THE WRATH OF GOD

By Andrew Beasley Via Bulletin Gold

To this day I can still remember the anxiety and the fear
that would overcome me when my mother instructed
me to go and “pick a switch.” Being on the end of the
wrath of an authority figure because of our wrongdoing
is not a pleasant feeling. 

Yet, at the same time, when people break the law or
cause us offense we desire retribution, justice, and
vengeance. As Christians., we can be certain that our
God will avenge the wrongs we are subjected to by
Satan and his forces. The book of Revelation, in part, is
a reminder that God will avenge His people.

However, we should remember what the wrath of
God unleashed upon man looks like. One might think
of the flood, or the Amalekite people, or perhaps even
the people of Nineveh (Nah. 1:2) who were spared for
a time by the preaching of Jonah. Paul describes the
wrath of God as being terrible (2 Cor. 5:11) and points
to it as a reason we persuade others to follow Jesus.

Yes, God is an avenger and yes, He will avenge His
people, But that does not mean we should hope for this.
Instead, we should desire that everyone we meet in our
lives avoids our avenging God.

WHAT TRUE FELLOWSHIP INVOLVES

By Edd Sterchi Via Bulletin Gold

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what
fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what
communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ
with Belial? Or what part hasa believer with an unbeliever? And
what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, NKJV)

Even though written in the negative, I believe we can examine
this text and extrapolate many positive aspects of true fellowship
which come forth clearly in the words used. So here’s what true
fellowship

* Yoked together – True fellowship involves being linked
together for the purpose ofbeing productive. Fellowship operates
best when people work closely together for a common cause.

* Fellowship – True fellowship involves companionship and
comradery (which is the definition of the Greek word translated
“fellowship”). Fellowship is formed when people are truly
together.

* Communion- True fellowship involves close, personal
association with one another. Fellowship is strengthened when
personal connections are made.

* Accord (harmony, NAS) – True fellowship involves unity.
harmony, and peace. Fellowship grows when people get along.

* Part (share, ESV) – True fellowship involves sharing and
partaking together. Fellowship blossoms most beautifully when
everyone does their .

* Agreement – True fellowship involves being one in thought,
belief, expression, effort, and outlook. Fellowship moves
forward when there is common ground.

Truly, true fellowship is wonderful. Take a look at the above
list again and note all the benefits of true fellowship. Resolve to
do your part to be in true and total fellowship with Christ and His
church.

DON’T FALL FOR IT!

By Joe Slater Via Bulletin Gold

Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So many “friends”
on social media keep falling for the same hoaxes that were debunked
years ago. “Oh no! Facebook is going to start charging us for having
an account!” Um, no, they aren’t. They couldn’t even if they wanted
to, because you haven’t given them your credit card number or your
bank information. Somebody started the hoax, it went viral, and
gullible people keep passing it on. (sigh)

The same thing happens in spiritual matters. Jesus warned that false
christs would arise. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the
Christ! or There!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23-24). His words
came true in the first century AD and many were led astray. It still
happens today, though less frequently.

John cautioned us to “test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John
4:1). Just because someone says something with an air of authority
doesn’t make it true! Remember the noble Bereans who received the
word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out
whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 

It has been accurately stated that a lie, repeated often enough,
becomes accepted as truth. Countless falsehoods are routinely treated
as true today. For instance:

        “The Catholic Church gave us the Bible.”

        “All you need to do to be saved is believe in Jesus.”

       “The denominations are branches on Jesus, the vine.”

       “We’re all going to the same place but taking different roads.”

Don’t fall for it! Search the Scriptures! Know the truth!

GIVE ME A SIGN!

By Joe Slater Via Bulletin Gold

God has never required trusting obedience without evidence. Biblical
faith is not blind faith. Throughout the ages He has shown Himself to
be infinitely worthy of our confidence.

In ancient times He used signs (miracles) to confirm His word. Jesus
utilized abundant signs during His ministry. Despite such clear proof,
His enemies taunted, “We want to see a sign from You” (Matthew
12:38). But Jesus, knowing their corrupt hearts, rejected their ploy. He
would give them no sign except His resurrection!

God has blessed us today with His completely revealed, confirmed,
and recorded word. His inspired apostles worked innumerable signs to
verify it. That task being complete, no further proof is needed.

Supernatural gifts, therefore, have ceased (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).
Nevertheless, many even today clamor for a sign! A difficult
decision confronts us -“Give me a sign, Lord!” We want to know what
the future holds – “Lord, send me a sign!”

More often than not, modern sign-seekers assume their subjective
feelings are signs from God. “This decision gives me peace, so it must
be God’s will.” Such reasoning is backward! We ought to be at peace
because we know our decision is according to God’s written will, not
just assume it is God’s will because we feel at peace.

It all goes back to “facts, faith, and feelings.” God’s word establishes
the facts. Upon God’s word we base our faith. Knowing that we have
trusted and obeyed God’s word should make us feel good. Many,
however, have reversed this order: I feel like this is right; therefore,
that’s what I believe; therefore, it must be God’s will.”

We have God’s confirmed will. We need no signs!

“DO THIS” = “DON’T DO THAT

By Seth Myers Via Bulletin Gold

Without controversy, one can declare that God does not change (Mal.3:6).
But what many may not realize is that the same is true of God’s
spiritual principles. Among these is the exclusive nature of God’s
“positive” commands-that is, “When God says,’Do THIS, it means,
Don’t do THAT.”” Let us briefly consider the clearest possible example of this
spiritual truth.

Leviticus 10 opens with the account of the divine execution of two
men who were in charge of the incense-burning portion ofOT worship
(la), which, naturally, required fire. But the fire they offered on this
occasion is said to have been “strange” (1b | ASV) to God, or
unauthorized” (ESV) by God. That kind of statement naturally leads
the reader to ask this question: “Why was this fire ‘unauthorized’?
What was it that made this fire ‘strange” in God’s sight?” According to
the Holy Spirit, the reason it was “unauthorized” is because it was “fire
that [God] had never prescribed for them” (1SV)-fire “which he had not
commanded them [to make]” (lc).

When it comes to the manner in which we worship God: if it is not in
His word, it better not be in our worship.

This terminology is extremely significant for it was NOT that God
had said, You shall NOT make that kind of fire,” and that these two
men made that kind of fire anyway; rather, God had simply said, “You
shall make THIS kind of fire,” and, therefore, to make any other kind
of fire was sin. Unfortunately for these two men, they did just that: they
made “Fire B” when God had prescribed “Fire A,” and He repaid their
fire with a fire of His own (2). Not one Israelite would have failed to
get the point-you and I had better “get it,” as well! He didn’t have
to specifically condemn or prohibit every single particular thing of
which He disapproves. All He has to say is: *Do THIS,”and everything
which the mind of man could possibly imagine besides “THIS” is
direct rebellion against the word of God.

The spiritual principle that resulted in the death of Nadab & Abihu
has not changed. When it comes to the manner in which we worship
God: if it is not in His word, it better not be in our worship. For, if we
want our worship to be acceptable to God, we “must worship him in
example spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

WE SHOW WHO WE ARE IN OUR MEETINGS

By J. Randal Matheny Via Bulletin Gold

We meet together today as God’s holy people, purified
by His word of truth and cleansed by the blood of Christ
in baptism.

Our meetings reflect our character, which in turn
determines our thoughts given to the mercies of Christ,
our gratitude thrown upward to God, our praises louder
for new life in the Spirit, our prayers fervent that others
might come to this knowledge.

In our meetings, we acknowledge our churchness,
that we are a people, that no one walks alone, that
purification leads to fellowship, that God’s word unites
us.

Our meetings, like all parts of our life, private and
public, show who we are: faithful to the command of
God, bound together as followers of Jesus, empowered
to serve in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

In them, ineffable joy breaks out, peace infuses each
soul, love finds expression, compassion turns to
generosity, and to need is granted fullness.

Be present, and be a celebrant of the God who reigns
and blesses.

FOLLOWING THE PATTERN IN THE NEW YEAR

By Joe Slater Via Bulletin Gold

What do you suppose God’s people were doing on New Year’s
Day roughly 3500 years ago? Would you believe they were
putting up the tabernacle? “On the first day of the first month,
you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting” (Exodus
40:1) “And it came to pass in the first month of’ the Second year,
on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up”
(40:17)

Earlier in Exodus (chapters 25-31) God had given Moses
explicit and detailed instructions about the tabernacle and all of
its furnishings, beginning with this exhortation: “According to
all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the
pattern of all its furnishings, just so shall you make it” (25:9).
The Lord repeated this command several times as He specified
the dimensions, materials, design, etc., of the tabernacle and its
furnishings,. “And see to it that you make them according to the
pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (25:40), “And
you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which
you were shown on the mountain” (26:30), “As it was shown
you on the mountain, so shall they make it” (27:8)

Moses and the Israelites took God seriously! Thus Moses
did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he
did” (Exodus 40:16).

The tabernacle and things associated with it were a shadow of
the better things Jesus Christ established in the New Covenant.
The Hebrews writer taught that we ought to be even more
diligent to be faithful in the New Covenant than Moses and the
Israelites were in the Old Covenant (Hebrews 2:1-4; 10:28-31).

In this new year, let us renew our determination to follow
God’s pattern set forth in the New Testament!

FOLLOWING THE PATTERN IN THE NEW YEAR

By Joe Slater – Via Bulletin Gold

What do you suppose God’s people were doing on New Year’s
Day roughly 3500 years ago? Would you believe they were
putting up the tabernacle? “On the first day of the first month,
you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting” (Exodus
40:1). “And it came to pass in the first month of the second year,
on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up”
(40:17).

Earlier in Exodus (chapters 25-31) God had given Moses
explicit and detailed instructions about the tabernacle and all of
its furnishings, beginning with this exhortation: *According to
all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the
pattern of all its furnishings, just so shall you make it” (25:9).
The Lord repeated this command several times as He specified
the dimensions, materials, design, etc., of the tabernacle and its
furnishings. “And see to it that you make them according to the
pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (25:40). “And
you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which
you were shown on the mountain” (26:30). “As it was shown
you on the mountain, so shall they make it” (27:8).

Moses and the Israelites took God seriously! Thus Moses
did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he
did” (Exodus 40:16).

The tabernacle and things associated with it were a shadow of
the better things Jesus Christ established in the New Covenant.
The Hebrews writer taught that we ought to be even more
diligent to be faithful in the New Covenant than Moses and the
Israelites were in the Old Covenant (Hebrews 2:1-4; 10:28-31).

In this new year, let us renew our determination to follow
God’s pattern set forth in the New Testament!

BELONGINGS OR BELONGING?

By Joe Slater – Via Bulletin Gold

“What do you want for Christmas?” I already have my two front
teeth, so mny stock reply is, “I don’t know” (shrug). That frustrates
the ones asking, but it’s true! I have no pressing needs. Even my
wish list is pretty much empty.

Each passing year makes it clearer that the things I really need
and want can’t be purchased with money! As our Savior so aptly
put it, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things
he possesses” (Luke 12:15). I want the presence of (not presents
from) my family. I want their health and safety, and above all
their close walk with God.

I don’t need more belongings, but I definitely need a sense of
belonging. God Himself said it isn’t good for us to be alone
(Genesis 2:18). Family fills that need for belonging in marvelous
ways! For that very reason, Satan relentlessly attacks the nuclear
family. As early as Eden he pitted Adam and Eve against each
other. Today his agents seek to redefine what a family is.
Destruction of the family opens the door to finding that sense of
belonging in unwholesome places.

As precious as earthly families are, I also need to belong to
God’s spiritual family. The love, fellowship, and support of
brothers and sisters in Christ surpass anything money can buy.
By myselfI won’t survive, but as we mutually strive to serve God
our Father and Jesus our Elder Brother, we will enjoy certain
victory! Satan throws roadblocks the church’s way just as he does
with earthly families, tempting us to find our sense of belonging
in worldly organizations or even false religious groups. Let us
remain steadfast!

I hope you get just what you want and need for Christmas: not
mere belongings, but belonging.

WHAT TIME IS IT?

By Joe Slater Via Bulletin Gold

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high
time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is
nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
Saturdays and Sundays used to be my opportunities to “sleep
in.” School was out, and church wasn’t a priority. On school
days, however, my parents would say, “It’s time to get up! You
don’t want to be late for school.”

Some of the Christians to whom Paul wrote in Romans needed
to wake up! Physical sleep wasn°t the problem; Paul used sleep
as a metaphor for their spiritual lethargy.

Who knows why they had become sluggish? Being the capital
of the empire, the city of Rome contained every vice, every
philosophy, and every strange religion you can imagine.
Christians might well struggle to stay true to the gospel. How
should they interact with different religious groups? What should
their relationship to the government be? How should they treat
fellow Christians and people in general? Wrestling with such
issues can make you tired and sleepy!

Paul exhorts: “Wake up!” Why? Because “now our salvation
is nearer than when we first believed.” This salvation refers not
to our initial cleansing at baptism, but our ultimate salvation
when the Lord takes us to Heaven. Paul wasn’t saying that Jesus
return was imminent, but our departure to be with Christ
(Philippians 1:23) draws nearer every day.

Our challenges aren’t identical to those of the Romans, but
vice and false religions confront us too. And the same lethargy
infects us, especially after we’ve been in Christ several years.
Time draws shorter for each of us every day. That being so, may
God help us to wake up!