Index by Subject

A.O.P.P.S.

Peer pressure is a subject that is always talked about but is often dismissed as outdated and useless in real world applications.  Whenever we talk about peer pressure we inevitably bring up alcohol, pre-marital sex, or drugs.  These are the top three in no particular order.  Additionally we tend to only make an application of peer pressure to those who are younger.  Teenagers seem to be our prime target of peer pressure lessons.  Well guess what, peer pressure doesn’t end at twenty but will only increase as we continue to age.
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What Can I Eat?

I am a bumbling buffoon who has an inability to be able to discern what food I should eat versus what food I should avoid at all cost.  That is exactly what the government seems to be saying lately.  Over the years the “food police” have been more active requiring all kinds of nutritional information to be posted on the packaging of foods, banned food, and established the amount of food I should consume because I am this bumbling buffoon.  There is a proposal now that would require this information on the menu boards of fast food restaurants which could be extended to movie theaters and even drive thru menu boards.

This “policing” effort has gone so far that a Chicago area school has banned parents from giving their children a sack lunch.  The principal has said, “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,”.  Needless to say many parents are upset about this edict.  But why are they upset?  This form of forced and coerced food restrictions has been practiced for centuries without many having anything to say except “Oh, it’s Friday”. Continue reading » What Can I Eat?

I Grew up Church of Christ

Have you heard this said?  I have.  From time to time you have probably heard this statement.  When the person who says this realizes that you are a member of the Lord’s church they tell you this.  Why is that?  Is it an attempt at making some kind of connection of mutual attitude?  Is it an attempt by them to let you know they “know where you are coming from”?  If you “grew up” church of Christ what happened?  What event took place that caused you to out-grow the Lord’s church?  Where are they now?  What are their religious beliefs and practices?  Are there any at all?

Unfortunately, this is happening all of the time as people who were once a part of the Lord’s church, the church of Christ, leave for other pastures when they grew into adulthood.  Somewhere along the path of their life they either are lured away from Christ by the doctrines of man or they simply fall away, lured by the world and its lusts.
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Shall We Have Elders?

This question should not be difficult to answer but unfortunately due to the will and whim of man some have a hard time in answering this.

Let me say clearly from the beginning that there is biblical example for elders.  In Paul’s letter to Titus Paul wrote, For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you (Titus 1:5).  The indication here is that one of the things that was lacking was the absence of elders.  This is also an indication that a church can function without elders; it is just lacking.  In Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Paul gives the young preachers the qualifications for elders.

Why would Jesus gives us these qualifications if we do not need or cannot have elders today?

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Christian Senses

We should all be familiar with our senses; hear, smell, see, taste, and touch.  In general we can probably take these for granted at times.  We hear a sizzle coming from the kitchen.  We smell the odor of food cooking. We look at what is cooking on the stove top or in the oven.  We taste the food.  We touch the food as we bring it to our mouth.  We use our senses every day in a multitude of ways; to say the least.

As Christians we use these very same senses but in a completely different way.

As Christians these senses are used by those around us as we demonstrate the various attributes that these senses demand.

Taste

Taste is a sense that is truly different for each individual.  While we can all taste bitter, sweet, savory, sour and salty, each one has a different reaction; some crave sweet while others crave sour.  The life of a Christian is a flavoring to the world.  In Matthew 5:13 Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Jesus points out that those who follow Him will be/are the salt of the earth.  They will give the earth a distinct flavoring just as salt.  Their lives are different from the lives of those in the world.

When we lose our distinctive flavoring we have lost that which separates us from the world.

Sight

Our sight is something that should be very dear and precious to us.  For those of us who have had poor eyesight we understand that this sense should not be taken for granted in any way.  Jesus speaks of this also in Matthew.  In Matthew 5:14-16 He said, 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Again, Jesus uses a sense to describe the life of a Christian.  It is not an experience that the Christian sees but those around see the Christian and his life in contrast to the darkness of the world.  Paul wrote, 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14Therefore He says:“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead,  And Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:8-14).

This is the very life of a Christian.  We are to walk in and with the light of the Lord.  When we do this others will see the Gospel manifested in our lives.  They will also be able to see the darkness of the world by our continual example of the truth of God’s word.

Smell

One of our most sensitive senses is the sense of smell. We can quickly detect those sweet and fragrant odors yet just as quickly, and more reactionary, those odors that offend our sense of smell.  The smell of a flower and the spray of a skunk are opposites of the spectrum for our noses and these can describe the fragrance that a Christian should have in Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Paul wrote, 14Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.16To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? The life of a Christian is first a fragrance to God and second to those who witness their life.

Our aroma is as distinctive as life and death.  Our life smells of life as we walk in the Gospel and by direct contrast points out the smell of death to those who walk in the way of the world.

Hearing

We have all probably taken a hearing test at one time in our life.  As with our other senses, our hearing is a sense that is often taken for granted; we can play music too loudly or subject our ears to damaging industrial noises.  These degrade our ability to hear.

Hearing the Gospel is something the world thinks it does but in truth they only hear a perversion of the truth.  In 2 Timothy 4:3-4 Paul wrote,3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. The implication to the denominational world is clear to those who want hear.  In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, 1And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:1-3).  We must be as Paul teaching only Jesus Christ.  Paul’s command to young Timothy was simple, Preach the word! (2 Tim. 4:2).  How can we expect anyone to believe if they have not heard; remember, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).

Touch

Our sense of touch is the one that might be the most versatile.  Our skin is by far the largest of our sense organs and we use it intensively every day.  We can feel a rock and the sensation of heat.  We can feel the softness of a feather and the cold, wetness of ice.

Under the Old Law the Israelites were not allowed to touch that which was unclean (Leviticus 5:2-3).  While we are not under the Old Law the principle still holds, that which is unclean defiles us.  What we touch is a sign of who we are and what is important in our lives.  If we touch the things of the world are we not like the world?  In 2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1 Paul quoted Isaiah then added a reminder, 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”7:1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

This cleansing is from the ways of the world.  If we participate in the world, as the world, we show no different picture to those around us.  When we touch the world, as the world does, then all of our other influence is lost.

While we are careful not to submit to the traditions of men, 20 Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations 21“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23), we realize that just because the world justifies a thing doesn’t make that thing acceptable to God.  In all things we must go to God’s word to establish authority and then obey.

Our physical senses are important to us.  Take one away and you begin to realize the importance of that sense and the others gain value.  If our physical senses are important how much more important is it to exhibit Christian senses to the world so that that image of Christ and His word is portrayed in our lives daily.

These Christian senses keep us continually examining and testing ourselves against the standard, the Gospel, but are also experienced by those around us as our lives have an affect upon them.

A Babbling Tower

In Genesis 11:1-9 we read the familiar story of the tower of Babel.  At this time in the history of man he was singular.  After the flood man had a single language and seemed to inhabit one particular area, in and around Shinar.  In Shinar man had the grand idea of establishing for himself a name.  He proposed to do this by building a city and a tower to the heavens.  Clark puts this event about 100 years after the flood and already we can see the folly of man as he again thinks of his works and ideas and seeks to establish a name unto himself.

Throughout the years of the history of man, his folly has been evident.  He has built cities, established governments, overthrown the same, and all the while professed to be gaining knowledge.  His search for knowledge is insatiable and while knowledge is a good thing it is also the bane of man’s existence as he has established by himself truths which are not.  In Acts 26:24 Festus cried out to Paul, “Paul, you are beside yourself!  Much learning is driving you mad!”  Unfortunately it is the same today.  As man increases in knowledge the madness for his own knowledge is ever increasing and wasteful and leads him to foolish conclusions.
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