The Charlottesville Beacon
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

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For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
(1 Cor. 11:26) 



North Charlottesville
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Larry Rouse
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 North Charlottesville
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Do You Have a Student or are a Student that is Planning to Attend The University of Virginia?

We would like to to be aware of the resources that we make available to the students that attend with us!

Click Here to Visit our Parent Student Resource Page and make Contact with Us!


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 Class led by Larry Rouse at 10:00 AM

Download the current outlines:

Lesson 1 - The Local Church and Your Spiritual Future
Lesson 2 - How to Apply Bible Authority to a Local Church

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The Lord's Supper or a Marathon?

by Larry Rouse


On the night of His betrayal and in the very shadow of the cross itself, Jesus called his disciples together and expressed a strong desire of His heart. “Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; or I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 22:15-16) What made this particular Passover so important was that Jesus Himself would become the fulfillment of the Passover lamb the very next day as He would shed his blood for our salvation. Also, all disciples in every generation, would remember this event with Jesus as they partake of the Lord’s Supper in the kingdom of God. When Jesus instituted this supper after partaking of the Passover, He was giving instructions that all who would ever love the Lord would also observe this supper with a strong fervor.

The early Christians were taught by the Apostle Paul, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

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Four Challenges of Evangelism

by Andy Cantrell


This article has two purposes. The first is to challenge each of us to examine why we don’t do more talking about the Lord and His things with those we encounter. I apologize if I have made a wrong assumption about you, but I suspect you are like me and know you could do better. The second is to share some ideas that have helped the Christians who gather where I live to start speaking up, pay attention to opportunities, speak boldly, and communicate more clearly than we had previously. The following thoughts come from challenging discussions we have had in what our Deacons serving in the area of evangelism have called “Evangelism Workshops.”

There are countless reasons why Christians struggle when it comes to evangelism, but I believe the following four categories cover most, if not all, those reasons. They are Care, Consciousness, Courage, and Craft. Most of the excuses we are willing to vocalize come from the last three areas. We are willing to admit we need to pay better attention (Consciousness) and are often scared to speak up (Courage), and that we don’t know how or what or when to say the things we should (Craft). But it is rare to hear someone vocalize the most important (and most common) reason we don’t share His things like we should: Care.

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Overcoming Peer-Pressure

by Robert W. Goodman

Often old problems are given new names. Peer pressure is a term not in the common versions of the Bible. However the idea is. Peer comes from the Latin par which means "equal." One's peers are one's equals, friends and associates.

This is a timely subject. According to a recent survey of 337 teenagers, 90 percent experienced peer pressure and 80 percent admitted giving in to peer pressure at least weekly, even if it meant doing something they knew was wrong.

Peer pressure is another way of referring to the problem of evil associates. Paul wrote, "Do not be deceived; 'Evil company corrupts good habits... (1 Cor. 15:33). Such influence was likened to yeast or "leaven" in 1 Corinthians 5:7 - ". . Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" (All quotations are from the New King James Version.)

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Should I Worry About This?

by Larry Rouse

Over the years I have carefully noted the circumstances surrounding Christians that fell away from the Lord. Some of these I knew very well, with some even being family members. Most of them started believing and professing things they had ardently opposed in the past. As time passed, some became more aggressive and even denied the plain gospel way of salvation calling it “traditionalism.” These departures caused me great grief and I became determined to help others avoid this terrible “slippery slope.” I often have asked the question: “Why did these departures occur?”

Even though these departures were later characterized by radical doctrinal compromise, I do not know of one individual whose departure came solely from a doctrinal influence.  If these individuals had studied and became convinced that these doctrines were true to the scriptures, some of these people would have talked to me with an open Bible. One thing that I found characteristic, but puzzling, about my friends was that they would no longer even talk to me about their change, even though we had good relationships in the past. Again I asked: “What causes a person to act this way?”

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What Therefore God has Joined Together

by Johnnie Stringer


Marriage is an arrangement devised by our Creator. After the account of God's creating woman to be a companion for man, the Scriptures set forth the divine decree: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

Jesus stressed that when God first instituted marriage, He intended it to be permanent. One of the greatest evils in our society today is that so many marriages end in divorce. Marriage is not properly esteemed, but is regarded as something so frivolous that it can be ended at will. Jesus taught that the marriage relationship is a far more serious one than many realize; it is not to be severed. His most extensive teaching on the subject is found in Matthew 19:3-12, the passage on which this article will be based.

Divorce Forbidden (vv. 3-6)

The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" (v. 3). This question reflected a controversy among the Jews. Some thought it was permissible under Moses' law for a man to divorce his wife for any reason, no matter how trivial, while others thought adultery was the only thing making divorce permissible.

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Exegesis or Cop-Out?

by Jeffery Kingry

Is strictly exegetical discourse on the Word of God a legitimate method of teaching (An explanation or critical interpretation of a text)? Definitely. But what if there is a controversy surrounding a particular subject? Is it enough to merely quote the passages and claim "They mean what they say"? I believe the teacher, in this case, has fallen down on the job.

Scripture is not merely ink and paper-"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (Jno. 6:63). The Word of God has been given "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). When applied to practical living, God's word makes a man complete and perfectly equips him to do God's will (2 Tim. 3:17). It is the responsibility of the teacher therefore, to use the Word to give people what they need (Tit. 1:5; 2 Cor. 12:19-21). Whether the word is used to rebuke sin, prick a conscience, console, or build up a soul, the teacher must give what is needed to the listener. While David stood guilty of adultery, guile, murder, and deception, the prophet Nathan did not lecture him with an exegetical monologue on the Mosaical laws concerning Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage. He told David, "thou art the man" (2 Sam. 12:7)! Anything less would have been a cop-out.

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Troubled Over Immorality

by Connie W. Adams


Nothing can create more havoc in a home or a congregation than immoral behavior on the part of Christians or their children. Webster defines immoral as "Inconsistent with purity or good morals." Immorality is defined by Webster as "the quality or state of being immoral: wickedness, esp. unchastity." It is immoral to steal, lie, cheat and a host of other things opposed to righteousness. But the term is often used of illicit sexual intercourse, including incest (1 Cor. 5:1), adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9), homosexuality (Jude 7), and cohabitation of the unmarried (1 Cor. 7:2).

Immorality was a common problem in the first century, especially among Gentiles. "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (1 Pet. 4:3). This had been a pattern of life among some of the Corinthians be fore their conversion. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

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When I Was Baptized

by Larry Rouse


We do not forget great turning points in their lives. It may be the memory of meeting and falling in love with the one that eventually would become our mate. It could be the loss of a parent whose memory continues to inspire us to serve God and never quit. These and other critical points in our lives should both humble us and inspire us to draw more closely to the God that provides for us beyond what we could ever know (Rom 8:28).

The greatest turning point for any of us is the day that we entered into fellowship with the God of heaven. This was a point of our turning from our sins and finding the forgiveness that makes a relationship with God possible (Acts 3:19, 26)

I often think back to the situations that led me to that decision to turn to Jesus Christ. It is good for me to remember the rejoicing and the new direction that I found in my life. It was like I myself had died and come back to life (Rom 6:2-5). This turning point transformed my life and led me down paths that I never thought I would take. To this very day my life is filed with newness and an awareness that my future paths are determined by a living faith which looks for doors of opportunity that the Lord may place before me.

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Avoiding the Big Rocks of Sin

by Mark Roberts


Thirty years ago the Exxon Valdez did the inexplicable. The huge tanker grounded on a reef, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The effect on the animals, water, and plants was catastrophic and recovery continues to this day. How could a supertanker with all that navigational technology possibly ram head-on into a well-marked reef?

Last week, a friend asked me if I had heard the heartbreaking news that two Christians I knew had left their spouses and run off into adultery together. How is that possible? How could strong, faithful disciples ram head-on into scandalous, obvious sin? It certainly isn’t a knowledge problem. No one is saying “Oh, I didn’t know what the Bible said about adultery!” They know better and we know they know better. Why then do Christians keep hitting the big rocks of sin anyway? A few possibilities…

First, we fail to take all our sins seriously. Proverbs 28:13 tells us “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Do you see the Biblical way to deal with sin? Confession and forsaking. Not some sin, not just large scandalous sins, but all sin. All sin is the same to God. The truth is, talking about the “big rocks of sin” is risky because I don’t mean to imply some sins are worse than others. I’m just trying to say there are some behaviors so clearly legislated against in Scripture, so definitively marked out, looming so LARGE in the Bible with so many repeated warnings and admonitions that no Christian should ever get involved in them.

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Godly Ambition and Zeal

by Jeffery Kingry


Where does one draw the line between godly ambition and selfish ambition? Is it possible to tell the difference between a zeal that is sincere and one that is bitter? James seemed to think so. When he wrote concerning the wisdom that should characterize the teacher of truth he said, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying (pikros zelos) and strife (eritheia) in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth" (Jas. 3:13,14). Paraphrased another way James was saying, "Who seeks to be known as a wise and understanding teacher? The method is to demonstrate that wisdom by the loveliness of one's character. Let that character demonstrate that all is prompted by a gentle spirit. But, if your wisdom is characterized by a zeal that is bitter (pikros zelos) and by selfish ambition (eritheia), do not be arrogant of your accomplishments, for you are false to what God's truth demands of a teacher."

I make no pretenses at being a Greek scholar, but the scholarly books that are available to all agree that there is a fine line of definition in zelos between "to envy, be jealous" and "to imitate emulously, strive after with zeal" (Thayer, p. 271). Zelos is a word that can and is used to describe a sincere zeal to copy and follow that which is good (cf. 2 Cor. 7:7; Rom. 10:2).

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Life Without a Mirror

by Lenny Chapman

How many times a day do you take a peek in a mirror? What would life be like if suddenly there were no more mirrors? Can you imagine getting ready in the morning without the time spent in front of the mirror shaving, getting our hair just right, and for that last look at the total outfit before we step out for the day? What about going to the store to buy new clothes? Could you deal with a system of trying on an outfit and then coming out of the dressing room asking people “How do I look in this one?” Recently I watched a group spend a considerable amount of time at a sunglasses display trying on glasses, looking in the mirror, trying on another pair, and looking in the mirror over and over. Imagine walking up to the display of sunglasses and pulling one off saying “These look good, I’ll buy them!” If it doesn’t matter how they look and feel why do we spend so much time picking “just the right” pair out?

Well, of course life would surely be different without mirrors. It is quite amazing when you think about it, how a piece of reflective glass can expand our vision so dramatically. Mirrors help us see behind and beside us while we drive our automobiles. When placed properly, mirrors can help one to see around a corner, or above us, or below us. However, one of the most important functions of a mirror and perhaps the most widely used purpose is to see the reflection of one’s self! The time we spend in front of the mirror helps us to present ourselves in the best possible way to others, and also helps boost our own self-confidence. When looking in a mirror we can see in advance how we look (outwardly) to others! Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to see our reflection inwardly?

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The Second Proof of the Resurrection

by Robert F. Turner


The resurrection of Jesus is, of course, absolutely essential to the true meaning of Christianity. Without it Jesus was a teacher of great insight and ability, but self-deceived, and a deceiver. Without it Christianity becomes but another human philosophy, totally of this world. As Paul put it, "then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain" (1 Cor 15:14), and having only a this life hope "we are of all men most pitiable" (v. 19). Jesus Christ "was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4). (Phillips says, "patently marked out as the Son of God by the power of the Spirit of holiness which raised Him to life again from the dead.") Cancel the resurrection, and you cancel the power that gives Christianity its life. Proofs therefore are tremendously important.

The Scriptures, as historic literature from the first century, record many proofs of the resurrection. His enemies knew very well His promise to rise again after three days and used every means at their disposal to make the sepulcher sure, lest "the last error be worse than the first" (Matt. 27:26f). Yet, at the appointed time the tomb was empty. The apostles and early disciples displayed incredible faith - even unto death -for what? A ruse they themselves had worked? But we do not plan to discuss such proofs in this study. Instead, we beg your attention to two proofs offered by the Apostle Peter, on the first Pentecost following the resurrection. One rested upon the testimony of believing witnesses; and the second, upon the experience of enemies who heard the witnesses. The first, His enemies were asked to believe; the second, they could prove to themselves by their own logic and experience.


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Few There Are Who Will Endure a True Friend

by Jimmy Tuten


Someone has said that there are three friendships which are advantageous and three that are injurious: friendship with the upright, friendship with the man of much observation and friendship with the man who is courteous. These are advantageous. However, friendship with the man of specious airs, or one who is insinuatingly soft, and friendship with the glib-tongued, these are injurious.

No hurt is greater than that hurt derived from deception and abuse of one thought to be a friend. A friend is someone to have in time of need and when adversity tries them. A bold foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse by far. There is an English proverb that says: "God save me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies." The irony of this is that there is some merit to it as far as some friends are concerned. Friendship must not be taken too lightly. Also we should be cautious in choosing friends, and even more cautious in changing them. Of course, the best recipe for making friends is to be one yourself.

"I often find myself," said Thackery Ritchie, "going back to Darwin's saying about the duration of a man's friendship being one of the best measures of his worth." The reckless handling of friendship is a true mark of a foolish man who will never know what true friendship is. No friendship should begin that has no intent of being lasting in nature. No one is more dangerous than a friend who isn't quite sure whether he's for you or against you.

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Mouth Sins

by J. R. Bronger


“The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalms 18:28)  Believe it or not the tongue is the most used muscle in the body. In a typical week the average person will speak enough words to fill a 500 page book. Often many of these words spoken would fall into the category of sin. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless,” (James 1:26). The idea being expressed by James is that of controlling the tongue. “I said, I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,” (Psalm 39:1).

Christians must be very careful in how the tongue is used. If our language is out of control then we are hypocrites and our professed Christianity is useless. Sinning with the mouth (mouth sins) is not a trivial matter. Sins committed with the tongue are equal in destruction to sins committed through the lust of the flesh. Consider where Paul placed whisperers (gossipers) and backbiters (badmouthing) in Romans 1:28-32. He places these in the same class with homosexuality, adultery and even murder.

It is disheartening to learn that some Christians fail to take seriously mouth sins. Some seem to feel that gossip, slander, and bad-mouthing are simply naughty little habits; nothing too serious.

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Destructive Complexes

by Don Martin


We shall be using the term "complex" rather loosely in this article. A simple definition of complex is, "The term for a psychological cause, hidden or repressed, having a strong influence on one's character; an obsession (Webster's National Dictionary). In our examination of some destructive complexes we shall not use the term altogether in keeping with psychiatry. As Christians, we should enjoy mental hygiene. Physically, people who experience complexes are mentally abnormal and, consequently, suffer mental imbalance. Many of these mental complexes virtually destroy people mentally and physically. This is also true spiritually. The complexes we shall consider can render the child of God fruitless, useless, and miserable.

Introvert Complex

Introversion is "a concentration on one's inner life, to the exclusion of other interests." Beloved, we cannot have a preoccupation with self and fulfill our obligations to God and our fellow-man. Christians are to "bear the infirmities of the weak," "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works," and "support the weak" (Rom. 15:1-3; Heb. 10:24; 1 Thess. 5:14). How can we perform the activities enjoined in these passages if we do not associate with others and allow them to associate with us?

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Bitterness, Meaningless or Healing?

by Doy Moyer


"See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal." (Hebrews 12:15-16)

Others have said that bitterness is like drinking poison and wishing the other person would die. There is truth in that.

Experience has shown me that there is often a correlation between bitterness and godlessness. I have noticed many times that when one gives up on God and becomes dedicated to the world, he also becomes bitter toward believers and God. He may consider himself "enlightened," having learned that God is a sham and the church has held him down and enslaved to a hypocritical and evil religious system. Every encounter with those among whom he formerly walked is laced with his sarcastic rebuke and acerbic rhetoric. He now hates what he perceives what he once was, and he makes no apology in letting everyone else know about it. He now knows the true meaning of care and love, you see. Yet how tragic that he cannot understand that the root of bitterness has clouded his judgment. He cannot see that the very attitude he despises has become embedded in his own personality. And he now has, for his authority, nothing greater than himself. And with this authority he proudly pronounces all who hold to that outdated, superstitious view of religion to be the bane of all society.

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Every Man in His Place

by Irvin Himmel


In the days of the Judges, God allowed the Israelites to be oppressed by the Midianites for seven years. This affliction brought God's people to their knees in repentance. A deliverer was chosen by the Lord to lead Israel against Midian. The chosen leader was named Gideon.

With 32,000 men, Gideon made preparations to wage war against the Midianites. God told him he had too many men. Large numbers mean nothing as God appraises things. Israel would have been lifted up with pride if the victory had been gained through the use of such a sizeable force. God told Gideon to let all who were fearful and afraid go home. That culled out 22,000!

The remaining force of 10,000 was still too large. God told Gideon to bring his men down to the water and put them to the test. All who bowed down upon their knees to drink were to be sent away. Gideon was told to retain the men who put their hand to the mouth, lapping the water from the hand with the tongue. The water test eliminated all of Gideon's army except 3000.

Gideon took the 300 men who remained and divided them into three companies. Each man was told to take a trumpet and a pitcher with a torch inside it. In the middle of the night Gideon's men quietly came close to the Midianite encampment and completely surrounded it. The torches were concealed inside the earthenware pitchers. When Gideon gave the signal, suddenly every man was to blow his trumpet then break his pitcher and hold his torch high, crying out, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." The unexpected noise and commotion coming from all sides of the Midianite camp awakened the enemy, and in whatever direction he looked, torches were burning and men were shouting. Panic followed! The Midianites began slaying each other. Through this strategy and with God's help, Israel was delivered from the oppressor.

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The Providence of God

by Warren Berkley

Our word "providence" conveys the idea of providing; the quality or state of being provident. The providence of God generally means the divine care, guidance and sustaining power of God over the universe and the affairs of men. I find it helpful to think of God's providence in terms of five realms where Scripture specifically has something to say: permission, performance, preference, providence and prohibition.

There is that which God permits. Paul said, ".I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits," (1 Cor. 16:7; Jas. 4:15). God “allowed all nations to walk in their own ways," and the Hebrew writer said, "and this we will do if God permits," (Acts 14:16; Heb. 6:3). This is clear. In the exercise of His wise providence, there are things God allows or permits.

Also, there is that which God performs; He makes certain things happen, performing

certain actions. He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). God gives to all life, and breath and all things (Acts 17:25). We can affirm, therefore, that God performs certain actions: He makes, He sends, He gives.

God prefers certain things. He desires or prefers that all men come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Many are not interested in His truth, and He does not force them to obey it. But He certainly prefers that all men listen to and give favorable response to His truth. He desires that all men repent, and He prefers that there be no offenses among us (2 Pet. 3:9; Matt. 18:14).

There is that which God provides, in response to our petitions. If we believe what is written in passages like 1 Jn. 5:14,15, we know God responds to prayer. He says He does, and we can regard those provisions of God as part of His providential dealings (see also Jas. 1:5,17).

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Belief and Truth

by Irvin Himmel


No matter what your present belief, in this short essay I want to set before you the truth. Please study carefully the following points about belief and its relation to truth.

Believing Something Does Not Make It The Truth

The aged Jacob believed the story his sons told him which insinuated that their brother Joseph had been devoured by an evil beast (Gen. 37:31-35). So sincere was Jacob in that belief, and so emotionally moved by what he believed, he rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, mourned for many days, and refused the comfort offered by other members of the family. Young Joseph was not dead although his ;father sincerely believed he had been killed. Joseph was very much alive!

Saul of Tarsus strongly and earnestly believed in his early life that Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, not the real Christ. He "verily thought" that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus (Acts 26:9). Saul's belief that Jesus was a fake did not make Him a pretender.

Truth is not determined by what someone chooses to believe. One may elect to believe the Book of Mormon, but that does not make the Book of Mormon true. One may choose to believe that the Pope of Rome is the Vicar of Christ, but believing it does not make it so. Some people believe man has the same nature of a beast and no other nature, but their belief does not make it true that man is wholly a material being. A lot of people believe miracles are being performed today (tongues, healing, prophecy, etc.), but their belief, which sometimes moves them in emotional experiences, does not make it true.

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Two Men Attend Worship Services

by Bill Hall


Two men attend worship services. The first man attends wholly out of a sense of duty. He understands the teaching of Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” and is determined to obey faithfully that teaching. He will not allow anything within his power to stand in the way of his attending the worship periods of the church.            

 The second man recognizes his duty in this matter too, but his primary motivation in attendance is his love for the Lord and his joy in blending his voice and heart with other Christians in praise and adoration to the Lord. He delights in worship and the spiritual strength he derives through worship.

 The first man is mentally passive throughout the worship service. If the words of the song happen to catch his attention, he observes and appreciates them. Otherwise, he just sings along with little concern for what he is singing. If the sermon is interesting, he listens. Otherwise, he just relaxes, and hopes the time won't drag too badly. He does meditate briefly concerning Christ's suffering and death as he partakes of the supper, for somehow the importance of the memorial feast has been impressed upon his mind.

 The second man comes mentally prepared to worship. He pays close attention to the words of each song and makes the sentiment of the songs his own sentiment. In fact, he sometimes studies the words of frequently used songs so he will be sure he understands their meaning. Depth of meaning is of greater importance to him than a catchy tune or rhythmic beat. He listens to each phrase of the prayer that is led, and if he can approve the petitions of the prayer, he unites with the one who leads with his "Amen." He discerns the Lord's body as he breaks bread, and he listens carefully to the sermon, volunteering his attention, hiding the word in his heart, that he might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11). If his mind wanders occasionally, he brings it back to the worship. He worships with a consciousness of God as the object of his worship, the One toward whom these expressions of adoration are directed.

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by Jeffery Kingry


A wise man once said, "A man's character is the sum of all the decisions he has made in his life." When we discuss character, and what makes people what they are, we overlook this simple fact. Have you ever wondered why some people are nothing while folks from the same background somehow turn out to be just the opposite. I believe the answer lies not in man's environment or his genetic makeup, but in each man himself.

When I was a child a next door neighbor had a Japanese "pinball" machine. A lever was cocked and released and a small steel ball the size of a pea was launched up in the air to come clattering down, bouncing and careening off hundreds of little pins that changed the direction of the ball-till finally it came to rest in one of several cups placed about the interior of the machine. The object of the game was to hit the "jackpot" cup: the hardest cup to reach, right in the middle of the board, guarded on all sides by the pins of destiny. The "way" into the cup was barely large enough for the steel ball to pass. It would be no accident if the ball went in. We used to sit for hours, fascinated with the infinite variety of ways the ball would find to bounce down. On the rare occasion that the ball would hit the "jackpot" cup, we would painstakingly try to recreate the way that we had done it.

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Baptism and How We Read

by Doy Moyer


Think about these two statements:

Baptism has nothing to do with salvation.

Baptism now saves you.

Which is true? I was studying with some who were adamant in their opposition to thinking that baptism was connected in any way to salvation: "baptism has nothing to do with salvation," they insisted. I clarified to make sure of what they were saying; I didn't want to misunderstand. They stressed it: "Nothing" to do with salvation. I wrote it down on a piece of paper, and they agreed. Then I wrote down a second statement: "baptism now saves you." They denied that statement in favor of the first. They were quite clear about it.

I asked them to open up 1 Peter 3 and read. They read out loud. "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you— not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience —through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…" (v. 21).

You could tell there was some discomfort here. I asked, "Now which of these two statements is true?" I was seeking explanation, some way to reconcile the ideas. They doubled down on their position, and without hesitation, affirmed what is not said in Scripture to deny what is said: "The first one. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation." Though I figured that's what they would do, there is, still, always a little bit of disbelief when those who claim to believe Scripture so plainly deny it. They had no explanation at all for 1 Peter 3:21. They didn't try to explain it. They simply denied it.

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Is It Possible to Preach Christ and Not Preach Baptism or the Church?

by Donald Townsley


From time to time men set forth the doctrine that we should "preach Christ" and leave the controversial subjects of the plan of salvation and the church alone. Some say, "just preach the man and not the plan"; others says, "preach Christ and not the church." Their idea is that we can get more people to listen to us if we don't identify ourselves with the church of Christ; people are "turned off" by the church, they say. This doctrine is presently being propagated by some and needs to be examined in light of the word of God. Is it possible to "preach the man and not the plan," or to "preach Christ and not the church"? Let us see what we can learn from God's word.

Can One Preach Christ Without Preaching The Plan?

The first lesson we all need to learn is that Jesus Christ is revealed to us in the word of God, and to fully preach Christ is to preach him as he is revealed in that Word. Christ is inseparably connected with the Old Testament (Lk. 24:44); he was foreshadowed by the Law (Heb. 10:1-4). Christ is inseparably connected with every book of the New Testament. He is the one Lawgiver (Jas. 4:12); the one who authorized it (Matt. 28:18). He is inseparably connected with all his commands, his promises, his warnings, his church, his supper (the Lord's Supper), and his plan of salvation. All this being true, we cannot ignore any pan of what he has said without ignoring that much of Christ. We cannot ignore part of his will and be pleasing in his sight (Jas. 2:10).

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