... OWNERS STATEMENT ...


Garreth L. Clair is the owner and editor of considermagazine.com. No part of considermagazine.com is a work of any church anywhere.   


Considermagazine.com is an independant work;

financed and maintained by Garreth L. Clair.


Email address and phone number here at considermagazine.com

PHONE: {614} 850-7252

 glclair@aol.com




After 55 years of preaching and public Bible teaching; I am no longer working as a full-time-located-preacher. The decision to stop was brought about by age                                                  {i.e. I am told my my doctors that age will always stop us if we continue to old age).

My greatest problem to date is my loss of hearing.                                                                                          I have been fitted with hearing aids two times and yet my hearing is still inadequate                                   to teach Bible Class in a large auditorm.

I am still able to preach {thanks to Power Point and public address systems.                                              I will still be conducting future gospel meetings as brethren request my service.


INCLUDED MY THOUGHTS REGARDING MY CHOICE ...



THE DAYS OF OUR LIFE and OUR CONTINUED WORK


As we contemplate our end of life; it seems as if time is moving faster than it did in years past. Barbara and I have told the brethren at the church where we have been working for nearly 15 years that we will retire from located work the end of this year.


I am now 77 years of age and feel that it is time to give up the work and spend my time seeking to inform others via email that our God is real and that salvation from sin is closer than one might imagine. It has been our good fortune to have worked in the Vineyard of the Lord these approximately 55 years.


“FROM A PREACHER’S DESK will be offered on line as often as practical; I have no concrete plans to offer the studies on a specific date; perhaps there will be occasions when I shall send the emails out more than once a month or even sometimes every other month. If you would like to subscribe to “FROM A PEACHER’S DESK” send your request to my email address and I will add your email address to my regular mailing of the periodical. Study regularly: 2 Timothy 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV


 Permission for Limited Use


The material on this site is provided for personal, non-commercial use only.  All material here, except that specifically noted as copyrighted by others, is the property of the Considermagazine.com, Garreth L. Clair, or individual authors who have donated material to considermagazine.com.


You may copy material on this web site to your own computer for personal use or for use in ministry in a local church.  You may also provide hard copies of this material for use in public church ministry provided that all the following conditions are met:


The maximum number of copies made roughly corresponds to the number of people at the particular service or meeting.

There is no fee charged or expected for participation in the service or meeting or for the material, the material is not included with any other material for which a fee is charged, nor is published in any form.


The material is not altered or edited in any way that substantially changes or misrepresents the basic position presented by the author.


While not required, we would appreciate you letting us know how the material here is being used.  Links to this site are welcome.  We would also appreciate knowing if you do link another web site to this one.


Use of all materials on this site is governed by the copyright and publication laws of the United States, as well as International Copyright Law.- Garreth L. Clair, Copyright ©, glclair@aol.com or glclair@sbcglobal.net





THE WORK WE WANT TO DO, AND WHY


Today there is confusion on every hand when we began an attempt to make sense of all the religious confusion that is prevalent. For a long time the problems to understanding God’s Written Word (i.e. the Bible) has troubled me immensely. As a result of this troubled mind we have now launched a medium through which we may be able to share our views about many aspects of Biblical truth. Indeed, we fully realize that there will be voices that have no desire to look further than their current circumstance, there will be some who are so entrenched in error that they cannot see (i.e. blind guides of the blind—cf. Matthew 23:16-24, “16 Woe to you, blind guides, who say,' Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.'  17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?  18 And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.'  19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?  20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.  21 He who swears by the temple swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.  22 And he, who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.  23 "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrite for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.  24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (NKJV)


WE WANT TO HELP, TO ENLIGHTEN, TO BE A LIGHT IN DARKNESS,

TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH


Christians are encouraged to “go teach” (Matthew 28:18-20), Christians are told by Paul to “teach others the things that he has taught” (2 Timothy 2:2), this, we want to do. We want to help spread the truth of God; our reasoning is from God’s Written Word in such places as John 8:31-36, “31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him," We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.


The reason for our interest in encouraging Christians to be faithful as well as seeking to introduce those not Christians to Jesus Christ is our honest belief that only those that belong to the Body of Christ will be saved in the last day, cf. Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 for the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything”

 

SHOULD WE BE INTERESTED IN OTHERS?


Since the Bible does say that only those in the Body (i.e., the church) will be saved from the destruction that is coming, we are concerned. cf. Ephesians 11:17-23 ...

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,  21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church , 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (NKJV).


Do you understand our concern for you and your eternal destiny? Surely you will grant us a few minutes of your time as you study with us each week these important issues as we present them on the pages of “CONSIDER MAGAZINE.”


2 Timothy 2:15-16, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (NKJV).





Garreth and Barbara Clair 2007






OWNER AND EDITOR’S BACKGROUND


The editor was born in Lothair [Hazard], Perry County, Kentucky at Hurst and Snyder Hospital on 10/14/1935. My father was working for Black Gold Mining Company, we lived in a company house on Black Gold Hill in Lothair. My grandfather, Henry W. Clair and my grandmother Lilly May Clair lived in Lothair at that time also.


My grandfather {Henry Clair} and my Dad [Mitchell Lee Clair] were both part of the church of Christ in Lothair, Kentucky. My Father Mitchell Lee Clair and my mother Ruth Magalene [Mooney] Clair were involved in the Lothair church as well as my grandparents and other members of the Clair family.


My grandfather, my father, and my uncle, Woodrow Clair were all involved in the preaching of the gospel at the Lothair congregation and in other places in the area. Others involved in the work at Lothair were Grover Branson, Luther Dalton, Howard Family, Red Gibbs, Bethel Shepherd, Paul Cornett, and others that I do not remember by name.


MY BROTHERS in the flesh:

Larry Gale - Next to me - deceased

Henry Rogers - deceased

Mitchell Jr - deceased


Relatives of my Father"s

{MY FATHER} Mitchell Lee Clair's family ...

Stella Gibbs - one son Bobby Glenn

Christen Cornet - son Lonnie and a daughter

Maybel Shepherd - sons Harold and Benjamin {i.e. Benny}; daughter Janice

Woodrow Clair - 1 daughter Lema


The church was a good size congregation to the best of my recollection.


The editor’s background consists of conversion in 1959 at a gospel meeting in Chicago, Illinois conducted by Norman Fultz. The editor began his life as a Christian with a group of faithful Christians that had recently began a store-front congregation at 5404 South Halstead Street in Chicago. The services of Bobby Witherington were acquired as the first preacher for the new congregation. As I recall brother Witherington was working as a structural steel worker while preaching. The church prospered and shortly after my baptism, I aspired to preach the gospel and was aided in doing so by Bobby Witherington, Billy James (deceased), Mitchell L. Clair, Sr. (deceased), James Hodges, Carlos Henry and other members of what was shortly to become the Englewood church of Christ.


Some of the people that have aided me through the years as advisors and dear friends have been, first of all my wife, Barbara Ann (Horton) Clair, we have been married since 1959. Also in the list of helpers were my father (Mitchell L. Clair, Sr. (deceased), Dad was a gospel preacher and gave me a great deal of encouragement and help as I began to preach the gospel. Others that have helped me stay the course were Woodrow Clair (i.e. Uncle—deceased), Cecil Willis (deceased), Stanley Lovett (deceased), Ken Weeks (deceased), Joe Stano (Deceased-2009), Carl Bohn, Delbert Mills (deceased), James Smith of Jackson, MS, Billy Ray Ford. To these I will be eternally grateful, without their  timely encouragement and kind advise I probably would not have been able to develop my ability as a gospel preacher, and stay the course.


Churches and brethren who assisted us through the years were located in: Dumas (6th and Meredith), Texas — Bedford, Ohio — Columbus (Laurel Canyon), Ohio — Meridian, Mississippi — Other churches and individuals that have been helpful in our work for God have been Rochelle, IL - Glendale, AZ (55th and Myrtle - No longer meeting) — Brawley, CA — Jackson MS — Marion, AR — Jeff, KY — Brown's Fork, KY - Greencastle, IN and other brethren in many other places, to numerous to mention.


This year I will become 78 years of age (October 14, 2013) I do intend to do the work of an evangelist as long as I am able. considermagazine.com will possibly be my last publishing effort, yet I will do my very best to make it informative and helpful to the Bible student wherever he/she may be on their travels on the “Narrow Way” leading to eternal glory after a lifetime of faithful service.


We are also mindful of the good brethren and close friends that we have with the Cemetery Road church of Christ. We are now in our 15th year with the church here in Hilliard and the work continues to be good and productive of good. Our health is good at this time and I pray that it will continue. We are still holding gospel meetings away from the congregation here, we average over the years to have conducted a few meetings each year. Indeed, God has been good to both Barbara and me, and our brethren have also been good to us with few exceptions.





WHERE IT ALL BEGAN FOR THE EDITOR

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 1959

 

 

The life of Garreth L. Clair actually began in 1959. You see, before that I lived in the world; I was not a Christian even though my father and grandfather were gospel preachers. I obeyed the gospel at a congregation located at 5404 South Halstead Street in Chicago in 1959. The church had just started with Bobby Witherington as preacher and a few families from other churches making it a congregation. I came forward at the invitation offered by Norman Fultz during a gospel meeting and was baptized by Larry Eldridge the same night.

 

From that start, I have sought to be faithful to the commitment made on that date to the Lord. There have been difficult times throughout the years but through it all I have been willing to admit to failings before God and my brethren, desiring that city of God (i.e., Hebrews 11:10 -- 10 for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God) greater than this world and the things that it has to offer (i.e., Hebrews 11:13-16 -- 13 … confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. 15 And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly :wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. I continue to seek that city of God with all my heart, soul, and mind -- expecting some day to see God.

 

In 1960 I met, dated, and married Barbara Ann Horton, together we have raised a family and now as old age comes we are involved in assisting our four children with our grandchildren to know God and to serve Him. The years have been kind to Barbara and me as we have served the Lord in different states and have experienced the good things associated with serving the Lord and dealing with the disappointments, and frustrations that also come with the territory (i.e. work as a gospel preacher).

 

We will continue to serve the Lord as long as we are able to do so with the approval and support of the faithful. We only hope and pray that we will be counted worthy as the work that we have done for God is considered by the faithful judge at the last day. We are encouraged that Jesus Christ will be our Judge and will reward us according to His Standard:

 

John 12:48, 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Hebrews 5:8-9, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;

 

FURTHER:

We have spent the last 15 years working with the good church meeting at 4840 Cemetery Road in Hilliard, Ohio. The work here in Hilliard has been of such a nature as to allow me to work on a web-page [i.e. considermagazine.com]; that has grown into a great and useful service to our brethren, our friends, and to the Lord whom we serve.

 

glclair@aol.com

 




REMINDERS FROM MY NOTES

{From 1959 and later}


The gospel meetings of my childhood were not the same as the gospel meetings of today in some areas. I remember that when a visiting evangelist came for a revival meeting {i.e. as they were called then}; great hopes and preparation went into the membership of the congregation. As I reflect about those meetings my mind considers the first gospel meeting that I was privileged to conduct as a gospel preacher in 1959 at Iaeger, WV.

That meeting was attended well as I remember and two were baptized into Christ. The

Congregation had no indoor baptistery; baptisms were conducted in a creek pond some

distance from the meeting-house. The two baptized were ready to go to the creek for

baptism and I was prepared also. When we reached the baptism site there was a skim of

ice on the water that was broken as we went down into the water, yet we did not

hesitate  to follow the Biblical example to baptism them. I remember the water was cold

and I had to change in the pick-up truck into dry clothes; perhaps this was the coldest

this preacher was after a baptism. I do not remember the names of those two but it has

always been my hopes and prayers that they have remained faithful.

Back further in my life as a young boy, I remember that gospel meetings were an

Occasions of joy, hopes, and strengthening the local membership; as well as

encouraging neighbors and friends to come to the meetings each session. I remember

the old schoolhouse on Brownsfork, KY where my father and grandfather both did

appointment preaching while we lived in Lothair, Ky and Brownsfork, Ky.  The school

house windows were raised and some outside could hear the singing and preaching

outside the building even though they did not come inside the building, I remember

well during my early childhood names that were involved in the churches at Lothair

and Brownsfork, Ky; some of the families were the Gibbs, the Shepherds, the Bransons,

the Daltons, The Cornets, the Peaks, the Couches, the Olivers, the Clairs and many

others.


Many things have changed throughout life with regard to these families and these

churches but one thing has not changed; the Bible and sound teaching will still build,

strengthen, and grow men and women who will  come to Christ and live according to

His will. As Jesus invited mankind centuries ago – Matt. 11:28-30 - 28 Come unto me, all

ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. KJV – glclair@aol.com - June 15, 2012





THE IMPORTANCE OF

DECISION MAKING WHILE YOUNG

 

Often in our lives we are forced to make decisions that affect ourselves as well as those around us (i.e. family, friends, brethren in the congregation, and etc.). Whenever we come to the place in our lives where we must make life changing or spiritual decisions we must be very careful that those decisions are in the best interest of our hope for eternal life after this sojourn here on earth has ended cf. Matt. 10:28 - And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. KJV

 

Some of the decisions that we make may hinder our pursuit of spiritual goals because the decisions were made under less that wise conditions. The desire in youth to steal from others, commit sexual sins, etc. are often perused without consideration of the effects they may have on our future life. Make no mistake; sins that we commit while young may be accompanied by lasting (i.e. even lifetime) effects. In the case of sexual sins, we may contact a venereal disease or involve ourselves in a situation where we create a new life that we did not want. Indeed; while we are young and strong physical we are often weak with a true sense and capacity for making wise decisions.

 

David and Solomon gives much advice to the young and we should make every effort to direct our young boys and girls to read his important materials found in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Please note the following wise advise from the wise man; Solomon.

 

Ps. 119:9-11 - 9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. KJV

 

Prov. 1:2-4 - 2 to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 to give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

 

Eccl. 11:7-10 - 7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: 8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth is vanity. KJV

 

Eccl. 11:7-10 - 7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: 8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. KJV

 

CONCLUSION:

Yes, we must be careful in youth that we do not create problems for ourselves when we grow older and wiser. Perhaps one of the important decisions that we make in life will be our decision to believe and obey God early in life. Whenever a young person becomes a Christian early in life they are less likely to become involved in sinful practices and to visit sinful places where they may be tempted to become involve in sin and sinful lifestyles.

 

Indeed, young person remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth is a good policy to live by. Godly parents will aid and assist their children to live godly lifestyles as well, cf. Eph 6:4 - And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. KJV

 

Col. 3:21 - Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. KJV

 

Heb 10:23-24 - 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: KJV --- glclair@aol.com 





THANK GOD FOR EACH NEW DAY

 

Most people do not stop and consider the days of their lives in a very serious fashion. Many people just live for today without giving consideration for the past and the future. In the past few years, it has finally dawned on me that my life is still viable here in this world because God has blessed me. God has blessed me to understand that life is not a succession of ups and downs with no real meaning. I remember about 1957 or 58 that it occurred to me that perhaps my father and grandfather knew more about living than I did. I understood that it is not in man that walks on earth to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). This awakening brought back to me that in my youth I had attended services of the church of Christ with dad and grandpa in Lothair (Perry County), KY. This caused me to consider for several days and perhaps a few weeks that it was time that I got my life settled so that I could live with some dignity in society.

 

Since that time 52+ years have passed and I am still pursuing the promises of God and His Son; Jesus Christ … HAVE YOU READ THESE SCRIPTURES RECENTLY?


NOTE:

Matt. 11:28-30 - 28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

Matt. 16:24-26 - 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? KJV

 

John 5:24-29 - 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 for as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. KJV

 

As we [i.e. Barbara and me] contemplate the future; we will surely continue to do the work for God as much as we are able and capable of doing. There are days when we sit and discuss the past for joy and for strength to pursue tomorrow, While we are still here we will heed the Lord’s statement in – cf. John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh , when no man can work.” (KJV)  Only God knows what will transpire tomorrow yet we are set for the defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ with our whole heart; as the apostle Paul so clearly put it in – cf. Phil. 1:15-17 - 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. (KJV)

 

WILL WE LIVE OUR LIVES WITH PURPOSE?

The days, weeks, months, and years that lay behind us are testimony to our faithfulness and dedication to God and the future will continue to determine in the mind of God whether or not we have successfully traveled the “narrow path” – cf. Matt. 7:13-14 - 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. KJV

 

My dear friends and brethren as Moses said to his father-in-law many centuries ago – cf. Num. 10:29 - 29 And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law , We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel. KJV --- March 10, 2010





CONTENTMENT

Editorial: Garreth L Clair

 

          I know of no quality that aids us in living for God that is greater than contentment. Contentment defined in 1 Tim 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (NIV) Definition: 841  autarkeia (ow-tar'-ki-ah); from 842; self-satisfaction, i.e. (abstractly) contentedness, or (concretely) a competence:  KJV-- contentment, sufficiency. (From Strong's Definition)..

 

A DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT

 

          Contentment is a quality that each person must work at in order to attain; contentment is not something acquired naturally but is acquired by the person that is willing to seek it. You see, one is never content with self so long as one resides in the grips of sin. Sin has a way of disenchanting one so that the pleasures gained through the actions of sin soon become apparent and discouraging. The person living (i.e., continuous action) in sin will never find true contentment because they will not be satisfied with the things, both material and spiritual offered by sin. God tells us in His Book (i.e., the Bible) that the "way of the transgressor (i.e., sinner) is hard…" Prov. 22:12, "The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor." – Prov. 13:15, "Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard." There are a number of problems that are generally associated with those that have no interest in a godly lifestyle (i.e., a lifestyle patterned after the teaching of the Bible), please observe the following list (the list is not complete):

 

1. Many people that are not Christians have no interest in moral or ethical concepts because they do not base their actions or plans upon any set of standards except the standards set by secular law (i.e., local, state, and federal). Because this is so, many people are restrained only by secular law -- if there is no restraint (i.e., secular law against a desired action) many of these people feel no obligation to act except as they deem correct by their own humanistic standard.

 

2. Many people that are not Christians may base their actions and conduct according to that which they have been taught. Children in America are, by law required to attend secular schools until they are 16 to 18. Today one is taught from kindergarten, that evolution is the answer to the origin of all things. You see, God and the Bible are not allowed in government funded institutions today.

 

3. People without a standard to live by other than one established by themselves are unable to be content, they are unable to direct their own steps and therefore are restless and unstable; they are discontented. God says that man without His guidance cannot make the right choices in life -- Prov 28:26,"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." -- Jer 10:23, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."

 

4. Since man is unable to make helpful choices without God's direction; Those that have been conditioned for 12 to 16 years generally at the feet of those that teach there is no God, learning that  man is an evolutionary being, and has no standard but himself and his peers will probably act and conduct himself in a way that indicates some or all of the following qualities:

 

A. I will get all that I can while I am young, when I grow old I will need things to maintain my life till I die.

B. Since I have no responsibility to anyone else I must live till I die regardless of other people, I cannot allow them to hinder my enjoyment of life.

C. Since I have only secular law to hinder my desires, I must find ways to circumvent those laws (i.e., authorities) so that I may have those things (cf., both abstract and real), that will gratify all my needs and desires.

D. "Indeed, I will eat, drink, and make merry for tomorrow I die -- and that is the end!"

(This ideology may be the cause of many major upheavals in current society)

E. Human life under such conditions becomes valueless and meaningless to millions of people.

F. The beer advertisement says, "get all the gusto you can, you only go around once."

(This slogan indicates the philosophy get it all now there is nothing after death)

 

CONSIDER THIS:

 

One cannot teach a society from birth to the grave

1st that there is no God,

2nd the Bible is nothing but a good book,

3rd man is here by pure chance (i.e., he evolved from nothing),

4th the earth came into being due to natural causes billions of years ago,

5th when man dies he is annihilated,

and expect mankind to always make good moral and good ethical choices that are instilled within him by a book (i.e., the Bible) that is prohibited within the walls of the institutions that teach points 1-5 above.

 

          To expect a society to demonstrate contentment with itself after one looks at the real condition that permeates the thinking of current millions of people in America is absurd. Today, man is possessed with the good time philosophy, the me, me, philosophy (i.e., which is selfishness). Today many millions of people are more violent, less tolerant, less trusting, and more discontented than at any time in my memory (i.e. I am 75 years of age this year – 2010). What an awful condition to admit, there is little contentment in most people today. All is not lost, though -- man may still find contentment even though society is determined to lead him away from it. (Reference; "GOD'S FAMILY VALUES" by glclair@aol.com)

 

ACQUIRING CONTENTMENT

 

          Those that want to live in a state of contentment must first of all find God and commit their life completely to His care -- cf., Matt. 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. --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. -- For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (KJV) God assures us that our cares and our conflicts in this age are but passing and that after this life is lived in faith our hope of heaven will be realized -- cf., Rom. 4:21, "And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."

Rom. 8:37-39.

37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

3 9 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

2 Tim. 1:12,

12 "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (KJV)

Heb. 11:13-16,

13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (KJV)

 

THE CHRISTIAN POSSESSES CONTENTMENT

 

          Committed Christian knows that their soul is safe with the Lord, they know that this life is not all there is, they look with hope and expectation beyond this life. The Christian unlike the sinner lives as a pilgrim (i.e., sojourner) here having no fear of physical death because they know that in the resurrection they will be with the Godhead in the heavenly city -- cf., Matt. 10:28-31,

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (KJV)

Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;"

Heb. 6:18-19,

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; (KJV)

I know of many Christian that are committed to the Lord and are living that contentment that is discussed in 1. Tim 6:6-8, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. -- For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. -- And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

 

How about your life?

 

DON'T YOU WANT CONTENTMENT IN LIFE?

 

          As you can observe while examining the thoughts contained in our study today, living a lifestyle in this world with the contentment that is in Christ is the best choice. May we encourage you to consider the choices that you have, you can continue to live a worldly lifestyle without God (i.e., continue to be alienated from God) or live the lifestyle of a Christian (i.e., live a contented life). At this point many people ask, "What must I do to have this contentment that you are writing about: what must I do to be a Christian?" You must first of all realize that God is real, that this world and all things therein were created by Him, that God has given authority to Christ (i.e., His Son) to provide a means for your salvation from sin  (cf., Matthew 28:18-20).

 

Further, that Jesus Christ has provided a plan (i.e., referred to by many as "The Plan of Salvation") for man's forgiveness of sin, the plan includes:

 

God's grace, (i.e., unmerited favor bestowed upon man):

Grace is supplied by God (i.e., through the actions of His Son, Jesus Christ)

John 1:17,

17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV)

Rom. 3:24,

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (KJV)

Rom. 5:15,

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!   (NIV)

Definition of grace from the Greek Lexicon published by Strong (viz. CD-ROM).

5486 (Strong's Definition)  charisma khar'-is-mah);

from 5483; a (divine) gratuity, i.e. deliverance (from danger or passion); (specifically) a (spiritual) endowment, i.e. (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty:  KJV-- (free) gift.

 

 CONSIDER THESE FACTS:

 

          Now grace is extended to everyone in the world, yet everyone in the world will not be saved from his or her sin. God's favor demonstrated in His willingness to forgive man's sin was made even though man was not worthy. Note here John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (NKJ) It was God that made salvation from sin possible first of all by providing an offering capable of removing the offense (i.e., sin). Then Jesus Christ established conditions (cf., 1 Peter 3:21) for receiving the benefits of that grace, they are:

 

----- GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION -----

 

Hearing the gospel, Romans 10:17

Believing, Mark 16:16, 16

Repenting of sin, Acts 2:38

Confession, Romans 10:9, 10

Baptism, Acts 2:38

 

          Whenever one complies with the Divine conditions of salvation from sin he will be saved from his sin and added to the Body of Christ (i.e., the church) by Jesus Christ, cf., Acts 2:38; 2:47.

 

"LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE"

 

THIS IS CONTENTMENT

 

 

          Those that choose to serve God today will begin to experience the joy, peace, and contentment that is associated with fellowship with God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all other faithful Christians immediately. The Holy Scriptures tells us this:

Gal. 5:22-24, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, -- Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. -- And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (KJV)

Col. 1:11, Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;"

1 Pet. 1:8, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"

1 Tim. 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain:" (ASV)

 

                      FRIENDS, SEEK THAT CONTENTMENT TODAY THAT IS IN CHRIST                       (i.e., in the Church of Christ).

glclair@aol.com - December 30, 2009





INSURING SUCCESS IN LIFE

 

        One of the longings of a person early in life; is a longing to succeed in life. This suggests that man knows early that there is a possible failure and a possible successful way of life. The person soon realizes that there are many possibilities in life (i.e. many directions to travel). A person may conclude that they would like to finish high school, college, and get a good job in a career that they have trained for. These are normal and expected thoughts and hopes for any person in life. Yet, there is an area of thought in the mind of many people today that lies dormant far too long as they seek success in education, marriage, career, and other areas to the total neglect of their spiritual life.

 

        Indeed, every person wants to succeed in life and fulfill their secular goals and hopes. This is not evil or somehow foolish but possibly the dreams of almost everyone. The person that pursues their hopes in life without a consideration of spiritual things are short changing themselves and depriving themselves of a dimension of life that outlasts and is more fulfilling than acquiring all other goals. There is a Bible reference of a man that acquired great wealth in secular pursuits (i.e. farming), yet neglected his most precious possession (i.e. his eternal soul); please note the Biblical reference following --- Luke 12:15-20 - 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns , and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (KJV)

 

        Friends and brethren; may we choose well our pursuits in life and make sure that we do not neglect or forget that God is watching us - 1 Peter 3:10-15 - 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 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: (KJV)

glclair@aol.com  ---  8-5-09

 




Brethren; resist the Devil

Maintain Holiness


        In the day to day journey of the faithful Christian there are many stumbling blocks that are encountered. The Christian in the world today is faced with great temptations, arguments, and circumstance beyond their control that are used by the Devil to hinder them on the Narrow Way – cf.  Matt. 7:13-14 - 13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way , that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way , that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it. (ASV) The modern world with all of its glitter, glamour, and subtle offerings to man reveals to the Christian that the Devil is still active and is busy in the tempting business as he has been since the Garden of Eden – cf. 2 Cor 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. (ASV) Indeed, the Devil is not asleep as can be seen in the electronic and printed media presentations to designed to subtly influence the innocent to deny God and destroy their minds and bodies through abusive of alcohol, illegal drugs, fornication and adultery as well as instigating one group of people against another with the design to destroy both and gain their soul for eternal damnation. Indeed, the Devil is still “walking about like a roaring lion seeking those who he may devour” (i.e. take down and destroy their mind and body causing them to become dull of hearing, blind to sin and degradation as well as others sins. The Devil is still using his old tricks and various methods to destroy, disrupt peace, inflict horror and terror upon mankind from all directions – cf. 1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion , walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (KJV)

 

THE CHRISTIAN’S ESCAPE PROCESS:

 

       The Christian man, woman; parent, child, even the strongest Christian must put forth great effort to avoid placing themselves in compromising circumstances in life where they will be tempted. Yet, we must realizing that God will not allow temptations to overtake us against our will – cf. 1 Cor 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

Whenever temptations beset the Christian they must keep in mind that Jesus Christ our Savior and mediator suffered temptations just like we do and as a result. He became the author of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9) – cf. Heb. 2:18 - For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

 

Heb. 4:15-16 - 15 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)

 

We must never forget that all temptation comes from the Devil and from those (i.e. people) that the Devil uses – cf. James 1:13-16 - 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. (KJV)

 

BE STRONG BRETHREN – RESIST THE DEVIL:

 

James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

1 Peter 5:7-9 - 7 casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (KJV)

glclair@aol.com --- Monday, August 03, 2009

 




 CAUSE FOR ALARM

       

       The current trends among this new generation; (ages 10-35) are rejection of all authority from any source. Indeed, there are a few exceptions to this trend but the vast majority of this age group accepts no restraints from any source including parents, school and government authorities, and friends that cross them. This situation has been brought about in America by very poor parenting and liberal activists’ that have screamed children’s rights, Hollywood that has taught children the lifestyle they accept today, and various positions of authority at school, and in elected and appointed officials in government.

 

WHAT IS THE ANSWER?

 

That is a good question but a question that our society must find an answer for. Unless a solution is found our way of life on this plant since the great flood may soon be over ---                                 

NOTE FOLLOWING …

(Genesis 6:17-7:1 - 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shall come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shall thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shall gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. --- Genesis 7 - 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (KJV)

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR MAN’S CIVILIZED (I.e. the way of life approved and revealed by Almighty God via. the Bible)

--- glclair@aol.com --- H.B. August 2009

 




LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

 

Matt. 5:14-16

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.KJV                                                                                         

 

How often have you observed a person professing Christianity do things that a Christian should not do? How often have you heard professed Christian say things that were not appropriate for a Christian to say? Indeed, there are some people that profess to be a Christian who do not act or speak like a Christian is instructed to act and to speak. The standard of conduct and speech for the true Christian is revealed to us via the Bible (i.e. the written Word of God). It is not possible for man to be reconciled to God without undergoing a change. The change that takes place at God’s instruction for the sinner is God’s Plan of Salvation. Now, God’s Plan of Salvation consist of several things’

 

[1] The first action is to believe (i.e. possess faith) in God’s Son - John 8:24 - 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. KJV

 

[2] The second is to repent of sins – Luke 13:3 - I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. KJV

Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, 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. KJV

 

[3] The third is to confess with the mouth Jesus as God’s Son – Romans 10:9-10 - 9 That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. KJV

Acts 8:37-38 - 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. KJV

 

[4[ The fourth is to be baptized – Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, 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. KJV

1 Peter 3:21 - The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: KJV

 

CONSIDER THIS:

After being immersed in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38 – see above), the new convert will be added to the Body of Christ by the Lord Jesus Christ. After this action the new Christian is to abide in the truth and become part of a local congregation somewhere where they will worship regularly and according to God’s instructions.

 

The New Christian will do and talk the things that Christians are instructed to do via the Holy Scriptures; they will  “work out their own salvation” – cf. Phil. 2:12-15 - 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 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; KJV

 

CONCLUSION:

Indeed, we should live and talk as God instructs us via the Holy Scripture to be blameless and acceptable to Him. --- glclair@aol.com - December 9, 2009

 




The Vine and the Branches


The vine and the branches that Jesus discussed is one of the places were denominational commentators suggest that all the denominations are the branches and Christ is the vine. That is untrue. Jesus is the vine and Christians are the branches as J. Ramsey in the following article suggests. I suggest that you read this short statement and remember it well … glclair@aol.com


The church which Jesus purchased with His own blood does not consist of all the denominations in so-called "Christendom." New Testament Christianity was and is undenominational and does not consist of all religious bodies on earth today.


But someone may ask, "Have you never read John 15:1-8 about the vine and the branches? Don't you know that Jesus was referring to the various denominations when he said, 'I am the vine and ye are the branches?"

No, I do not believe that Jesus was referring to the various denominations when he made this statement and here are four conclusive reasons why we say this so emphatically:


1.  Jesus made it plain that he was referring to individuals and not to denominations when he spoke of the branches of the vine. The very context itself disproves the theory put forth by the denominations. Jesus said: "I am the vine, ye [my disciples] are the branches." He warned: "If a man abide not in me he is cast forth."


2.  Jesus was not sanctioning denominationalism when he stated, "I am the vine and ye are the branches" because none of the denominations existed then! He could not have referred to the Protestant bodies since not one of them was in existence before 1519.


3.  I am sure that Jesus was not upholding sectarianism by his use of "the vine and the branches" because a vine bears only one type of fruit. If Jesus had wanted to uphold denominationalism he would have needed another comparison. The fruit of the denominations has produced many, many varying religious orders. It would be just as logical to look for a vine with grapes, bananas, apples, plums and peaches on each branch as to believe that Jesus was encouraging denominationalism in this statement.


4.  Last of all, we are confident that Jesus was not endorsing religious divisions in this passage because just two chapters later he prayed for unity and not diversity (John 17:20,21). Surely Jesus teaching did not contradict his prayer life.    --- Johnny Ramsey





THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

(Defining the word church)

Editorial by glclair@aol.com

TEXT:

Matthew 16:13-20 (Reference also in Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20)

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" 

14 So they said,” Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 

16 Simon Peter answered and said,” You are the Christ, the Son of the living God

14 So they said,” Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 

16 Simon Peter answered and said,” You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (NKJV).


INTRODUCTION:

Understanding of the church Jesus built begins with an understanding of the phrase “church”. Those of us having more than a passing interest in the church Jesus built are interested in teaching others about it. Consequently, we are, or must understand what it is in order to explain it to others. The very nature of the Christian’s commitment to Christ requires of him/her that they teach others about Christ and His Church, {cf. Matthew 28:18-20, 18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

2 Timothy 2:2, 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” {NKJV}.


DEFINING THE WORD CHURCH IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

‘The Greek word ekklesia, which came to mean church, was originally applied in the Classical period to an official assembly of citizens. In the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament (3rd–2nd century BC), the term ekklesia is used for the general assembly of the Jewish people, especially when gathered for a religious purpose such as hearing the Law (e.g., Deuteronomy 9:10, 18:16). In the New Testament it is used of the entire body of believing Christians throughout the world (e.g., Matthew 16:18), of the believers in a particular area (e.g., Acts 5:11), and also of the congregation meeting in a particular house—the “house-church” (e.g., Romans 16:5)”.                                                  (Excerpted from Encyclopedia Britannica Online}


CHRIST USED A WORD IN COMMON USE AT THE TIME HE PREDICTED HE WOULD BUILD HIS CHURCH, Matthew 16:18.

The selection of the word church to designate the church Jesus Built indicates that it was to be an assembly of people who had all followed His prescription to enter it as those that entered it (i.e., the first congregation), on the day of Pentecost, cf. Acts 2:37-47, “37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them,” Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (NKJV).


SOME FACTS ABOUT THE CHURCH JESUS BUILT

1.         The church Jesus promised to build is described as a new relationship for Jews and Gentiles where they were to be united in one body --- Ephesians 2:11-22,11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands —  12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (NKJV).


2.         The church Jesus promised to build is described by as a place where the citizens of it are peaceful and docile, and harmless as doves --- Isaiah 2:4, “4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (NKJV).

John 14:25-27, “25 these things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Matthew 11:28-30, “28 come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (NKJV).


CONSIDER THIS:

During Jesus ministry he taught the crowds that followed him about the qualities of and the nature of the people that were to make up the church (i.e., Kingdom of God) he promised to build especially is this prominent in his teaching of “The Sermon on the Mountain” cf. Matthew 5-7.


3.         Jesus taught the people of his day that there would be salvation from sin for both Jews and Greeks, both slaves and freemen, and both male and female in the church he established --- 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, “12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Galatians, 3:26-29, “26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (NKJV)


4.         Jesus set the organizational structure of the church, both in its universal sense and in its local congregational sense:


* In the universal sense the church is the Body of Christ, He is the head of it --- Ephesians 1:19-23, “19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,  21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (NKJV).


** In the local, congregational sense each congregation is autonomous, self governing, having their own plurality of elders, deacons, and members --- Ephesians 4:11-16, “11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors (i.e., elders – added by Glc) and teachers), 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (NKJV).

Philippians 1:1, “1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops {i.e., “elders – Added by Glc} and deacons."


CONSIDER THIS:

The Biblical organization of the church of Christ is a plurality of elders (i.e., bishops, presbyters, pastors,) in every church, with deacons serving under the oversight of the qualified elders. The qualifications of elders and deacons is found in Titus 1:5-9, “5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (NKJV).

1 Timothy 3:8-13, “8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 but let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (NKJV).


5.         the church Jesus built has a divinely given pattern for its worship --- John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (NKJV).


There are five actions included in acceptable worship:


A. Lord’s Supper -- Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” ( NKJV).


B. Giving into a common treasury (i.e. the congregation’s treasury) -- 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come”


C. Singing -- Ephesians 5:19-21, “19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

Colossians  3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”


D. Praying – Colossians 4:2-4, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (NKJV).

Ephesians 5:2, “ giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God” (NKJV).


E. Teaching (I. e. preaching) -- Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (NKJV).

    

6.    the work that the congregation is to do is also revealed by God, each congregation is to perform activities that God has authorized the congregation to do. Those authorized activities are:


A. Edify the congregation – Romans 14:19, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”

1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

Ephesians 4:12, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”


B. Evangelize the world to the extent of the congregation’s resources – Matthew 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Acts 8:4-8, “4 therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 for unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

Acts 11:19-26, “19 now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 but some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. NKJV


CONSIDER THIS:

It is often suggested that if each congregation is limited to the extent of its ability how may the church aid in evangelizing the far off countries and their many and varied peoples? The Lord did not leave this matter to the judgment of individual Christians or to the judgment of the elders of autonomous churches; He did revealed the method for doing this type of world outreach to the Lost. Please note the following Biblical references that show how this work was done in early New Testament times:

FIRST – Notice in these passages that the preacher (i.e., Paul and his fellow preachers) in the mission field (i.e. Corinth) was supported directly by many churches:


SECOND– Notice that the large congregation in Jerusalem, after hearing of the conversion of the Gentiles in Antioch of Syria, sent Barnabas (i.e., supported him) to go and strengthen and encourage them – (see above Acts 11:22-25, underlined)

2 Corinthians 11:5-10, “5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. 7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.”

2 Corinthians 12:12-13, “12 truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong” (NKJV)!


THIRDLY – Whenever a large, affluent congregation sees the need to assist a church either in America or a foreign country and is financially able to do so they ought to do it.


FOURTHLY – Whenever a need is brought to the attention of faithful churches and evangelists in a destitute place, a church ought to send a sound man to assist the needy church. If the congregation cannot support the man alone they ought to aid him in raising whatever support that he needs from other churches and individuals and Have the support sent directly to the preacher in the field of labor. The New Testament does not give authority to do this work of evangelizing any other way.


C. Care for needy (i.e., destitute) Christians {Benevolence --- Acts 11:27-30, “27 and in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”

James 2:15-16, “15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit” (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 16:1-2, “1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. NKJV


Care for widows indeed from the congregation’s treasury - 1 Timothy 5:3-16, “3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 but if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 11 but refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows  marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows” (NKJV).


CONSIDER THIS:

Responsibilities of Christians on an individual basis examined toward the poor, destitute, orphans, and widows or widowers. Consider these following Biblical references in context:


With regard to younger widows or those widows with family -- 1 Timothy 5:14-16, “14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows  marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows”  NKJV


With regard to the poor -- John 12:8, “For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

Galatians 2:10, “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.”

James 2:1-6, “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him” (NKJV).

Galatians 6:10, “10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (NKJV).


With regard to orphans and widows -- James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”.


With regard to enemies -- Matthew 5:48, “"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  44 But I say to you, love your enemies , bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”


With regard to brethren:

Erring brethren -- James 5:19-20, “19 Brethren , if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (NKJV).


Faithful brethren -- 1 Peter 1:22-23,  “22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren , love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,”

1 John 3:13-18, “13 do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 but whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (NKJV).

How to behave as Christians interact together in Christ – 1 Timothy 3:14-16, “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness” (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 13:1-13, “1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 for now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (NKJV)


CONCLUSION:

The material that we have presented here is a very small portion of those things that the New Testament teaches about church membership, and the Christian’s personal responsibility. From time to time we will discuss more of the duties, privileges, and desires that the Christian ought to possess. There are many fundamental matters that are often overlooked or neglected in the life of many Christians; perhaps we can study these matters in the future in more detail. Biblical study is the most productive of all reading and personal study, there is not another source of information on earth that will effect your life more that the information that God has revealed to us via the Written Word. Study the Bible daily…


There is no other church sanctioned by the Bible.

To erect any religious institution and claim that it is “of God” is simply contrary to the teaching found in God’s Book {i.e. the Bible}. Matt. 16:18 - 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. (KJV) SEE also the birth of His Church - Acts 2:37-47.

glclair@aol.com - posted 11-17-2010




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Garreth has over 50 years experience as a preacher, and is currently the preacher for the church that meets at 4840 Cemetery Road, in Hilliard OH.

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