December 27, 2009

When – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

This is the time of the year that we reflect on the things we have done and the things we have not done. Sometimes the things we have not done give us greater remorse than the things we have done and should not have done. I’m reminded of the passage from James 4:17, “Therefore, to him that knoweth  to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

So, the question we have to ask ourselves is when are we going to start doing the things we know we ought to do? If you’re like me, you can think of a lot of reasons why you didn’t do what you should have done or wanted to do. It was called to my attention once when I was reciting the list of reasons why, that these were nothing more that excuses. “Reasons” sound a lot better in terms of soothing our consciences than “excuses,” don’t they?

Do you remember the words of the Lord when one said that he would follow Jesus but first wanted to return home to say goodbye? Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) At first this may seem harsh, but in reality Jesus was teaching that we always can think of reasons (excuses) to keep us from doing what we know we should do. He knew that the man would find other reasons not to follow once he had returned home, it is our nature.

As this new year is just around the corner and we start making our New Year’s resolutions, let us think on the words of James and our Lord’s teaching. Let us resolve not to just resolve, but to act.

May the Lord continue to bless us as we carry out his will and to do good to all, especially to those of the household of faith. Amen.

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As a thief in the night – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).  A thief does not call you on the phone and tell you that he is going to rob you tonight.  When he robs you, you wake up in the night and he is there.  The same will be with the appearance of the Lord at His second coming.  No one knows when our Lord will come again.  It will be a total surprise.  Jesus says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).

When our Lord comes, it will happen in a split second.  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).  We must constantly be prepared for the Lord’s coming again.  We will not have any time to get ready or change after He does come.  “Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3).  We must be ready now.  “Behold, I am coming as a thief.  Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).  “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).

Our Lord’s coming will be a great and wonderful day for those who are prepared, but for those who are not prepared it will be horrible and beyond description, since it will be the beginning of their eternal punishment.  “The Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).  Everyone will know when our Lord does come the second time, because “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).

There will be those members of the Lord’s church who will then discover they are lost because of their unfaithfulness and other sins of which they have not repented.  But it will be too late then to get one’s life right.  “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:41-43).  Notice there will be those who will be gathered out of His kingdom, the church, and be cast into the eternal fires of Hell.  These are members of the Lord’s church who are going to be lost in Hell.  They are servants of the lord.  Jesus is telling us that we had better listen up.

But why are some members of the Lord’s church going to be lost?  “But his lord answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy servant.  And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:26, 30).  These are members of the Lord’s church who are going to be lost because they are unprofitable and lazy or they have wickedness in their lives of which they have not repented.  We must repent of any sin in our lives and get busy now in working for our Lord.

When our Lord does come, this earth and everything in it is going to be completely destroyed.  This world will no longer have a use in God’s plan.  “But the day of the Lord will come a as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:10-11).  Let’s get ready now and stay ready.  Are you ready?

December 22, 2009

Tis the season to be jolly – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:38 pm by kdkelly

This is the time of the year that we hear songs sung again and again about the birth of Christ, goodwill toward men, and many other songs that make us feel good. But, I’m reminded of the words of Paul who wrote to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) There is no special time implied for this. We are to rejoice always. We as Christians, above all people, should feel the need to rejoice the whole year around. The lead article in today’s bulletin pointed out that Jesus based his teaching on the two greatest commandments – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37,39) There is no special time of the year for this either. This week many “CEO Christians (Christmas, Easter and Occasionally) will attend the church of their choice. This is not what the Bible teaches. God does not want us to worship him on a few special occasions. The special occasion he has in mind is the first day of the week where we remember His son’s redeeming death on the cross, not his birth. His birth is important because it fulfills prophecy and begins his journey as man on earth (Emmanuel—God with us) where he was tempted just like we are but without sinning. May God bless us as we worship him on the day he has chosen and in the manner he has chosen.

Moving toward a personal restoration – Steven Cuffle

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:36 pm by kdkelly

Throughout history, there have been groups of individuals who saw an evil somewhere in their lives and attempted to end it by moving toward an ideal. In 1776, there was a group of people in New England who started moving toward an ideal in government. They believed that there was a correct and simple way for a government to operate and serve it’s citizens. When they sprung into action, they left nothing intact that conflicted with this core philosophy—including their current government. Likewise, sometime around the 2nd century B.C. in Judea, there was a group of individuals who reacted against the invasion of Greek philosophy and culture into Jewish religion. They focused their efforts on finding what God was teaching through the Torah and removing everything else. We know these people, who loved God and the Scriptures, as the Pharisees.

Over time, the tendency is for these groups of individuals moving toward an ideal to become something entirely different that originally intended. In the New Testament, we can see the disastrous results of allowing a group of individuals who are moving toward a good, sound ideological goal to become a religious movement. The Pharisees, who started out with a great love for the Scriptures and their teachings, changed fundamentally over time; rather than searching for the meaning of the Biblical texts, they began to turn to traditional explanations and understandings. They began to rely on their customs so much they refused to accept that something in their traditional understanding could be incorrect. They stopped looking at the text and started to look at what they were taught about the text. When Jesus came and attempted to stretch and change their understanding, they were so intolerant and inflexible toward Christ that they broke like a tree which refuses to sway in a windstorm. When they broke, the crucified the son of God.

It ought to scare us when we realize that there is something in existence today called the Restoration Movement. While we all ought to be moving toward a restoration of pure and simple Biblical truth in our lives, we must never become members of the Restoration Movement. A movement seeks to sustain and perpetuate itself; we should be seeking to sustain and perpetuate the truth found in the Scriptures. If we find ourselves members of and supporters of a movement, when the Scriptures conflict with what we believe, rather than changing who we are and what we do, we will, like the Pharisees and Sadducees before us, invalidate the word of God in order to keep our traditions.

How can we seek to make sure that we are following the Bible and only the Bible? How can we guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus? We must question everything. We must ask questions that have “been settled,” and we must refuse to accept answers that do not come completely from the Scriptures. Thomas Jefferson said, with regard to government, that every generation needs a revolution. In religion, every person needs a restoration. Every one of us must desire and yearn for the pure milk of the word. Even those who have experience with the word of God and have moved on to meat should long for milk in some regards; we must not ignore the “elementary principles” once we have moved on to maturity. Think about this, what goes better with a giant T-bone steak that a cool glass of milk?

Christians are people who have been bought by the blood of Christ and born again through the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:23). What kind of respect do we show to God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit when we refuse to hide the word in our hearts so that we might not sin? If the Scriptures really are more valuable than gold and more desirable than honey, why would we trade the truth of God for cheap gimmicks and the traditions of men?

Jesus Christ was a restorationist. He went back to the root of the law and based all his teaching on the two greatest commandments. Will we have the courage to do the same? Will we have the courage to really believe the Bible and only the Bible? If we are to support pure, simple, Biblical Christianity, then those are not only things we should do, they are things that we must do no matter the effort, no matter the pain, no matter the cost. We must take up our Bibles and follow Christ alone.

December 21, 2009

It is written – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:12 am by kdkelly

Paul wrote to the Romans, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; …” (Romans 1:20). While it is true we can see the handiwork of God in nature and through the process of reasoning come to the conclusion that there is a God, we cannot learn much about him just by walking in the woods or looking at the sky. In fact we might draw the wrong conclusion about him if we only take into account floods, hurricanes, tornados, droughts and any other occurrence in nature that has an unfortunate outcome.

Our introduction to God comes with the very first verse in the Old Testament as written by Moses. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Moses goes on to recount God’s dealing with the early patriarchs through the flood, the calling of Abraham and the promises made to him, the near sacrifice of Isaac, and the establishment of the nation of Israel through Jacob. Through all these and many other scriptures we learn who God is, his power, and his love for mankind.

We can turn to the 36th chapter of Job where Elihu speaks with Job about God. He begins by saying, “Behold God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.” (Job 36:5) The whole chapter is a wonderful description of God. The words of Elihu continue into the 37th chapter and he concludes with these words, “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.” (Job 37:23) A reading of Psalms further increases our knowledge of God where he is lovingly described by David.

Turning to the New Testament, we learn of his son. John wrote of Jesus, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) We are only able to know about God and his person by the things that are written about him.

It’s not just reading everything that is written about him, but the things that he has intended to be written about him. While there are many wonderful things written about him by men, we can only be certain of the truthfulness of the things written if they were written by  his apostles and prophets as guided by the Holy Spirit. We are familiar with the passage from 2 Timothy which reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17) Doctrine is teaching and the teaching is about God and his will for us. Through reading the scriptures we are made complete, or perfect as the Kings James reads, thoroughly prepared for every good work. For we know that, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

What we know about Jesus is written in the New Testament and in the Old Testament too. Jesus spoke to his disciples after his resurrection saying, “…These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45)

Jesus knew what the scriptures taught and used them to resist temptation. Remember when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness? “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward ahungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4)

However, it is not enough to know what is written in some of the scriptures, but we need to know them all. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:5-7) From this example we understand more clearly the words that are written in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Perhaps a better translation of that last phase is “handling aright the word of truth.” In either case the meaning is certain that we should know the scriptures, know what they mean, and know how to use them to guide our lives. We don’t want to stand before God and be ashamed that we didn’t know what he wanted us to know.

Handling aright the scriptures is not always an easy thing to do. Peter wrote, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16) That is why we need to study the scriptures often and thoroughly. Let us not rely on what men say and write about God and his son for our faith, but rely only on what God has revealed to us through his word.

December 7, 2009

We Must Declare The Whole Counsel Of God – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:17 pm by kdkelly

     Teaching and preaching God’s word of truth is very important.  Because of it or the lack of it, one’s eternal destiny is determined.  We are to “Buy the truth and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23).  Let no one deprive you of the truth.  Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).  Our preaching and teaching must be balanced to include all of God’s word.  Paul told the Ephesian elders, “I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).  In preaching and teaching God’s word, we must never shun any of it.  If one does, he will have the blood of lost souls on his hands.  The Lord will hold him responsible.

     God in speaking to Ezekiel says, “When I say to the wicked, you shall surely die, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.  Yet if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).  We must always be determined to stand up for the truth.  We must never shun to fully proclaim any of God’s word.  If we do, others will be lost in their iniquity, and we will be held accountable and we could also lose our own souls.  This is serious!

     As one swears in court “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”, we today must do the same in teaching God’s word.  God in “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).  God has given us everything we need to know so we can be pleasing to Him.  Jesus says, “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).  Jesus wants all of His word taught and observed, and nothing to be left out.

     “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It takes all of God’s word to make us complete.  If God did not want us to teach and obey certain portions of His word, He would not have given it to us.

     Why do people refuse to declare the whole counsel of God?  Why do we have indistinctive preaching and teaching today, which would be readily accepted in any denominational church?  It is because they want to be popular and “politically correct”.  Jesus says, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).  Is it because they don’t to make waves or rock the boat?  Is it they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?  Are they afraid?  Are they not convicted and committed to faithfully teaching God’s word?  Or is it they don’t really care if those they are teaching are eternally lost?  If one does truly care, he will teach the whole counsel of God.  There is really no difference in one shunning to teach the whole counsel of God than in one teaching false doctrine.  Both will cause people to be lost and the one responsible will be held accountable for his teaching or lack of teaching.

     Worldly and sinful influence has a way of altering how one thinks.  Our society is becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.  Many in the Lord’s church are moving toward liberalism and are ashamed of what God says in the Bible.  We must never be ashamed to teach any part of God’s word.  Jesus says, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in His glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).  If the Lord is ashamed of us, then most likely we are going to be lost.

     In shunning to teach and preach the whole counsel of God, many no longer teach what God says about: the oneness of the church, denominationalism, the role of women in the church, instrumental music in worship, marriage divorce & remarriage, adultery, dancing, drinking alcohol, and many other unpopular subjects.

     In our teaching and preaching we must boldly stand up and refute all error.  We must ask God as Peter and John did, after having been arrested and threatened for teaching the truth, to “enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).  We must “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3).

     Elders, preachers, and teachers are all responsible for declaring the whole counsel of God.  Elders are ultimately charged to spiritually “feed the church” (Acts 20:28), “for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account” (Hebrews 13:17).  Elders will give an account to the Lord on the Day of Judgment for what they did or failed to do.

     Preachers are charged with proclaiming the full and complete will of God.  Paul told Titus to “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15).  Preachers are to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2-3).  All of God’s word is to be preached when people want to hear it and when they don’t want to hear it.

     Bible class teachers must insure they faithfully teach all of God’s word to their students, “which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).  We must not alter the truth to suit ourselves and others.  We must “not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2).  When one shuns to declare the whole counsel of God, he is diminishing ought from it and is disobeying God.  If a preacher or teacher holds back the truth because someone will not like it, he is not qualified to preach or teach God’s word.  We must boldly declare the whole counsel of God, so we can be pleasing to Him and go to Heaven with those whom we have faithfully taught.

December 3, 2009

God’s Family – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:47 pm by kdkelly

I trust everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Our family certainly did. It was a time for family to gather together and talk about things that happened over the last year since we last met. If your family is like ours, many of us do not see each other except on special occasions like Thanksgiving, other holidays, or funerals. The older we get the less often we seem to find time to be together. That makes the time we do spend with each other more precious. It also gives us time to think about those who are no longer with us. They have gone on to their reward. Nevertheless, we are thankful for all that they did for us and with us before they left to be with the Lord. When we consider those who don’t have family nearby, it makes us realize what a blessing it is to have loved ones to share special moments with.

We share time with our spiritual family too. Sometimes this is more rewarding than the time we spend with our earthly families. I took time this week to think about all those in my spiritual family for which I am thankful. Have you ever taken the time to think about everyone who has done something for you? It doesn’t have to be anything big—it may only have been a smile when you needed one. What a joy it is to have brothers and sisters in Christ who care about you and for you. There is no other group of people that does so much good than our spiritual family.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-8)

Paul was beloved by the Ephesians too. After he had called for them to meet him at Miletus and spoken plainly to them, they kneeled down to pray with him. “And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the word which he had spoken, that they should behold his face no more.” (Acts 20:37-38)

It’s not unusual for Christians to have feelings such as Paul expressed. If you have moved from place to place and left behind Christians of like precious faith, you know how he must have felt. There are times we long for the companionship of those we have worshipped with in other places. Each of them has a special place in our hearts for the good times and bad times we shared. A bond develops with those you assemble with week after week to worship the Lord and to  spread the gospel.

Some of us have even had to leave behind our earthly family because of our obedience to the gospel. But we take comfort knowing that we have another family. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel’s sake, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30) Our spiritual family is much larger that our earthly family. And it is this family, working and worshipping together, that will help each other get to heaven.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;” (Romans 12:10) We are kind to one another and it goes beyond just kindness. It is an affectionate kindness which shows a tenderness which is often seen in our relationship with each other. We honor one another by acknowledging the value  each of us has in the sight of God.

Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is fundamental to our faith. John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another”. (1 John 4:7-11) “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)

I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who not only hear the word of God, but do it. They bring to life the word’s of Christ who said, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)