October 31, 2010

If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

As we mature into adulthood, sooner or later it occurs to us that if we are going to make anything out of ourselves, we are going to have to show some initiative and take things into our own hands. We certainly get help along the way, but it still comes down to our doing something on our own. We have to make a conscious effort to get out of bed in the morning and go to school or work. We have to decide whether we are going to be a good student or worker. It is up to us to decide and carry through with it.

God provided the plan of our reconciliation to him and our salvation before the foundation of the world.  (Ephesians 1:3-5). Christ said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). The plan is in place and the invitation given. If we are to become reconciled to God through the blood of his son and become one of his children, each one of us must make that decision. If it is to be, it is up to me.

Man’s Natural Condition

We know that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). Our sin separates us from God and therefore we need a redeemer. We are in a state of unrighteous

righteousness. Paul wrote to the Romans, “…for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” (Romans 3:9-11) It is not God’s fault that we are lost in our unrighteousness (James 1:13-14). We are drawn away by our own lust. God is able to save us if we will let him. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2) If it is to be, it is up to me.

What Must We Do?

If it is up to me to be reconciled to God, what do I have to do? Will the Spirit whisper in my ear to tell me exactly when, where and how I have to act. No, I have to do it myself and start at the beginning. I first must believe that he is. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) That faith comes from a diligent study of God’s word: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy 2:15) If I want to become righteous in the site of God, I must believe that he is able to do all those things he has promised man to do. (Romans 10:10, 2 Timothy 1:12).

We have to stop listening to the world that tells us there are many ways home to God. There is only one way. “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). “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12) It is up to each one of us to stop listening to the world and listen only to God through his word.

To Be In Christ

If we are to enjoy the benefits of being a child of God, we must first become one. And, yes, if it is to be, it is up to me. We must be “in” Christ. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1-6 )

It is by the grace of God that we are saved through faith.(Ephesians 2:8) This faith is an obedient faith which leads us to  repentance. When we have become obedient to God’s will as did Jesus (Luke 22:42), we will put his Son on in baptism, we will be in Christ, and we will become his child. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

To be in Christ is to have access to all spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) It is up to you. Amen

 

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October 24, 2010

Like Sheep – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

The Bible often refers to man metaphorically as sheep. This is because sheep go astray and are need of a shepherd. I don’t know what is about sheep that causes sheep to wander off, but they do. However, I do know why man wanders off. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-15 )

When Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah he wrote, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

I’m sure you’ve all heard the Little Bo Peep nursery rhyme that goes:

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them,
But leave them alone and they’ll come home
Wagging their tails behind them.

Aren’t you glad that our God is not like Little Bo Peep?

 Little Bo Peep had lost her sheep, and didn’t know where to find them. While we like sheep have all gone astray, God knows exactly where to find us. When Adam and Eve had gone astray, he knew where to find them in the garden. When Cain slew Abel, the LORD asked him, “Where is Abel thy brother?” (Genesis 4:9) It was a rhetorical question because the LORD knew exactly what had happened and that Abel was dead. He said to Cain, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10) 

Leave them alone. God never has left his lost sheep alone. The Psalmist wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalms 139:7-10) Likewise Paul said to the Athenians, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; …” (Acts 17:26-28)

God knew that if he left his lost sheep alone, they would remain lost. From the foundation of the world he had a plan in place to save his people. “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-18) Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10).

And they’ll come home. God knew that left to themselves, his lost sheep would not come home. That is why he sent his son—to redeem his lost sheep and to be that perfect sacrifice through which man could be reconciled unto him. But man didn’t listen. Israel failed to listen to the prophets that God sent to them and they were carried away by the Assyrians. Later Judah didn’t listen and was held captive by the Babylonians for seventy years. When the greatest prophet of them all came to call them to repent and return unto God, they didn’t listen. Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37 ) They crucified him. But he overcame death and rose from the dead to sit on the right hand of God.

He will come again and this time he will be the righteous judge. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:” (Matthew 25:31-33)

Wagging their tails behind them. When man does come home to God, he does so rejoicing. It was so with the Ethiopian baptized by Philip and so it is with us who have obeyed God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 
Where in ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Let us, as sheep who have returned to the fold, rejoice. “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” (Psalms 5:11)—Amen.

October 17, 2010

Our Lectureship Series – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Over the next six days we have five men who are going to do just that. The lessons each day will be taken from the word of God as it is recorded for us in the Bible. Jesus did not speak of himself, “but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50)

The series is entitled “Foundations of Faith” and each speaker will address a topic of their choosing that will provide the hearer with a better understanding of the foundation upon which our faith stands. You will find a list of the topics on page 3 of this bulletin. With the exception of Sunday, the lecture will begin each evening at 7:00 PM. It is our pleasure to offer these lectures for you edification and we pray that you will attend each and every one of them. Why, because, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) You can be assured that the truth will be spoken because each man will base his lecture on the principles contained in the Holy Bible. Won’t you join us? We look forward to seeing you.

October 10, 2010

Forsaking The Assembly, What Does That Mean? – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

You may be asking yourself, “Why is that question being asked when I’ve just read an excellent article about not forsaking the assembly?” I wrote that question because I know it means different things to different people. Some think that they have not forsaken the assembly if they meet with the saints on Sunday morning, sing, pray, give as they have been prospered, and partake of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. I can understand that. I used to feel that way. When I first became a Christian that’s what I did. Then I began to wonder whether I was missing something by not coming back on Sunday night. When I gave it a try, I discovered that I was missing a lot. Then I began to wonder whether a Wednesday night “service” would have any value for me. Surprise! It truly did. My wife, who had been a Christian for many years was very patient with me because she knew all along what I had to discover for myself. I think my story is not all that unusual.

The Psalmist wrote, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Psalms 19:7-10) I found true joy in being with the saints whenever there was an assembly. It is sweet. Why don’t you try it?  You’ll like it and God will be pleased with your faithfulness.  Amen

Forsake Not The Assembly – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

We see that the Christians in the first century “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them” (Acts 20:7). The Christians were steadfast and faithful in their worship of God together.

When we were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins in order to be saved “we were baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13), the church. It was then that “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Act 2:47). We then became a member of “the house of God which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). In being part of the house of God, the church, we are God’s “children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). We then received “an inheritance…reserved in Heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

But we are warned that we can lose our inheritance in Heaven. “Let no one cheat you of your reward” (Colossians 2:18). One of the ways to lose our inheritance in Heaven is to disassociate ourselves from the house of God, which is the church, by forsaking the assembly. We are warned in Hebrews 10:25-27, “Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

The command is not to forsake the assembly as some were doing then, and as some are doing today. Those who forsake the assembly are sinning willfully. If they will not repent but continue in their willful sin of forsaking the assembly, “there no longer remains a sacrifice” that will remove this sin. Even though one may be a good person, if one continues in the sin of forsaking the assembly or any other sin, he will face a certain fearful judgment and a real fiery Hell forever and ever.

Why is it sinful to forsake the assembly of the church for which the Lord shed His blood and died? The Bible says that by forsaking the assembly one “has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). By forsaking the assembly one is saying that he no longer cares to be a part of the church for which Christ shed His blood and died. What will happen to one who continues to forsake the assembly? God says “vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord…it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31). By forsaking the assembly one throws away his inheritance in Heaven and will inherit the eternal torment of Hell.

By forsaking the assembly one is likened to, “a dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having been washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:23). It is sickening to the Lord to see one, for whom He died, reject His salvation and go back into sin. Christ is only the saviour of the body, the church (Ephesians 5:23).

Going to Heaven should be our number one priority in this life. Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). After we are baptized, how do we continue to get forgiveness of sins we commit so we can go to Heaven? “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). To continue to be cleansed from all our sins as Christians we must walk in the light and have fellowship with one another. By forsaking the assembly we are not having fellowship with one another and will not continue to be cleansed of our sins. If we are not being cleansed of our sins, we will die in our sins and be lost (Romans 6:23). We must serve the Lord faithfully which includes our faithful attendance if we want to go to Heaven. Jesus promises us, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

October 3, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

Have you ever considered all the blessings you have in your life? Sometimes we tend to focus on the things we don’t have rather that the things we do. Some of the blessings we have are physical and some are spiritual. Often we have difficulty realizing that and recognizing what those blessings are. However, we can be sure of this, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

Trials and Temptations

There are times when everything seems to be going wrong. Sometimes the question pops into your head, “Why me?” James has written for us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

“Temptations” is sometimes translated “trials” and that seems to be the idea the writer has in mind here. Have you ever heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger?” The temptations or trials we face will often make us stronger. James has this in mind when he wrote that trying your faith works patience. If we face our trials with patience, it will make us complete. Once we have faced down a particular trial, we need not fear that trial again. What a blessing it is to have the Bible to turn to for guidance such as this.

There are several passages that are worth noting when considering how to overcome the trials in our lives. Consider this: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 ) As we approach our trials, we must consider what “seems” the right approach to us, may not be the thing to do. Also consider what Jeremiah wrote: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23 KJV)

If we can’t direct ourselves, where can we turn? The key can be found in Psalms 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path.” We need to search diligently for the solution to our problems in God’s word. We need to have the confidence that God will see us through. Paul writing to the Corinthians said, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). What a blessing this is!

The World We Live In

In the beginning God created the world and it was very good: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) The world then was not the world we live in. Then it was beautiful and all of man’s needs were met. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30)

However, the world did not stay that way because of man’s sin. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and thereafter worked for their food and to bring others into the world. (Genesis 3:16-19) Man continued to sin until God saw that the thoughts of man were evil continuously. (Genesis 6:5) God destroyed the world by water and only eight souls survived. (Genesis 8:15). The world changed dramatically to be the world we live in today. We have evidence of this in the rainbow we see in the sky (Genesis 9:13). And what a beautiful world it is! Just watch God’s creation as the seasons change, as the sun rises and sets, when we watch the birds soaring through the sky. I’m sure you can think of many other things to describe the beauty of our world. We live in a wonderful country and we should not forget what a blessing that is.

The Church

The church is a blessing to us in several ways. As we gather together to worship, we draw strength from one another. (Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:25) We have many examples of how we bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) It can be readily seen that we follow God’s command to love one another(John 13:34), to love him with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37), and to do good for one another as we have opportunity. (Galatians 6:10). What a blessing it is to be a child of God in the church and to have each other.

Salvation

Salvation is the greatest blessing of all. It gives us the hope of a heavenly home and eternal life. (Ephesians 2:8-10) This blessing did not come without a price and what a price it was. Jesus went to the cross for our sins so that we could be reconciled unto God. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:6-10)

So, count your many blessings, name them one by one. God has done great things and will continue to bless us if we remain faithful to him. Rejoice in the Lord. Amen