BulletinGold #11
September 2, 2001   #11
 


Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Sharing the Word of God through our church bulletins and internet ministries excites me! I am pleased to announce the url for websites which teach the Bible and offer Christians help for studying or doing bulletins. However, I will not share websites which teach false doctrine or contain denominational links. 

August 21 I started teaching one class of English Composition at our community college. I taught the same course between 1981 and 1986. What surprises me most is the change in the curriculum. The literature book which my students used twenty years ago has been replaced by a book full of writings by homosexuals, hippies, punk rockers, and feminists. It saddens me to think that hundreds of thousands of our young people all over the nation are having to read these articles and stories. Brethren, if our children do not have a sound foundation in God's Word when they start to college, they are in danger! It is up to us as parents and members of the church to teach them what they need to know for their soul's salvation. Remember the words of the prophet: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject theeā€¦ (Hosea 4:6). Jesus said that His Word will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). 

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Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

TAKING THE MIDDLE GROUND
by Bill Brandstatter

(Editor's Note: This article is long, but the issue is very important. Bill ran this as two parts in two bulletins. You may want to do the same.)

    President Bush made a rather surprising announcement last night. Many people believe the President took "the middle ground." He wants to withhold funding from research that requires the destruction of additional embryos. Yet, he agreed to funding of ones already extracted and grown in the lab. Although the President's "middle ground" seems to satisfy some, it angers others. 
    What about a Christian taking the "middle ground" in religion? There are some who refer to "gray areas" in religion. However, the Bible makes clear some areas that cannot and must not be compromised. We must not take the "middle ground" in many areas. We cannot take the "middle ground" regarding the church. Although we all have friends who are members of religious groups other than the church of Christ, we cannot take a middle ground. There is only one church described in the Bible. (Eph. 1:18; Col. 1:22; Eph. 4:4). That one church contains folks whose names are registered in heaven (Heb. 12:23). We must be willing to admit, as the Bible does, that there are false teachers (Matt 7:15; 1 John 4:1). We must also admit that there are those who will follow false teachers (2 Pet. 2:2). We must not accept the idea that everybody is going to heaven just by different routes. Jesus never taught that (Matt. 7:13,14). The apostles' teachings didn't indicate that (1 Cor. 4:`17; 7:17). We must "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 30). In so doing, there may be some who disagree with us. Others may not want to associate with us. But we cannot afford to take the middle ground merely to keep friends.  
    We cannot take the middle ground regarding salvation. The Bible teaching is plain on the subject of salvation. In order to understand what a person must do to be saved all the Bible verses must be examined. The Bible indicates salvation comes by confessing and believing (Rom. 10:9,10). The sacred writ also states, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21:Rom. 10:13). We are also told we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:5,8). Yet, besides these a person must believe. When the jailer asked Paul and Silas the question: "Sirs , what must I do to be saved?", the answer was "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:30,31). Yet James stated that a person is not saved by faith only (James 2:24). We know that without the blood of Christ no person can be saved (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22). Jesus added belief and baptism into the equation (Mark 16:16). Jesus also indicated that without repentance all would perish (Luke 13:3,5). Paul concurred with this (Acts 17:31). Yet, a person is not saved just by repentance. Baptism is necessary also for salvation. There are numbers of Bible verses that indicate this, none more plainly than 1 Pet. 3:21. There Peter states, "baptism doth also now save us" (KJV). Yet, we know that baptism alone doesn't save. The Bible does not teach anywhere that prayer is involved in the salvation process. The Bible does state, "Now we know that God does not hear sinners" (John 9:31). Yet, many today are claiming salvation based on the "sinner's prayer. " Salvation is a process involving all of the above approved Bible statements. Any one taken by itself cannot save a single person. Let us teach, believe and practice the truth regarding salvation. We should never take the middle ground of salvation. (continued next week) 

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Vienna church of Christ in Vienna, Illinois

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TAKING THE MIDDLE GROUND
By Bill Brandstatter 

(continued from last week) 

    We must not take the middle ground regarding who is or is not a Christian. The word " Christian" is a very special term. James described it as "noble" (James 2:7). Many in the religious world of our day refer to themselves as "Christians." Yet, in the Bible, only a very select group of people had the right to where that name. The name "Christian" is God-given. Some believe that name was given by enemies of Christianity. They say it was given as a name of derision. However, the Bible indicates that God picked the name. The Messianic Prophet Isaiah indicated God's people would be called by "a new name which the mouth of the Lord will name" (Isa. 62:2). Obviously that name was one other than Jew. Isaiah goes on to indicate there would be "another name" that would refer to God's chosen (Isa. 65:15). When would this happen? Isaiah indicates when the Gentiles shall "see your righteousness" (Isa. 62:2). We first see this happening in Acts 10 with Cornelius. He and his family were commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48). As far as we know, they obeyed that command. Luke records in chapter 11 of Acts "Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles has also received the word of God (Acts 11:1). Isaiah's prophecy began to be fulfilled. Then in Acts 11:26, the new name that Isaiah mentioned is stated. At the great Gentile center of Antioch the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). There is only one group of individuals who have the privilege to where the name Christian. If people today would hear and obey like people in the New Testament times did, they can proudly wear the name "Christian." 
    There is no middle ground. We must not take the middle ground regarding the church and its organization. The organization of the Lord's church is marvelous and majestic. God has ordained that elders be appointed (Acts 14:23). Further, the church should have deacons as well. (Phil. 1:1). The church is also to have evangelists and teachers (Eph. 4:6). Many misunderstand the word "pastor" as used in scriptures (Eph. 4:11). The origin or the word "pastor" has the idea of feeding or shepherding. It is the same word used in Acts 20:28-"shepherd the flock that is among you" (NKJV): "feed the church "(ASV). Also when Peter wrote about elders in 1 Pet.5:1-5, he used the word translated "pastor." Paul wrote to "the elders that are among you" (v.1). Then he indicated their duty to "Shepherd the flock of God that is among you." (5:2). This is the same command Paul gave in Acts 20:28. The word "shepherd" carries the same idea as the word "pastor." A pastor, therefore, is an elder, not a located preacher. Many in the church of Christ are unaware of the significance of this term. President Bush taking the middle ground may seem a wise move to some. However, the Christian should never try to take a middle ground in those areas that have been mentioned. Paul admonished, "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor. 15:58). 

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Vienna church of Christ in Vienna, Illinois

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MOOD RINGS
by Steve Higginbotham

    I'm sure you heard the one about the husband who bought his wife one of those "mood rings?" When she's in a good mood, it turns green, and when she's in a bad mood, it leaves a red mark on his forehead. 
    While we may get a chuckle from this joke, failing to control one's anger is a serious spiritual problem. I've sometimes heard people brag at how they lost their temper and really let someone have it. Such attitudes stand in stark opposition to one who has a Christ-like spirit. Please don't lose sight of the fact that gentleness, longsuffering, kindness, and self-control are fruits of the Spirit. You say I don't know your spouse, your in-laws, your children, or your boss, and what they put you through? Well, you're right. I don't know to what extent your patience is tried. But I do know that the spiritual disciplines of gentleness, longsuffering, kindness, and self-control, when put into practice, allow Christ to be reflected in your life. The next time someone threatens to ruin your mood, instead of leaving a red mark on their forehead, allow Jesus to leave his mark on your life.

Steve Higginbotham preaches for the church of Christ in Glascow, Kentucky. http://www.glasgow-coc.org   

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THE MONKEY'S NEPHEW?
by Steve Cordle.

    You may remember an old expression people would use when surprised by something: "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" Though it has been years since I heard anyone actually use that phrase, I think there are many people who want to make our relation to monkeys more that just an expression. Over time, many religious people have given into popular ideas that exist in society. Some do it on the basis of "If we can't beat them, join them." Others lose faith in the message of Scripture. The concept of evolution is one area many professing believers have caved to popular opinion. 
    In a 1997 broadcast, radio newsman and commentator Paul Harvey said Italian newspapers were carrying a story in which Pope John Paul II announced that the theory of evolution is compatible with the Christian faith. I don't know just what it was that caused the Pope to make this declaration, but I know it was not the Scriptures. When God was creating the earth He set in place the natural laws governing reproduction. Genesis 1:24 tells us: Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind; and it was so." In other words, cattle are to reproduce cattle, monkeys are to reproduce monkeys and humans make other humans. Two verses later, Moses records: Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..." Man is in the image of God and always has been. Man was never in the form of an ape. Acts 17:24 tells us God made the world and all that is in it, as does Romans 1:18-22. The Bible nowhere endorses any theory that man or any other part of the creation evolved. God set the creation in motion and created the world just as the Bible describes.
    Over the last century, many have looked at the idea of evolution and decided that it is acceptable to God, but the whole concept denies what the Bible says concerning God's work. Thus, one who objects to the teaching of the Bible is in fact showing a lack of faith. But, if we are to serve God we must have faith or there is no way we can please Him. We must believe God's word in its entirety, not just part of it. When it comes to God's Word and actually living the Christian life, let's do it and stop monkeying around. Now go take on the week, 

Steve Steve Cordle has preached for the Ontario Street Church of Christ, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada for three and a half years.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

SALVATION'S WATER
by Rose Ann Noey

Give me Lord, Thy Living Water. Give me what I need to drink. 
I'm so thirsty for Salvation; Fill my cup up to its brink. 
Wash me, Lord, so clean with water. Wash my feet, my hands, my head, 
With Thy stream of crystal water Whence the tree of life is fed. 
Dunk me down into the water. From its depths I then will rise. 
Pour upon me tender mercies Gushing from Your Heavenly Skies.

Rose Ann Noey lives in Logansport, Indiana, and attends the Yorktown Road church of Christ at 406 Yorktown Road, Logansport, Indiana

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A CHILD'S WORDS
Author Unknown 

A little girl with shining eyes, her little face aglow, 
Said, "Daddy, it is almost time for Bible Class. Let's go! 
They teach us there of Jesus' love, of how He died for all,
Upon the cruel cross to save those who on Him will call."
"Oh, no," said Daddy, "not today. I've worked hard all the week, 
And I must have one day of rest. I'm going to the creek.
For there I can relax and rest, and fishing's fine, they say. 
So run along, don't bother me. We'll go to church some day."
Months and years have passed away; Daddy hears the plea no more.
"Let's go to Bible Class;" those childhood days are o'er. 
And now that Daddy's growing old, when life is almost through,
He finds the time to go to church, but what does daughter do? 
She says, "Oh, Daddy, not today. I stayed up all last night. 
And I've just got to have some sleep; besides, I look a fright." 
Then Daddy lifts a trembling hand to brush away the tears,
As again he hears the pleading voice distinctly through the years. 
He sees a small girl's shining face, upturned with eye's aglow, 
She says, "It's time for Bible Class. Please, Daddy, won't you go?" 

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

The best vitamin for a Christian is B1. 

It isn't difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill--just add a little dirt! 

Feed your faith, and your doubts will starve to death.

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