BulletinGold #194
March 2018  
Vol 18 #3 

March 2018                         BG# 194                         Vol. 18 No. 03
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In this issue ...

 Holding Traditions
By Rob Albright

 The Dangers of Desire
By  Jeff Arnette

 How Dare We Be Indifferent!
By Joe Chesser

 Changes
By Ron Bartanen

 Spirit of Fear
By Travis Robertson

 Crown of Rejoicing
By  Kevin Rutherford

 Lean On Him
By R. W. McAlister

 The Bible and the Olympics
By Bill Brandstatter

 That is Not Being Merciful
By Gerald Cowan

 Give God Your Awe
By Robert E. Guinn

 Baptism and the Grace of God
By David R. Ferguson

 Built Together
By David Bragg

Holding Traditions
By Rob Albright

    Paul told the church in Thessalonica to “hold to the traditions which you were taught” (2 Thess. 2:15). What traditions was he talking about?
    It is important to know that there are two different kinds of traditions. HUMAN traditions can be good or bad. It depends on how you use them. A human tradition is just a way of doing something over a period of time. A human tradition is something that can be changed. Meeting together on Sunday at 11 A.M. can be changed to 10 A.M. without violating any Biblical teaching. The same can be said about the number of songs we sing in our assemblies and the number of prayers offered.
    The other kind of tradition is DIVINE. This is the kind of tradition Paul was talking about in our text above. This is the kind of tradition that has been handed down through the generations by the inspired writers of the Bible. If we choose to change divine tradition we are disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6). Divine traditions teach us what God wants in His church.
    So, following the traditions of the New Testament for our pattern for faith and practice is a good thing. Following the blueprint given by God for building our Christian life and worshiping God is a good thing.
    Also, understanding the difference between and human tradition a divine tradition will go a long way in “keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:2).

- Rob Albright serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/
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The Dangers of Desire
By  Jeff Arnette
 
    The story of First Samuel begins with a godly woman named Hannah and her husband. Her story is one of disappointment, provocation, and an overwhelming desire for a son.
    After much prayer and pleading with God, she gets her son and names him, Samuel. Believing that he is a blessing from God she is moved to give him to God and promises that he will serve the Lord. This is a turning point in the story of Israel and their relationship to God.
    Israel has drifted from God to the point that the priesthood is corrupt. The church, as we would call it, has become like the people and leads the way in sin. God will use Samuel to lead the nation back to faith and correct the corruption of the priesthood. Don’t miss that the story of God working in His people begins with a woman who trusted God and desires something better. God often uses godly women who trust Him to make major changes and lead the way in bringing His people back to Him.
    Once Samuel reaches the end of his life and work with Israel the leaders decide (again moving away from God’s will) that they need to be like everyone else. All the nations around them are powerful. Each one has a king who unites them which causes Israel’s leaders to desire to be like the nations around them. God has worked through Hannah and her son Samuel to bring the people back but now they again desire something other than God.
    This leads the story to the first king named Saul. God had always led the nation but now a flawed human is appointed to lead them. In keeping with their desires for worldliness God allows them to appoint someone who will again lead them away from Him. Saul begins well enough, but the power soon goes to his head and he believes he is in charge. The story of Saul, Israel’s first king, is a story about the dangers of wanting to be like the world. Each successive story reminds us that taking our eyes off God will lead toward failure and sin.
    Eventually, God appoints a king to replace Saul. God allows Samuel to live long enough to anoint a young man named David. While David is meant to be God’s man and lead the nation back to God; he was still flawed. He allows his desire for a woman, Bathsheba, to drive him to adultery, murder, and worst of all, away from God. David was a great king and a godly man who found himself caught up in sin and deceit. The dangers of sin and the desires to have (no matter what that desire is focused on) will always give birth to serious consequences in this life. David loses his kingdom, his family, and the first child born between him and Bathsheba.
    God in his grace, sends Nathan the prophet to restore David. Once restored David regains the city of Jerusalem and builds the nation into a world power. God allows our choices and desires for sin but we have to live with the consequences.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
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How Dare We Be Indifferent!
By Joe Chesser

     It takes me by surprise every time I think about Jesus making a whip out of cords to drive people, sheep and cattle out of the temple, turning over the tables of the money changers scattering coins everywhere. I visualize fire in his eyes and passion in his voice as he said, “Get out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2.13-16). It surprises me because this is not the usual image of Jesus I see. Usually I think of Jesus more as a mild, unassuming teacher moving through the countryside helping those in need and telling them about the love of God. But that may be because that’s the image of Jesus I prefer to see and imitate. That requires less of me than the prophecy the disciples remembered when they stood back and watched as Jesus cleared the temple: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 1.17). It’s much easier to be indifferent.
     As it was in the 1st century so it is in the 21st century. Consuming zeal and passion for the Lord surprises us. It’s not something we see very often in the church, much less experience personally. That’s not to say we are lacking passion, for we all have something we get excited about: baseball … family … camping … cooking … working … money … video games, etc. Jon Bloom wrote, “Passion and zeal are gauges that display what our heart treasures, and therefore what fuels our lives”. The things we treasure are the things we are passionate about. Zeal for the things of God consumed Jesus. Bloom also wrote “Few things expose us more than comparing what God is passionate about with what we are passionate about.”
     This is where we begin to get uncomfortable. When it comes to the things of the Lord, most of us lean more toward indifference than we do zeal. Perhaps we have let the command to be zealous for the Lord slip past us. “Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12.11). This means being passionate for the things of the Lord is not an option for Christians any more than are the other commands in that passage (Romans 12.9-21). Indifference is not acceptable to the Lord … indifference is a sin! The whole church at Laodicea was in spiritual danger because of their indifference (Revelation 3.16). Interestingly, the message Jesus sent to that church was to “be earnest and repent” (Revelation 3.19). Like them, perhaps the zeal we need most is the zeal to repent!
     It is the consuming zeal of the Lord of hosts that offers redemption to lost sinners. God inspired Isaiah to tell of the coming of Christ to rule over God’s kingdom, and explained that the “zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9.6-7). Because of this, God is expecting those who accept his salvation to also be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2.14 NKJV). We can’t be indifferent about God and at the same time be like Jesus.
     Drawing from the zeal of Jesus when he cleared the temple, “How dare we be indifferent!” Our prayer: whatever it takes, Lord, increase my zeal to do your will!!

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com
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Changes
By Ron Bartanen
 
   Politicians promise changes. In all of our lives we find constant change. We never know from one day to the next what to expect. James wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today  or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’:  whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow….” (James 4:13-14a).
    Some changes may be for the good, while others for the worse. Some things, however, never change. The laws of nature, for instance, are constant and unchanging. From creation, a stone dislodged from a cliff would fall 96 feet per second. That has not changed, nor will it. Water, that thousands of years ago would boil at 180 degrees at sea level, will do the same today.
     Some seem to think that God is changeable. Otherwise they would not think to make His word obsolete. However, the psalmist prayed, “You are the same, and your years will have no end” (Psa. 102:27). Moses declared, “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).
     Cultures change. Men are not long satisfied with the statutes of God, and set their own standards of morality and religion, but they have not consulted with God. Men may even redefine marriage, but we needn’t expect God to rewrite His own “dictionary.”
     It is as true today as it was almost 2000 years ago, that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life”, the one way to the Father (John 14:6). It is as true today as it was  in the early days of the church that a response to the gospel by obedient faith will secure the forgiveness of sins and acceptance into the Lord’s spiritual body, the church (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38, 47). Men change, as do their words.  But God does not change, and His word will stand firm forever.

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/
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Spirit of Fear
By Travis Robertson

    A Spirit of Fear?
    Paul’s last letter was to Timothy, Paul’s son in the faith and a younger preacher who had been the apostle’s companion. Read the following words carefully, and discover a problem many Christians face. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7-8). Timothy knew the truth, but circumstances in his life had caused him to withdraw because of his fear.
    Do you stand for the truth or cower in fear?
    Think of the many examples found throughout the Bible where God’s messengers boldly stood for their God and were not at all timid to openly stand for heaven’s saving message.
Nathan
David and Goliath
Daniel
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Jesus
Paul
Stephen
John the Baptist
Etc…
We may not know what caused Timothy’s timidity, but we know so much about others who boldly spoke for the Lord.
    Elijah was not afraid to stand for truth. Who has not stood in amazement at the confrontation he had with the 450 prophets of Baal? How can anyone forget his mockery of them when Baal would not send fire to consume their sacrifice? Paul’s words to Timothy describe him so well—he was not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.
    Are we cowering in fear or are we standing firm, and pressing forward with courage and the strength of the Lord?

- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/
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Crown of Rejoicing
By  Kevin Rutherford

     What is your hope? Perhaps you have hopes for your family and friends. You might even carry within your heart the hope of an eternal home in heaven with God.
     What is your joy? Do you have joy in that which is pure and good and holy? Do you have joy in the sight of Christian families raising their children to love the Lord?
     Paul wrote, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy (I Thessalonians 2:19-20).” Paul’s crown of rejoicing would be seeing his beloved fellow Christians in the presence of Jesus Christ as His  coming. Let us rejoice not only in our own salvation, but also in the salvation of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
     This powerful statement from Paul expressed a deep love for brethren. There is no doubt he wrote these words in sincerity and conviction. What do you suppose could bring Paul to have such strong love and concern for fellow Christians? Is it just that God commands us to love our brethren (I Thessalonians 4:9-10)? No doubt that is part of it, but that love becomes deeper, stronger, more devoted and more committed when we pray for our brethren, fellowship our brethren, and in particular when we serve our brethren.
     Paul poured himself out in his service to fellow Christians (1 Thessalonians 2:14-18). Paul came to the people of Thessalonica with sincerity, with the truth, without seeking glory, and without making demands. He served these people with gentleness and affection all while exhorting comforting and charging them as a father does his own children. This kind of dedicated service to fellow Christians increased the depth of Paul’s love and devotion to them. The more we learn to serve others, the more we will love them.
     Let us grow in the strength of our love for one another by serving one another. Let us look for ways to lift one another up and push each other forward. Let us be able to say with heartfelt conviction that our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing at the coming of Christ will be to see our Christian brothers and sisters with the Lord. May God bless you! To God be the glory!
 
- Kevin Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/
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Lean On Him
By R. W. McAlister

     After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the good news for the Israelites was that they were going to be able to live in nice, furnished houses they didn’t build, drink from wells they didn’t dig, eat from vineyards and olive trees they didn’t plant, and enjoy numerous other blessings they didn’t deserve (Deut. 6:10-11). The bad news was that in order to enjoy all of these blessings – to live in this land which flowed with milk and honey, they had to defeat the Anakim.
     Who were the Anakim? They were a tribe inhabiting the land of Palestine in the south near Hebron. The Bible says they were people of large stature and therefore produced fear among their enemies (Numbers 13:33; Deut. 2:10-11). The key for God’s people in any age to overcome the “giants” they face in life is simply to lean on Him. It was the very character and power of God that would allow them to be victorious.
     How do we handle it when our spouse leaves this world before we do? How do we handle it when we outlive a son or daughter, or someone we love as though they were ours? How do we cope when a beloved parent dies? How do we cope when a spouse suddenly decides one day, “I don’t love you any more?” What do we do when a son or daughter tells us, “I’m choosing to live an alternative lifestyle?” How do we handle it when we’re trying to do what’s right and our parents or other family turns their backs on us? What do we do when our boss comes and tells us we’re fired?
     The answer to all of these questions is the same - we lean upon God for support.
     We need to lean upon the Lord when we weep. When hardships befall us, we can become angry and turn to the world, or we can turn to God. When people turn to the world, they turn to drinking or drugs, or to an immoral lifestyle. Every bad situation in life that we encounter can either cause us to become better, or bitter. We can become stronger in the faith, or we can become weaker. We can draw closer to God, or we can drift further from Him. The choice is ours, and we choose to either lean upon God, or lean upon the world.
     God promised Joshua that as the people entered the Promised Land, He would be with them. In Joshua 1:9, He reminded them that they didn’t have to be afraid. That passage reads, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua, along with Caleb, believed from the beginning that the people of God could defeat the giants, even when others had doubted and had forgotten all that God had done for them.
     Is it possible that there are those of us today who have developed spiritual amnesia? Have we forgotten what God has done for us? Have we forgotten to lean on Him? Is it possible that we too have forgotten that we were under bondage to a taskmaster – that we were slaves and Satan was ruling over us and God sent us His Son that through His shed blood, we might be lifted up and made God’s children? Have we forgotten that? We mustn’t forget what God has done for us! We must also never forget that He’s still there for us. Lean upon Him when you weep.
     I Peter 5:7 teaches us to “cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us.” Lean on Him. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” We must lean upon Him when we weep. In John chapter 11, the shortest verse in the Bible tells us that Jesus wept when He realized that His friend Lazarus had died, and verse 36 tells us the Jews said, “Behold how He loved him.” A few verses later, in John 11:41 Jesus prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” Jesus knew that He could lean upon His father, so whatever you’re going through today, whatever causes you to weep, cast your cares upon Him because He cares about you!

- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/

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The Bible and the Olympics
By Bill Brandstatter

    My wife and I enjoy watching the Olympic Games. This year in February, the Winter Olympics were held in South Korea.  The apostle Paul was very familiar with the games of his day. He makes an allusion to the Olympics in 1 Cor. 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. [25] And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. [26] Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus, I fight: not as one who beats the air. [27] But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (NKJV) Paul states that the reason for running is to get the prize.
    The prize for Christians is salvation. He alludes to the prize again in the book of Philippians. There he writes: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [14] I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13,14) He refers to the prize which is ahead. It takes discipline to be an Olympic athlete. Paul lived in a day when the Olympics in Greece were well-known to many. Paul, when writing to Timothy, describes the crown of victory that awaits him: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. [8] Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:7-8) (NKJV) Paul says the crown awaits others as well. I want that crown. I want to be victorious in my Christian life. It will take discipline and work. Faithfulness is no accident. Just like the Olympic athletes must work and train, so must a Christian.
    The writer of Hebrews describes it this way: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) The Christian life is compared to an endurance race. It takes exercise, practice, and discipline; but the result is a victory that can get us to heaven. Whatever it takes, I want that victory. Don’t you?

– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/
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That is Not Being Merciful
By Gerald Cowan

        The Lord desires mercy not sacrifice (Mt. 9:13) and promises mercy only to the merciful (Mt. 5:7, James 2:13). We should make sure that we can hope for mercy from Him in the judgment. Well-meaning people actually fail to show mercy, without intending it and without even knowing it. Here are a few subtle failures to consider and avoid.
    1.  Failure to teach and preach the gospel, whether by staying silent or by teaching something other than the gospel is not mercy. Yes, you talk about the loving God and the love of the Savior, Jesus Christ, but you do not preach the truth about righteousness, temperance, and the judgment that is coming (Acts 24:25). Yes, there are people who do not want to hear it and will not listen when it is presented. Perhaps you do not want to disturb them, or hurt their feelings – maybe you are afraid they may hurt you in some way. So you just leave it out. That is not mercy on your part. It can actually be murder, spiritual murder. Perhaps it could be called assisted spiritual suicide – you become an accessory after the fact when they kill their own souls. God may require their blood at your hand if you refuse to tell them and warn them (Rom. 10:12-15, Acts 20:26).
    2.  Failure to discipline the unruly and failure to require continued obedience to the gospel is not mercy. Approving, accepting, or even tolerating the unfaithfulness of Christians is not mercy. Yes, they are Christians. But that is not all that matters to God. The unfaithful and disorderly are to be warned and, if they cannot be converted, set aside and denied fellowship (2 Thess. 2:15 and 3:14, Jude 21-23). Failure to confront them and rebuke them when necessary is not mercy. It is indifference, lack of concern, lack of love.
    3. A trip to the moon or outer space at the expense of the poor, hungry, sick, and ignorant is not mercy, no matter what scientific gains may supposedly come to mankind from it. It is inhumanity     
    4. Capitalizing on the superstition of people and promising blessings to those whose resources are used to build something supposedly for the possession and glory of God is not mercy – it brings no blessing to the people. At best it is exploitation. At worst it is extortion. But it cannot be called mercy. 
    5. Waging war is the most expensive thing any nation engages in. Why not rather use the money to promote and share the gospel of peace in Jesus Christ. To convert your enemies to Christ and then to share peace with them in his kingdom is mercy. Try to avoid killing and destroying whenever possible. That would be an act of mercy, but it is nearly impossible to find mercy in military warfare. Choosing war when it is not necessary is not mercy. It is aggression.
    6. Not caring about and therefore not ministering to the social needs of people is not mercy. It is hypocrisy. How can one claim to love the unseen God when he cannot love and minister to the people he can see? (1 John 3:17, 4:20).
    7.  Accepting those who are like yourself, sharing race or ethnicity, social or economic status, philosophy, or even sectarian religion and excluding all others is not mercy. It is prejudice. Prejudice and partiality even in patriotism can never be approved by God (1 Tim. 5:21, Acts 10:34-35).

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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Give God Your Awe
By Robert E. Guinn
 
    In the Bible, we read of a shepherd in the arid regions of Midian who saw something that captivated his attention. He saw a bush engulfed in flames but not consumed by them. Moses stopped to investigate this very unique and special event. As he inched closer Moses heard a voice telling him to take off his sandals, for he was on HOLY ground; he was in the presence of God.
    When we approach God, it is a privileged and powerful moment like Moses at the burning bush. For this reason, some of my peers only use the term “awesome” to describe our Heavenly Creator. What was our attitude and reaction the last time we approached God? Did we give God our awe?
    Awe is such an important element in approaching the Creator of all things. It contains two primary elements: wonder and amazement coupled with respect. “ Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming  fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
    After Jacob’s vision about the dwelling place of God, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven,” (Genesis 28:17, ESV). The Bible describes the works, character, name, wisdom, appearance, and word of God as causing awe (Psalm 65:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Deuteronomy 28:58; 1 Kings 3:28; Job 37:22; Psalm 119:161). Even the day of the Lord is described as an awesome and terrifying event (Joel 2:11). Consider the great works and sacrifice of Jesus (Luke 5:2526; Matt. 27:54).
    Yet, the most awe-inspiring thing about our Creator and Sustainer is the selfless example we have in Jesus Christ. It should command our respect and cause wonder within our souls. It should provoke a self-examining spirit and cause us to ask the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Believing with our heart in Jesus Christ, we are told to turn from the practice of evil and sin and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:37-38, 17:30). Let us receive His blessings with wonder and fear recognizing our privilege and His power.
 
- Robert Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
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Baptism and the Grace of God
By David R. Ferguson

     It’s amazing the lengths some will go to deny that baptism is part of the Lord's gospel plan of salvation. If a person teaches that the Scriptures say that baptism, which is immersion into Christ's body, was taught by Christ and His Apostles, then one will immediately be accused of denying that we are saved by the grace of God, when nothing could be further from the truth. I recently encountered such individuals myself who were adamant in denying the truth that one is baptized to obtain the remission of sins, as Jesus said in Mark 16:16, and Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:21. Look at the word of God for yourselves: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). "…the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness does now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…" (1 Peter 3:20-21).
     Baptism is not a work of the person being baptized, nor is it a work of the one performing the baptizing. What it is is best expressed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:3-4: "Or are you ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." It’s our expression of obedient faith, the expression selected by Christ for His followers, that has our old, sinful nature dying in the watery grave of baptism. We rise up from that grave, then, born again (John 3:5) as a child of God, and a fellow heir with Christ (Ephesians 3:6), just as Christ was literally raised through the power of God to triumph over physical death. We know that if we die with Him, we also will be raised and live with Him (Romans 6:9).
     When we are baptized we are expressing our belief that we have faith in the promise given by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that He will faithfully remove our sins and recall them no more. He is our sin-offering, our propitiation: "Wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17).
     Jesus Christ is our atoning sacrifice. We believe He died for our sins, but that He did not remain dead, but arose the third day and sits now at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34). We believe we are saved by the grace of God, it is a free gift (Ephesians2:5; Romans 6:23), and that when we submit to baptism we re-enact the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord.
     May the Lord bless you!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation'sFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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Built Together
By David Bragg

    Cusco, Peru is a place of rich history and great beauty. One of the city’s attractions showcases the area's Inca history: Hatunrumiyoc. Here tourists marvel at the precision of carefully cut stones built into a wall. Perhaps most famous is a twelve-sided, twelve-angle stone. The irregularly shaped stones making up this wall are so perfectly fitted together that "it is not possible to push a pin or a piece of paper between the stones" (theonlyperuguide.com).
    When you consider the ancient craftsmanship it took to build such an amazing wall, you will be reminded of the even more amazing skill in which God, over the intervening centuries, places the living stones into Christ’s church (1 Corinthians 12:18). In Paul's letter to the Ephesians you can see this great spiritual wall from this perspective (Ephesians 2:19-22). Peter also appreciated Jesus as a "chief cornerstone" and individual believers "as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5, 6). Here we join countless others from a wide array of backgrounds, races, nationalities, and socioeconomic levels. Despite all these differences, we are "built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22).
 
- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/
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Editor: David Bragg