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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Trust is a Must

By Edd Sterchi

When the world goes bust
          Trust is a must     
When dreams become dust
          Trust is a must     
When plans combust
          Trust is a must     
When conditions are unjust
          Trust is a must     
When people disgust
          Trust is a must     
When you need to adjust
          Trust is a must     
Here is the thrust:
          We just must trust 
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/


Gridlock

By Bill Brandstatter

    A term that has entered our vocabulary in recent years is the word “gridlock.” Today it has a political connotation to it. When neither Republicans nor Democrats will budge on an issue, “gridlock” occurs. Gridlock results when neither part will budge for the good of the country. Politics is not the only place where there is “gridlock.” It is also in the church and in the home.
    In the church gridlock occurs when there are divisions between the members of a particular congregation (1 Cor. 1:10). This may be over matters of personality, indifference, or opinion; yet it results in neither side yielding to the other. Some will eventually leave if they don’t get their way. The way to stop “gridlock” is with humility. When brethren fuss and fight, someone has to give or the church will suffer. We need to have the attitude expressed by Paul to the Christians at Philippi. He told them: “Doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of your also to the things of others” (Phil. 2:3,4 ASV). With this kind of attitude, brethren will grow closer together. Unfortunately, many are busy trying to maneuver into a position of authority in the church. They want the pre-eminence like Diotrophes in 3 John 9. Some who want control will be surprised if they get it. Let us always remember Christianity involves a group. When we are looking only to benefit ourselves, we are in the same camp as some of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.
    There is also “gridlock” in marriages. Both husband and wife want to go in opposite directions. This can occur in everything from where to live to how to raise the children, and all points in between. Husband and wife are to work together. When the Bible says “the two shall become one flesh” (Eph. 5:31), it denotes unity. There are going to be disagreements. No two people under the same roof will agree on all issues 100% of the time. The key is how to handle the disagreements. Wives are to submit to their own husbands (Eph. 5:22). Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (Eph. 5:25). If there is gridlock and neither is willing to yield to the other, the marriage will eventually wind up in trouble; and, if there are children, they will suffer greatly.
    In all the above areas “gridlock” will not be overcome by a stubborn, unyielding attitude. Someone is going to have to take a step to solve the problem and benefit the country, church or the home. Gridlock can be overcome with love.
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/


Chosen and Foreknowledge

By Ron Thomas

    The foreknowledge of God is a difficult teaching of Scripture for one to have an accurate understanding. The meaning of the word is not difficult to understand, but how can God have foreknowledge, and, at the same time, people have free will? Does not the foreknowledge of God guarantee a person a certain thing if the Lord sees him do in the future?
    I appreciate the difficulty some people have with this, but I guess I never struggled with the same difficulty. In 1 Peter 1:1-2, the Lord’s will makes clear those chosen to salvation are in relation to the foreknowledge of God. How does this work?
    God sees as far in the future as man will have existence; He sees as far in the past as man had existence. However, God is not constrained by time; humanity measures many things by time, thus the clock on our walls and the days / weeks of the month. God is always in the present; that is why in Exodus 3 and John 8, the Lord was able to identify Himself as “I am,” not “I was” or “I will be.”
    Foreknowledge with God is a perspective we have as we seek to understand His comprehensive knowledge with respect to all human history, behind and before us. Foreknowledge does not apply to God; with the Lord, He is already there. In the year 2525, if man is still alive, God is there now.
    Even before one reads of the fall in Genesis 3, the Lord looked down through the history of man and saw how each and every person would respond to His will, including His invitation to respond to the Lord Jesus. He saw that you freely chose to obey His will when the Lord Jesus gave His invitation (as in Matthew 11:28-30). As the Lord looked and saw the choice you made, it can be properly said that He chose you for salvation (cf. Rom. 8:29). 
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/


Corrupt Communication

By R.W. McAlister

     Are you as tired of hearing it as I am? It fills television shows, it’s heard at the grocery store, the ballgame, restaurants, the workplace, it’s found in movies and in novels – it’s seemingly everywhere! What am I talking about? Profanity!
     We hear it—not just from sailors (“cuss like a sailor”), or from the French (“pardon my ‘French’”)—but from all segments of society. It used to be the case that a gentleman would never use profanity in the presence of a lady, and deep down, he probably knew he shouldn’t use it in front of anyone. These days, I occasionally hear (or hear about) women who can swear as fluently as anyone. Even small children now can “cuss a blue streak.” It almost seems as if some of the first words they learn are “four-letter” words.
     A recent study by the Parents Television Council found the use of profanity during the so-called “family hour” (8:00 to 9:00 Eastern time) is up fifty-eight percent from two years ago, and the nature of the language (sexual explicitness) is getting worse.
     I was surprised just a couple of evenings ago when my wife was checking out a movie on the Internet (to see if it’s something we could watch), and she mentioned the words of foul language that were in it. The article continued by saying those words (I won’t repeat them here) “weren’t serious.” We’re like Israel of old – we’ve become so desensitized to profanity, we don’t even blush! (cf. Jer. 6:15).
     The Bible is not silent concerning the manner in which we speak. Paul wrote: “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” (Ephesians 4:29).
     The term rendered “corrupt” is the Greek sapros, meaning, “rotten; putrefied.” It references that which provides no good service. Our words in the presence of others ought to be such as build men up, rather than degrading them (Job 4:4).
     Again, the inspired apostle wrote: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). The term signifies that which is base; “foul or filthy” language.
     It used to be that if a child used foul language, he (or she) had their mouth “washed out” with soap. I think it’s time to get back to that, and not only for children! Let us dispense with corrupt communication, and use only speech which is “good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/


An Introduction to John’s Gospel

By Jeff Arnette

    For weeks, I have struggled to write this introduction. Most of my adult life, I did not really appreciate the gospel of John but with age and experience, things change. That is why I have struggled to write this introduction. It is almost impossible to write something brief enough to be a short article and do justice to the magnitude of this great book. The gospel of John soars to the highest peaks in the teachings of the New Testament. From antiquity, it was known as “the spiritual gospel” because of its focus.
    Written by the apostle John, the beloved disciple, at the culmination of a life of growth and ministry for Jesus. Being so close to Jesus, John is able to penetrate the depths of Jesus’ personality, identity, and teachings like no other gospel could. From his great prologue to the exciting epilogue; John’s words have been considered and contemplated by the best minds this world has to offer.
    John’s gospel is organized into two principal sections and is framed by the prologue (John 1:1-18) and the epilogue (John 21:1-25). The prologue introduces the incarnation of the preexistent Word and sets the stage for all that follows. The epilogue wraps up some loose ends concerning John and Peter and helps us see that no matter what path we walk, our only obligation is to follow Jesus.
     The first section is called “The Book of Signs” (John 1:19-12:50) and describes how Jesus appears within Judaism and ultimately replaced its most cherished institutions (the temple, the priests, and the festivals). The second section is called “The Book of Glory” (John 13:1-20:31) because Jesus takes aside his followers, washes their feet, and repeatedly explains to them who he is and what will happen in Jerusalem. Yet, John emphasizes that this is no accident or tragedy but a time when his glory will shine brightly for all to see.
    The idea of “faith” has featured prominently throughout the gospel. From John, the Baptist’s statement that Jesus is the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world, to Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in chapter 3, verse 16; believing in Jesus has been put forth as the most important purpose for the book. John wanted every person who read this great book to come to saving faith in Jesus. Even the purpose statement of John 20:30-31, which wraps up nicely John’s stated purpose, is meant to instill faith in his readers.
    One other purpose stands out clearly from the gospel of John and that is the people of God. Those who believe in Jesus and follow him are recipients of Jesus’ gifts and have been made into a new community that has stepped out of the darkness of the world into a refuge for all who trust in Jesus. In this new community, Jesus is the Great Shepherd (John 10) and we are his flock. He is “Vine” and we are his branches (John 15). This community is a place of love, mercy, obedience, faithfulness, and worship. A community where love is the greatest command (John 13:34-35) and everyone is considered your neighbor.
    The gospel of John is a magnificent book that cannot be read too often or learned too deeply. The more you plumb its depths, the greater your love for Jesus, the Father, and your fellow man will grow. Let me encourage you to read it and read it often.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://centralhaywoodcoc.com/