the flesh so as not to be ineligible for heaven.

Much is said in the secular world about goal setting. Our ultimate goal should be in going to heaven where Christ sits. We can do that by keeping our eyes and affections above (Col. 3:1-2). We also PRESS toward the mark. We can either give up or give it all.

— spencer

spencer is a gospel preacher located in Borger Texas where he has worked with the church on Franklin & Juniper St. since 2014.

GO into all the world

A Message for the World.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

There is a MESSAGE for the world. It’s an important message. Dare I say, it’s a vital message to the survival of the soul? It’s the Gospel.

But who shall take this message to the world? According to the bible, we will, the church. It began with the chosen Apostles, and then was extended to us.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim 2:2)

The Creator of the universe has entrusted us with this vital message. Are we up to the task?

Normal is not up to the task. We’re all familiar with the average man and his hesitancy to perform a task. When given such an assignment, will the regular person say, “Here am I; send me?” No, they will rather ask one or more of these questions:

  • When should I start?
  • Where do I go?
  • Who is the world?
  • Is that my job?
  • Do you mean right now?

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”

(Prov 10:26)

The Lord wants laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

We are the laborers, each of us have been ‘hired’ for this important taks. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” (Matt 20:1-16; cf Matt 25:24-30)

Now back to the command; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt 28:19) Let us GO. The rest of this article we’ll look at the two qualities we need when we GO into all the world.

Firstly, we need ourselves to be changed people. Before we can present the Gospel to anyone, we must first be partakers of that gospel. Without GODLINESS it will be near impossible to convince anyone of the good news. You cannot teach the gospel just through a godly life, but it’s impossible without it.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Peter 2:12; 3:16)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil 2:15)

Many folks have rejected the gospel, the church, and pure religion, simply on the basis of the hypocrisy of its members. Let us GO in all GODLINESS. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim 6:11; cf 2Pet 1:1-10)

The second part of this simple command is to be of ONE mind with Christ in all that we do. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;” (Eph 6:5).

Going into the world to preach does not require a vow of poverty nor for us to quit working (cf. Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10; 1Tim 5:8). Living godly lives in our work, our home, and our community gives us opportunity to meet folks and to shine our lights. From there we must have ONE mind with Christ, which is to share the life saving Gospel message. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10).

We as individuals may not reach them all, but all that we meet may be reached, and if all of us reach then some may be saved. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22b) Go. You need not go very far. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)

— 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.

Love your NEIGHBOR

While challenging Jesus, a certain lawyer seeking to justify himself, asked, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the good Samaritan to make him and us consider the answer to that question. (Luke 10:25-37)

Who is my neighbor?

What a great question! Seeing that the second great command is to love thy neighbor as thyself, we ought to ask it of ourselves today. (Matt 22:39; cf Lev 19:18)

It reminds me of NAAMAN’S stolen little maid (2King 5:1-14). Who was her neighbor?

It was the one that STOLE HER!!

From the parable and the story of the little maid we learn that EVERYONE we come in contact with is our neighbor, and let’s not forget about our online neighbor.

Do we have the love to INVITE our neighbor to the healing power of Jesus? Another question, would they accept or decline the invitation based on our GOOD works or lack thereof? “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16). The story of the healing of Naaman hinges on an invitation from the stolen little maid. What does Naaman’s acceptance of her word speak about her good behavior?

Jesus speaks of love for, rather than HATRED of our enemies. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44). It makes me think of the server that had wronged a Christian. After he exacted his pound of flesh through a verbal assault, I wonder if the server would be open to an invitation to a home bible study with that Christian? (Ouch, that hurt.)

What about our BORDER neighbors, the ones with whom we share a fence line? If history is indicative of future possibilities, what would their answer be to our invitation to worship after our current land dispute? Let alone the Proverbs wisdom about being friendly with our property neighbors. “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” (Prov 27:10; cf. Prov 3:29)

It can be difficult to be at peace with everyone, but we OUGHT to try. “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Rom 15:2) “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18) We OUGHT to pursue peace with our neighbor if for no other reason than it interferes with both of us going to heaven. (cf. Mark 9:50; Rom 14:19; Heb 12:14) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:3-4).

Lastly, let’s also think of our less fortunate neighbors without showing RESPECT of persons. Jesus said, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.” (Luke 14:12; cf. James 2:1-13). After disregarding our poor neighbors, or those different from us, could we invite them to worship and would they accept?

Who is our neighbor? Great question. The take away for me is to live in such a way as to not make enemies. This doesn’t mean to ignore nor to whitewash the truth of the gospel. Rather it’s about avoiding situations where we might create lifelong enemies that will hinder the spreading of the gospel. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22)

—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.

If there had been more love…

…there would not be any division.” You’ve probably heard something like this before. Another way of saying this is, “Let’s unite over the things we have in common and not divide over our differences.”

They contend that love will prevent any division among us. I would agree, but not in the way that they use love.

If love for the truth is what is meant by “more love” then I’m all in. However, it is evident that not everyone will love and accept the truth on some matters of faith.

“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Thess. 2:10)

LOVE for the truth motivates the servants of the Lord to preach it and to exhort all to follow it (cf. 2Tim 4:2). Sadly, there are those who refuse to submit to the will of the Lord, and do not have the doctrine of Christ. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” (2John 1:9a)

When some say that love will prevent division, they are using their definition of love which OVERLOOKS practices that are not found in the doctrine of Christ. These will place the blame of division on those laboring to practice the truth rather on those who will not accept it. Paul wrote, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph 5:11). Love of the truth would have adherents practicing the divine pattern of the truth, rather than advocating an umbrella of love that ignores it.

Certainly, the truth is to be spoken in love. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:15). We have a responsibility to speak the truth in love. Perhaps, those who cry that love would prevent divisions, dwell on the manner of presentation. Every preacher ought to work on the manner of presenting the truth in love (1Cor 13), but what right does anyone have to reject the word of God based on the manner of presentation? Salvation comes through obeying the gospel of Christ, and any failure should be placed on the hearts of the hearers (cf. Luke 8:11-15; 2Thess 1:8).

All the love in the world is not going to result in some people accepting the truth whereby brethren can walk together in truth. “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) “So there was a division among the people because of him” (John 7:43).

VIOLATION of God’s word is to be blamed for division, not a lack of love. Are we prepared to say that a lack of love from Christ resulted in division? May it never be!!

Was there a lack of love on the part of John toward Diotrephes that caused division? No, it’s the following of EVIL that causes the division. It was the lack of love for the truth on the part of Diotrephes that caused the division. “but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (2John 9-11). [emph mine seb]

Yes, we need more love “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Phil 1:9; cf. 1Thess 3:12). May there be more love of the truth that we may walk together in unity of the Spirit and have fellowship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior. “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 4:4-6)

—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.

Love One ANOTHER

“7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” [1John 4:7-11]

Since most are focused on the commercialized version of Love shown through the giving of chocolate filled cardboard hearts, let us also talk about what it means to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

And the Lord make you to increase and ABOUND in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” (1Thess 3:12).

NO MAN hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1John 4:12)

OWE no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

(Galatians 5:13).

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are TAUGHT of God to love one another.” (1Thessalonians 4:9).

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure HEART FERVENTLY.” “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1Peter 1:22, 1Peter 4:8).

For I have given you an EXAMPLE, that ye should do as I have done to you.” “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (John 13:15; 34-35; 15:12; Eph 4:32; 1John 4:11)

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.” (Matt 22:39; 1John 3:11, 23, 4:7, 12, 2John 1:5) To love one another is a Requirement of God.

(emph mine seb)

As opposed to our former life…

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)

—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.

No CORRUPT communication

Last week we looked at how we are to walk, today we’ll look at how we TALK.

A quick reading of James 3 is an eye opener to the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue. There it’s called a, “fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (Jas 3:6)

Even under ideal conditions, it’s often difficult to communicate.

This is serious business. Not only is it difficult to find the right thing to say, it’s equally difficult to say it the right way.

Paul gives some instruction about our communication in Ephesians 4:29.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Three things are Immediately seen. 1) no corrupt speech, 2) rather, edifying speech, and 3) speech that may minister grace to the hearer. The last 2 are somewhat easy; we are to speak those things that will teach (edify) and those things that are a blessing, or helpful (grace). But what is corrupt communication? Not surprisingly, the scripture has a lot to say about what we say.

Firstly, we ought to be careful about COMPLAINING. “Do all things without murmurings and questionings:” (Phil 2:14-15) We’re not discussing the type of communication that tries to right wrongs. We are talking about complaining that is sinful. The OT shows us what happens when we complain against God (Num 11:1). Complaining to people that cannot improve a condition is ungodly and borders on gossip. Rather, we should communicate to others our CONTENTMENT. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.” (Phil 4:11).

A second type of corrupt communication is OVER TALKING. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely.” (Prov 10:19). Instead, we ought to be ORDERLY & SLOW to speak. “But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (Jas. 1:19 cf. 1:26

We all know the warnings about REPEATING & RECEIVING Gossip. (Prov 20:19; 11:13; 2Cor. 12:20; 1Tim 5:13) Instead of repeating gossip, how about we REPORT good things about our brethren. Look at chapter 16 of Romans for a list where Paul is giving a good REPORT of some fine men & women.

Then there’s the warning from Christ. “Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” (Matt 5:22) “RACA” is a form of contempt toward another. Literally it means, “o empty one; thou worthless.”  Instead, we should say words that have REGARD for the other person; esteeming them better than self (Phil 2:3).

Then there are words that are UNLOVING and divisive. (Job 19:19; Rom 1:31; 2Tim 3:3). Instead, we ought to seek words of UNITY (Eph 4:13). Not unity in tolerance of sin, but “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:3)

Looking again at James, we see there are words that are POISONOUS. “It (the tongue) is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (3:8). Instead, we can be PLEASING in speech & PROVOKE to love. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Heb 10:24; Prov 15:26; 16:24)

Lastly, there are words that is TALKING FOOLISHLY. These are crude humor and indecent language. Paul instructs us to replace these with words of THANKS. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph 5:4)

This article was very thought provoking for me. It’s very easy to get caught up in using the words of our culture, on our TV’s and in the workplace. I’m unable to speak for you, but for me, CORRUPT communication is very much the norm among those in the world and it’s so easy to be influenced by it. I’ll strive to do better so that my words do not give occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme.

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— 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.