Spiritual Surgery

Church of Christ Scripture Readins, Bible Lessons and SermonsMatt 5:27-30 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for the whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for the whole body to go into hell.”

Jesus sets a new standard for His followers. The other rabbis urged their disciples not to participate in sinful acts, but Jesus tells His not to even think about them. Jesus is teaching that a defiled heart is one that looks at ordinary things and uses them as an occasion to stimulate sinful desires. What ‘cure’ does He suggest?

Spiritual surgery – anything that is a cause of, or a seduction to sin, must be cut out of life. The type of thing Jesus is speaking of is described by the Greek word “skandalizo” and refers to a baited trap or snare. Anything that is a temptation to us, or incites us to sin is to be ruthlessly rooted out of our lives. Any habit, association, or pleasure that leads us astray must be removed. But how can a person shut those things out of their mind? It cannot be done by simply saying ‘I won’t think about such and such.’ The more we try to not think about them, the more we do. How can we defeat the forbidden thought?

1) Fill you mind and heart with good thoughts – be so busy with the good that there is no time for evil thoughts. (Phil 4:8, 2Cor 10:4-5)

2) Fill your life with activities that glorify God and promote Him. Much of Jesus’ life was spent simply going around doing good. (Acts 10:38) Just thinking about God’s word is not enough – we must put it into constant practice. (James 1:22, 1Cor 15:58) Keeping busy leaves no time for these problems. (2Thess 3:10-13) it comes down to a decision for spiritual surgery. Will you work to remove those things from your life that tempt you and draw you away from God? Those are the things that make you a slave to Satan. Rom 6:16 “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Do you need the spiritual surgery of a “heart transplant” or a renewed mind ? Jesus can give you the power to live as he commands when you are willing to yield your will to His. He is the great physician and has the cure for all our problems if we simply follow His instructions and stay under His care.

http://www.arlingtoncoc.com

Bible Study Website

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Soul and Spirit

Arlington Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OHIn Hebrews 4:12, the writer says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The distinction between the soul and spirit is very difficult, yet we are told that the word of God is powerful enough to do it. Most seem to think that the two are the same thing, yet this verse indicates that while they are similar that there is a difference.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary – “Soul” has two meanings in scripture: 1) That which makes the body alive (life in the physical body) and example is found in Gen 35:18 …”As her soul was departing – she named her son Ben-oni.” 2) The inner life of a person, the personality. An example of this use is Gen 2:7 “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” The word ‘soul’ can refer to either physical life or the spiritual life depending on the context. In the verse – Matt 16:25-26 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” The same Greek word translated ‘life’ in verse 25, is translated ‘soul’ in verse 26. In verse 25, it is referring to the physical life, and in verse 26, to the spiritual life.

“Spirit” comes from the Greek pneuma which means breath or wind. It refers to the vital principle given by God, the ‘spirit’. It is the part of man that is made in the image of God. It is used in verses like Gen 2:7 “ the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life, and the man became a living soul.” Also see Heb 12:23
The scripture says in James 2:26 “the body without the spirit is dead..” which indicates that although the body may die, the spirit lives on. The spirit is the part of man that is made in God’s image and lives eternally. See Ecc 12:7 So the ‘spirit’ is the part of man that lives on, while the ‘soul’ (physical life) can die. See Josh 10:28, Josh 11:11 KJV

These two words are so closely associated though that distinguishing between the two is very difficult. In some passages, the word ‘soul’ is used to mean the spiritual life that continues on after death, and not just the physical life. So it may be said that the ‘spirit’ is the eternal part of man, made in the image of God, that will live forever in either heaven or hell. The ‘soul’ is the resulting life in the body, and may refer to either the physical life or the spiritual life in the new spiritual body (depending on the context). The body is made ‘alive’ by the combination of the soul and spirit. 1Thess 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body, be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

church of Christ near me in Cincinnati, OH

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Sowing and Reaping

Arlington church of Christ, Cincinnati, OhioOne of the unchanging laws of God is that we will reap what we sow
Gal 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Our own sowing actions will determine the harvest that we reap. If our minds are on material things and fleshly desires, then we have determined the harvest ourselves and we can blame no one else. Those who choose to ignore God and live according to their own dictates can anticipate a harvest of eternal separation from the God they chose to ignore. The Lord said in Prov 1:24-31 “But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I will in turn laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when disaster and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”

Those today who live lives following the immoral practices of the day will be the disappointed and disillusioned men and women of tomorrow. Many expect young people to ‘sow their wild oats’, and those same people expect to somehow avoid the consequences of those actions. But no one can sow wild oats and expect to harvest salvation. Unless a person turns to God in repentance and change their behavior, we will have to reap the harvest of every sin that we commit. God will not be mocked – 2Cor 5:10 We cannot expect to live in sin and somehow hide it from God – Num 32:23.

If we want the spiritual fruit of peace, happiness, security, and salvation, then we must sow good spiritual seed. Many waste years when they should have been sowing God’s seed, and then act surprised when they do not receive the desired rewards at harvest time. The prophet Hosea said in Hosea 8:7 “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” This is what many will find at judgment day- we will reap at the harvest what we sow now. Paul told those in Thessalonica – 2Thess 1:7-9 .. “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”

What seed are you sowing? Will you get the harvest that you desire?
http://www.arlingtoncoc.com/churches-of-christ/a-call-for-new-testament-christianity/ located in Cincinnati, OH

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Make the Effort

Make an Effort
Make an Effort
Of all the people that you have met, who would you consider to be the most important? While those we contact in this life may have a special place in our lives, the ultimate privilege that we have as Christians is to know the all-powerful creator of the universe. He alone can give us the security and peace of an eternal life. Paul recognized the greatness of this relationship when he wrote in:

Phil 3:8-11 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I might gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

More than anything, Paul wanted to know all he could about Christ. Yet many today live as unbelievers, missing the blessings of being in Christ and destined for an eternity in hell. Some never know God because they have never heard the gospel, while others have heard but are simply not interested. Still others try to ‘discover’ God in nature or art or other physical pursuits, but no one can know God without knowing his Son Jesus. (John 14:7-10)

But knowing God involves a price, and many are not willing to pay the cost. Some are baptized, but then drift back into the world because they are not willing to devote the time, prayer, and study that it takes to really know God. The scripture says they are worse off in this state than they were at the beginning. (2Peter 2:20-21) The disciples spent almost every minute with Jesus for three years and yet they didn’t fully understand all he was teaching them. Why should we think that spending a few minutes once a week will allow us to know God? It takes time to communicate, and it takes effort to learn all we can about the Lord.

Heb 10:23-25 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Will you make the effort to know Christ? Will you spur someone else to learn more about Christ?

Arlington church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio

Acapella singing in the church

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Forbidden Anger

Church of Christ ScripturesMatt 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother ‘Raca’, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says ‘You fool’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

In the Greek, there are two words translated as ‘anger’. One is ‘orge’ and refers to violent passion, indignation, long-lived vengeance and wrath. The other is ‘thumos’ and refers to anger that flares up quickly and quickly passes. Jesus forbids ‘orge’ that broods, is unforgiving, refuses to be pacified, and seeks revenge. We must banish that sort of anger form our hearts. (Eph 4:26-27) Jesus got angry, but the anger was at the hardness of hearts, not some personal insult or injury – mark 3:5. The Jewish teachers said that there were three classes that went to Gehenna – the adulterer, the one who shames his neighbor, and the one whom insults his brother’s name. Anger shows up in a person’s speech.

The term ‘Raca’ was always said with the attitude of contempt. It meant brainless idiot, empty-headed, or blunderer. It was said from a sense of superiority due to birth, money, or supposed knowledge. God said we should never look with contempt on any person for whom Jesus died -2 Pet 3:9.

The term ‘You fool’ comes from the Greek ‘moros’ and is not a criticism of the intellect, but rather of the morals. It was used to describe someone who had lived an immoral life. To call someone a ‘fool’ was to take his good name and reputation from him, and cast doubt on his moral character. Jesus said that the gravest thing one can do is to destroy another’s reputation. The gossip that destroys people’s reputation is a hell-deserving sin.
So what Jesus is teaching is this: In the judgment of God, long lasting anger is bad, contemptuous speaking is worse, and talk that destroys a person’s good name is the worst of all. The man who does these things may never commit murder outwardly, but he is a murderer at heart. Matt 18:1-6

May we think on the responsibility we have for our words – Eph 4:29-32 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it might benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

http://arlingtoncoc.com

Christian Sermons




Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Fasting

Church of Christ DevotionalsMatt 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men that they are fasting. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it is not obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father , who sees what is done in secret will reward you openly.”

Fasting was an essential part of religious life in Eastern countries. For the Jew, there was only one compulsory fast – the Day of Atonement – Lev 16:31. But the religious Jews made great use of private fasting. It was the custom to fast from the death of a relative until the burial, or to show sorrow for sin, or as an appeal to God in times of physical or spiritual need. Occasionally a time of fasting would be declared for the whole nation as a sign of national repentance – Judges 20:26.

While fasting was supposed to represent devotion to God and repentance for sins, it had the potential to be done for improper motives. One might fast as a sign of ‘superior piety’ – Luke 8:11-12. One might fast to show others how ‘devoted’ he was in order to gain their praise and admiration. So Jesus warns His disciples about fasting for the wrong reasons.

While we as Christians are not commanded to fast, there are some practical reasons to do so:

• healthy eating habits – makes us think about what we eat
• self-discipline – we learn to deny ourselves and break habits
• it teaches us to distinguish between needs and wants
• it teaches us appreciation of what we have
• it makes us more sensitive to spiritual things by sharpening senses

Jesus condemned the wrong kind of fasting- when it was done for outward show. But nowhere does the Bible encourage Christians to avoid the practice of fasting. We would do well to consider our own situation, and if fasting would help us get our lives into the proper perspective. However, we must follow the instructions of Christ and do it privately, so that it will not be obvious to others. Fasting is to be between the individual and God. In fact, Jesus condemned any religious practice when it was done for show. If we do things to impress men, we will get no reward from our Father. (He knows our hearts and our motives) What would the Lord say about the way that you ‘practice’ your religion? Is your heart right with God?

church of Christ Cincinnati, OH

Bible Study Lessons




Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Baptized….Again?

Church of Christ ScriptureBaptized … Again ?

Is it right to accept as members, those from a denomination who want to place their membership with the church? This question comes up when a person who has been baptized in a denominational church. Then chooses to attend the Church of Christ and wants to ‘place membership’ or be identified as a member of the local congregation.

The scriptures are clear that one must be baptized in order to have their sins forgiven. ( Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1Pet 3:21, Mark 16:16) And it is also clear in the scriptures that it does not make a difference whom does the baptizing as long as it is done in the proper way (immersion) and for the proper reason (in order to have one’s sins forgiven). If a person was baptized in the right way for the right reason in a denomination, and sees the error of that denomination’s teachings and seeks fellowship with the Lord’s church, there is no reason not to accept them just as the Lord does – Acts 2:41, 47.

The real question is, did the denomination teach the truth about baptism – most of them do not. And if a person is taught incorrectly, can their baptism be right? For example, if the denomination teaches that a person is saved before they are baptized (by saying a ‘sinner’s prayer, or by simply accepting Jesus into their heart- both of which are never found as the way to ‘be saved’ in scripture) – and that baptism is optional or that it simply puts one into the church then can their baptism be valid?

If a person was baptized as a baby or as a young child, (they may not even remember their baptism) – the baptism is NOT valid because the scriptures teach that only one who can believe in Jesus and repent of their sins can be baptized per the scriptures.  A baby obviously cannot do that, and a young child is unlikely to be able to do those things that are necessary for themselves as the Bible points out in Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19, and many other examples throughout the book of Acts. If a person had water sprinkled or poured on them for baptism, their baptism is NOT valid since the Biblical method of baptism is immersion (burial) – Rom 6:3-5, Col 2:12, Acts 8:35-39. And if a person was baptized not knowing why they were baptized, that baptism is NOT valid for there can be not belief and repentance without understanding. (Acts 19:1-5)

But if a person was baptized by immersion understanding that is was done in order to have their sins forgiven, having believed in Jesus as God’s Son and repented of their sins – then they HAVE been properly baptized and are accepted by the Lord. No one except God can look into the heart of a person to know what understanding they had when they were baptized. But if a person comes from a background where the truth on baptism is not normally taught, they need to examine their own baptism in the light of the scriptures. If after doing this, the person insists that their baptism was proper, then we must accept their word for it – after all, they will answer to God for their decision, not to us. But if there is the slightest doubt, they should be baptized properly to gain the confidence that they have indeed obeyed the Lord’s command!

Church of Christ Scripture on Baptism




Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

What is the Church of Christ?

What is the Church of Christ and its History?

The church of Christ is dated back to the times of the New Testament (Romans 16:16).  The Christian church was founded by Christ on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 33 (Acts 2), shortly after Christ’s ascension back to heaven.  In the following years, rapid growth took place that filled Jerusalem, back then Judea, Samaria and eventually the entire Roman Empire (Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23).  In the US, the first churches of Christ were established in the late 1700s.  This movement was created through the need to live life through the Bible according to Bible scripture and Bible ways and call Bible things by Bible names (cf. 1 Peter 4:11).

 

Church of Christ Beliefs and Doctrine Through the Bible

The church of Christ believes Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30-31), that the words of the Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and that Christ will return to take His kingdom home to God (1 Corinthians 15:24).  The church of Christ emphasizes:  sincere worship (John 4:24), every-member evangelism (Acts 8:4), godly living (Titus 2:11-12), love for each other (John 13:34-35), and helping people in need (James 1:27).

The church of Christ believes that the Bible teaches sinners are saved by learning of Jesus, confession of Jesus and baptism into Jesus (John 6:44-45; John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38).  The church of Christ is a non-denominational church that is organized with elders, deacons, preachers and members, duplicate to the church created in New Testament times (Philippians 1:1).  There is no governing body on earth higher than the local congregation itself.

 

The Church of Christ – A Place for Everyone

Christ’s church is made up of diverse people and backgrounds (1 Corinthians 12; Galatians 3:27-28).  All members, no matter their ethnicity, economic level and educational background, are welcome and made to feel comfortable during times of service.  Truly, everyone is welcome to join in our worship services.

 

Family and Bible School is Emphasized

Bible school is a high priority with the church of Christ.  It is a God-given responsibility to share the teachings and scripture of the Bible to church visitors, members and especially the children.  Children are important and the church of Christ assists parents in revealing to them their purpose and destiny through the scripture.  Children should learn about their Creator, Redeemer, Lord and Savior early on in life (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Matthew 19:14).  Children have been birthed into confusing times in this world.  Bible school and classes will ground them and learn the truth and depict right from wrong.

 

Beautiful Singing (a capella – without musical instruments)

The entire congregation sings a capella just as it happened in New Testament times (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).  Guests to the church of Christ may sing along or feel free to listen and take in the meaning of the song.  Many first-time visitors compliment on the beautiful sound of a cappella singing and find it easier to focus on the words and meaning without the distraction of musical accompaniment.

Videos of a cappella singing at different church of Christ congregations.

 

Lord’s Supper Observed Every Sunday

The church of Christ observes communion each Sunday, just as it was done in the New Testament times (Act 20:7).  Commemorating Christ’s death and celebrating His promised return, is a highlight of the weekly worship services.  “This Do In Remembrance of Me”

 

Bible-Based, Centered Around Christ, Heaven-Bound

When visiting a church of Christ, you will be surrounding yourself with like minded people who want to learn more about the Bible and Christ’s teachings and following the instructions and lessons to prepare yourself for Heaven.  Every sermon, lesson and class will based on teachings based on the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Visitors and members alike are encouraged to bring along their Bibles and follow along with the quoted scriptures and versus that back the lessons and sermon being taught.  Christ is exalted through prayer, songs, sermons and the way we live our lives (Colossians 1:18).  The beautiful promise of heaven for God’s faithful children lends an air of hope throughout the church during worship (Revelation 21).

 

 




Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube