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Faith, Hope & Love
 
Church of Christ of Auglaize County is a friendly family of Christians who are ready to help you!

"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for a doctrine the commandments of men."

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If the church is not growing the problem is not that people outside the church have stopped listening to or caring about the gospel, but rather that Christians are failing to focus on the ministry of reconciliation.

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The scriptural study of God's Inspired word is the basis for our salvation and understanding.

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Articles


 
 
One of my pet peeves is the excuse of: “Well, he is such a good person.” Now, this statement is usually made after someone who has made a habit of bad choices does something else that is wrong. How can someone who constantly does things that are immoral be described as a good person? Remember, Jesus said that a good tree does not bear bad fruit (Matt. 7) So, what a makes a person good? This is a question that deserves to be answered. We all should desire to be good, so what characteristics do I need to possess? Well, the first characteristic is that a good person perseveres through hard times.
 
Life will bring many hardships. Job tells us, in Job 14:1, that “Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.” These hardships will fall under two categories. First, we have the hardships of life that are experienced by all (Matt. 5:45). This would include physical sickness, natural disasters, financial difficulty, etc.  These are events that do not discriminate. They will affect the godly and the ungodly just the same. Second, we have the hardships that are experienced due to living a godly life (Matt. 5:10-12). This could include having family and friends turning their backs on you for your decision to be a disciple of Christ. In the 1st century, this type of hardship included prison and even death.
 
How a person reacts to any of these hardships determines his or her character. When difficulty in his or her marriage arises, is this person going to walk away, or do what is necessary to fix the marriage (1 Cor. 7)? When living faithfully to God becomes difficult, and it does for every Christian, what is the person going to do? Walk away from God and go back into the world, or make the necessary changes? It is not difficult to see how important perseverance is in the life of a Christian.
 
A good person will have the attitude that Paul demonstrated in 2 Cor. 4:8-9, 16-18. It is only by possessing this characteristic that we can make through to eternal life. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

(Isaiah 55:6)

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the coming destruction by Assyria and Babylon. He warns the people of and seeks to prepare the people for it. The book of Isaiah also reveals hope in the coming of the new kingdom and King (Christ and the Church). There is much emphasis placed upon faith in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 55, Isaiah extends an invitation to come to God. In verse 6, he reveals some specifics of this invitation.
 
1) The Task: “Seek Ye” As in many instances found in the Bible, it is man’s responsibility to come to God. Jesus told His listeners during the Sermon on the Mount that they were to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus extends the great invitation by saying “come unto me”. These are simply two of many examples that show that man is responsible for coming to God. The concept that “God does it all” is a faulty one. Man is the one who moves away from God, not the other way around (Isaiah 59:1-2). Therefore, it is man’s responsibility to come back to God; just as it is man’s responsibility to come to God in the first place (Acts 17:26-27)!
 
2) The Target: “The Lord” Solomon was a man who spent his entire life seeking for the source of true happiness. He followed after the same things that the world tells us today will make a man happy. He found that all of these things in end were just “vanity”. His ultimate conclusion was that the sole purpose of man was to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is only in God that we can find true joy and eternal peace. Therefore, God must be the one that we are seeking after. However, we must be seeking God according to His terms! In the same sermon in which Jesus instructed us to “seek” God first, He instructs us that only those who are obedient to God’s commands will enter into heaven (Matthew 7:21). We must be sure that we are seeking the proper target and doing so by the proper terms.
 
3) The Timing: “While He May Be Found”. We know “what” we are to do. We know “who” we are to seek, but now we have to answer the question of “when”? Paul said that NOW is the time to obey (2 Corinthians 6:2). Why all the urgency from Paul? Paul understood that time is not a guarantee. We have no idea when we will be leaving this earth (James 4:13-14). Therefore, we need to take advantage of the time that we do have. If there are any changes that we need to make, now is the time to make them. If we have never obeyed the gospel, now is the time to do so. Once this life is over it will be too late (Luke 17). We must be sure that we do not follow after the example of Agrippa. One of the saddest statements found in the entire Bible is made by Agrippa after hearing the gospel preached; “Almost”. “Almost cannot avail, almost is but to fail.”
Why do Christians put so much emphasis on the Gospel? What is it about the Gospel that makes it so special? The answer to these questions is quite simple; the Gospel is important and special because God saves man through the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). The Gospel is simply the death, burial, and resurrection Jesus Christ. It is because of this “good news” that we can be saved. The power of the Gospel is seen when we understand its implications. You see, the Gospel implies some things that you and I need to know. These implications show why the Gospel is so powerful.

The gospel implies God’s foreknowledge.

Things have changed drastically since the 1 st Century. However, man’s basic needs have not changed. Man still needs forgiveness, reconciliation to God, and a real purpose in life. The gospel still meets all of these basic spiritual needs of man. God knew how things would change from the 1 st Century to the 21 st Century. Just as He knew centuries before what would happen when Christ came to earth (1 Peter 1:2). Since God foreknew all of these things, we still have a gospel that will fulfill the needs of man throughout time.

The gospel implies that God loves man.

The facts of the gospel are found in 1 Cor. 15. Jesus died, was buried, and then resurrected on the third day. These fundamental facts of the gospel demonstrate the love that God has for man. Why else would He send His Only Begotten Son to die (John 3:16)? This is how God commended His love towards man (Rom. 5:6-8).
The gospel implies that man is incapable of saving himself.
Contemporary man often emphasized humanism. This has been a problem since the beginning of time (Gen. 3:5). Despite how highly man thinks of himself, man cannot save himself (Titus 3:5). Man needs the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Man needs to live in obedience to the will of God (Matt. 7:21). Nothing else is able to save man.

The gospel implies that man has the ability to respond to the gospel.

The gospel places confidence in man. Sin does not make men incapable of responding. One can never become a Christian without hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17). When the gospel is preached, it can move one to obedience (Acts 18:8). How does the gospel move a man to obedience? The gospel is a revealer; it convicts one of the sins that are in that person’s life. Once convicted, the gospel reveals how to receive forgiveness from those sins.

The gospel still very much applies to us. Are we going to allow the gospel to save? If the gospel is going to save the lost, then it must be preached. Have you been obedient to the gospel? If so, are you mindful of those who are lost and need to hear the gospel? We all have a choice when it comes to how we regard the gospel; whether to obey it, or whether or not to share it.
God has always commanded mankind to worship Him. The fact that God commands it should be reason enough to do it. However, simply worshipping God out of a sense of duty can cause us to lack in sincerity (John 4:24). There are other reasons for worshipping God other than it being commanded. One who is properly motivated by those reasons will worship God in a way that will be acceptable to Him. So, why should we worship God?
To express love and thanksgiving to God. By its very nature, worship is to be an expression of love and devotion. Our love for God, based upon who He is and what He has done for man, should prompt us to worship Him. John says that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:9). The great love of God should cause us to give thanks for His indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15).

To express our desire to submit to the will of God. As we have already discussed, God has commanded His children to worship Him (Heb. 10:24-25). By our obedience to this command, we show our willingness to be submissive to God’s will. Which, is a necessity in order to please God (Matt. 7:21). We must remember that God’s will is for man’s ultimate good. Our submission to His will acknowledges His superior wisdom.

To set a good example for those outside of Christ. Dedication to Christ and our devotion to worship makes an impression upon others. When we are faithful in our attendance and active in the worship services, we show others how important the Lord is to us. We must remember that it is possible to lead others to Christ through a good example and strong influence of dedicated worship to God (1 Pet. 3:1-4).

There are other reasons that could be given for us to worship God. We should worship to stay saved, to learn, to provide a source of strength for others, and to edify each other. May we use all of these reasons as motivation to worship the One who so deserves it!
Safety and security are major concerns for most of us. Unfortunately, we live in a time of uncertainty. Things like terrorism, crime, economic instability, or sickness cause us to question our safety and security. Most of these things are beyond our control. There are only so many things that we can do to “ensure” our security.


 Spiritually speaking, many are going through life worried about their security. They live in constant fear of what will happen when their life is over. They say things like, “I sure hope I make it to heaven.” However, God does not want us to go through life “worrying” about our spiritual security. He wants us to go through life with confidence of where we will spending eternity. In 1 John 5:13, John writes: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” So, how do we go about obtaining this level of confidence in our spiritual security?
 

1) Be in Christ (1 John 5:11)
 
Salvation is in Christ and only in Christ. One may ask; “how do I get into Christ?” Paul tells us in Galatians 3:27 that “as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. To be in Christ is to be in His body, the Church (Colossians 1:2-14). Paul later tells us in Ephesians 1:3 that all spiritual blessings are found only in Christ. This would include redemption from sin and eternal. If one is not in Christ, one does not have any of the spiritual blessings.
 
2) Remain obedient to Christ (1 John 2:3-5)
 
Jesus expects us to do what HE has commanded. In John 14:15, Jesus informs us that to love Him is to obey Him. One cannot get into Christ if that person refuses to obey the commandments of Jesus. One cannot remain in Christ by refusing to continue to “walk in the light as He is in the light.” Obedience is not optional. We must remember the warning of Jesus in Matthew 7:21.
 
3) God’s word must dwell in the saint (1 John 2:14).
 
God’s word serves as protection against the threats of the world (Psalm 119:11). Paul said that the word of Christ must “dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16). If the word is going to dwell in us, then we must desire the word. We must study the word. And we must obey the word. Without this attitude towards God’s word, we will never be motivated to learn it or keep it.
 
4) Righteousness must be a way of life (1 John 3:8-10).
 
The acid test of discipleship is righteousness in life. William Barclay once said: “the profession of a man’s lips will always be proved or disproved by the practice of his life”. James put it this way: “show me thy faith without thy works, I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Christianity is not merely worshipping one day per week. It is a way of life. We must practice righteousness (right doing) in every aspect of life. Someone told me recently that they were accused of taking their “religion too seriously”. This is a sad statement to have been made. If we are not serious about living righteously every day, then we will miss out on heaven.
 
I pray that each and every one of us is striving towards spiritual security. There will be nothing greater than getting to spend eternity with God. However, there will be nothing more terrible than for one to lose their soul. God has made salvation and security attainable for all. May we take advantage of that great gift.

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WAPAKONETA, OHIO 45895
CHURCH OFFICE: 419-738-8460
CELL: 765-620-2906

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