Sunday, November 26, 2023

10 Things Christians Should Never Say Part 1

By Jeff Arnette
1. “The preacher/elders are not meeting my needs.”
    Believe it or not he’s not there to meet your needs. Jesus does that. They are there as a shepherd to watch over the entire flock and to see that healthy food is available and safe procedures are in place. They are there to help you be holy, not happy.
2. “I’m not being spiritually fed.”
    Babies must be spoon-fed. Adults should be able to feed themselves. Since I’ve been able to read and study God’s Word independently, I’ve not depended on anyone to feed or burp me.
3. “I have a right…”
    The Christian faith is about the grace and mercy of God. Daily we thank God, He does not give us what we deserve. Faithful believers show the same kind of dedication and love to one another. But at no point is a child of God to insist on his rights. If we got what we deserve, we would all be in hell.
4. “I’m not one to gossip, but…”
    That’s always the prelude to gossip. When I was a young preacher, one lady in the church would confide, “Now, I know you would want to know….” It was her way of passing along gossip. Stifling the urge to pass along the latest trash on someone in the church is one of the hardest skills to acquire. Only the mature Christian can pull it off.
5. “Now, I’m not saying who, but some people are unhappy about…”
    Anonymous criticism is one of the most cowardly things ever concocted in hell.  When the preacher or elders asks, “Who exactly is this you say is unhappy?” his critic answers, “Well, I’m not at liberty to say.” (At that point, the conversation should be over and shown to the door. “This conversation is over, friend.” And if they don’t leave, then you should.) Everyone has a responsibility to teach the membership never ever to bring anonymous criticism to them or to their ministers. I suspect that one of the greatest tests of maturity and faithfulness in the Kingdom is the ability to receive correction from the Word of God, even to the point of giving up cherished beliefs and doctrines we have held dear but now see as mistaken.
    Let us bring every area of our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

10 Things Christians should never say (part 2)

By Jeff Arnette
6. “I gave the money for that, so I’ll make the decision as to how it’s to be used.”
    Once our gifts are in the offering plate, they belong to the Lord and His church. The donor relinquishes all control and is entitled to nothing as a result. (Even the IRS agrees with that. Money given to a mission program or to benevolence cannot be dictated by the donor. Church procedure decides how it will be used.)
7. “Sorry. I don’t have a gift for that.”
    Every believer can serve in a hundred ways, whether we are “gifted” in a particular area or not.  No one requires a specific anointing of God to share their faith or make a gift or pray a prayer or teach a class.
8. “Why don’t ‘they’ do something?”
    A friend says three groups of people can be found in every congregation. There are the consumers: “Just browsing.” There are the customers: “We come to this church because of the music program” (or children’s, missions, Bible teaching, etc). If you cancel that program, they leave. And there are the shareholders: Announce a workday and these are the ones who show up. You build a church with the shareholders, not with the other two groups, although most of the latter were one of the former previously.
9. “The elders are dictators.”
    Now, some preachers have been known to tyrannize congregations, so let’s admit that up front. There is no place for that in the household of God. However, Acts 20:28 says the Holy Spirit makes the elders the overseers of the church, and Hebrews 13:17 calls on us to submit to those who are over us in the Lord.
10. “I don’t know what the Bible says, but I know what I believe.”
    Each believer should bring our convictions and beliefs under the Lordship of Jesus and the authority of God’s Word. If we are holding onto a doctrine or belief about which Scripture says otherwise, the spiritually mature will jettison the faulty conviction and stand on the Word. The immature and carnal will insist that being true to his own beliefs, flawed as they are, is the highest form of faithfulness.
    I suspect that one of the greatest tests of maturity and faithfulness in the Kingdom is the ability to receive correction from the Word of God, even to the point of giving up cherished beliefs and doctrines we have held dear but now see as mistaken.
    Let us bring every area of our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Giving Back to Jesus

By Edd Sterchi
    The little book of Jude begins with some big reminders for Christians of all ages (both in time periods and in years). Let’s examine three from the first three verses.
    Always put Jesus first (v.1). The author of the epistle, Jude, was the half brother of Jesus Christ. And yet, rather than boasting about that, he referred to himself as, “a bondservant of Jesus Christ.” First and foremost he considered himself a servant of Jesus. We would also do well to put Jesus first place in our lives. First consideration in everything we do should be Jesus and His will. He is our Master every moment of every day.
    Always remember that Jesus has saved us (v.1). Jude reminded his readers that they had been “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Christians need to constantly bring to mind that they were called out of the world by the gospel of Christ, sanctified by contacting the blood of Christ in baptism, and are preserved by the grace of God through faithfulness in Christ. It is vital to keep this on the forefront of our minds.
    Always be living for Jesus (v.3). Jude’s exhortation was to continue to “contend earnestly for the faith.” As important as putting Jesus Christ first and remembering that He has saved us are, it is equally important to always live for Him in word and deed. Many false teachers and false notions abound, and we must be the ones to live and speak the truth concerning Jesus and His will. The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” was often used in reference to an athlete striving hard. Thus it is a reminder to us that living this way and speaking the truth is going to take a lot of concentrated, dedicated effort.
    Another way of looking at these thoughts is that we need to be giving back to Jesus. He has given us so much (salvation, blessings, assistance, etc.). Let us in appreciation give Him first place in our lives, give remembrance to what He has done for us, and give Him a faithful life that honors and proclaims Him. Let’s always give back to the One who has unselfishly given to us.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Examining Ourselves

By Jared Green
    No matter the stage of life, nobody likes tests. Be it a final test in a class in which you have struggled, a driver’s test, or a test the doctor ordered, tests often bring up bad images in our minds. Tests, however, are important in many instances because of their ability to expose the truth. Even in our Christian lives, we need to be ready and willing to test ourselves. Lamentations 3:39-40 explains the reason: “Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” In math class, a student may be able to fake success by copying another student’s homework, but when test day comes, the truth is exposed. The same is true spiritually.
    In 1 John 1-2, John teaches that there is a clear distinction between those who say they are following Christ and those who are genuinely following Christ. For John, those who are genuine are “walking in the light,” and those who fake it are “walking in darkness.” As we understand the importance of examining ourselves, let us look at John’s three-part test of genuine discipleship.
    First, a genuine disciple confesses his or her sins to God. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:8-9). While it may be tempting to deny, rationalize, or justify sin, a genuine disciple confesses sin and seeks God.
    Second, a genuine disciple practices obedience to God’s commands. In 2:4-5 we read, “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.” A genuine disciple seeks genuine obedience.
    Third, a genuine disciple loves like Jesus. In a command that both came from and is shown in Jesus (2:7-8), John says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (2:9-10). Throughout our lives, may we examine ourselves in order that we may live as men and women who “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1:7). God loves you, and so do I.

- Jared Green preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

How Can a Congregation Connect with the Youth of the Congregation?

Part 3: Participate WITH Them!
By Wes Garland
    One thing that I really hate to see is a congregation that divides into “the church” and “the youth group”. They make comments like “they are the church of the future” and they refer to them as “them”. But I have a question, Are they not part of the church now? The same church that all of us are a part of? ABSOLUTELY! Then why make separations? Why try to divide the congregation into groups or sections when we are all supposed to be ONE body as ONE church? This article is focused on an area that I think will help the congregation is that is we INVOLVE OURSELVES WITH THOSE OF DIFFERENT AGE. This means that when the older are doing things, include the young people with them and vice versa. What this shows is that you are taking the initiative to be part of each other’s lives and helping each other get to Heaven. It is so true that the older is to teach the younger (Titus 2:1-8), but it is also true that the younger CAN TEACH the older (Matthew 18:1-5). I do believe that we are doing an injustice to ourselves and the youth when we choose NOT TO INTERACT with them in activities and study. May we look out for opportunities to get involved with the youth and see where we can step in. If we love the church, it would be smart to be involved with any age.
Ephesians 4:16
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint
supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its
share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This involves EVERYONE: YOUNG and OLD!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

The Key to Victory

By David A. Sargent
    It appeared that she was about to be a repeat winner of the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA, a 10-kilometer race that is considered the largest running event in the world.  Around 50,000 runners participated in the event on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.
    The finish line was in view, about 150 meters away, but the lead runner in the Elite Women’s race, Ethiopian Senbere Teferi, was focused on something else.  A policeman on a motorcycle with blue lights flashing had been leading the runners and keeping the roadway clear for them.  The policeman exited the course so that the runners could finish the race.  In a moment of confusion, Teferi followed the policeman off the course.  Two other runners that were close behind Teferi saw her mistake but stayed on the course.  Recognizing her mistake, Teferi sprinted back to the course and tried to catch the other runners but was unable.
    Had Teferi stayed on course, she would have won the $10,000 first prize.  Instead, she came in third place earning a $3,000 prize.
    Earning third place is very impressive still, but sadly, this elite runner lost the race because she was focused on the wrong thing. *
    There is another “race” in which each of us should want to participate because the “prize” is eternal life in heaven.  If we don’t “get in the race” and complete it successfully, eternal punishment awaits us because of our sins (Matthew 7:13-14).
    In this race, the key to victory is fixing our eyes on the One who makes victory possible.  Our sins entangle us, weigh us down, and actually disqualify us from receiving the prize.  But Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again to pay the price for our redemption from sin and to enable us to run the race victoriously.  Jesus won the victory, but we can share in His victory.  The key is for us to keep our eyes on Him and follow Him.
    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
    Jesus enables us to enter the race (because He paid the price for our sins) and to share in His victory over sin and death.  We must fix our eyes on Him alone and follow Him all the way to the “finish line.”  It’s not a race to see who finishes first; we must simply finish the race by faithfully following Jesus.
    God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, as we continue to follow Jesus by walking (or “running”) in the light of His Word, He continues to cleanse us from our sins by His atoning blood (1 John 1:7-9).
    Enter the race by accepting Jesus’ offer of salvation.  Then run!  Don’t get distracted; keep your eyes on the Leader.  Keep following Him.  He will lead you to victory.

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Information gleaned from “Elite runner makes wrong turn just before finish line, costing her $10,000 top prize" by Christopher Brito of CBS News,

We Must Have the Church

By Adam Faughn
    In our world, we sometimes hear people who speak of how they want a relationship with Jesus, but they do not want much (if anything) to do with the church. This is not new; in fact, some of you will remember the days when the saying, "give me the Man, but not the plan," was in vogue. Still, in our day, the numbers seem to be growing of people who want some connection to Jesus but not to the church.
    There may be any number of reasons they give for that. Some might say it is because Jesus is perfect, while the church, being composed of people, has so many flaws. Others, though they may not actually say it, want the Jesus of love and acceptance and not the "rules" they believe the church puts on people.
    Whatever the reason, those who think that you can have Jesus without the church are sadly mistaken. For one thing, Jesus is the Head of His body, which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and you simply cannot remove the Head from the body without it being ugly and deadly.
    There is another reason, though, that I want to consider for a moment. It is found in a verse that many of us know and love. It is a passage that is filled with praise to God from the pen of Paul. Quite often in his writings, Paul just seemed to not be able to hold back praise to God, and words of praise just flowed from his mind onto the parchment.
    As he wrote about the plan of God through Jesus, Paul wrote these beautiful words of praise: To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21). Why would we look at that verse as we consider our subject? Notice that Paul is making it clear that the glory of God is given, yes, by Christ, but also by the church, and that is to be done until the world ends...and beyond.
  It is vital for us to remember that in connection with our understanding of the importance of the church. Paul's words should help us realize that God cannot be praised as He desires unless the church is praising Him, and that is to last for as long as the world stands. Those who want to try to have a relationship with Jesus without having a connection with the church are simply unable to praise God as He has demanded.
    I would hope that each one of us would have a desire to praise God to the very best of our ability. Certainly, we would each say that we fall short of being able to praise God perfectly, but we should also want to praise Him as best we possibly can. If that is true, then we must be part of the church! We must be active in the church. For it is both "in Christ" and "in the church" where God's praise is lifted to the fullest in this life.
    Those who want to have a relationship with Jesus without having a connection with the church are missing out on so much. That includes their ability to praise and worship God fully. Why would anyone not want to praise Him completely?

- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith

God’s Plan of Salvation

By Brian Mitchell
    We are going to go Back to the Basics—as I want to spend some time this year going over some of the basics of the Christian faith. In doing, I can think of no better place to start, than with God’s plan of salvation. I want to highlight the part about it being God’s plan, because that is what it is. It is not my plan. It is not the  elder’s plan. It is not even the local church of Christ’s plan. It is God’s plan. God offers salvation and thus only He has the right to tell us how it may be acquired. When it comes to being saved, we don’t get a say in the matter, we either do what God says or we don’t.
    If I can’t show you from the Bible how to be saved, you have no need to listen to me, for my beliefs about salvation are not important; God’s are. Thus, for the remainder of this year I want to talk to you about God’s plan of salvation. Lessons on topics such as: Faith, Repentance, Confession, Baptism and Faithfulness. And I know what some of you are thinking, don’t we already know all of this?
    Some of you may be thinking, we already know all of this, believe all of this, and have done all of this. While this may be true, I can think of a number of reasons that lessons such as these are desperately needed in our world today and in the Lord’s Church. They build the faith of the saved. It is needed from time to time to be reminded of what we have done and why we have done it—it strengthens our faith and also helps us examine whether or not we have truly done what God says we must do to be saved—Edification.
    They teach the lost—not everyone here today is saved and thus what kind of church would we be if we did not preach about God’s plan of salvation—Instruction. They prepare us to go out and confidently talk to our neighbors about what God’s says they must do to be saved—Evangelistic. They help to make sure that Bible truth is passed from one generation to the next.
    The fact is that are a lot of young people today who don’t know what God’s plan of salvation is and many more who don’t believe it makes a difference. So, while you may think you know all about God’s plan of salvation, not everyone does and not everyone has obeyed it, and what’s more; it never hurts to be reminded of what we have done and what has been done for us. So today we are going to begin our study of God’s Plan of Salvation, by considering what the Bible says about Faith.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at


Complete in Jesus

By Rob Albright
    The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:1-12 give us the way for every disciple to be complete and blessed in Christ. These words tell us how to be spiritual and each characteristic describes the new life in Christ. Each “beatitude” is important and needs to be a part of our life. Jesus points us to the true way to be really happy. The beatitudes give us the best possible life.
    You can actually see the difference between a Christ-like life and the life of a non-Christian. The Christian and the non-Christian live different lives. For those living the Christian life, these characteristics take time to develop. Once the Christian begins to add these beatitudes to his or her life, the Christian will find the highest form of happiness. These beatitudes will be a part of every Christian seeking the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)

- Rob Albright serves as one of the elders at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Baptism Every Fourth Sunday

By Bob Prichard
    A sign outside a large church building in Birmingham announced “Baptism every fourth Sunday.” I wonder what Peter or Paul would have thought about baptism offered as a kind of fourth Sunday “blue plate” special.
    Consider Peter’s experience. On Pentecost, he told the gathered multitude, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Then just three verses later, Luke tells us that the same day three thousand were added by being baptized for the remission of sins. Daily church growth (Acts 2:47) must have meant daily baptisms.
    When Ananias came to Paul and said, “And now why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16), he was baptized immediately.
    As prisoners in Philippi, Paul and Silas prayed and sang at midnight, and the prisoners heard them. An earthquake shook the jail, so that the jailer planned suicide, thinking the prisoners had escaped. But after they taught the jailer and his family, they were baptized “straightway,” “the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:31).
    “Baptism every fourth Sunday” just doesn’t sound like God’s plan.

- Bob Prichard serves as an elder and evangelist for the Hillview Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2016. In his forty-five years of preaching he has served churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

How Strong is Your Rope?

By Bob Prichard
    In his book, A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis said, “You never know how much you really believe until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
    Consider three questions: What kind of faith do you have in God and His word? Has your faith been tested yet? Have you been in that situation where it is a matter of life and death, hanging over that precipice? If your faith has not yet been tested, you can be sure that the time is coming when it will be tested.
    James said, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:17-20).
    Is your faith dead or alive? “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:21-24). Abraham was ready. His rope held, even to the point of sacrificing Isaac. How strong is your rope? Will it hold? If not, now is the time to strengthen it!

- Bob Prichard serves as an elder and evangelist for the Hillview Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2016. In his forty-five years of preaching he has served churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Words Are Necessary!

By Joe Slater
    “Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words.” Rightly or wrongly, the saying has been attributed to “Saint” Francis of Assisi and is often paraphrased, “Preach the gospel; use words if necessary.”
    Let me be the last to discourage anyone from setting a good example. I understand the gist of the lines from Edgar Guest’s poem: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.” Countless doors for the gospel have been slammed shut and permanently locked due to poor examples and outright hypocrisy of professing Christians.
    That being said, your kindness, morality, pure speech, and honesty cannot inform anyone of their need for salvation, much less answer the question, “What must I do to be saved.” Words are necessary! Nobody will know who Jesus is or what He did for us merely by seeing your example. Peter didn’t say to Jesus, “You have the example of eternal life.” He said, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
    The quip, “Use words if necessary,” strongly suggests that words probably aren’t necessary and may not even be desirable; it translates into a comfortable excuse to disobey the divine directive to speak the truth in love. “Use words of necessary” ignores God’s own stated goal and wish: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
    Yes, there’s a message to be preached, not just an example to be set. Nobody will know of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, much less how to respond to it, simply by seeing your example of clean living.
    You open the door with your good example. Then go through that door with the words of the gospel!

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

The All-Seeing Eye of God

 By Joe Chesser

    When I was a youngster, I heard often about the “All-Seeing Eye of God.” I was taught that I’d better be good because God is always watching me and sees everything I do. As a boy I even remember hearing and singing the song at church and at family gatherings:  There’s An Eye Watching You. Some of the lyrics of the song are:
                              All Along On The Road To The Soul’s True Abode,
                              There’s An Eye Watching You;
                              Every Step That You Take, This Great Eye Is Awake,
                              There’s An Eye Watching You.
                              Watching You, Watching You,
                              Every Day Mind The Course You Pursue;
                              Watching You, Watching You,
                              There’s An All-Seeing Eye Watching You.
     Now, let me ask you, if you were a youngster and heard fairly often about the “All-Seeing Eye” of God, what imagery would come to your mind? I well remember the vision I had of the “All-Seeing Eye” of God. I pictured an old, old man with long, white hair and a long, white beard who was down on his hands and knees peeping through a hole in the floor of heaven at me and everyone else on earth! A childish notion? Yes, of course! Yet, not totally unique to me.  Since 1782 the Eye of Providence was adopted as a part of the symbolism featured on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States. Check out the back side of a U.S. $1 bill; since 1935 the Eye of Providence has been printed on it. The Eye of Providence has appeared on state seals, city seals, coats of arms, and university insignias all over the world. Enough history, except to say the idea of the “All-Seeing Eye of God” is a wide-spread concept.
    But far more importantly, the biblical concept of the “All-Seeing Eye of God” is as real as God Himself.
  • ·        “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” Proverbs 15:3. Because God is both omniscient and omnipresent, no one can avoid or hide from the eyes of the Lord. He “sees” everything that happens, both evil and good. This should be alarming to those who are practicing evil, especially to those who think no one knows what they are doing. On the other hand, this should be comforting to those who love God and want to do His will.
  • ·        The New Testament also teaches this: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. God knows the difference between the righteous and the evil, and reacts to each accordingly.
  • ·        “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” Hebrews 4:13. If this doesn’t get your attention, you have a cold, cold heart. Accountability itself can be daunting. But to those who are practicing sin, accountability to God should be frightening (Hebrews 10.31).
  • ·        “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” Psalm 33:18. For those who place their hope in God, this is most reassuring.
    So, regardless of what your imagery  the “All-Seeing Eye of God” might be, knowing that God is always aware of everything you do, and even everything  you think, can be either comforting or disturbing. It can be taken as an awesome blessing or it can seem overwhelmingly horrific. The good news is that you get to pick which way it is for you. Will you choose to be among the righteous and receive God’s blessings, or will you choose to be among the wicked and receive a fearful expectation of judgment (John 5.28-29)?

- Joe Chesser worked for years with the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. Now retired from full time preaching, he may be contacted at

Christians Only and the Only Christians

By Bill Brandstatter
    Many in society today have a problem with anything or anybody that claims there is only one of something. Exclusive clubs or organizations that only let certain people in as members are seen as wrong. When it comes to Christianity, however, the Bible speaks of only certain people being Christians or being part of the Lord’s Church. The Bible makes Christians only and the only Christians.
    Christians Follow Christ. To be a Christian a person must follow Christ. To follow Christ means more than just recognizing Him. Jesus clarifies this by stating, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of light.” (John 8:12 NKJV). When he was choosing his disciples, His message was “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19). We must follow His life, His teachings, and His commands. Those that do so are Christians.
    Christians Forsake the World. Jesus told his followers they had to forsake even the closest relationships to follow Him. Jesus explains this in Luke 14:33- “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” This included family (Mt. 10:34-36).
    All disciples are followers of Jesus, but not all followers are disciples. The disciples were learners. They wanted to be like the master. (Mt. 10:25). Individuals who want to be Christians are to be disciples as well (Mt. 28:18-20).
     Christians Follow the New Testament. The word “follow” can mean: “adheres to.” Christians use the New Testament to equip them for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Christians use the New Testament because the Old Testament is obsolete (Heb. 8:13). Whatever the New Testament teaches about becoming a Christian is what needs to be done today also. The Old Testament was inspired and serves a valuable purpose (Rom. 15:4). But Jesus shed His blood to establish the New Testament (Mt. 26:28)
    Christians forewarn others. Christians are to inform others. Those in the early church went “everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:1-4). Peter tells his readers they are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:9 NKJV). Notice Christians were to “proclaim the praises of Him.” Christians should be actively involved in telling others about Christ, His church, and the Judgment to come. Are you a Christian who has followed forsaken and forewarned? Are you willing to do so if you have not already?

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Who is a Christian?

By Bill Brandstatter
   The word “Christian” is used today to describe a wide variety of people. Some believe a Christian to be anyone who believes in Jesus. Others might declare themselves a “Christian” because they are not Jew or a Muslim. Some might believe they are a Christian no matter how much or how little of the Bible they believe. We often hear the statement that the United States is a “Christian nation;” yet, there are many in our country of other religious faiths. So, certainly everyone in our nation would not classify themselves as such. We will often hear about battles in the Middle East between “Christian” and Muslims. Needless to say the term “Christian” is used in a variety of ways to refer to a variety of people.
    What does the Bible say? Can a person be just a “Christian” in the way in which the Bible uses the term? It is interesting that the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus stated, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works-a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure……And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day” (Antiquities of the Jews,18:3.1). It is interesting that a Jewish historian around 90 A.D. recognized those called “Christians” who were named from Christ. How did this come about?
    The name was picked by God. Isaiah tells how this would happen. “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name” (Isa. 62:2 NKJV). Three significant points are made by Isaiah. First, the Gentiles would seek the righteousness of God. Second, they would be called by a new name. That means they would not be called Jews or Gentiles, but something new. Third, the Lord would give them that name. Later, Isaiah mentions this again. He states: “You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; For the Lord GOD will slay you, and call His servants by another name.” (Isa.65:15) This time Isaiah indicates that the old name will be left and a new name given. When did this happen?
    In the New Testament history book of Acts, we learn of Isaiah’s prophecy being fulfilled. Gentiles seeking God’s righteousness begins in chapter 10 with the account of Cornelius. Then in chapter 11, we read, “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”. (Acts 11:26) It does make a difference how we identify ourselves religiously. 

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: