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Thoughts To Ponder

 

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:  What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?

(Proverbs 31:1-2)

 

 

 


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Hear David Maxson in a Series on the Book of Daniel Held at the University church of Christ
For Audio and PowerPoint click here!



A Study of the Holy Spirit
Adult Bible Class

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Hear Mark Broyles on "Marriage as God Designed It"

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A Study of Evangelism
(Studies in the Cross of Christ)
College Bible Class by Larry Rouse

 


Studies by David Tant at the University church of Christ

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Building a Biblical Home Bible Class Series

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A Study of the Local Church
Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:

Lesson 1 - The Local Church and Your Spiritual Future
Lesson 2 - How to Apply Bible Authority to a Local Church
Lesson 3 - Text and Context - the Local Church and the Individual Christian
Lesson 4 - What is the Work of a Local Church - How Should We Use the Contribution?
Lesson 5 - What Organization Has God Given Local Churches?
Lesson 6 - The Sponsoring Church Arrangement

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What Will Your Children Remember?
 

by Lowell Blasingame

The Psalmist said that a man's children are "a heritage of the Lord," (Psa. 127:4). Most admit that there is something badly wrong with parents who do not love and value their children as such.

Parental love motivates us to be concerned about our children's welfare and seek what is best for them. We try to train them to eat properly so they will develop strong healthy bodies. We warn and advise against dangers of which they are not aware. We make decisions for them until we think they are mature enough to make their own.

Unfortunately, parents often fail their children in the most important area of all in life - the need for seeking first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33). I once visited with a father and tried to impress upon him this need. His response to me was that when he was a child his mother made him get up on Sundays and go to the little church in the community where they lived and he made up his mind then that when he became a man of his own, that he wouldn't go until he wanted to go. This man later in life came to recognize that need and obeyed the gospel but his son, who was in his formative years when I talked with his father and needed a father's example, didn't get such then and today is not a Christian. Fathers are admonished to bring up their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," (Eph. 6:4). Timothy's unfeigned faith is attributed to the example of a godly mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5). On the other hand, of Ahaziah it is said, "For his mother was his counselor to do wickedly" (2 Chron. 22:3).

click here for the entire article..


Our God Does not Change

by Jon Quinn

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven " (Eccl. 3:1). We live in a world of constant change. Time changes everything we see and touch. Things that were "in" yesterday are "out" today. I remember when I was a boy seeing all my father's old ties hanging in the closet. They were wide and colorful, full of intricate designs. He never wore them so I asked why. He said no one wears ties like that any more but he expected that if he waited long enough that they would come back in style. I doubted that anyone would every wear anything like those ties again, at least not unless forced to do so at gun point! But sure enough, by the time I was in high school I was able to borrow his old, outlandish ties and let everyone assume that I had paid big bucks for them at the store.

The state of the world is different than it was ten years ago; far different than forty years ago. What will it be like ten years from now? As we read the Bible we see that it has always been so. We see changes in society; apostasy and return; dynasties thought eternal crumble and new ones take their places. Individuals age and grow closer to God, or sometimes grow away from God. We are accustomed to seeing things change.

It seems as if everything changes but such is not the case! Our link to Abraham, Moses and Paul is that we serve exactly the same God as they did. We may live in a different time, under a different government, but we build our relationship with the very same God, and for that reason the lessons they learned will find application in our lives today. God does not change. Let us consider this idea.

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The Rationale of the Tolerant
 

by Warren Berkley

 

The idea of sinking all our differences into a sea of "love" and sweet tolerance and uniting in division seems to be rapidly reaching every part of the religious world. Denominational bodies who have formerly harbored revenge are now skillfully defending latitudinarianism and independence of belief. Even some who have been enslaved Roman Catholics are now joining forces with Protestants to do what is called "preaching Christ." This denominational philosophy has grown swiftly in recent years until now the distinction between unity and division is nil.

One very natural outgrowth of this indulgent attitude is the conclusion that those who do not avoid controversy and are firmly devoted to contending for their convictions are merely "picking quarrels about doctrinal differences," and possessed with a tragic lack of "love." It is supposed (not demonstrated by any valid appeal to the Scriptures), that we who are followers of Christ must never be so bold and "self-righteous" as to deny or even question a religious belief and/or practice held by an honest and sincere person. In cases where we question or deny a practice, we are charged with judging, and told that we do not have the right to judge. With reference to this tolerant attitude, a few observations are in order.

Logic?

Using human reasoning and logic as their foundation, proponents of tolerance make their case. After all, they say, we are all different; and since achieving religious unity would be a colossal, if not impossible task, why not just settle for "peaceful co-existence" and stop all this disputing? But human wisdom in the form of "logic" was never intended to originate spiritual truth (1 Cor. 1-2). Any attempt, then, to contend against contending on this basis is invalid. But is their plea logical?

 

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Those Divisive Issues

by Doy Moyer

 

We live in an age of non-controversy. People don't want to discuss things that are controversial. The shift in recent years has been toward "positivism." "Don't say or teach anything that has a negative tone to it. Let's just be positive and make people feel good." The trends in denominationalism show this attitude, as churches have become more and more social in their approach to the world. The new "mega-churches" cater to everyone, including those who don't care about God. Churches have apostatized as they have become more concerned with making people "feel" good, instead of trying to save souls. Never step on toes or preach things that could offend hearers. Doing such just turns people off. (See Matt. 15:1-17 to see what Jesus thought about this.)

Sadly, the trend in denominationalism has become well-accepted by many disciples of Christ. Many have bought the techniques of pop-psychology. Instead of taking the approach toward teaching people that Jesus or the apostle Paul took, we promote the "Dale Carnegie" approach and refuse to call sin. Whatever the cost is, we are determined that we will not make enemies. This is the basis of the "peace at any price" ideas. Consequently, we have those among us, who say things very much akin to the things Isaiah had to deal with: "Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isa. 30:10). Teachers speak falsely, cater to itching ears, and the people "love to have it so" (Jer. 5:31; cf. 2 Tim. 4:2-4). As long as we don't get controversial, we can keep our jobs and keep the peace.

I don't know many people who really enjoy controversy for its own sake. Who likes to agonize over something that is a source of contention? I would not try to promote controversy for its own sake. But at the same time, the fact of controversy is something we had better understand. It is a fact that those who care about the Lord and his cause will have to get involved in controversy. The Lord could not avoid it (Matt. 22-23); and neither could his disciples (Acts 15). Today, as in the first century, what the Lord wants are disciples who are brave enough to enter the battlefield and contend for the faith (Jude 3). "For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10).

 

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What Bothers Us More?
 

by Doy Moyer

 

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” (1 Sam 17:28-29)

David had come out to where the Israelites were stationed as they were facing the Philistines and Goliath. The problem is that the Israelites were just posturing, too afraid to engage the great giant. They put on their battle array and shouted a war cry, but they didn’t actually engage. David’s brothers were among this number, afraid to go out against Goliath. Saul was offering a prize to anyone who would face and defeat Goliath, but none had accepted the challenge. David asked about it: “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” This caused David’s oldest brother, Eliab, to respond harshly.

This chapter presents several contrasts. This one is between David and Eliab. David was irritated that an uncircumcised Philistine was defying God’s armies and was ready to act; Eliab was irritated that David asked about it. Perhaps David’s questions caused Eliab embarrassment. Perhaps it reminded Eliab and others how much they were failing in their own faith and courage. Eliab, we recall, was rejected from being anointed by Samuel (16:6-7). He had impressive enough height and stature, like Saul, but not the inner character that it took to be God’s King.

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The Conversion of Cornelius

by Donnie V. Rader

 

The story of the conversation of Cornelius and his household is found in Acts 10:1-48. Peter recounted the events when he went to Jerusalem, Peter related the story of this conversion there (Acts 15:7-9). Lets look at Cornelius, the miracles surrounding his con-version and the gospel message he heard.

Cornelius

1. A Gentile (Acts 15:7). Cornelius was the first Gentile convert. At the time of his conversion the church was made up largely of Jews. This family was the first of the Gentiles to become Christians. Today it has been reversed. Now the church primarily consists of Gentiles with only a few Jews obeying the gospel.

This conversion proved that the Gentiles can be saved just like the Jews (Acts 11:18; 15:7,9).

2. A military man (Acts 10:1). Cornelius was a centurion of the Italian Regiment. He was a man of power and authority. He had a lot of men under his command. Yet, with all of this power, he had the same needs as the lowest private or a civilian he was in need of salvation from his sins.

 

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Made to be Sin
 

by Doy Moyer

 

Sometimes I am struck with the beauty of a passage while, at the same time, humbled by the fact that its fullness and depth is out of my reach. The passage becomes a never-ending source of thought, ideas, and encouragement.

Such is the case for me with 2 Corinthians 5:21 — “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Who can understand the depths of this? Who can explain all that this passage sums up? I cannot. Even so, I often dwell on it, seeking to know and understand more of what it says. So brief a passage packs more power than I can fathom.

Jesus knew no sin. He was never guilty of sin. One becomes guilty of sin by commission, and Jesus did not commit sin (1 Pet 2:22). Ever. He was the innocent suffering Servant, a perfect sacrifice with no blemish.

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Taking in the Goats and Wolves
 

by Steve Klein

 

The Bible teaches that the Lord adds those who are saved to the universal church (Acts 2:47). Saved individuals then join themselves to other disciples in their area for work and worship as a local church. When a Christian moves from one place to another, it is necessary that he join himself to the church in the new location. This is what Saul attempted to do in Acts 9:26; the Scripture states that “when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.”

Local churches would normally consider it a blessing to receive new members from other places. Yet the Jerusalem church was cautious about accepting Saul. Barnabas had to testify of Saul's faithfulness before the apostles in order for Saul to be received (Acts 9:27). Here then is an apostolically approved example of a church exercising caution about receiving a new member. Although Saul was worthy of acceptance, the cautiousness of the disciples was warranted and implicitly approved by the apostles.

Today, many churches have thrown this caution to the wind. Churches will accept anyone into their number who claims to be a Christian -- without any apparent concern for the person's past faithfulness or lack thereof. This practice not only weakens the local church, it also does nothing for the spiritual welfare of one who may need reproof much more than acceptance.

Choice Bryant, now in his eighties, relates an experience from his many years of preaching which well illustrates the need and benefit of exercising care in this matter. He writes as follows: Leaving Grandfield, Oklahoma, we moved to Floydada, Texas to work with the church in that city. One Sunday morning, a lady ``came forward,'' asking to be identified with us. As my custom is, I simply asked from what church she comes, and she said it was the Lockney church. I wrote to the elders of the Lockney church and they promptly answered that she was not faithful as a member, and even her life was out of harmony with Bible teaching.  I acquainted our elders with this letter, explaining that this lady needed to be confronted with this letter, that we could not accept her in her sinful life. One of the elders, a very influential man in the area (in fact, he was a business man in the city) said that we need not do anything, we must not “get our feet wet” in such situations, that we must just accept her “as is” and proceed with our work. This disturbed me no little, and I rebuked him for speaking thus as an elder of the church.

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Taking Exception to Making Exception
 

by Gary P. Eubanks

 

There is one point which requires clarification, if not correction, in an otherwise excellent and important article written by Dub McClish (The Auburn Beacon, June 24, 2018) to address a couple of misunderstandings of Paul’s instructions regarding marriage and divorce (1 Cor. 7).  Brother McClish rightly says that fornication on the part of one’s spouse is the only exception Jesus cites to His statement that divorcing one’s spouse and marrying another involves one in adultery (Matt. 19:9).

However, he also says, “Jesus teaches that when a marriage dissolves apart from the cause of fornication, neither party has the right to remarry unless and until the one abandoning the marriage has committed or commits fornication (Mat. 19:9).  In such a case, only the innocent spouse has that Scriptural right.”  Thus, he envisions “a marriage [which] dissolves apart from the cause of fornication.”  He correctly concludes from this that “neither party has the right to remarry … .”  (His use of the word, “remarry,” in this clause, also shows that the divorce has occurred.)  Yet, he proceeds to qualify this by saying “unless and until the one abandoning the marriage has committed or commits fornication (Matt. 19:9).”  It is apparent that he includes, or is referring to, fornication which is committed following the dissolution of the marriage by the spouse who obtained the divorce.  Otherwise, why would he have said earlier in the sentence that “a marriage dissolves apart from the cause of fornication”?

So, he conceives of a divorce which one spouse secures on a basis other than the fornication of the other spouse.  He acknowledges that, at this point, “neither party has the right to remarry.”  Yet, his implication is that, if “the one abandoning the marriage has committed or commits fornication (Matt. 19:9),” at some point subsequent to the divorce (or, perhaps, before the divorce but without the knowledge of the divorced party until afterward), then “the innocent spouse has that Scriptural right” (to marry another)

Thus, he seems to allude to “mental divorce,” a concept so called because of the insistence of its proponents that an unwilling spouse in a divorce which has taken place on grounds other than fornication has the right to “divorce” the spouse who commits fornication subsequent to the divorce and marry another.  This later, second “divorce” is essentially mental in nature, rather than civil or legal.  This is because a court has already granted a divorce, thus depriving the innocent spouse of any recourse there.  Hence, any “divorce” on the part of the innocent spouse basically can only take the form of a personal resolution to repudiate the spouse in a marriage which has already been legally dissolved.

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Cannot be Concealed
 

by Rick Liggin

 

“The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed” (1 Tim.5:24-25).

With some men, it is obvious to everyone that what they are doing is sinful. Their sins are “quite evident” and quite easily spotted. Their actions are, in fact, so obviously sinful that no one can rightly deny it. It is clear to everyone that what is being done here is wrong; and it is equally apparent, even before judgment, that such men stand self-condemned.

But unfortunately, it is not this way with every man’s sin. Some men’s sins are not so obvious. The fruit of their evil is more subtle, less easily detected. It might be that initially we cannot detect the sin at all; or it might be that we suspect “something is wrong here,” but we can’t quite “put our finger on it”; there simply isn’t enough evidence—yet—to convict the sinner. We are watchful of such men – and we must be – because the sins of these men can do great damage to the body of Christ! You see, some men are really good at hiding their sins; they are so good, in fact, that often it is only after the wicked deeds are done and the damaging effects are fully realized that we finally are able to identify the sins and the wicked men who commit them. But please notice that even with these men, their sins “follow after” them.

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Catechismal Christianity
 

by Jonathan Perz

 

Having faith and understanding your faith are two entirely different matters in modern Christianity. Many profess to have faith, and even show signs of that faith in various aspects of their lives, but have little or no understanding of the faith they cling to so tenaciously. What is the explanation for this phenomenon?

Is it possible that the faith of many is not based in God’s word, but in catechisms? A catechism is defined as an oral instruction; a manual for catechizing; specifically a summary of religious doctrine often in the form of questions and answers; a set of formal questions as put as a test; something resembling a catechism especially in being a rote response or formulaic statement (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary).

Catechisms exist in every denomination. They are sometimes called statements of faith, creeds, tenets of faith, and even testimonies. Some have written catechisms, which are occasionally modified and updated, as need requires. Others rely upon oral catechisms, handed down from generation to generation, teacher to student, preacher to convert. Catechisms even exist among those who are “non-denominational.”

Why are these catechisms so dangerous? Why must we be concerned with them? How can we avoid catechisms’ slippery slope?

Catechisms Become Creeds

Over time, all catechisms become creeds. These creeds usually replace the teaching of God’s word and often undermine the very word they are supposed to uphold. For example, many believe that salvation is by faith alone, but after careful consideration are forced to acknowledge that this teaching is not founded in Scripture, but in the creed books of men. Because this catechism is so deeply engrained, those who will not acknowledge the truth believe the lie (2 Thess. 2:11). Therefore, their faith is in their creed, not in God’s word (Rom. 10:17).

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Why I Oppose Instrumental Music
 

by Jeremy Crump

 

"Oh, I know about your church, you're the ones who don't worship with instruments!" It's a common response I receive when I tell others I am a member of the church of Christ. As much as I wish we as a group were most distinctive for other things, the absence of instruments in worship is usually the first thing outsiders notice about us. And yes, I admit, it does seem odd for a church to take such an unpopular and seemingly inconsequential position. However, I do not believe that the position one takes regarding this issue is inconsequential at all.

The fundamental question we should be asking when it comes to all our worship practices is, What does God want from our worship to Him? Worship is, after all, directed to Him, not us. That is why arguments made for or against worship practices based on one's personal preference or what will draw the most people or what best fits our time and culture are not compelling to me. They miss the point. They are not seeking to answer the fundamental question we should all be asking: What does our God desire from us (his worshippers) when we approach Him in worship?

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A Singing Church
 

by Brock Hartwigsen

The church was prophesied in the Old Testament as a singing church. In 2 Samuel 22:50 and repeated in Psalm 18:49  David stated; "Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name." Years later the apostle Paul by inspiration applied this passage to the church when he quoted it in Romans 15:9. "It is written, For this cause I will confess thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."

The New Testament describes a singing church. In I Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 Paul addresses problems the Corinthian Christians had with miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this context, Paul revealed that the Corinthian church was a singing church when he wrote "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (I Cor. 14:15) and "how is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm" (I Cor. 14:26).

Two different congregations were given instruction concerning their singing. The church in Ephesus was told: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19). The church in Colosse was told "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" (Col. 3:16).

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Be Aware of What You Wear
 

by Steve Hardin

 

We are just entering that season of the year once again when God blesses us with warm sunshine, beautiful flowers, and the wonders of nature in the springtime. As the temperatures climb each year at this time, immodest attire once again becomes the order of the day. Old man winter helps to put an end to this in Indiana for several months of the year. Yet, as spring begins, semi-nudity is once again glorified as the norm and modesty is scorned as an outdated relic.

Our nation is grievously distressed by divorce, fornication, and adultery. Many things in society contribute to such sins, including lust producing attire worn by so many. It seems that the public in general applauds such, parents often practice and promote it, and Christians themselves often fail today to be separate from the world in this area.

The Word of God says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety" (1 Tim. 2:9). "Shamefastness" suggests a sense of shame. "Sobriety" involves the idea of self-control or inner government, with its constant reign on all passions and desires, which would hinder the temptation to these from arising. The person who would seek to always please God will dress in such a way as not to arouse sinful passions in others with whom they come in contact. If Christians care what God thinks, they will not dress in the brief attire which is so common or popular today. If the skimpy and skin tight (or tighter) clothing is modest according to God's standard, then the only thing which is immodest would be total nudity!

In Galatians 5:19, Paul condemns "lasciviousness" (KJV) as a work of the flesh. In verse 21, he wrote, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Lasciviousness is not a term which we are generally familiar with in today's world. Just what is this thing called "lasciviousness"? Webster in his dictionary defines it as "wanton; lewd, lustful; tending to produce lewd emotions." Something is lascivious if it tends to excite or stir up lustful thoughts in other people. Words, actions, or the way one dresses could all be classified as lascivious, if they promote or produce lust in the mind of others. When one dresses (or undresses) in such a manner, she shares in the guilt involved when others look to lust after her. "But I say to you that whosoever looks at a woman to lust for has has already committed adultery with ha in his heart" (Matt. 5:28).

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Divorce and Remarriage - Is There a Second Exception?
 

by Dub McClish

 

Many grievously misunderstand the nature of revelation/inspiration. Some aver that only the words of Jesus (those in red letters in some Bibles) are authoritative, and the remainder of the writers reflect their personal human opinions. The 1970s militant feminists labeled Paul’s doctrine relating to the God-given respective roles of men and women (e.g., Gen. 3:16; I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim. 2:11–12; et al.) as the mere opinionated rantings of a disillusioned, male-chauvinist, woman-hating bachelor—unworthy of credibility; He was not Jesus!

Some brethren are not far behind the aforementioned attitude toward revelation/inspiration, though for different reasons. Years ago, a brother where I preached made a Wednesday night “talk” in which he commented on various expressions in 1 Corinthians 7. He alleged that Paul’s statement, “To the rest say I, not the Lord” (v. 12), was uninspired human opinion, which we could choose to ignore. It fell my lot to correct his error before the assembly was dismissed. I did so by pointing out as gently as possible that all Paul was saying was that the Lord had not specifically addressed the situations, which he was about to address (vv. 12–15), but that Paul’s words on the subject were nonetheless inspired.

Other brethren view Paul’s words here (particularly v. 15) not as mere opinion, but as “expanded revelation” relative to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19:9 regarding divorce and remarriage. Whereas He gave one—and only one—Divinely allowable cause for divorce and remarriage (viz., fornication on the part of one’s spouse), Paul allegedly allowed desertion by an unbelieving spouse as a second cause, thus an “exception to Jesus’ exception.” While Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would give them additional revelation (John 16:13, et al.), He could not have had in mind contradictory revelation.

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Maintaining Sexual Purity
 

by Kevin Maxey

 

"New and improved! Our product is now 100 percent natural and pure. It contains no dyes, perfumes, artificial colorings, additives, cholesterol, fat, or sugar." Our society is obsessed with maintaining product purity. Manufacturers are rapidly selling everything from clear soft drinks to clear detergent. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the spectrum, our society is tragically selling nothing but impure and unnatural sexual standards. Apparently people foolishly care more about product purity than sexual integrity.

Society continually bombards us with explosive messages of filthy sexual immorality. The mass media has capitalized on the world's universal appeal for sexual passion. No small number of songs on the radio have sexual overtones and themes. Television situation comedies often poke fun at circumstances involving pre-marital sexual relations. Soap operas build on similar adulterous themes. Every movie it seems must also have its moments of sexual exploitation on the screen. Even advertisers use sex to sell everything from automobiles to butter. In addition to all of this commercial pressure, our educational system has become saturated with humanistic philosophies approving sexual activity, homosexuality and abortion. We still have not even mentioned the pounding influences of a peer group that overwhelmingly flirts with and participates in sexual immorality. According to an article in Time Magazine (January 21, 1991), 80% of all youngsters in New York become sexually active by the age of nineteen.

What is a young mind to do? Is it possible to keep our hearts pure in such a godless age? The psalmist appropriately asks, "How shall the young man cleanse his way?" (Psa. 119:9) We can either allow the world to corrupt our souls or we can confidently determine to live by the principles found in God's word.

When we look at the story of David and Bathsheba recorded in 2 Samuel 11, we discover that sexual immorality is not new to our age. Even this man after God's own heart was subject to sexual temptations
(1 Sam. 13: 14). No one is immune to the "passing pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:25). No matter how long we have been Christians, no matter what good we may have done in the past, or even if we are dating other Christians, we too can be tempted. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10: 12). Since this account was "written for our admonition" (1 Cor. 10:11), let's investigate what led to David's fall, so that we can avoid making the same mistakes.

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He That Is Without Sin Among You
 

by Bob Waldron

One time the Pharisees brought a woman who had been taken in adultery to Jesus and asked Him what to do about her. Should she be stoned as the law said? They were not really interested in the law, nor right and wrong, nor the woman. They were trying Jesus "that they may have whereof to accuse him" (Jn. 8:6). After a pause and further questioning Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (Jn. 8:7). The statement Jesus uttered on this occasion has often been violently and blatantly misapplied. His reply was strictly in keeping with the law which said, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So thou shall put away the evil from the midst of thee" (Deut. 17:2-7).

The case Jesus dealt with was not simply one in which a woman had committed adultery. Jesus always dealt with the primary issue and then with the subordinate issues. Here the primary issue was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and their incredibly intense hatred of Jesus. There were actually three issues involved in the episode: the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the demands of the Law of Moses, and the fate of the woman. When Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," He convicted the Pharisees of their sin of hypocrisy, because not even they had the audacity and gall to step forward and say, "Well, I'm perfect. I'll cast the first stone." They particularly knew that in this matter they were not innocent. One by one, beginning from the eldest, the people began to walk away. When Jesus said, "Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee?" He satisfied the requirement of the law because, with no witnesses, the woman could not be stoned. Then Jesus dealt with the woman and her sin by saying, "Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more."

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Be Strong and Courageous - Finding the Courage to Stand
 

by Wilson Adams

 

The first chapter of Joshua is one of my favorites. As God passes the baton of leadership from Moses to His new commander-in-chief, Joshua is challenged four times to "be strong and courageous" (vv. 6, 7, 9, 18). The work would not be easy, the difficulties daunting, and the obstacles potentially paralyzing. Lesser men would fail, but Joshua was not a lesser man.

Some people think they are leaders, yet no one is following. I like what John Maxwell said: "A leader without followers is just taking a walk." And I would add...a lonely one at that. Joshua's faith, courage, and conviction inspired his people. Note their response to his leadership, "We will do... We will go... We will obey..." (1:16-17). He motivated an entire congregation to stand up and rise to the challenge. It is what courageous leaders do.

The Great American Myth

Those in foreign countries (who have seen too many American movies) conclude that we're a nation of rugged individualists. It's a myth! We are not a nation of individualists; we are a nation of conformists. In fact, we go to extreme lengths to keep from being different. After all, one of our greatest fears is to be ostracized, rejected, and put down by our peers. And so we cave to the [peer] pressure. It is easier that way.

No one said living for Christ was going to be painless and pleasant. Jesus said the very opposite. He said unbelievers will "persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you" (Matt.5:11). He also made it clear that "if they hated Me, they will hate you" (John 15:18-19). Paul echoed the same when he said, "all who desire to live godly will be persecuted" (2 Tim.3:12). Note: it's not may be, but will be. And I'll let you in on a non-secret-the more convicted you are as a Christian, the more courage you are going to need.

 

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A Letter to a Son Going to College
 

by Rusty Miller

 

 

My Son,

As you prepare to go away to college, I thought I should warn you about some things the devil will use to attack you. Please do not think this is all he will do (remember 1 Peter 5:8), but I believe there are three areas in which he will attack with the most effort, and I wanted to offer advice on how to deal with each one.

The Temptation to Sin
Sexually

At college, there will be more young women your age than you have ever known. A great many of them will dress provocatively, and indeed, many of them will have already been sexually active. Some of them, confused by such cultural phenomena as "Sex in The City," will promote the myth of "casual sex," the idea that sex is not a big deal, and can be engaged in without thought to consequences, particularly to the soul.

As I said, the idea is a myth. Besides the dangerous and troubling physical consequences of such action, there are eternal consequences that make this a matter of grave importance. From the beginning, sex was given by God to married couples, both for procreation (Gen. 1:28) and for pleasure (Song of Solomon). It is a significant part of the "one flesh" relationship designed for marriage. Outside of marriage, Paul says it is the only sin that one commits "against his own body" (1 Cor. 6:18).

In addition, there is great joy to be found in remaining pure until marriage. Being able to present yourself to your bride in a pure way is one of the greatest wedding gifts you can give her, and I hope you will make it your goal.

The Temptation to Sin with Alcohol

Among the biggest temptations facing college students away from home is the temptation to use alcohol. Many will tell you that alcohol is harmless, or that "one little drink is not going to hurt you." There are several things I would have you consider.

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The Letter and the Spirit
 

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

 

Earl Irvin West, in Volume 2 of his The Search For The Ancient Order (p. 250), introduces a chapter called "Prophets of Liberalism," with an astute observation about what he calls "seeds of liberalism":

Whether in the halcyon days of the restoration there could be found the seeds of the later liberalism that swept the brotherhood, may be doubted. Certainly, however, it can never be questioned that these seeds are discovered buried deep in human nature. There are always those who believe they sense something in the "spirit" of a thing contrary to what may be found in its "letter," or, who, reacting against what they consider a radical extreme of isolationism devote their energies to popularizing a movement. The restoration period came to know these individuals following the war between the states. The church appeared to them to be too narrow and restricted, and their ambition therefore was to lift the brotherhood to a "dignified church" in a world of denominationalism, commanding at least some respect from these religious bodies.

I believe West correctly assesses the beginnings of liberalism. It is thinking that interpreting and/or applying law to the "letter" is unnecessarily restrictive, exclusive, or even harsh. So, the liberal thinker turns to something called the "spirit of the law" to relax the restrictions and harshness imposed by the "letter." He may freely admit that the actual wording of the sacred text, strictly applied, would demand a certain thing. However, he appeals to a higher (?) court called "the spirit of the law" for a broader application than the actual wording would permit. Having dismissed the objective "letter," in favor of the more subjective "spirit," he can now freely adjust to the situation at hand. In reality, his so called "spirit of the law" is nothing more than his subjective view of what the law should be.

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The Value of Doubt
 

by Larry Rouse

 

Late in his ministry John the Baptist sent two disciples to Jesus with this startling question: “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? (Luke 7:19-20)” To the careful Bible student this question makes no sense when you first consider it. John appears to have doubt about a matter that he had earlier expressed great confidence in. Jesus described John as being the greatest of the prophets (Luke 7:28)? How can this happen with such a man of faith?

Consider the earlier experiences and statements of John the Baptist. He had witnessed the Holy Spirit come down upon Jesus as a dove and had heard the voice of God from heaven proclaim: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mt 3:17)” Shortly after these events, John boldly proclaimed this eyewitness account to his own disciples. It is from these very men that Jesus would later choose his 12 disciples. Listen to the bold, confident proclamation from John as to the identity of Jesus Christ. “And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” 35Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:32-36)

Possible Causes of John’s Doubt

The bulk of John’s ministry consisted of his strong preaching to the multitudes in the wilderness. He was an outdoors man described as being clothed in camel hair, and eating wild locusts and honey (Mt 3:4). He was arrested and imprisoned for boldly and accurately teaching the will of God. His stand of faith was exactly the stand God wanted him to make. But now he is isolated and soon would be killed. This sudden change of lifestyle would cause any man great pain. It is at this time that a man of faith would step forward and review the very foundations of his faith.

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A People of Principle
 

by Tim Nichols

 

Christians, above all others, are to be a people governed by principles. The world may not yield to an obvious code of conduct, but God's children recognize that the distinct teachings of God's Word give us higher and better rules than our own to guide us through life. Just as Luke wrote of "those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1), we can speak of our common commitment to settled principles that have been revealed from Heaven. Those precepts are the standards held high by the pillar and ground of the Truth (1 Tim. 3:15). They are honorable, virtuous, and noble (Phi. 4:8-9). Only to the degree that our scruples are shaped by untainted Truth can we live uprightly.

Divine precepts are to be kept diligently (Psa. 119:4). We are to long for, love, and meditate upon them (vv. 15, 40, 159). We can understand them and talk of them (v. 27). They give us comfort and hope when men hold us in derision (vv. 49-56).

Divine principles come as a package (Psa.119:128, 168).We either trust God and obey Him concerning all of our ways, or we do not trust Him at all. He Who inspired the living, powerful Scriptures that are able to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts knows everything about us and everything about every situation that we will encounter (Heb. 4:12-13).

Divine principles are the hand of God helping us (Psa. 119:173). They require us to acknowledge our own lack of personal wisdom and our need to rely upon Him. Those who count themselves wise enough to value their own wisdom above God's slaps His hand away.

Principles connect with one another (Isa. 28:10-13) and builds upon another and enlarges it. Some make perfect sense only when understood in light of some others. All are consistent with all others. True precepts from the mind of God never contradict each other.

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Moral Holiness
 

by John R. Gibson

 

 

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pt 1:13-16). With a full awareness of the hope set before us, Peter calls upon us to reject the ways of sin and live in an obedient and holy manner. As we consider what it means to be holy, we must realize that when we were baptized into Christ we were sanctified and at that point became saints, i.e. holy ones (1 Cor 1:2; 6:11). Yet, in daily living God expects us to become progressively holier. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1).

 While moral behavior encompasses many different things, an area that received special emphasis in the first century and continues to demand the same emphasis in the twenty-first century is sexual morality. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thess 4:3-7). Sexual relations outside a lawful marriage are condemned by God and must be avoided (Heb 13:4; 1 Cor 6:9, 10; Mt 19:9).

How can we live holy and clean lives in regard to sexual behavior? How can we keep ourselves pure? Consider four things we must do.

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The Problem of Lying
 

by Dee Bowman

 

 

I preached this last Lord's Day on the problem of lying. I believe it to be one of the most prevalent and damaging problems in the lives of not only the world, but Christians as well. It has become epidemic.  It is in our private relationships, our families, our social lives, our business practices. It's everywhere--at school, at the golf course, at the PTA meeting, even in the church.

Coincidentally, The Houston Post, in its June 4 issue, carried a review of The Day America Told the Truth, a new book by J. Walter Thompson Advertising Exec., Peter Kim and his associate James Patterson. It is an astonishing look at the morals of our people. The picture is not pretty. For instance:

-- 91% of Americans lie regularly

-- 63% of American men and 52% of American women have lied to protect themselves.

-- 40% of the people interviewed admitted to having lied on job applications.

-- 62% think there's nothing morally wrong with the affairs they're having.

-- And get this: 13% of the people have had an affair with a fellow worker.  And 26% have shoplifted.

What a sad description of our times! How deplorable that people have such little regard for truth, such little respect for morality.

Can you believe that?

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Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing 2017

 

Preparing for Marriage by Scott Smelser
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

 

 

Does God Care What I Wear?
(Sermons and Articles on Modesty)

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How to Study the Bible
College Class

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The Place and Work of the Apostles

Wednesday Night College Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Learning How God Works
Lesson 2 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 1)
Lesson 3 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 2)

Lesson 4 - The Words Delivered to the Apostles
Lesson 5 - Local Churches and the Apostles
Lesson 6 - Defending the Place of the Apostles

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Hear Bob Buchanon in a Series of Bible Lectures at
the University church of Christ
Jan 13-16, 2013

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Messianic Prophecies in the Book of Isaiah
Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - The Time and Reign of the Messiah
Lesson 2 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 42)
Lesson 3 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 49)
Lesson 4 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 50)
Lesson 5 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 52-53)
Lesson 6 - The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7)

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Sermon Series on the Book of 1 John
by Robert Harkrider

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The Christian and Money

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Money and the Revealing of Our Hearts
Lesson 2 - Earning Money

Lesson 3 - Spending Money and Debt

 

A Study of Religious Beliefs

Wednesday Night College Bible Class

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Lesson 1 - Introduction and Approach
Lesson 2 - The Roman Catholic Church
Lesson 3 - An Overview of Islam
Lesson 4 - An Overview of Mormonism
Lesson 5 - An Overview of Pentecostalism
Lesson 6 - An Overview of Calvinism

 


Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

 

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