Every Good and Perfect Gift

Sunrise over the mountainsAs human beings, we have a tendency to compare ourselves with others. We want to be better or better off than those around us. If we do not believe that we are, we can become frustrated and unhappy. This is often true when it comes to our physical possessions. We want to have what the other guy has. We often compare ourselves to those who have as much or more than we do. But if we stop comparing ourselves with others and consider the blessings we have, we can easily see how blessed we are.

To keep things in their proper perspective, we need to remember the source of our blessings. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). God knows better than we do what is good for us. He has promised to provide us with our necessities if we follow His will (Matthew 6:25-34). But He has blessed us even above our necessities. He does so according to His will (James 4:15). We should not feel cheated if God blesses someone else more than He does us. Instead, we should be “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God” (Ephesians 5:20).
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White-washed Tombs

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

In the days of Jesus, there were sects within the Jewish religion. We frequently read of the scribes and Pharisees questioning Jesus. In Matthew 23, Jesus exposes the flaws that were prevalent within these sects. Among the flaws exposed, their hypocrisy is compared to white-washed tombs (Mt. 23:27-28). Though the Pharisees outwardly seemed to be religious and righteous, God knew their hearts were not truly religious and unrighteous. Their appearance and what was truth were two different things, thus being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is not a problem of the first century; but is a problem still prevalent today.
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Sing to Me of Heaven

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

We have sung the song “Sing to Me of Heaven” several times in our lifetimes. I feel that many individuals just sing the song without looking at the words and the message we need to be teaching one another as we sing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). The point of the song is to excite every Christian of the home that will await those who are faithful to the Lord. Just imagine what it will be like there to be reunited with other saints who have fallen asleep, to feel no more pain, and to never more have to face temptation. That is what we need to be thinking about when we sing such songs like “Sing to Me of Heaven.”
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Will Only Members of the Church of Christ Be Saved?

A common criticism about those who are members of churches of Christ is that “they think they are the only ones going to heaven.” It is likely that we have heard this or something similar to it before. The important question for us to answer is not whether people are making this claim or not. We need to be answering the question, “Is it true that only members of the church of Christ will be saved?” The answer to this question, as well as any Bible question, will not be found in the opinions of you, me, or any other man. The answer is in the word of God.
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Fellowship, Just a Social Gathering?

[This article was written by Justin Monts.]

Today when we hear the word “fellowship” many say they already smell the coffee and donuts. It is sad that the Bible concept of Christian fellowship has been diminished and distorted as to mean nothing more than food, frolic, and fun. I once asked a man where his authority for the so-called “fellowship hall” was and he replied, “I believe we have authority for the fellowship hall in the command to fellowship.”
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The Soul Who Sins Will Die

Ezekiel 18:4

God’s word teaches us that we are individually accountable before Him: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). This passage shows us that judgment is certain. We “must” stand before Christ in judgment. This is not something that could happen but something that will happen. Reward or punishment will be meted out to “each one…according to what he has done.” When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will stand there and be judged alone. We will not have any family, friends, or church to lean upon. We are accountable as individuals and will be judged as individuals.

An Old Testament passage that discusses this idea is Ezekiel 18. It is true that the law has changed and that we are no longer governed by the Old Testament (Hebrews 8:8-13). However, even though the law may be different, our responsibility before God in judgment is not. Therefore this passage presents helpful points for us to consider today. It also provides a good outline for our study.
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The Strait and Narrow

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: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, KJV).

These familiar verses are a portion of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). He was teaching the multitudes at this time about the coming kingdom of God. He showed them the character of one who would be part of that kingdom so they would be prepared when the time came. These two verses help show the type of person who would be Jesus’ disciple and, as a result, obtain salvation.
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