07.06.14 am – Jerry Sturgill – How to Prevent Backsliding
07.06.14 pm – Jerry Sturgill – The Parable of the Net
07.06.14 am – Jerry Sturgill – How to Prevent Backsliding
07.06.14 pm – Jerry Sturgill – The Parable of the Net
There is a great deal of difference in just reading the Bible and studying it. Webster defines the word study as follows: “A busying one’s self about a thing, zeal application of learning; the act or process of applying the mind in order to acquire knowledge, as reading and investigation of any subject: careful attention to and critical examination and investigation of any subject; to fix the mind closely upon a subject, to meditate to ponder.”
We are commanded to study the Bible. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). The word translated study is defined as: “to use speed, to hasten, to be eager, diligent.” It is translated “forward” in Galatians 2:10; “endeavoring” in Ephesians 4:3; “labor” in Hebrews 4:11; and “diligent” in II Peter 3:14.
Is there any book that you are more eager and diligent in studying than the Bible? Are you at your best in studying it? When the Bible comes up for discussion do you have to apologize for your lack of knowledge?
Study is work. Study of the Bible demands desire to know and understand. It requires concentration and patience but its rewards are far beyond whatever the cost may be.
Little profit comes from the study of the Bible unless there is recognition of the need of knowing the truth. If one is a sinner he should realize the depth of sinfulness and separation from God and the fact that he must learn the truth in the Bible to be saved. If one was lost in a desert and found a map how would one study the map? Would it be with a passing notice? Would it be consulted occasionally? Would one feel that it made little difference whether the map was followed? How many treat the Bible the way they would treat a map if lost and trying to find their way out of a wilderness? We are travelers from time to eternity and we cannot guide our steps. “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). The Bible is the most important book one will ever study.
Many seem to have the idea that the study of the Bible is simply a mental exercise. They read with no thought of trying to put into practice the things learned. Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). An infidel may learn some things the Bible teaches but he will never learn the truth that saves unless he seeks to do what it teaches. A girl may memorize a cook book but she will never become a cook until she puts something into the oven. I read that a child learns 10% of what he hears, 80% of what he sees and 90% of what he does.
Is your knowledge of the Bible growing? How much more do you know today than yesterday, last week, last year? You may know as much as you are willing to eagerly and diligently search out to do.
– Franklin Camp (adapted from article at thebible.net)
-submitted by Jerry Sturgill
06.29.14 am – Mark Day – Why Evangelize?
06.29.14 pm – Mark Day and Jerry Sturgill – Bible Questions and Answers
Throughout human history various mediums have been utilized to transfer information. Early in history, oral tradition was the chief source of knowledge. Since books had to be handwritten, they were quite rare and very expensive, making them unavailable to the masses. The drawbacks to oral tradition are fairly obvious. Accuracy and advancement of knowledge were limited by the memory of the elders of a society. Any truth discovered had to be remembered well enough to pass to the next generation.
The invention of the movable type printing press revolutionized information exchange. Books became more available, libraries became more numerous, and discovered truths could be more easily kept in the more permanent form of a book for later generations to consult. There were still drawbacks in regard to the limited number of people who could publish information. Those who had the money and power would have more access to publishing their views, while a poor minority who may have had the truth would not be able to disseminate it. I have some books in my library that document the history of the Lord’s church through the published works of their oppressors who wrote about the reasons for their hostility toward the “heretics.” Six hundred years ago, (and for centuries before that time), the Lord’s church existed underground because oppressive false religion had the reins of the government in its hand. While the Lord’s church did spread the truth, almost all of the material that has survived from that period are the writings of those in power who punished the true followers of Christ as “heretics” for rejecting their manmade traditions. This is just one example of the limits of information exchange during that time.
The Internet, while not solving all of humanity’s problems regarding the exchange of information, certainly revolutionized the world. Since the 1990s, when the Internet began to be used by the masses, people all over the world have been given the ability to exchange information with a level of convenience never before known in the history of humanity. While this has helped some of the past problems in regard to publishing information, it has also introduced some new problems. One of the major problems is the rapid spreading of false, but popular, ideas. We all should know that we should not believe everything we read, especially on the Internet. What is mainstream and popular may likely be false (Matthew 7:13-14).
However, there is one work that spans all the ages of information exchange and gives us the best information. It can be trusted; it is the most reliable source of truth the world has ever seen (John 17:17). That book is the Bible. God delivered, once and for all (Jude 3), a body of information that is vital to our eternal wellbeing (2 Timothy 3:15-17). While it may not hurt to be misinformed in regard to some trivial matters, when it comes to our souls, we cannot afford to be wrong; we absolutely must go to the guidebook. When asked what to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus pointed men to what was written in the Bible (Luke 10:25-26). There is a haze of false information out there regarding what we should do to go to heaven (1 John 4:1). Will you be lost in it or will you cut your way through mist of false doctrines with the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), blazing your way to the narrow path (Matthew 7:14) that leads to salvation? Brethren, let us always check the Bible, the source book of truth, before we believe or practice anything.
06.22.14 am – Mark Day – I Will
06.22.14 pm – Jim Martin – The Christian Home
Greasy Ridge church of Christ
Certain renowned Israelites rebelled against the Lord in Numbers 16 by claiming that Moses and Aaron took upon themselves too much authority (Numbers 16:3). The Lord quickly showed that by refusing to follow His spokesmen, these renowned men of the congregation were actually refusing to follow Him and would be punished. The Lord caused the earth to open up and swallow these rebels, confirming their guilt. Moses introduced this punishment as proof that he was simply acting by God’s authority and not of his own accord. Numbers 16:28 reads, “And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.”
If Moses had acted of his own mind, these charges would have been true, but those who made the false charges were actually the ones concocting false concepts in their own minds. Sadly, there are many today who are of this same stripe. When it comes to religion, they practice that which has been invented in their own minds or the minds of their predecessors. Those who follow the spiritual footsteps of Moses by precisely following the Lord’s pattern (Exodus 25:40) are similarly regarded as control freaks and legalists by the “of-my-own-mind” multitude. The reality, just as it was with Moses, is the opposite. The rebels were the ones seeking to go beyond what God had ordered by seeking to be priests (Numbers 16:10). Those today who innovate and deviate from what God authorizes in the New Testament go beyond the limits and seek too much authority for themselves as well.
Consider our perfect example, Jesus Christ, in this regard. If anybody had the right to impose His own will, teach His own thoughts, and practice that which come from His own mind it would be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Did Christ of His own mind devise what He should do? On the contrary, the Son of God made some intriguing statements in regard to the fact that He would not go beyond what the Father instructed. In regard to His words and deeds, He said in John 8:28-29, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” It is clear that Jesus taught only what the Father gave Him and nothing beyond it from John 12:48-50, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” In regard to His deeds, He practiced what the Father commanded (John 14:31).
If Jesus would not go beyond the instructions of His Father, why should we take it upon ourselves to devise doctrines and practices of our own minds? The Holy Spirit and the apostles He guided into all truth were not even given that prerogative, but simply taught and practiced what they had received from the Son and ultimately the Father (John 16:12-15). Let us follow this example so that God is glorified rather than men, and let us teach others to do the same with all authority, God’s authority (Titus 2:15).
06.15.14 am – Jerry Sturgill – The Kind of Father God Wants
06.15.14 pm – Jerry Sturgill – The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price
Jesus Christ’s impassioned plea to the Father for us, those who believe on Him through the words of the apostles, was that we all be one:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17:20-23
Is this unity to be achieved at all costs? Should truth be sacrificed so that those who claim allegiance to Christ can profess a superficial unity through agreeing to disagree? No. Jesus prayed for this unity just after he prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Truth must come before unity. Truth is what sanctifies the followers of Christ from fallacious philosophies of the world. It does no good to be united in falsehood. Satan’s forces are united, but they are by no means obedient and pleasing to God (Luke 11:17-18).
This unity for which our Lord prayed is more extensive than many think. Notice the degree to which Jesus prays this unity will extend, “…as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee…that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…” (John 17:21-23). Jesus prayed that His followers be united just as much as the Father and Son are united. Would the Father and the Son differ in their answers to what is required for salvation? Would they give different answers to whether or not we have all truth necessary to please them contained within the pages of the Bible? Would they give different answers to what the church is, how it is organized, the doctrine it is to teach, the work it is to be doing, and the worship it is to offer? There are matters in which Christians have liberty to differ: those matters which are not clearly addressed in the word of truth. Jesus is not calling us to function as clones without any distinctive features as individuals, but He does call us to be united on the truths of God’s word.
The results of such unity will further Christ’s cause handsomely. The world will be drawn to Jesus Christ when His followers are one. This end Jesus had in mind when He prayed “…that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21), and, “that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23).
06.08.14 am – Mark Day – Good Master
06.08.14 pm – Mark Day – Jehoshaphat’s Fellowship.mp3
2 Chronicles 19:2-3
Paul wrote many encouraging words in Galatians 6. Some of the most well-known are found in verse 9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” It is possible for Christians to become weary even when they are doing good. We all need encouragement to keep on doing good. When our spiritual energy is sapped, we can wonder what the point is in continuing. Paul says we need to focus on the goal of reaping our eternal reward. As Paul just pointed out in the previous two verses, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8). Fleshly pursuits are empty; they yield no lasting results, except for eternal separation from God (Romans 6:21). Spiritual endeavors, however, lay up treasures in heaven that will endure (Matthew 6:19-20). We can rejoice that our labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). It is when we lose sight of the goal and focus on peripheral issues that we are in spiritual danger (Luke 8:14).
Often one of the reasons we become spiritually weary is because we are bearing burdens. The Galatians had been led by Judaizing teachers who bound laws upon them that God did not. Because the Galatians felt they needed to keep a host of additional burdensome laws, they missed out on the life and liberty that is found in Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:1). There are people today who are spiritually plagued by teachers who place requirements on them that God does not require. People are often drawn to overly regulated religion because they do not have to think for themselves, but it leads to spiritual death.
Even if we are not being led by false teachers, in order to please everyone, we can often place requirements on ourselves that lead to spiritual exhaustion. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” He also wrote in verse 5, “For every man shall bear his own burden.” We ought to help one another and allow others to help us. Connecting with brothers and sisters in Christ and supporting one another is one of the best remedies for spiritual burnout. On the other hand, each man must do his own part. If we do for others what they can and should do for themselves then neither party is benefited. Even Jesus, who came to serve (Matthew 20:28), on occasion would send the multitudes away, and take time apart to be alone in prayer to God (Matthew 14:23). We can be so busy doing for others that we can neglect our own needed devotional time with God. Developing my personal relationship with God is something only I can do, so I must follow the example of my Savior who spent time alone with God.
Take time this week to renew your focus and investigate ways you can take care of your own spiritual needs so your future will be characterized not be wearing out but by well doing.