Paul wrote: “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV). His love for us caused Jesus to give Himself as our “offering,” to express thanksgiving; our “sacrifice,” or blood-offering to atone for our sins; “a sweet-smelling aroma” shows how acceptable to God our atonement is! Jesus said He came “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NKJV). “Ransom” is the price for a slave who is then set free. His part, as He said on His cross, “is finished” (John 19:30 NKJV). We must renounce our slavery to sin by repentance, and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 NKJV). His sacrifice saves, not all, but the “many” who obey.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
Where do we put most of our time, energies, and money?
Do we talk mostly to ourselves? Is our preaching, teaching, and writing directed largely to the saved? Do our offerings get spent on keeping the saints secure and, perhaps, comfortable?
Yes, we must edify the brethren. But if our time, energies, and monies were easily measurable, would we discover that they are devoted more to ourselves than to the lost?
Some even doubt the need to evangelize. Not a few are willing to let the rest of the world enter perdition with no effort to save them. Others have little sense of the church’s Main Mission.
God wants to save everyone. Nothing is clearer in Scripture than this. Equally clear is that he has put his people in the world to proclaim his salvation to all. That is their task.
God does not do what he has given us to do. He may raise up a faithful people to do it. His providence is still at work. But we are right that he will not appear in visions or dreams to preach the gospel.
God has give us the task of mission, and he fully expects — and equips — us to do it.
Mostly, the church of America dabbles in missions. Will the Lord of the harvest not hold his people accountable for their failure?
We hold half-formed ideas about many words. For some, conversion hides one of those nebulous meanings. Its basic meaning is turning or change.
Think of converting an automobile motor from gasoline into natural gas. In order to do what it could not before, some things have to be tinkered with. And what it did before, it does no longer. To convert it over is not a complicated process, but not anyone can do it.
Converting a soul from sin and self, from the world and the flesh, in order to know and serve God is not only a personal decision on the part of the person, but a job only the Creator can undertake. Continue reading
In the beautiful temple for Buddha in Kyoto, Japan, there are coils of shiny black rope two inches in diameter. When the temple was being built no rope could be found that was strong enough to lift the bronze statue of Buddha into its place, so the women gave their hair, their own glory, to make ropes with which to lift up their idol-god. How much more should we be willing to give our glory, our dearest possessions and richest treasures to lift Christ up before the world to obey and worship!
—Mac Layton, This Grace Also, quoted in Prestonsburg KY church bulletin, ed. Rick Kelley
Steve Preston says, “When trying to determine how much our contribution should be we may get a starting point from the Old Testament.” He makes reference to Israel’s tithes. His recommendation is one I also make, to use the Old Testament as a floor, thinking that a Christian, who has so much more of God’s full grace to be grateful for, shouldn’t settle for less.
In the church of God, we all recognize that the New Testament sets no given amount or percentage. (Many groups have yet to learn this truth.) So when we attempt to answer the question of how much one should give, or even more personally, how much I should give, we enter the realm of expediency.
Are Steve and I on the right track? How do you approach teaching on giving, and especially on how much? Maybe you have a better approach.