A Little Compromise

Church of Christ ScripturesOne key difference between the Church of Christ and the Christian church is the use of instrumental music in the worship. The following are two true stories from J.W. McGarvey about his experiences in this matter.

In the 1870’s, J.W. McGarvey was one of the elders of the Lexington Church, and he with the other elders approved a small instrument to be placed in the church building basement for the young people to use to help improve their singing. No one, especially McGarvey, would ever have thought of moving it upstairs to be used in the worship service. They had used only acapella singing as the Bible instructed and had no intention of violating the scriptures.

Years went by and the youngsters grew up and took their places in the worship upstairs. Then in November 1902, a move was made to introduce instrumental music into the worship service. A vote was taken and the result was 370 for, 202 against. What was unthinkable a few years before was now voted in by men, and McGarvey’s conscience would not allow him to remain with that church and he went elsewhere.

While one may admire McGarvey’s stand on principle in 1902, the elders small compromise in allowing that small instrument to be put in the basement in the first place led to the introduction of the organ into the worship service by those who were likely trained by its use in that basement.

In January 1903, at the Pearl and Bryan Street Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas, brother McGarvey was asked to speak and was sitting on the front row next to brother Jesse P. Sewell. He leaned over and said to brother Sewell, “You are on the right road, and whatever you do, do not let anyone persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it.

I have tried, I believed at the start that was the only way to do it. I have never held membership in a congregation that used instrumental music. I have, however, accepted the invitation to preach without distinction between churches that use it and those that do not. I have gone along with their papers and magazines and things of the sort. During those years, I taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who has passed through the College of the Bible. Yet I do not know of more than six of those men who are preaching the truth today. Compromise, even a little, will not work.”

You see, what may seem to be a harmless compromise can lead to things that we never envisioned would occur. We must remain true to the word of God and never compromise in large or small ways. Our actions as Christians will influence others toward the truth or put things in their way that will make likely to stray from the word of God. May we make up our minds never to compromise.

Arlington church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio

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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

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Have me excused!

Bible Scripture TruthDear Preacher,

I know that worship is important, but I think a fellow has the right to miss now and then. The following is a list of reasons for which I think I should be excused:

• 1 Christmas – It’s only once a
year.
• 1 New Years – I need to start off rested.
• 1 July Fourth – National Holiday.
• 1 Labor Day – the Bible commands a day of rest.
• 1 Memorial Day – State holiday.
• 1 school closing – heading to the beach
• 1 school starting – last chance for summer.
• 2 family reunions – one for me, one for the wife.
• 5 out of town games – we support our local team.
• 4 tournaments – one for each sport.
• 1 Anniversary – second honeymoon.
• 5 sickness – one for each family member.
• 3 business trips – have to make a living.
• 3 vacation – 2 week, three weekends.
• 5 bad weather – too hot, cold, ice, snow rain, fog.
• 4 Dallas Cowboys games.
• 2 unexpected company – can’t leave them alone.
• 2 alarm clock failures – not my fault.
• 2 time changes – never can keep them straight.
• 3 house and car repairs – have to do it when I’m off.
• 1 TV special – continuing education.

Total 50

So I have two Sunday’s free per year. I’ll see you Easter and the third Sunday in September unless I am providentially hindered.

If you are traveling in Cincinnati Ohio, here is the schedule for our worship services.
http://www.arlingtoncoc.com/schedule-of-services/

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Heaven or Hell

Church of Christ Bible StudyA man once asked the Lord to know to what heaven and hell might be compared. The Lord showed him two doors. He opened one of them and found a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the man’s mouth water. But the people sitting around the table appeared thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. Each of them had a long spoon strapped to their arm and each found that while they could easily reach the pot of stew and take a spoonful, they could not get the spoon back to their mouth because the handle was too long. There was misery, suffering, cursing, and anger – the man shuddered at the sight. The Lord said – “You have seen something like hell.”

When the second door was opened, the man saw a large table like the first one, with another delicious pot of stew that made his mouth water. The people there had the same long handled spoons attached to their arms, but they were well fed. There was joy, laughter, talking, and praising God here. The man was amazed – “What made the difference, I don’t understand.” “It is simple”, said the Lord. “It requires only one skill – that they learn to feed each other. The greedy think only of themselves, but those who would please the Lord have learned to think of their neighbor.”

It has been said a friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. Others say that ‘true friends’ can be recognized because they always hold hands – but true friends don’t need to always hold hands because they know that the others hand will be there when they need it. Read Matt 25:31-46 and Rom 12:9-21.

John 15:12-14 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Cincinnati Ohio church of Chirst

How to Truly Live a Happy Life

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Judging Matthew 7 1-6

Church of Christ Bible LessonRead Matt 7:1-6

There are many who have taken the first part of this passage and tried to say that we cannot make any judgments about anyone. It is true that the Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) and that if we claim to be without sin, that we deceive ourselves (1John 1:8). So if we have all sinned, on what basis are we to sit in judgment on another?

Paul points out – Rom 2:21-22 “you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” What Paul is teaching in the passage is what Jesus is saying in the passage in Matthew – if we judge someone else to be guilty when we are doing the same things, then we are condemning ourselves.

Jesus said that we should ‘Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.’ (John7:24) It is easy to judge someone based on their appearance or on preconceived notions. But this very instruction by Christ implies that we MUST make judgments.

We are told to use the right standards when we judge (James 2:2-4) Remember that it took a vision from God to convince Peter that it was acceptable for him to go preach to a Gentile for the first time. (Acts 10) and later he had to explain this to the Jewish believers back in Jerusalem who questioned his actions (Acts 11).

Some presume that all judging is wrong, but that is not the case. Jesus told us to make judgments that are right and based on evidence. Matt 7:15-16 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will know them.” And we are warned in 1John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” How can we watch out for false teachers if we cannot make judgments about them? The question is not whether or not to make judgments, but rather what standard is to be used in making them.

Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” That is the standard on which we are to base our judgment – the word of God. Jesus told us that it was to be the final authority –John 12:48. If we use the words of the Bible as the basis for our decisions about ourselves and others, and do not hold others to a different standard than we do ourselves, then our judgment will be right. It will not be us making the judgment, but God – and His judgment is always correct!

church of Christ in Cincinnati Ohio

What is the church of Christ all about?

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Types of Givers

Church of Christ Bible LessonsFlint

To get anything from flint, you have to hammer away at it. And even then, you only get sparks. It gives nothing away if it can help it, and if it does- it is with a great display.

Sponge

To get anything from the sponge, you have to squeeze it. It is good natured, yields to pressure, and gives more, the more it is squeezed. Still, it must be squeezed.

Honeycomb To get anything from the honeycomb, one takes what flows naturally from it. It gives freely, without pressure or begging or badgering. Unlike the others, the honeycomb is connected to life. It is constantly being renewed.

Those who are like the honeycomb give because they are aware their lives are constantly being regenerated and their resources being replenished as they are given away. Prov 19:17, Matt 10:42, James 1:17, 2Cor 8:1-5, 12-15 When we are connected to the Lord, the giver of all things, we can never run dry..We will receive in the same manner in which we give – 2 Cor 9:6 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

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Seeking Treasure

Church of Christ Bible StudyMatt 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy , and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In the East, a man’s wealth consisted of fine, costly garments, stores of grain, gold, silver, jewelry, or fine furnishings. All of these would be tempting to insects or thieves and are difficult to preserve. Jesus taught His disciples that real wealth is not found in physical things – Luke 12:15.

Jesus is not saying not to lay up treasures, but rather to lay them up in the place where they will hold their value. The heart and a person’s treasure are inseparable. Whatever we place a high value on, we will spend our time and energy on. As Christians, we are to have a different value system than that of our neighbors. Mark 8:36-37 points out that the most valuable possession we have is our soul. That is where our priority must be !

So how do we ‘lay up treasures in heaven’? The only way is to send them on ahead. (1 Tim 6:17-19) And in Matt 10:42, Jesus tells us that we get a reward for even the giving of a cup of cool water. We are just the stewards of the things of this earth – they all belong to God. But a steward who uses his master’s goods for his own benefit is not a good steward. The ones who are rewarded are those who use the good to gain more for the master – Matt 25:20-21 We need to use what we have in this life wisely, to benefit and glorify God, in order to gain treasures that will last through eternity.

Are you buying quality merchandise; building up treasures that will last forever ? One day this world and all that is in it will be burned up – 2Pet 3:9-11 “The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be ?”

Will your treasures be secure in heaven on that great day ?

This devotional provided by Arlinton church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH

What is the church of Christ about?

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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

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Judging Fairly Matthew Chapter 7 1-5

Judging Fairly
Judging Fairly
Matt 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ ,when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye
.”
Jesus is appealing to the highest ideals of the rabbis. The Jewish rabbis taught that there were six great ‘works’ in this life: studying the scriptures, visiting the sick, showing hospitality, prayer, educating children in the law, and thinking the best of others. Think of how often you have misjudged others or been misjudged by them. Our judgment of others is faulty because we do not know all the situations, background, and especially their motives -1Cor 2:11. We know what they did, but not WHY they did it. We may not know the facts they faced, or the strength of a particular temptation.

It is impossible for us to be completely impartial in our judgments. We are swayed by attraction or repulsion by certain people. The Greeks would sometimes hold difficult trials in total darkness, so the defendant could not be seen or recognized, and only the facts considered. Only one who is totally impartial has the right to judge, and since none but God is impartial, only He can make right judgments.

Jesus is teaching that no one has the right to judge or criticize another unless he is prepared to do better in the same situation. Please note that Jesus is not condemning all evaluations of whether an action is right or wrong. What He is condemning is the hypocritical evaluation of others. We are told to discipline the erring brother – 1Cor 5. That requires that an evaluation be made of actions, but it is not being made on the basis of our own thoughts, but on the comparison to God’s standard of conduct for us in His word. If we use His word, then He is judging – not us – and His judgment is just. We cannot condemn others, but we can condemn their actions when they violate the word of God. That is the duty of Christians – to apply the words of the Bible to the things we see happening around us and speak out in defense of God and His standards. We can ‘judge’ properly if we use His judgments, not our own or those of society. We are to try to help others live in harmony with God’s will by pointing out what He expects. But we must also apply those same principles and laws to our own lives. Let us examine our own lives first in the mirror of God’s word. James 1:23-25.

Gospel Lesson by the Arlington Church of Christ Located in Cincinnati, Ohio

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Name It, Claim It

Bible Scripture TruthThere are those who teach that if one has enough faith , they can ‘claim’ God’s promise to give us whatever we ask for in prayer. They use verses like mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Does the Bible teach that we can have anything we want as long as we believe it strongly enough? Is God presented as a genie who will magically grant our wishes if we just have enough faith?

Verses such as Mark 11:24 and Matt 21:22 follow the accounts of the disciples having witnessed a miraculous act done by Christ. They marvel and Jesus tells them that they too can do great things if they have enough faith. This is what James is describing in James 1:5-8. The lesson is that God will not answer a prayer offered in doubt or insincerity, not that God will give us anything. Note what the following scriptures say about the ‘requirements’ of acceptable prayer:

James 4:2-3 “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures.” Our requests must be made with the proper motives.

John 14:13-14 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Our requests must be something that will bring glory to God, not just comfort or pleasure for us.

1John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” In order to receive what we ask for, the request must be made in accordance to God’s will. (Remember Jesus’ prayer in the garden –‘Not my will, but yours be done’)

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you what you ask in my name.” In order to receive our requests, we must be bearing the fruit that He commanded us to bear. This is why God granted the requests of Jesus – Heb 5:7. God heard the prayers of Jesus because He was always doing the Father’s will.

Even Jesus did not always receive what He asked for. In the garden, Jesus prayed three times for another way – He ‘named it’, but God did not give His Son what He asked for. Instead, God gave Jesus what He needed – Luke 22:43. Jesus turned the request over to God – Your will, not mine be done. The same is required of us as we come to God in prayer. We turn our requests over to His will and He will give us the peace we need to deal with the answer we receive – Phil 4:6-7. Understanding that God is in charge and loves us and gives us what we need when we obey Him and follow His word will allow us to be content whatever answer he gives to our prayers. Phil 4:11-13 Do you have that contentment?

Arlington Church of Christ in Cincinnati Ohio shared this devotional lesson. Thank you.

Church of Christ Acapella Singing

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