BulletinGold #32
February 2, 2003   Vol 2 #12

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Clarification: In a previous BulletinGold article titled "So, Is Church Attendance Necessary?" a clarification needs to be made.  Here is a quote from the first part of the article: 

1. It is because God commands us to not forsake the assembly. Hebrews 10:24,25 says, "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." Of course one does not "forsake the assembly" by missing a service. One forsakes the assembly when he
doesn't come to church anymore.

The last two sentences of the above paragraph state, "Of course one does not `forsake the assembly' by missing a service.  One forsakes the assembly when he doesn't come to church anymore." It has been correctly pointed out to me that missing a service, depending upon the circumstances, can be forsaking the assembly. There is indeed a difference in missing a service if one cannot be there because of illness or some unforeseen circumstance which keeps him away and missing a service because one has something "better" to do.  I believe that Hebrews 10:25 teaches that one is not to miss a service of the church unless he is "providentially hindered." 

Teaching God's Word, whether one does it from the pulpit or via an ezine such as BulletinGold, is a very serious responsibility.  I would never include false doctrine in Bulletin Gold, and I apologize to all my readers for overlooking the two sentences in the article I published. 

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

Church Attendance (Hebrews 10:25)
by: Perry Sexton

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."  This verse is not too complicated to understand.  If we can understand Genesis 2:17, we should also be able to understand Hebrews 10:25. 

Please consider: (Gen. 2:17) "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Note, "thou shalt not eat of it." How many times could they eat of that tree and still be pleasing to God (Cp. Gen. 3:6ff)? One command for us is: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). How many times can we forsake "the assembling of ourselves together" and still be pleasing to God?

Let us consider some definitions: "not" (web.) means "in no manner; to no degree: ... affirmation of the opposite." "Not" is word #3756 in Strong's Complete Concordance, and means "the absolute negative; (adv.) no or not." "Forsaking the assembling" is something that we are not to do (cp. Exodus 20:4, 5, 7, 13-17; I Cor. 6:9, 10) . To do
that which we are not to do is sin (I Jno. 3:4). The word "forsake" (#1459) means to "desert, leave, abandon." We are not to forsake any "assembling" of the church. The same word is used in Matthew 27:46, "... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It is important to remember that the Father did not forsake Jesus forever, but it is said of this one occurrence. The Greek word for "assembling" is episunagoge (#1997) and means " a complete collection; specially a church meeting (for worship):--assembling (gathering) together." It is only used in one other verse, II Thessalonians 2:1. There it is used twice and is translated "gathering together." In Hebrews 10:25 it is used twice and is translated "assembling" and "together." The "assembling" is the gathering together of the church for a religious service (ex. I Cor. 11:20, etc.). This is what one is not to forsake: "the assembling of ourselves together." So if one willingly absence himself from a church service, he has forsaken "the assembling" and has broken a commandment of God.

There is a difference between "missing" and "forsaking." To "miss" is to be absent unwillingly. To "forsake" is to be absent willingly. The bottom line is, we do what we want to do (that is the key to it). It is a matter of where our treasure is (Matt. 6:19-21). If our heart's desire is to be with the saints in the presence of God to worship Him, we will be there if at all possible. Where is our affection (cp. Col. 3:1,2)? What is first in our lives (Matt. 6:33)? Do we truly love God as we should (John 14:15, 23)? Are we living acceptable lives unto God (Rom. 12:1)? Or are we numbered with the "lukewarm" (Rev. 3:15, 16), and the "foolish" virgins (Matt. 25:1ff)?

Hebrews 10:25 will meet us in the judgment (Rev. 20:12). We must obey God if we expect Heaven to be our eternal home (Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21). It will help us to remember all that Jesus has done for us and suffered for us (II Cor. 5:14,15).

Perry Sexton, 8125 US Hwy 340, Shenandoah, Virginia 22849 psexton@vaix.net

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Are You Overdoing it?
by: Ed Thomason

Have you ever been accused of "over doing it" or "going overboard" when it comes to working for the Lord? Most of us might reply, "Not often!" Others of us might think we "overdo" sometimes, but we probably don't. Still, being an "over-achiever" and "go-getter" when it comes to church work is something that we as Christians should be known for.

The apostle Paul reminded the church at Corinth that they were to become "over-doers" or "second milers" when it came to working for the Lord. He wrote it this way, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:58).

Did you notice the word "abounding" in that passage? It means "overflowing in abundance, exceeding expectations, doing more than what is required." Did you also notice what Paul specifically exhorts brethren to "overflow in abundance" doing? That's right.... "The work of the Lord."

When it comes to the Lord's work, do others find us being timid or even reluctant to be more involved? Shouldn't each of us be known as "over achievers," with a volunteer spirit and willingness to do far more than what is expected or what might be considered our "duty?"

Of course Paul was writing to twenty year old Christians who have endless amounts of energy to "abound" with. Right? Wrong! Did you also notice the word "always?" It means "consistently throughout our lives." There is no age specification in this passage. Each of us should do more than our share of the work. We are taught and expected by God to "abound in the work of the Lord over our entire lifetimes."

How about you? Is your schedule full and overflowing when it comes to the Lord's work?

Ed Thomason preaches for the New Madrid, Missouri, Church of Christ and is webmaster for preachtoday.com. He can be contacted at ed@mydoghouse.com

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Dead or Alive
by: A Jay Kelly

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Ephesians 2:1

Paul's letter to the Ephesians reveals the place of the church in the economy of God as having existed in the Eternal Mind long before what finite man calls the beginning.  We need not let all that talk about predestination in chapter one frighten us. God did not create anyone for the specific purpose of destruction, but destruction is what those who do not follow Christ will receive, according to our memory text.

We were dead in our transgressions and sins. At one time, before the blood of Christ cleansed them, each and every Christian was dead because they were sinners. Each and every one of us would be dead right now if it were not for the blood of Christ and if we lose that, we will be dead once again.

In verse five and again in verse eight of this chapter, Paul reminds us that our salvation came by the grace of God. There can be no argument with that great statement, for it is grace that overshadows the entire salvation process.  Indeed, without grace there would be no Holy Scriptures to which we may turn and find out what we must do to be saved!

Paul reminds us of that very well. Christianity did not come from man and neither did the church. The sacrificial death of Christ and the resulting salvation were formed in the mind of God before creation ever began.

Kind of gives you a chill, doesn't it?

A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Colby, Kansas. His e-mail is jkelley@nwkansas.com

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Felix and Evangelism
by: Ron Thomas

It is not often that we think of evangelism in the context of Roman governor Felix. Felix was the Roman governor that Paul stood before in judgment (Acts 24). History does not speak too well of Felix; neither do the Scriptures attest to him any moral virtue. So, how does evangelism fit in the context of Felix? Let us understand the context in which we find Felix. As we said, Felix was the governor (procurator) over Judea. He was appointed to that position by Rome. It was in Caesarea that Felix's judgment seat was to be found. Paul was standing before Felix because he was falsely accused of profaning the Temple of the Jews. While Paul defended himself ably, Rome found the surest way to peace was appeasement of the Jews. If they let Paul go, knowing he was guilty of no capital crime, the Jews were sure to react and react violently.  Nevertheless, the Roman tribune (the army commander who arrested Paul before he went to Felix) sent Paul to a higher court than his and asked for Felix to render a verdict. Felix never rendered an official verdict. He kept Paul in prison for two years to keep the Jews quiet. During this period of time, Felix asked for Paul and spoke with him about that which "bound" him. The Scriptures says that Felix was troubled by that which Paul said (preached). However, there was enough interest that Felix called him back occasionally (Acts 24:26). Paul was evangelizing.

First, this episode gives us ideas about what we should be doing. Sometimes we wonder the best way to handle opportunities presented to us. If we look at what Paul said to the governor, I think we'll have some guidance. Note what we should preach to the lost-- Jesus and him crucified. Paul said in Acts 24:21 that he stood before Rome because of the resurrection of Jesus. To speak of the resurrection of our Lord is to speak of "Jesus and Him crucified." This means that we state the facts of His life and how those of His day felt threatened and killed Him. But it is more than just this; Jesus had a message of hope and that message was a pointed one. In their threatened status they determined the only way to effectively handle Him was to destroy Him. This they did, or so they thought.

Second, we learn from the account of Felix what to expect in response. One of the great frustrations of preaching the Gospel is the response people give to the message. All children of God are to preach the Gospel. Many become "shell-shocked" because they are refused by those they speak to. This refusal comes in varying degrees. For some it is an intense refusal, and for others, less so. Felix told Paul to "go away." That is rather short and to the point. Paul had no choice but to obey the order/command. But it was not left at just that. It was not, "Go away and come back no more." But it was "Go away for now and when I have a convenient time, I'll call for you then."

This is how most people respond to the message of God. They can see the value of it, and they would like to embrace it, but there is something that stops them. What is it? There is a simpler answer than that which I am about to offer, but what I want to consider is directly connected to the simple answer. First, people think they have more time. There is "time enough" to obey at a later date. We get up each day, work, turn in for the evening, and start the cycle all over again. We have done this so much that we think it will occur again tomorrow. Second, people will often say to themselves, "Look. I am not that bad." This justifies the delay to change. There is a part of them that recognizes the need to change, but there is another part of them that just does not want to.

Both these reasons are built upon the simple response of "I just do not want to obey. God, I love you, but not that much!" The Scriptures teach that there is a way that seems right to man, but ends up in death (Proverbs 14:12).  We can learn much from the interaction between Felix and Paul. What Felix did is what people do today.

Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, Illinois.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Which Way?
by: David A Sargent

A man performing genealogical studies had occasion to visit several cemeteries and read the inscriptions found on tombstones.  He saw a tombstone on which was engraved:

Pause now, stranger, as you pass by;
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so soon you'll be.
Prepare yourself to follow me!

Someone had placed a piece of wood next to the tombstone.  On it was written:

To follow you I'm not content,
Until I know which way you went!

There are many voices today - all proclaiming, "THIS is the way" or "THAT is the way" we should go.  But the "WAY" to life is NOT a DIRECTION. The "WAY" to life is a PERSON!  The "WAY" to life is NOT a RELIGION but rather a RELATIONSHIP.

Jesus said, "I AM the "WAY", the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).  Jesus also said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

We "enter through the gate"- through our obedience to the Gospel ("Good News") believing in Jesus (Acts 16:31), repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), AND being baptized (immersed) in water for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).  We "travel" the road to life eternal - through our continued trust in and obedience to the Lord (1 John 1:7).

Two ways.  Two destinies.  ONE choice!

Which "WAY" will YOU travel?
God bless you.

David A. Sargent, is the minister at the Church of Christ at Creekwood, 1901 Schillinger Rd. S., Mobile, Alabama.  To subscribe to "Living Water" and view archived issues, please visit our website at: www.creekwoodcc.org  Please visit our Web site AND share a drink of "Living Water" with a friend!  

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"...At the name of Jesus every knee should bow..." (Philippians 2:10.)
Mike Benson, editor; Matt Gehlhausen, managing editor


DIANA ROSS MCCAIN wrote an insightful article entitled, "The Hardships of Worship..."
In it she described what it was like to worship in a Connecticut church meetinghouse some two-hundred plus years ago.  She observed: 

   "There was no fireplace, no stove, no significant heat source of any kind. Half-frozen man, women, and children, bundled up in their heaviest garments, hunched into themselves to conserve precious body heat and peered through clouds of condensation formed by their breath.  In the pulpit the minister himself might be preaching clad in a greatcoat and mittens.  At times it got so cold the Lord's Supper froze...
    Comfort was not a primary consideration of those who constructed early Connecticut meetinghouses.  Here one comes every Sunday to attend to the serious business of hearing the word of God and how it might be applied to daily life.  And that solemn duty was to be carried out no matter what weather it pleased the Almighty to provide."
THOUGHT: Wouldn't it be interesting to some day note the following add in the local newspaper..., "Come worship with us.  Our building is cold in the winter; hot in the summer.  We use neither heat nor air conditioning.  Our pews are not padded.  We meet not for physical comfort, but spiritual worship.  You are cordially invited" (John
KneEmail #345: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25.)

To Subscribe/Unsubscribe, visit us on the web at http://www.oakhillcoc.org  

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Defend the Truth
by: Rose Ann Noey

Defend the truth, you men of God,
The truth which God has given.
When others say,
Oh, it's ok
To choose your road to heaven.

What road you choose, you should not care
As long as we're all striving.
Play fast and loose
With Bible Truth -
Make Faith your own contriving.

As gently calm as water seems
Upon the beach a-splashing,
Satan's a fox
Hiding dangerous rocks -
On which Faith's boat comes crashing.

Remember what the Bible says
In giving us a warning.
Our ignorant way
Makes easy prey
For those who're bent on harming.

But you, dear friends, build up your lives
Upon the Holy Faith.
And others snatch
From Satan's cache
Before the time's too late.

Defend the truth, you men of God.
Defend and take a stand!
There's just one road
To Heaven's abode -
And the Bible's that Heavenly Plan.
Based on Jude

Rose Ann Noey worships with the Church of Christ at Lincolnway in Columbia City,

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

When it seems you can't forgive, remember how much you have been forgiven.

Christ's death is the measure of your worth to God.

God can mend your broken heart, but you must give Him all the pieces.

Deposit God's word in your memory bank, and you'll draw interest for life.

Good intentions, like good eggs, soon spoil unless hatched.

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