Taking Personal Responsibility

Pointing at ManIn a time of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, we are more cut off from others than we had been previously. Obviously, there are challenges to this type of social arrangement – including spiritual challenges. One such challenge is that it is increasingly important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our faith and our standing before God. Paul mentioned this idea in his letter to the brethren in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Paul wanted these brethren to maintain their faithfulness even when he was absent from them and could not encourage them in person. The reason for the lack of in-person interaction is different today. And, of course, Paul was only speaking of himself as being absent from them; the brethren in Philippi were still together. However, the challenge described by Paul is the same. We must maintain our faithfulness, even without the in-person encouragement we are used to receiving from other Christians.

In this article, we are going to notice why personal responsibility is important, some ways in which we are to take personal responsibility, and also why taking personal responsibility should never cause us to think that isolation from fellow Christians is to be preferred.Continue Reading

A New Covenant (Sermon #40)

A New Covenant (Sermon #40)

 
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A New Covenant (Sermon #40)

We’re in between season 12 and season 13. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on January 27, 2019 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

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Church Membership

Church Attendance Board

The term “church membership” is not used in the New Testament. However, it is certainly a Scriptural concept. Paul clearly taught the concept of church membership in his letter to Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:14-30). Notice the following verses in particular:

For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:14).

But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:20).

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

In this article, let us consider the topic of church membership. As we do, we will ask three questions: (1) What is church membership? (2) How do we become members? (3) What are members to do?
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Joshua Circumcised the People

Crossing the Jordan River

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.’ So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.

This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.

Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day” (Joshua 5:2-9).

After crossing the Jordan river into the land of Canaan (Joshua 3), but before conquering the first city (Joshua 6), the Lord commanded Joshua to circumcise the sons of Israel. It is important that we understand the reasons why this was done because their physical circumcision is parallel to our spiritual circumcision. Let us consider some lessons that we can learn from this account.
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“Do Not Be Conformed”

Do Not Be Conformed

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Paul warned the saints in Rome that they were not to be conformed to the world. Why was such a warning necessary? What is it that makes conformity to the world such a temptation for Christians? And why does the world want Christians to conform? We will consider these questions in this article.
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Bringing Up Children in the Lord (Part 6): Raising Children to Be Christians

Bringing Up Children in the Lord

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in truth” (3 John 4).

Though the passage above refers to Christians in general, the principle certainly applies to the relationship between parents and children. As parents strive to “bring [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), the ultimate goal is to lead them to the Lord. Naturally, parents will hope that their children enjoy good health and a degree of prosperity in this life. But in the end, what matters most is that their “soul prospers” as they walk “in the truth” (3 John 2, 4). So in this final lesson, we will focus on raising children to be Christians.
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The Application of Wisdom: Teachings About God (Part 1)

Notes on Proverbs

The final point of application in our study of Proverbs has to do with God and our relationship to Him. The entire book of Proverbs has been a discussion of the wisdom that comes from above. Of course, the source of this wisdom is God Himself. But without understanding God and our place before Him, it would be difficult for us to find sufficient reason to trust that His way is best and live our lives according to it. Therefore, we must understand God to fully understand the importance of the wisdom contained in this book.
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