Church of Christ
Mission USA

The Day of Rejoicing

by Perry Sexton

            The word rejoice occurs 192 times in the KJV.  There is much for which the Christian has to rejoice.  To name but a few: life; the beauty of God’s creation; the physical blessings; the incomprehensible love of God; the many spiritual blessings and precious promises; and that glorious hope of Heaven.  Yes, in life on earth the Christian has much for which to rejoice (Phil. 3:3; 4:4).  But even in death there is exceedingly much for which the Christian should rejoice (Phil. 1:23; II Tim. 4:6-8).  However, there is much sadness for the family and friends at the time because of the separation (cp. Acts 20:25,37).

            John says of the faithful: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).  And Paul encourages with these words: "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Rom 8:17).  We cannot imagine “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (v.18).  Also the beautiful words penned by John: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev 21:4).  As our Savior emboldened:  "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:" (Mat 5:12).

            Are we ready for that day?  Let us be certain that it will indeed be a day of great rejoicing for us.  Let us "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Heb 3:6).  As we look for that day let us truly: "Set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2).  "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" (Titus 2:13).  Heaven will surely be worth it all! ♥

Church Building Syndrome

by Perry Sexton           

            We all know what a church building is and maybe even “too much so.”  Some new converts out of a denomination may equate the church to the church building.  Others also, perhaps out of laziness of speech (?), refer to the building as the church.  For example: “Let’s go to church”; “Time to get ready for church”; or “Would you like to go to church with me.” We need to be careful with our speech (cp. Neh. 13:24 and context).

            But there are other problems associated with church buildings.  I am not speaking of the construction of, or the upkeep of the buildings which are necessary.  I am speaking of  spiritual problems.  Some seem to put far more emphasis on the church building than they do on evangelization and other works of the church.  The thinking of some are along these lines: We have given our money and/or labor to build the building and maintain it, and if the lost want the gospel they should “come” to us.  So we do our “duty” and invite them to “come.”  That is not God’s way!  Of course we should invite all to our services, but that alone is not carrying out the Great Commission.  The Lord said for us to “Go” (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15).  And that is never going to change (Matt. 24:35).

            God knows the lies that have been told by some brethren trying to “get around” doing the Lord’s will – justifying themselves.  I heard of a missionary seeking support from a congregation and one spokesman of that church said, “We can’t give any money because the roof may need replacing.”  He did not say “does need replacing,” but “may need replacing.”  This is like the member who did not attend worship services because: “I may get a head ache.”  Of course, some day the roof will need replacing and a host of other things will need to be done, but if we allow such mundane things to hinder us from carrying the gospel throughout the world we are in a very sad state.  It is hard to imagine members of the Lord’s church with such attitudes.

            On the other hand I heard of a congregation which could not afford a preacher, so they borrowed money against their building in order to help support a preacher who was willing to work with them.  Which is more important, a preacher or the building?  I know of a congregation which had its beginnings in an old small boarded garage with many cracks in it.  One Sunday morning it was about 20 degrees inside it.  There are many such stories.  How did the church where you attend begin?  Did it begin with a building, or with the gospel?

            Do we put our buildings above carrying the gospel to the whole world?  If we had to make a choice between our building and carrying the gospel to the lost, what choice would we make???  The beauty of it is, we can have an adequate place to meet and also preach the gospel to the whole world.  We are well able to do so because it is the Lord’s will!  And who can be against usbut our own selves (Rom. 8:31)?  Satan!  But who is Satan compared to our God (I John 4:4)?  We and we alone make the choice: believe and obey God or be hindered by the devil.  Let us choose to wholly follow God (Num. 32:12).

            Some seem to think the power of salvation is in the building, of course they would never admit it, but actions tell the truth.  It is hard for some to imagine anyone being saved without a church building.  We read of many being saved in the New Testament without a church building, but some think it cannot happen today, but it does!  We need to remember the power of God (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 3:6,7).

            I am certainly not against church buildings.  I have labored on several church buildings and have given money, above our regular contribution, to help build church buildings.  There is a need for a meeting place and most of the time I think it is more feasible to own than to rent, etc.  But we must keep our priorities right!  Do we put the kingdom first or the building?  Do we “seek” the lost or just provide them a place to “come” and hear the truth?

            What we think of ourselves and what others may think and say about us is not necessarily what the Judge knows about us.  Compare:  "... I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev 3:1).  On the other hand there may be those who think a certain church is dead because they meet in an old church building, rented place, their houses, or are very small in numbers, but the Lord knows.  Consider: "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Rev 2:9). ♥


Garland Robinson

            Without a doubt, this generation is one of the sloppiest {this article was written 16+ years ago}.  I’ve known members of the church that go to worship Sunday or Wednesday night after being with their cattle or horses and never even change boots after they have stepped in the wrong place! I’ve attended church programs and seen young people dressed like they were going to paint a house or work in the garden. Surely, God deserves better than that. There is a time to play but there is  also a time to worship. There’s no reason or authority to mix the two.

            I Timothy 2:9 speaks of adorning one’s self in “modest apparel.”  Modest apparel not only describes being clothed so as not to cause one to “look and lust” but means: “well arranged, that which is seemly.” Therefore, one’s dress is to be orderly, in good taste, in such fashion to cause one to be well respected, highly thought of.  We should not dress “for show” but neither should we dress as to hinder the cause of Christ in not showing due respect and reverence due our Lord.

            Ephesians 4:1 says to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Wherever we are we represent not only ourselves but Christ and His church both in attitude and action. Sloppiness shows an attitude of laziness and carelessness.  We ought to be more careful how we dress. Doesn’t our Lord deserve the best we have? Shouldn’t we dress neat, clean, and appropriate for the occasion? A good guideline to follow would be how we dress at funerals, weddings and court appearances. Why do some show more respect for the dead or civil authority than they do a holy occasion of worship before God? Show God and Christ the respect they are due!

            How would you dress if you had an appointment with the President of the United States? Don’t you think you would put on the best you have?  I think so!  Why not do the same with the appointments we have before God?  It’s before Him that we will one day stand and be judged according to what we have done in this life (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Romans 14:12; II Corinthians 5:10).  Are you ready for that day?

            People who go to church services dressed like they are going to dig potatoes ought to show more seriousness and soberness toward their appearance. This is an appointment with the King!  But many will continue to please themselves and offer God what they choose. ♥