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Pressing Onward!

by David Lemmons

I read a bulletin this past week which contained an article with the title listed above.  Actually, I receive quite a few bulletins in the mailbox and by Email, for which I am very grateful.  In this particular article one of my friends and fellow preachers in Georgia was exhorting his brethren to become more involved in evangelism.  Just like any good sermon, this article had three main points, each an area in which the need exists to “Press Onward!”  We will not try to consider the entire article, just the first point of it.

I want to share with you a portion of the article (substituting in our name at the appropriate place) and then proceed to encourage all of us to press onward in the same area of work.  Please notice the suggestion our brother makes and if you can see fit to follow it, I think it would be a great blessing to you, to the church here,  and also to many others.  Here is part of a paragraph from that writing…

The number of visitors is a reflection upon the efforts we put forth at talking up the local church, and hence Christ Himself.  We need to start seeing more visitors in our assemblies that are the direct result of invitations to friends, co-workers, and family to attend the services.  Though we do see some of this taking place, it is the exception and not the general rule.  I think we would all agree that much more can and must be done by all [Bellevue Road] members in the area of personal evangelism.  Why not make a commitment today to bring a visitor with you just one week each month?  That is a starting point.  Choose a specific week for this month, formulate a list of prospects, and start making contacts.  Start calling your list until you get a firm commitment from a prospect to visit with you.  You just might be surprised at the good your efforts will bring forth from that simple effort.

Now that sounds like a very good idea to me.  I think it is a challenge which would not be that difficult to accomplish, but which would definitely make a difference if we would all participate in it.

I suppose the opposite of the charge to PRESS ONWARD would be to SLIP BACKWARD.  If that to which we are pressing onward is our goal of going to heaven and taking as many with us as we possibly can, then there is no question which direction we ought to be interested in heading.

I think about Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:13-14… Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  That same spirit or attitude of the great Apostle Paul is the spirit or attitude needed so desperately in the Lord’s church today!  Who can study the life of Paul and not be impressed by his persistent and consistent demonstration of evangelistic fervor?  When I think about the great work done by Paul in spreading the saving message, I surely get interested in what it might have been that motivated him to work in such a dedicated manner.

Two passages come to mind that tell me about what moved Paul to have such great concern for lost souls.  The first would be 2 Corinthians 5:10-11… For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  Paul knew about and preached often about the Judgment Day.  He knew that God is a God of justice and that disobedience to Him could not go unpunished.  Paul’s faithful efforts were toward the end of persuading men to obey Christ.

The second passage that helps us to have a clue as to how Paul was so dedicated to the task of evangelism is, Romans 1:14-15… I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.  Please ponder the words: AS MUCH AS IN ME IS!  As much as was within Paul, whatever it was he had available, he was hoping to use that in preaching the gospel to the lost souls at Rome.  WHY?  Because he felt himself to be in debt to do that thing!  That sense of debt would not be a bad attribute for each Christian to carry, in my humble opinion!  We have good news that is needed by our friends, neighbors, and relatives.  How about it?  Will you accept the challenge my friend Barry set forth in the quotation above?

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Transformed

Transformed into the Image of Christ

by Shane Millard

In my time growing up I have learned many valuable lessons, but some of the lessons I value most come from learning more about something I already knew.  For example, someone understands baptism to be for the remission of sins, but later they realize that it is an anti-type of the salvation Noah had in the flood.  It’s lessons like this that mean a lot to me as I continue to grow.  Today, I hope to share one with you.

I know personally I was raised with the mindset of being a good person, treating others respectfully, and learning God’s word.  All of these were great attributes that my parents worked to instill in me, as I’m sure it was with many of you.  But today I want to go deeper into why we act “good” as Christians and also look at the level of “good” we are trying to reach.

Our first idea we need to understand is that God is good.  When I mean that God is good, I mean that God defines what is good.  He is the One who, by His word, furnishes us “unto every good work” (2 Tim 3:17).  Without God’s determination of what is right and good, there would be no right or good.  Perhaps your parents would try to give you an idea of what they view as good but without God it is only their opinion.

Now what does God view as “good”?  Our passage we will begin with is 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  The point the author is making can be illustrated in a very simple way.  Did you know that our Statue of Liberty in New York is actually a copy?  The first one was made in Paris on a smaller scale and there is another one in Maceio, Brazil.  We received ours last!

As you can see, they are the same image and this is the same idea Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 3.  Just as the sculptor has a particular image in front of him then takes a block and copies it, we take ourselves and transform ourselves into the image of Christ.

Now one other side point is that our lives are moldable or impressionable.  No one is made sinful or righteous, we weren’t fashioned into a particular mold before the world was formed.  Also, we can change the molds we decide to be in.  If we were sinners we can change and form ourselves after the life of Christ.  These concepts are spoken of in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 and Paul shows clearly that if someone wants to change badly enough they can.

Now back to our idea in 2 Corinthians 3.  The application is that we are doing more than just casually becoming “good.”  What needs to be happening in your life and mine is taking the lifestyle of Christ and mimicking it.  Just like the childhood game of copying what someone else says to get on their nerves, we are doing that same thing in regard to all that Christ did-minus the getting on the nerves.

But isn’t that too much to ask of someone?  Isn’t that too much work for the everyday person who has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23)?  I will completely agree that it is difficult, but didn’t Jesus say that some people would be unwilling to take on the demands of being His disciple?  But there are other considerations as well we must think about.  First, God will not ask something of us that we cannot perform.  If God asks us to live like Christ then we can.  Second, the process of transforming ourselves into the image of Christ isn’t something that happens overnight and God knows and understands that.  Just as the sculptor doesn’t conform the piece of stone into a beautiful statue overnight, the person who is in the image of the world will have to work hard and take time to become like Christ.  Here is one of those concepts again that didn’t ever click with me.  In God’s word there are directional commands and absolute commands.  The absolute commands are usually one time commands such as being baptized for remission of sins.  But there are also directional commands that demand we work toward a certain direction such as loving our neighbor as ourselves.  Now as we connect this to our concept, God is wanting us to head in the direction of being like Christ and understands it will take time.

Finally, let us bring this concept home for our lives.  How can I be like Christ today?  First, pray for the strength and dedication to live the “good” life.  Second, learn about who Christ is in His word.  There is no reason we shouldn’t understand the nature of Christ considering the New Testament discusses Christ’s life and nature extensively.  Third, surround yourself with people, entertainment, and influences that will help you learn and develop into being more like Christ.

This is the lesson I learned and that I hope you can see as well.  That when people tell you to act right it isn’t just because “it’s the right thing to do.”  It’s because it’s what Christ would do and as a Christian you have chosen to become what the name describes-one who is like Him.  Let’s take this concept into our study and lives and glorify Christ in our bodies.

My SOURCE: Gospel Teacher, February 8, 2009

Cheerful Giver


Number 0022

Source: Beacon, June 14, 1998
File Under: GIVING, STEWARDSHIP, 2 Cor 9

The Cheerful Giver

by Charles Box

God gives plain and clear instruction on acceptable giving. He teaches both concerning the manner and the amount to be given. God is a giver and He expects His children to give. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The cheerful giver opens his life to many blessings from God. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). Let us learn to be cheerful givers:

THE CHEERFUL GIVER SOWS BOUNTIFULLY…
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). Our giving must be a matter of generosity and not grudging obligation (2 Cor 9:5). The result of bountiful giving is the windows of heaven being opened and an abundance of blessings being poured out; so many the cheerful giver could not receive them all (Malachi 3:8-10).

THE CHEERFUL GIVER PLANS OR PURPOSES HIS GIVING…

Scriptural giving does not happen by accident. It is accomplished by thoughts and design. “So let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Those who make no plans in their giving offer God only the scraps. God expects and deserves more! Let us prayerfully consider our blessings and give accordingly.

THE CHEERFUL GIVER HAS A PART IN GOOD WORKS…
Christians give generously and many good works are accomplished. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Doors are open for benevolence and evangelism. Liberal, cheerful giving makes possible an abundance of good works.

THE CHEERFUL GIVER WILL INCREASE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS…

There is no greater need than the need for righteousness in the lives of God’s people. God increases the fruits of righteousness in the life of the cheerful giver. “(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness)” (2 Corinthians 9:9-10). In cheerful giving Christians come to see righteousness developed in their lives and the lives of others.

THE CHEERFUL GIVER IS A GAINER, NOT A LOSER…

God, in providence, blesses the cheerful giver. “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your good, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11). God blesses us with that which will supply the needs of our own family and also bless others through benevolence and evangelism. God will multiply the seed sown. You give cheerfully and God will help you do even more.

THE CHEERFUL GIVER IS A BLESSING TO MANY…

Christians should stand ready to bless saints and all men. “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for you liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men” (2 Cor 9:12-13). Cheerful giving will lead to God receiving glory. God is glorified when the poor are helped. This glory comes from all who are involved or who know of the things which are done.

THE CHEERFUL GIVER IS MOTIVATED BY GOD’S INDESCRIBABLE GIFT…

The precious gift of Jesus for our salvation motivates our giving. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). God’s wonderful gift stirs our heart to sincerity and cheerfulness in our giving and our service to others. God has blessed us by giving His Son. Let us be cheerful givers also.

Nothing blesses the life of a Christian more than cheerful giving. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). The grace of God and His great gift to us demands our cheerful and liberal giving. Does your giving please God?

Persuaded

Of What Are You Persuaded?


Albert E. Farley The apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11, wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men …” The word “persuade” means “to convince” (Strong), “to bring about a change of mind by the influence of reason or moral considerations” (Vine), and “to seek to win one” (Thayer).

The apostles of Christ dedicated themselves to persuading the lost to obey the gospel of Christ. In Corinth and Ephesus, Paul reasoned and disputed in the synagogues and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 18:4; 19:8, 26. Persuasion is a reasonable plea for conviction and action based on truth. In persuading Felix, Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” Acts 24:25.

Our persuasion must come from the Lord! Romans 14:14. This can be accomplished only by His Holy Word. In Rome, Paul expounded upon and testified of the kingdom of God, persuading the people out of the law and the prophets. 28:23, 24. When false teachers led the Galatians away from God, Paul wrote, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:7-9. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17.

Our persuasion must be in the promises of God. Abraham, who became the father of many nations, believed in hope against all hope. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith and was fully persuaded that, what God had promised, he was able to perform! Romans 4:16-22. He, Isaac, and Jacob saw the fulfillment of God’s promises afar off. They were persuaded of them and embraced them. They looked for the city that has foundations and the country that is heavenly! Hebrews 11:8-16.

Many are persuaded to do evil. The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude to save Barabbas and to destroy Jesus. Matthew 27:20. Wicked Jews from Antioch and Iconium persuaded the people of Lystra to stone Paul. They dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. He was not dead, however, and continued his great and effective work of persuading lost men and women to be reconciled to God. We must not follow a multitude to do evil. Exodus 23:2.

Some people will not be persuaded of the truth. Why? They will not hear and obey the Word of God. When the lost rich man pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to testify to his five lost brothers, Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31. Today, we have the perfect law of liberty in Christ. Will you be a hearer and a doer of it? James 1:25

In order for us to please God, we must come to Him, fully persuaded in our own minds. Hebrews 11:6, Romans 14:5. Paul followed in this example, and so must we. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 11:12. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39.

Dear reader, of what are you persuaded? It is not enough to be almost persuaded. When Agrippa said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” Paul replied, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” Acts 26:27-30. We persuade you to be a Christian, and we persuade you, as a Christian, to continue in the grace of God. 13:43. -Editor

Return to West Virginia Christian

–DRL

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Powerful Preaching–2 Cor 13:1-10

This morning, as I walked, I listened to two sermons I downloaded yesterday from iTunes. One of them was a sermon that I had been privileged to hear LIVE AND IN IN PERSON as it was presented. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to hear it again, and look forward to listening to it in the future. It is the kind of sermon that is worthy to hear more than once.

Through this marvelous technology it is my pleasure to be able to share this sermon with you today and in days to come. Look in the BOX.net box to the right on this page. You may need to scroll to the right in order to get all of the box in view. If you will click on the menu, and select LIST VIEW, it might be easier to find the particular file you want. Kevin’s sermon on “Powerful Preaching,” is listed as: PowerfulPreaching.

The sermon is preached by my friend, Kevin Rutherford, who preaches for the West End church in St. Louis. I have the greatest respect for Kevin. I love all of his family and consider them to be wonderful servants of the Lord. His father and mother are very special people. His brother is doing great work for the Lord in Tasmania.

This particular sermon is an exposition of 2 Corinthians 13:1-10. Kevin has some important things to say about “Powerful Preaching.” I wish all of my brethren would listen to this wonderful sermon. Kevin studied homiletics under Tom Holland. I consider Kevin to be one of the brotherhood’s finest preachers.

A few years ago, I was blessed to team up with Kevin in knocking doors in Tasmania during a campaign in three cities there. It is always a joy to be around Kevin.

Let me know what you think about sharing sermons like this, and I might get in a habit of doing it.

–DRL

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MSOP Lectures on iTunes

In the previous post I included a photo of the place where I walk 4 miles daily. Almost every time I walk, I have with me my mp3 player and am listening to gospel preaching. I am always on the lookout for the source for good audio sermons to instruct me.

Mike McDaniel announced today in the Laborers Together Newsletter that the MSOP lectures will be podcast and available on iTunes. Evidently the first ones available are the most recent, 2007 lectures on the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians.

I went to iTunes today and was able to download 43 of the 55 mp3 sermons listed. There was some problem with twelve of the files–maybe they have not yet been uploaded. Since I have high speed internet, this did not take long at all.  You can find these mp3 files by CLICKING HERE.

I look forward to listening to these good sermons. If all of the lectures are eventually made available, there should be enough sermons to last me several more miles!

–DRL

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