Church of Christ
Mission USA

How Important Is Bible Study?

by Bill Crossno

            Each congregation is obligated under the "Great Commission" to "teach all nations," baptizing those sufficiently taught and receptive to the teaching, further "teaching them to observe all things" commanded by the Head of the Church (Matthew 28:19-20).  Life eternal is predicated upon "knowing" God and His Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:3).  Paul counted "all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8).  Christ has placed several agencies of activity in the church "for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-13): that is, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  A proper understanding of the purpose of each one of these activities sheds light on the fundamental and primary work of the church, the development, training and guidance of men and women into Christian personalities in "the stature and fullness of Christ."

            The ultimate purpose is to make perfect men and women in Christ, to develop Christian personality, and to guide them into proper services.  The purpose of the church is to secure within individuals and society an ever increasing practice of the attitudes toward God and man that were revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.  There is no other single general idea of the work of the church which comes nearer being embracing than the idea of it as an educating process. Properly understood, the Bible School is the church at work in its educational process.  No single aspect of the congregational program is unaffected by the Bible School (Hebrews 5;12-6:l).

            Statistics are replete in attributing the greatest percentage of growth as coming through the Bible School program.  More than eighty per cent of those baptized have been taught in the Bible classes.  The most casual observer sees that the Bible School attendance affects the number at the preaching service and the days contributions.  Lethargy, indifference, lukewarmness, worldliness, materialism, etc., which face the church of today, are problems which can be dissolved by teaching or greatly minimized, to say the least.  People become no better than they are taught and rise no higher than their desire to emulate truth (II Tim. 2:15; II Peter 1:5-11; 3:18). ♥

How Evangelistic Are We???

by Perry Sexton

            I heard a sad story awhile back that I think needs to be told throughout the brotherhood.  A church member who lives in an area where the church of Christ is very numerous told about receiving a visit from a lady of the Jehovah Witnesses.  In the conversation the lady said that all the time she had lived in that area (I think it was about 50 years+) no one from the church of Christ had ever knocked on her door!  If this is true it is to our shame!  It is easy for church members to get caught up in the evil position of thinking: “We pay the preacher to do our personal work.”  And it is easy for preachers and whole congregations to get caught up in thinking the radio or tv evangelists among us are doing all that is necessary. 

            It may be time to awake!!!  The Jehovah Witnesses and other erring religious groups are going as IF they had the truth while many of us who have the truth are not!  Are we that far from the Bible?  Certainly it would be good for us all, individually and as congregations, to examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5) and compare ourselves to the churches of Asia (Rev. 1:4; 2:1ff) and see which one we may be like.  Many have let slip (cp. Heb. 2:1) the mission our Lord gave to us.  Many among us are concerned with only “keeping house” or in their own “parish” and will not “Go” outside their area to spread the gospel.             Our God is interested in the salvation of all people and we, as His people must have the same mind in us as well.  Upon visiting one congregation the preacher asked me to speak at the evening services.  When I told him I would like to present our mission work along with the lesson, he nearly jumped out of his skin back peddling to keep me from preaching so I could not tell of our mission work to the church there.  Is that the mind of God?  And what about those congregations with thousands of dollars “rusting”?  Something is terribly wrong!  Are we truly serving God or self? ♥

Examining Self

by Perry Sexton

            Paul admonished the Corinthians, which by extension applies to us: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (II Cor 13:5).  Jesus stated a most serious fact of life in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

            There are many things to beset us from a faithful walk before God.  We must "walk circumspectly" (Eph. 5:15).  It is so easy to be caught up in the many snares of the devil: unbelief in any area (Heb. 3:12,19; 4:6,11 12:1); fleshly sins and pride of life (I John 2:16); covetousness (Col:3:5); doctrinal error passed on by tradition or some new doctrine (Matt. 15:9), etc.  It is often all so easy to close our eyes and to justify ourselves in whatever pleases us, or others whom we may desire to please (cp. Luke 10:29; 16:15).  Brethren, let us truly seek to please God in all things, not self or any other man (I Thess. 4:1).

            You have heard how one lie calls for another lie.  If brethren will not repent of one sin they will invariably commit other sins in covering up their first sin (cp. David, II Sam.11:1ff).  Error, of course, is a lie.  Brethren if we ever find ourselves changing, perverting Scriptures in order to justify ourselves or a doctrine held, it is past time to examine ourselves.  It is amazing and sad to me how that erring brethren do exactly like denominational people do: change Scripture after Scripture in order to justify “their own doctrine.”  Anyone who has dealt with denominational people and erring brethren know this to be true. 

            If they will not repent they will either lock up, i.e., not deal with the Scripture and not answer you or they will begin twisting other Scriptures to justify their error.  We all need to remember that error is damnable and all liars and those who twist the Scriptures will be lost (Rev. 21:8; II Peter 3:16).  Let us be very careful not to follow family, friends, church members, or anyone in error.  And know that if an interpretation of a complicated verse calls for a twisting of a simple verse we have a wrong interpretation.  Let us truly put God first. ♥

BADGE OF DISCIPLESHIP

by Perry Sexton

            Webster defines badge as: (1) a distinctive token, emblem, or sign worn to show rank, membership, achievement, etc. (2) any disting-uishing mark, sign, or symbol.  Webster also defines disciple as: (1) a pupil or follower, of any teacher or school of religion, learning, art, etc.

            So what is the BADGE OF DISCIPLESHIP of Christ?  Is it some insignia made of gold?  Nay, but much more than that.  It is "brotherly love."  Jesus said, "By this  shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).  Jesus is saying that people can identify us as His followers IF we have "brotherly love."  It is so important that Peter said, "see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently" (I Peter 1:22).  And John wrote: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (John 3:17-18).

            It is sad, but many of God's people today love only in word.  It is a feigned love (cp. I Peter 1:22) and not pure, nor is it "in deed."  Many brethren use the word "love" lightly and loosely, claiming great love with their tongue.  Where is the evidence?  Where are the deeds, the proof of love? (cp. II Cor. 8:24).  Let us all grow in true love and concern one for another.  Please read also these verses in their context:  Rom. 12:10;  I Thess.  4:9; Heb. 13:1; II Peter 1:7. ♥