Christian Speech

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“Christian Speech”
Ephesians 4:29

How a Christian of the one true church of Christ talks in his/her day-to-day life is so very important. The importance of it cannot be overstated. The apostle Paul, of course, knew the importance of a Christian’s speech when he wrote the Ephesian letter to the congregation at Ephesus. In chapter 4, Paul discusses the importance of change in a person’s life when they obey the gospel; furthermore, Paul explains that the renewal of a person’s mind is when true change occurs. He goes on to talk about how we should put away the old man of sin. Many things are mentioned here that we are commanded to rid our cleansed souls from. Then in verse 29, Paul says, “29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The apostle writes further in verse 31 of chapter 4 that we must put away several things in order to be the Christian we vowed to be, evil speaking being one of them. “31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”

Now specifically we’re talking about foul language here. It’s nothing nowadays, in whatever city or town you live in, to hear people rattle off several curse words in their everyday language. People don’t even get mad anymore before they pull out the bad language and that’s disappointing. Even worse than that, there are Christians today who do the very same thing, and it’s unacceptable! The scriptures are plain in many places about the fact that we should speak to people with a sense of meekness and care for the souls of the lost such as I Peter 3:15 and James 3:13. Our speech should be seasoned with salt as Paul taught the Colossians in Colossians 4:6.

We can set ourselves apart from the world if we don’t talk like they do. We see how true this really is in Mark 14. Peter is outside the palace where Jesus is being tried the night before our Lord was crucified. A group of people recognizes Peter as a follower of Christ, and so they call him on it. Peter denies this twice, but the third time Peter denies Christ, he curses and swears, verse 71. “71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.” Obviously, his accusers believed his claim after the third denial because they didn’t ask him again. Why was this? They knew that no follower of Christ world curse and swear to prove a point, or use filthy language period. It’s the same for us today. We cannot set ourselves apart from the world if we talk and act like they do. May we all watch what we say.

Colby Culbertson

Drunkenness, Revelries, and Drinking Parties

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Drunkenness, Revelries, and Drinking Parties

Alcohol is a topic that draws a lot of attention among religious thinkers. This is understandable as many social conventions revolve around beer, wine, or perhaps a martini. Some people when asked, “Do you drink?” respond, “No, I just drink wine.” Alcohol is alcohol. This discussion covers the SparkNotes a Christian should have regarding alcohol and the Bible.

​The typical promotional arguments for the acceptance of alcohol among Christians are the frequent Bible references to “wine” and the fact that Jesus turned water into wine in John 2. Both of these arguments fall short for the same reason: ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss as some would rally. Ignorance can lead to a spiritually lethal misunderstanding of God’s word. What are people missing when they make this argument? The fact that the word “wine” we are familiar with has not always referred to an alcoholic beverage is the misunderstanding. Many times in the Bible, the word “wine” refers simply to grape juice. While there is more than one Hebrew word for wine, the interpretation of the word lies in the context. Studying the context of a Bible passage often reveals if the “wine” under discussion is alcoholic or not.

​Perhaps the best, all inclusive passage a Christian could read arguing against the drinking of alcohol is found in the book 1 Peter. 1 Peter 4:3 reads, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” The opening statement by Peter makes it clear that the list provided is something a Christian should not partake in. Peter conveniently details every type of alcoholic intake one might imagine. Drunkenness- the individual so dependent on alcohol that he must have a shot of whiskey to get the morning started. Revelries- the typical party where everyone gathers to get smashed with beer. Drinking parties- an elegant affair in which people enjoy a cocktail or two while visiting. Peter could have used further descriptors, but the fact is clear from the passage. Christians should not partake in alcoholic consumption of any kind.

​The conclusion is this: be careful when attributing a Bible reference to wine with alcohol, and have 1 Peter 4:3 at hand for free thinkers who would claim the Bible condones alcohol. Read Proverbs 20:1 in closing. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Aaron Battey

Things We Face Everyday- Judging

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Things We Face Everyday
In the Bible, Matthew 7: 1-5 says 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and a pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I think a lot of times as Christians we sometimes find ourselves judging other people in this world and looking down on others. It’s really easy to be a critic! I’m a great critic and love doing it, but it’s also easy when you don’t take yourself into account. The Bible says that instead of just walking around telling people they are wrong, we need to help them out and show them the right way. Before we do that, we must make sure that we ourselves are on the correct path. So in other words, don’t blame or tell something another brother or sister is doing wrong when you are doing wrong all at the same time. The Bible calls those types of people hypocrites! A simplistic example of what we do in our spiritual lives is something I witnessed one time. My dad and I were riding on some back roads to some hunting land when we came to a 4-way stop. A truck that had prisoners in it, who, judging from the trash bags in the back, had obviously been picking up trash was in front of us. We are riding along and all of a sudden one of the prisoners rolls down a window and throws out a piece of trash! Now that’s a hypocrite! I can promise that God is not letting a hypocrite into Heaven. We need to sometimes check ourselves, so to speak, and make sure we are not being one of those hypocrites. It’s okay to help someone out in a nice way. We just first need to make sure our lives are in order also.

Carter Culbertson

“Faithful Unto Death”

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“Faithful Unto Death”
Revelation 2:10

​Finish! John the Revelator implores the church at Smyrna to remain faithful until death in Revelation 2:10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. The churches that John wrote to, such as Smyrna, here in Revelation were under the Roman rule of Emperor Domitian who was inclined to cruelty against Christians. He was very creative in his execution of Christians and made it his mission to stamp out any sign of Christianity. As a result, many Christians were silenced by such persecution and John encourages them to be “faithful unto death” and God had promised them a crown of life. It would seem that many today make this their goal, yet fail to follow through when they see what surrounds them. But we cannot stop short.

Paul encouraged the church at Galatia to finish the Christian race completely in Galatians 6:9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Paul encouraged the church at Thessalonica to do the same in II Thessalonians 3:13. The point is that many today stay faithful for a time, some for many years, but fall off the wagon so to speak before this life is over. It’s crucial that every Christian understands that we cannot reap the heavenly promises made to us by God if we do not finish! Don’t quit! When you’re struggling and it seems you can’t recover, don’t give up! Don’t quit until you succeed. Paul certainly knew about being faithful unto death as he said in II Timothy 4:6-8. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Paul certainly knew about persevering to the end and he certainly did so after being a great tool for the Lord’s church. Matthew 24:13 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It is this writers prayer that all Christians today would look to our Biblical examples and strive to be faithful unto death so that we too may receive a crown of life.

Colby Culbertson

License to Sin

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“License to Sin”

​Pretzels are a delightful treat, but as tasty as a pretzel is, Johann Tetzel was a man of extreme distastefulness. This loathsome fellow was a Catholic friar who lived in the days of Martin Luther (1400’s) and is best known for the selling of indulgences. Indulgences were basically a license to sin that came at a pretty penny marked up by Mr. Tetzel. For example, you want to commit adultery? Go buy an indulgence from Mr. Tetzel and you can commit all the filthy, satanic adultery your heart desires. Don’t worry, your sins are excused because of your worthy investment in that piece of parchment…a license to sin.
​Today hardly anyone remembers who Johann Tetzel was, but as the saying goes, “History always repeats itself.”

If you are a young person, you need to know how to respond to your friend who utilizes God’s grace as an indulgence. That’s right, people are using the free gift of God as a license to sin. The argument goes like this, “We are all sinners. We are going to sin no matter what, but it’s okay because God is gracious and forgives us whenever we sin. I know it’s wrong to lie, but isn’t it also supposed to be a sin to lust after a woman?! You just have to trust in the grace of God.” That argument sounds pretty attractive. If that argument was adorned in a dress and batting eyelids, any young man might fall for it. There is only 1000 things wrong with it.

​God’s grace does not give us a license to sin. Paul addresses this very concept in Romans when he declares, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?. We should no longer be slaves of sin,” (6:1-2,6). God’s gift is free to us, but it was not free to Him. There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free meal. The idea is that the meal cost somebody something whether it was free to you or not. God’s grace is offered freely to us but cost Him the blood of His Son, Jesus the Christ. When proclaimed Christians use God’s grace as a license to sin they are blaspheming the precious name of Christ and wiping their feet in His blood like the devil himself.

​We may sin as Christians, but we should not be “sinners”. When Paul says in Romans 6:6 that we should no longer be slaves of sin, that is simply saying that Christians are not or should not be habitual sinners. Hopefully as Christians we have put off the old man (Eph. 4:22), and when we do sin from time to time, we confess that sin, repent of it, and ask for the grace of God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). We should not accept incapability from the get-go and live off the grace of God like some undeserving Americans live off government welfare.

Aaron Battey

Lack of Knowledge

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“A Lack of Knowledge”
Hosea 4:1-6

In the Book of Hosea, we find some interesting passages of scripture that point out quite a problem for the children of Israel. Verse 6 particularly points out that problem. It reads, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

Why was a lack of knowledge of God’s Word problematic for the children of Israel? They were chosen by God to be his people! They of all people should be knowledgeable of the God that they serve. They could do so by studying His Word. But because they lacked knowledge, or as the writer says, “has rejected knowledge,” God says he will in turn reject them. Was this fair of the Almighty God? Of course it was! He had delivered them out of their bondage in Egypt, provided for them throughout their journeys through the wilderness, and finally led them to the land of Caanan. Despite all of that, the children of Israel turned from God in sin on several occasions, and many times complained a great deal about their wandering through the wilderness, which they had brought upon themselves!

Now the question to be asked is simple; will Christians today also be destroyed for a lack of knowledge? The answer; absolutely. Many O.T. instances, serve as examples for us today. If we claim to be followers of Christ’s commands, yet do not know what his commands are, then we cannot fulfill our duty as a Christian. Knowledge is mentioned as one of the fruits of the Spirit in 2 Peter 1:5. The word knowledge is mentioned 169 times in the entire Bible and is used in various ways in certain scriptures. One verse in particular comes to mind and it is found in Philippians 3:8. Paul says, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Paul was an apostle of Christ our Lord, and he says he counted everything but loss all to better know or have the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s how important the knowledge of the scriptures is for the Christian!

It is shocking to see Christians today who’ve been members of the church for years, but who have no knowledge of God’s divine will. What’s the result of a lack of knowledge for us today? Paul outlines the penalty for this in Romans 1:28. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” Paul issues several warnings of things to guard against. One of those things was a lack of knowledge. He says that without proper knowledge of the Word, God would give them over to a reprobate mind. This simply means that because they didn’t care to be knowledgeable of God He would reject them, and He will do the same to us today if we do not familiarize ourselves with the scriptures!

The importance of having a strong knowledge of the scriptures cannot be overstated. There is much more that we could look at on this topic, but it is the hopes and prayers of this writer that all who have obeyed the gospel would become more knowledgeable of the Word of God.

Colby Culbertson

Foolish Faith

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Foolish Faith

Faith seems like a simple enough concept, yet so many people do not know how to spell it. Contrary to popular opinion, faith is not spelled “F-O-O-L-I-S-H.” Yet, people who say, “I don’t need evidence, because I have faith,” are being as foolish as Pinocchio. This is the popular cop-out statement used by people who have no legitimate reply when evidence of their faith is questioned. Foolish faith like this is what Solomon had in mind when he said, “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps,” (Proverbs 14:15). Throw away the cop out and get some evidence.

The common word for “faith” used in the New Testament scriptures is the Greek (pistis) which incorporates the meaning of trust, confidence, and belief. Faith without evidence is foolish and blind. If someone were to claim they saw Winston Churchill walking the streets of Manhattan wearing a mullet, would you not ask for evidence? So should evidence be readily available for one to have confidence (faith) in God, Jesus, the Bible’s inspiration and whatever else.

The Hebrew writer says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…” (11:3). This statement can be made because simple logic is evidence enough to give one confidence and understanding that the panoramic earth could only be created by something more powerful and majestic than itself.

The Bible gives evidence after evidence acclaiming to Jesus’ life on earth. In fact, there is enough evidence to stand up in a court of law. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:20). This is the same standard that exists in the American judicial system today, but where are the witnesses? Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 that more than 500 believers saw Jesus after His death. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter in their writings, all attest to seeing Jesus after His death. 500 witnesses is enough to get the death penalty but not enough to induce trust in the Savior of all men?

Got milk? Got faith? Got evidence? If no, you got foolishness…and some lousy cereal.

Aaron Battey

The Sower and the Seed

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The Sower and the Seed

​In Luke chapter 8, we find a well-known parable that Jesus taught the apostles and disciples. This parable teaches how the seed, which is the Word of God, grows within a person’s life. The scripture reads, A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Jesus mentions 4 types of ground or people that the seed of God’s Word falls upon.

The first one mentioned is the wayside soil. This is a majority of the people in the world, who hear the Word of God, but they don’t receive it. They never believe and obey and as a result, the Word of God falls to the wayside ground. Jesus goes on to say in verse 12 that the devil takes the Word out of their hearts causing them not to act upon hearing the Word. Verse 5 says that the seed becomes trodden upon and the fowls of the air devour it up meaning that God’s word never has time to grow because the devil tries to remove the growing seed as quickly as possible.

Second, the parable mentions that some seed fell upon the rocky ground. When it was sprung up, it withered away and died because it lacked moisture. In verse 13, Jesus explains that the seed upon the rock are those who, upon hearing the Word, receive it with joy and obey the gospel; but because of a weak faith, fall away from the fold in the time of temptation. The reason is because they have no roots truly grounded in the scriptures.

The third type of ground the seed falls on is found in verse 7 where the scripture says that some seed fell among the thorns. As a result, when the seed springs up, many thorns spring up with it, and chokes the life out of the seed. So it is with many Christians as Jesus explains in verse 14. He says that these people go forth into the world having obeyed the Word, but they allow the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life to choke the spiritual life out of them. They become too side-tracked with the temporal riches the world has to offer and the cares of life such as a job, career, or hobbies, etc. When this happens, whatever spirituality or salvation that person has is choked out by earthly riches.

The fourth and last ground mentioned in this parable is the good ground. This of course represents those who willingly accept the truth, obey the gospel, and having a good and honest heart, bring forth good fruit with patience. These souls don’t allow the devil to take the seed of the gospel away from them; rather they keep it with them as verse 15 says.

The parable of the seed and the sower is this writer’s favorite parable because it shows the different types of people in the world who receive the Word. It is those who receive the word, keep it with them throughout a lifetime, and bring fruit to the name of Christ who will receive an eternal reward.

Colby Culbertson

“Have Ye Not Read”

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“Have You Not Read?”

How often do you read God’s word? Jesus asked the chief priests and scribes in Matthew 21:42, “Have you never read in the Scriptures?” If Jesus asked you this question today, would you be embarrassed or would you have a ready answer for the one who can read all hearts and minds? So I ask you today, have you ever read what the Scriptures say about reading the Scriptures? Reading the Bible is more important to God than many realize.

Consider this plethora of verses that speak on the subject of reading the Holy Bible. Paul said to the Thessalonians, “I charge you (put you under oath) by the Lord that this epistle be read…” (1 Thessalonians 5:27). More than once Paul told Timothy to, “…give attention to reading,” (1 Timothy 4:13). This is followed by a later statement to, “Be diligent…rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15). John the apostle makes the statement, “Blessed is he who reads…” (Revelation 1:3). Nehemiah proclaimed the edict to “Read from the Book of the Law of the Lord…God for one-fourth of the day,” (Nehemiah 9:3). Jeremiah the prophet was such a man of God that he could say in Jeremiah 20:9, “…His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” The psalmist says in Psalms 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Moses told the children of Israel that they should teach their children the law of God when they sat, talked, walked, lay, rose, brushed their teeth, and browsed Facebook (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). Okay, so he didn’t mention brushing teeth or browsing Facebook, but he might as well have. You get the point.

If we read the word of God like we have just seen revealed, we would probably end up tearing our clothes as Josiah did in 2 Kings 22:8-11. He was abhorred at the trespasses of Israel and himself after reading the truths found in the Law. There is no excuse why Americans, who have such a ready access to God’s word, let it sit on the shelf and collect dust. “Have you never read in the Scriptures?” Give Jesus an answer.

Aaron Battey

A Student of the Scriptures

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“A Student of the Scriptures”

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“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

These words were penned by the apostle Paul to the young man Timothy, but are equally important and binding to us today. For men to be successful preachers of God`s word and successful leaders of others they must first be a student of the scriptures. While this may seem rudimentary there is great depth that goes into being a student of God`s word. In order for us to be successful in teaching others we must first teach ourselves. It is interesting to note that the word student means: “any person who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully.” We must examine and investigate the word of God to see what it means.

Would a math, history, science or english teacher be successful in teaching their pupils if they themselves didn`t take the time to study, learn, and teach themselves the things their students need to know. The obvious answer is a resounding NO. Then how could we expect anything different with one who desires to preach and teach the gospel of Christ which involves more reverence, honor, and is of greater importance than just the rudimentary things of life?

If we first don`t learn and practice what we intend to preach, how could we expect any form of acceptable results and being pleasing to God? The apostle Paul said in Romans 2:19-24:
“And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”

​Just as it is imperative that we as Christians be instant in season and out (2 Tim. 4:2) it is equally important that we teach ourselves what the Bible says. If we desire to be pleasing to God may we all seek to be students of the scriptures, teaching ourselves from God’s most wonderful Word.

Sean Smith