Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


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How Do You Say It?

People Often Say:
       1. “Church of Christ People”
       2. “Church of Christ Preacher”
       3. “Church of Christ Doctrine”
       4. “Come and hear what the Church of Christ teaches”
       5. “I’m trying to teach him our position”
       6. “I’m trying to convert him to the Church of Christ”
       7. “The Church of Christ teaches….”
       8. “The Church of Christ is right”

But…

The Biblical Concept is:
       1. “Christians” or “God’s Children”
       2. “Gospel Preacher” or “Evangelists”
       3. “New Testament Teaching”
       4. “Come and hear the Word of God proclaimed”
       5. “I’m trying to teach him God’s Word”
       6. “I’m trying to convert him to Christ”
       7. “The Bible says…”
       8. “The Bible is right and faithful churches of Christ are making all efforts
            to conform to that word”

The above lists of sayings was adapted from an article by Frank L. Cox of Corinth, Mississippi. Many will see nothing wrong with the first list because our society is prone to thinking of every religious body as a denomination, and the idea that “one church is just as good as another.” Check the following thoughts by reading each scripture in your own Bible and see if this is true.

If members of a religious order do not accept and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is recorded in the New Testament, then they are not what God, in His Bible, calls “Christians” (read Romans 1:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

If a preacher fails to preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) then he is not a true “gospel preacher” but has become a “minister of Satan” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

When churches “add unto the word which [God] commands” or “diminishes ought from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2; Galatians 1:6-10; Matthew 16:18-19) it matters little what they otherwise teach because they have already caused their names to be blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 22:18-19). Every church creed book, manual and catechism must differ from the Bible by adding teachings of men or deleting teachings of God from the biblical message.

The Holy Scriptures are “all inspired of God” (1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21) and contain “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2. Peter 1:3).

The Bible speaks of the church Christ promised to build (Matthew 16:18), and the church which was established on the first Pentecost following his death, burial, and resurrection (Acts 2:47; Romans 16:16).

To be saved and added by the Lord to His church, one must “believe and be baptized” “for the remission of sins” (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41, 47).

Let us stand “steadfast in the apostles’ doctrine” found only in God’s Bible (Acts 2:42).

~ Charles R. Rose ~

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Falling Out of Love

A forty-year-old man, suffering through the classic “mid-life crisis,” sat down to talk to a preacher about his problems. He explained how his marriage of 20 years was no longer satisfying or fulfilling. Finally, he reached the “bottom line”: “I just don’t love her anymore,” he said. “What can I do?”

After a brief moment of reflection, the preacher said decisively, “As I see it, you have only ONE option…..”

The man perked up with anticipation. Was the preacher going to suggest a divorce? Would he be free to pursue the thrilling lifestyle of the younger generation that he had come to admire? Would this be his chance to regain his fleeting youth? What was the preacher’s advice?

“It seems to me,” said the preacher, “that the only thing left for you to do is REPENT and start loving her again!”

According to the Scriptures, to love one’s spouse is a COMMAND from God. For example, Ephesians 5:25 states: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” One cannot command another’s feelings, but one can command another’s WILL. The Bible defines love (Gr. agape) as a decision of the will to seek the higher good for the other person. This love is not kindled (or re-kindled) by the merit or worth of its object, but with a determination of one’s mind to acting lovingly toward another.

It is not enough to be “committed” to your spouse for life, you must be “committed to love” your spouse for life?

The ultimate model for this kind of love is God Himself! Wayne Hudson has written: “After many years, I arrived at the only definition that makes any sense. Since God is love [see 1 John 4:7-8] and we must compare our love to him, we come up short if we define it any other way.

For you see, in the final analysis, “Love is a commitment with a beginning and no end.” This is the type of love that God has for us, and the type of love that we need to have for God and others.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s love for us was not based upon our goodness or upon our merits. In fact, we are sinners, and continue to fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die for us on the cross (1 John 4:9-10) so that we can have forgiveness and eternal life with Him.

These blessings can be ours if we will respond to the love of God on His terms: places our trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then He desires that we continue to demonstrate our love for Him by continuing to follow His will. As long as we do that, He has promised to continue to cleanse us of our sins (1 John 1:7).

God has not “fallen out of love” with us; He NEVER will. He loves us with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). However, He longs for us to respond to His love with the SAME kind of love – a commitment with a beginning and no end.

How will YOU respond to His love?

God bless you!

~ David A. Sargent ~
Minister


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Who Started the Church of Christ?

The answer may surprise those who think of the church of the Lord in terms of a denomination, or as a conglomerate of disparate groups claiming to be parts of “the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Most denominations trace their origin to the work of some notable person – sometimes they are even named to honor their founder. Some think of the church of Christ as a predominantly American “denomination” with its origin and roots in the works of Thomas and Alexander Campbell, men who came to the United States from Britain in the early 1800’s. Of course we know, or should know that the Campbells and many others of that time were intent on simply returning to the New Testament pattern, initiated by Christ and implemented by his apostles. They wanted to become part of the historic people called together by the Lord and added to each time any person obeyed the commands of Christ and met his requirements for inclusion in his spiritual family (see Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, 1 Cor. 12:13, Col. 2:11-12 and 1:13-18). They never intended to start something new, but only to become proper parts of something that had existed since the day of Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Others had announced the same desire and intention before them and many have espoused the same principle since their time.

Documentary research done by a Dr. Robinson of Birmingham, England revealed the following: “In the Furness District of Lancashire, in England, there existed in 1669, during the reign of King Charles II, a group of eight churches of Christ, most of them not now in existence. An old minute-book has been found for the year 1669, and it shows that they called themselves by the name Church of Christ, practiced baptism by immersion, celebrated the Lord’s supper each Sunday, and had elders and deacons in each congregation. There was also a church of Christ in Dungannon, Ireland in 1804, and one in Allington, Deighshire. In 1735 John Davis, a young preacher from the Fife District in Scotland, was preaching simple New Testament Christianity some twenty five years from Thomas Campbell (Alexander’s father) was born.” We do not include this information here to show that the church of Christ started earlier than the 1800’s in America – we repudiate the whole idea that the church acknowledged and validated by Christ could have been started by anyone other than Christ himself, as warranted in the New Testament writings.

The church of the Lord existed long before 17th century England or 19th century America. It was predicted some five hundred years before Christ (Dan. 2:44), was promised by Jesus (Mt. 16:18), began and was announced as existing on the day of Pentecost, with the saved being added into it (Acts 2:41, 47). It has continued to exist without change since that day, with the only variable being those being saved by obedience to Christ and his gospel and assembling in various places as his people (Rom. 16:16, Gal. 1:1-2, etc). Whenever and wherever people obey the simple gospel message of the New Testament, the plan of salvation validated by Christ and implemented by his apostles, those people become part of the one true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even if for some period of time – even centuries – there were no living members of the Lord’s spiritual body, the body itself would continue. It would become a visible presence on earth again whenever the gospel was returned to and obeyed, in any place and at any time.

It is difficult to verify the existence of true Christians and congregations of true Christians in some periods of history. Much of church history is dominated by corrupt and unscriptural institutions claiming to be the church or parts of it. They suppress the truth of the Lord as given in his word, and promote themselves by denying the validity of anything other than themselves. They are believed by misguided people who believe that somehow the number of adherents proves the validity of the group. But multiplied millions of members of an unscriptural group will not make it valid, nor will they win for themselves the approval and acceptance of God (Mt. 7:21-28).

Of one thing we are certain: the church of Christ was not started in the United States by the Campbells, or by anybody else. The movement in which the Campbells and many others took the lead in America was simply one of many historical efforts to reform existing churches and restore the New Testament pattern for the church. To be sure that we are in the church of the Lord we must verify our own salvation, as set forth in the scripture (remember only those He saves are added by Him to His church). We must verify it by the scripture, not by the teachings of any reformer or restorer, not by the words of any modern day preacher, and not by any denominated group large or small that is not identified in the New Testament of God’s Word.

~ Gerald Cowan ~
(Minister of the church of Christ at Dongola, Illinois)


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How Safe is Your Treasure?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21.
It was December 17, 1903. Orville and Wilbur Wright, owners of a bicycle sales and repair shop in Dayton, Ohio had just made the first self-powered flight in an airplane, against a 27 mile and hour wind, in Kittyhawk, North Carolina. They sent a telegram to their sister in Dayton: “First sustained flight, 59 seconds. Home for Christmas.” Elated at their success, their sister took the telegram to the local newspaper. Next day, on page 16, just below the obituaries, the paper ran this notice: “Local bicycle merchants are to spend the holidays at home.” Can you believe it? It was truly one of the great events of the century, an event that would change the course of world history. But they missed it! They had the information in their hands, but they missed it – they did not understand and appreciate its significance.

Roy Whetstine (as reported in Newsweek, November 24, 1986) bought a “rock” from a “rock hound” at a mineral show in Arizona. Paid him $10.00 for it. That “rock” was the largest sapphire known in the world at that time, valued at $2.28 million. Do you wonder how the finder and first owner could possibly have missed it? Why did he not recognize what he had in his hand? Do you suppose he spent a lot of time “kicking himself” because of his error? Of course he might be able to buy it back, but not for $10.00.

How many people have or have access to some great treasure, or some piece of information that could change the course of their lives forever – but they do not recognize it or appreciate its worth. So they ignore it. They let a great treasure slip through their fingers, and are often unable to regain possession of it. Treasure is “real treasure” to a person only if he has eyes to see it, only if one is able to recognize it for what it is (Matthew 13:44-46).

How many parents know the real value of their children? How many children really understand the value of godly parents? How many men and women realize the great treasure they have in a godly wife or husband?

What value do you place on your copy of the Bible? If it was stolen or misplaced, when would you become aware of it? If you are just talking about the literal book – you may have paid $25-$100 for it in a bookshop – then the loss isn’t all that great and can be easily replaced. But the real treasure of the Bible is its contents, the words of God. What if those words were taken away and you never had access to them again? Would you realize what was lost? We need to have the values of Job, who said, “I have treasured the words of the Lord’s mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12). 

What value do you place upon the church, both the world-wide church and the local congregation of it? The price Jesus Christ paid for it is something nobody else can ever pay: the life of a perfectly innocent and sinless man who was willing to pay the price (Acts 20:28). All the saved are in it (Acts 2:47, Ephesians 5:23). All who remain outside it are eternally lost (2 Thessalonians 1:8). What if the church in your community disappeared and you had no access to it ever again? Would you realize what you had lost?

Of course the greatest treasure to any person is his own soul – worth more than a paltry $2.28 million, or any other dollar figure you could come up with. It is worth more to the person than all the world put together (Mt. 16:24-26). And we have in our hands the information about how to save the soul, how to secure it for eternity (Mark 16:15 ff, Acts 2:38 ff, 2 Peter 1:1-11). We know how to help each other to praise God and our Savior, the Christ in his church and how to help each one secure his own soul in the fellowship of the Lord’s people (Ephesians 4:11-16). Tragically, most people in the world will be eternally embarrassed and eternally remorseful because, by ignoring the word of God and the church of the Lord, they lost their greatest treasure, their own eternal soul. I hope you will not be one of them.

~ Gerald Cowan ~
(Minister of the church of Christ at Dongola, Illinois)


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Modesty: A Salvation Issue!

Summertime is quickly arriving. And with summertime comes the inevitable heat. To many in this world, that shouts “TIME TO WEAR LESS CLOTHES!”

We all know what I mean by that, right? People decide that it’s time to break out the short shorts, the halter-tops, and many times even less than that!

The truly sad thing is that even some Christians, yes, even people YOU know, take the same attitude! Oh, they may not say it, and they may argue about it with you if you point it out, but it is still there. Guys going without shirts, and women getting as close to that as they can, while still saying “Oh, I’m still covered” is NOT what God wants us to do!

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus Christ taught that if we lose our “savor”–that being our Godly influence, we are good for nothing! Does ANYONE doubt that our clothing–or lack thereof–can kill our influence towards others for God? If we wear clothes that advertise alcohol, or “music groups” (rap or otherwise) that spout off profanity and whose songs are filled with talk about sex, or we wear something with some of these “smart-alec” sayings across the front of them, are we influencing the world for Christ? Matt 5:14-16 says that our good influence, shining like a light before men will glorify God! Wearing clothes that advertise un-godly things is the opposite of Glorifying God…Think about it.

I Tim 2:9 says women should adorn themselves in modest apparel. The fact that Paul had to state this PROVES that there is such a thing as IMMODEST apparel. Now, this passage does not mean to wear what is modest in the world’s eyes, your neighbor’s eyes, your friend’s eyes, or even your family’s eyes. It means to wear what is modest in GOD’S eyes! You should not be trying to please men, but GOD!!! You will not be judged by men, but by GOD!! The same passage also says that women should have “shamefacedness” That is a sense of shame, or the ability to blush. Some people do not have that ability to blush! They can wear anything revealing and not feel the least bit embarrassed! They have had their conscience seared by conforming to the world’s standards!

In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve knew they had sinned, and were ashamed of their nakedness, and made coverings with fig leaves. Yet when God was walking through the Garden, they both hid. Adam said – remember, this is AFTER they made coverings for themselves – “I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” So we see that from the beginning, nakedness did not necessarily mean total nudity! Later in the chapter, it even goes on to say that God made them coats of animal skins to clothe them! Here it is important to remember the purpose of clothing: to conceal…it is not to reveal, but to CONCEAL OUR NAKEDNESS!

Galatians 5:19-21:”Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and the such like: of the which I tell you before as I have told you also in times past that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God!”

Catch what that passage says: It says the works of the flesh are manifest, that is they are openly seen, or visible. Another way of saying it is that they are obvious. There are so many, though, that Paul stops listing them and just says “and the such like”, which means “anything even sort of like these.” One of the things he mentions is Lasciviousness. What is lasciviousness? Quite simply put it means to do anything that would sexually arouse someone of the opposite sex. Vine’s Dictionary even lists indecency as a meaning of Lasciviousness. That includes your actions, your words, AND THE WAY YOU DRESS! If this isn’t really getting through, let me point out one other thing this passage shows us! Paul, through inspiration…which means that we can attribute this to God, equates lasciviousness, that is wearing revealing clothing, with MURDER! He equates wearing clothes that would show off your body (causing others to lust) to IDOLATRY! To HERESIES! To ADULTERY! And he says that he said it before and he’ll say it again, those which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of GOD!

Is it worth burning in Hell to wear clothes that show off what no one but your spouse should see? Is it worth losing your soul for eternity to be fashionable? To be trendy? To be like “everyone else”?

Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

One thing that is extremely sad for us as Christians is that many of our brothers and sisters wear that which is inappropriate and immodest! Not only when they are out in the world (with their friends, at school, in public), but also when they come together to worship God! There are people who come in the church building wearing things that are show off their body parts, things cut too low, or too short, or too tight! Some wear immodest clothing in that they are advertising things that are ungodly or have smart-alec sayings on them, or may have obscene pictures on them! Remember, we will give an account of every idle word…that includes what we are telling people with our clothing!

Even the world recognizes immodesty and which clothing can bring about lust (the wearing of such clothing equals being lascivious). The following is from a flyer entitled “Dress standards for visitors” which is given to all visitors to the Twin Rivers Correctional Center in Monroe, Washington.: “CLOTHING NOT ALLOWED: Low Cut (Anything exposing undergarments, cleavage, or back), and Sheer, transparent, or mesh fabric. Any Tight-fitting clothing. Any clothing that refers to obscenity, alcohol, drugs, or sex in any form. Shorts, cut-offs, and halter-tops.” (Emphasis mine) The world acknowledges the fact that these types of clothing are immodest, yet some people EVEN IN OUR OWN CONGREGATIONS wear those types of things WHEN WORSHIPPING GOD! This is not some “minor thing” that can just be brushed off. Remember, God equates it with MURDER! HERESIES! IDOLATRY! ADULTERY! Some may try to say, “well, just what is modest and what isn’t?” If something is not of faith, then it is SIN! If you can’t say 100% that what you’re wearing is truly modest and decent in GOD’S eyes, then it is SIN! Be it revealing clothing, be it clothing with inappropriate messages, IT IS SIN! Whatever you do, in word or in deed, let it all be done in the name of the Lord!

~ Bradley S. Cobb ~