Browse Month: January 2016

Building a Marriage

Building a Marriage
Building a Marriage

God instituted marriage in the book of Genesis because He knew that “it was not good for man to be alone”. (Gen 2:18) Jesus said “what God has joined together, man should not separate”. (Matt 19:6) Yet in our society more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation. The major reasons given for marriage failure are : Selfishness, financial problems, in-law problems, sexual problems, and pornography.

Selfishness is seen in many ways. When the goal of a person is their own pleasure and not that of their mate, the selfishness can rip apart the relationship. A marriage between ‘spoiled’ individuals, where each is used to having their own way is in for a rough time. Marriage is to be like the relationship between Christ and the church – where each gives total commitment and attention to the other. This is only possible when both parties have their first allegiance to Christ, then to each other. Eph 5:28-33

Money and problems with its use are usually involved somehow in marital discord. Failure to understand the proper use of credit has lead to many divorces. Parents need to teach the necessity and importance of paying debts on time. Rom 13:7-8 Society promotes the concept of covetousness in young couples who feel that they need or ‘deserve’ everything right away although it may have taken their parents years to attain some of those things.

Young people must be taught the role of trust and faithfulness in marriage. Many believe that the important things in life are a big house, social standing, fine cars, and an abundance of material things. Hollywood and pornography lead to unrealistic expectations which destroy the marital oneness. A lack of Bible study, and indifference toward God and worship as a couple will cause couples to have few convictions about what is right and wrong in the marriage relationship. The proper place for the fulfillment of sexual desires is in marriage. 1Cor 7:1-5 This is another area in which selfishness must give way to tender, loving care for each others needs.

And each of the parties in a marriage needs to understand that their commitment is now to each other, and not to their individual families. Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” They are to become one in purpose, one in action, one in mind, as well as one in body. The oneness that God intends can be achieved only when the marriage is based on faith in and obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ. Have you obeyed His commands? John14:15 “Jesus said: If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH Arlington Church of Christ

Church of Christ

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

A Curse on Ham?

A Curse on Ham?

Some people will try to use a story from the Bible or a verse taken out of context to explain or justify some prejudice they have with those of another background by saying that God put a curse on them. An example of this is found in the events surrounding Noah and his family after they came out of the ark.

Noah had three sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen 5:32). When they had come out of the ark and things had begun to grow again, the scripture says : Gen 9:18-27 “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan) These were the three sons of Noah and from them came the people who were scattered all over the earth.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backwards and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from the wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said ‘cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers’. He also said ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.”

Gen 10:6 “The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.”

From a careful reading of these verses we see that:
-Ham was the youngest son of Noah -The curse was on Canaan, the son of Ham – not on Ham -The curse was that Canaan was to be a slave to his brothers -Canaan was only one of the sons of Ham
In the tenth chapter of Genesis, we find the names of the sons of Shem, Japheth, and Ham. From these names and the regions they inhabited, it has been suggested that Japheth was the father of the Caucasians, that Shem was the father of the Semites (Jews, Arabs ,and other Eastern peoples), and that Ham was the Father of the people of color (one of Ham’s sons was Cush, Cush was the land of Ethiopia) Because of their own prejudices and a lack of knowledge of the scriptures, some have said that God cursed all black people to be slaves. But as we see, if we read what the Bible says – the curse was not on all of Ham’s children, just one – Canaan. And just as prophesied, when Israel (descendants of Shem) came into the Promised Land, they drove out the Canaanites (descendants of Canaan) and those who remained were made slaves (Joshua 9).

There is no curse on Ham, Cush or any other sons of Ham besides Canaan, and not even on Canaanites today. When Christ died on the cross, he reconciled all mankind. Eph 2:13-16 In Christ there is equality for all who have been cleansed by the blood shed on the cross.

Contributed by Arlington Church of Christ in Mt. Healthy, OH Cincinnati, Ohio 45231

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

A Broken Heart

A Broken Heart is Good?

People have wrestled with the problems of sorrow, pain, and grief for ages. It has led to doubts and spiritual questions, yet the scriptures have a different view of suffering –Ecc 7:3-4 “ Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” And also 2 Cor 4:17 “ For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Then word ‘mourn’ in the scriptures like Matt 5:4, is the strongest word for mourning. It means to wail with unrestrained visible grief. When Jesus said in that verse “Blessed are those who mourn..” what was He teaching? He could mean “blessed are those who have endured the bitterest sorrows that life can bring.” That kind of sorrow breaks us and causes us to understand our total reliance on God. It shows us what is truly important in this life and gives us new perspective. Heb 12:2-3

Jesus could also mean “Blessed are those who are desperately concerned for the sorrows and sufferings of peoples of the world. It is indeed right to be concerned and compassionate with those struggling. Rom 12:15, Gal 6:2
But the main point of Jesus’ teaching is “Blessed is the man who is overwhelmingly sorry for his own sin and unworthiness.” When Jesus started preaching, His message was “repent!” Matt 4:17. Repentance requires a deep sorrow for sin. It requires that we open our eyes to what sin is and to its consequences. When we see the hurt, pain, and disappointments that sin causes, then we can understand Paul’s words in 1Tim 1:15 “here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. Paul had his eyes opened to the horrors of his sin and its consequences. It should break OUR hearts to realize that it was OUR sin too that caused the death of Jesus. True repentance occurs only when the heart is broken and it shows itself in the new actions that we take. Joy is found in gratitude to God for His forgiveness and grace.

Blessed is the one whose heart is broken by the suffering in the world and his own sin, for out of this repentance will come obedience leading to peace, forgiveness, and comfort from God. Do you have that joy that comes from close fellowship with God? Do you need to rid your life of sin? Acts 22:16

Lesson contributed by: Arlington Church of Christ – Mt. Healthy, OH

What is the Church of Christ




Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Asserting Rights

Matt 5:40-41 “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

The tunic was a long, sack-like inner garment. Everyone had one, even the poor had a change of tunics. The cloak was a large, blanket-like outer garment used as a robe by day and a blanket at night. A man usually had only one of these. Jewish law allowed the tunic to be taken as a pledge, but never a cloak. Ex 22:26-27 In an occupied country, a citizen could be compelled to carry the baggage of a Roman soldier for one mile. For many, this served as a bitter reminder of Rome’s authority.

Jesus is teaching that His followers were not to insist on their ‘rights’, or dispute over them. We are not to be thinking of ourselves and what we ‘deserve’, but of the fact that we are called to serve. When an undesirable task is given us, we are to do it as a service rendered to the Lord – not as a duty to be resented. As Christians we need to remember what the Lord gave up for us, and show that attitude of forgiveness and kindness to others.
These are hard lessons. Jesus is not stressing just the outward actions, but also the disposition. A cheek turned, a cloak given, the second mile trudged with hate, resentment, or anger boiling in our hearts yields no benefits to us. 1Cor 13:1 How can we learn to live and love that way? We cannot do it by our own power, but God will allow us to do so by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Rom 5:5 Jesus described it in John 7:38-39. And note Paul’s statement in Romans 12:16-21

The Christian has an obligation to do what is best for his fellow man out of love and sharing what we have received from God. We are to look out for the ‘rights’ of others, use our privileges in a way to bring honor and glory to the Lord, and cause others to be ashamed of their evil ways by our conduct. Gal 5:13-14
In the letter to the Philippians, Paul describes what the Father requires of Christians: Phil 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus.” Does that describe your attitude? Can you lay aside your ‘rights’ that the gospel may be promoted? Is your life in line with the commands and example of Jesus Christ ?

Lesson contributed by the Church of Christ in Cincinnati,OH.

What is the Church of Christ?




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