The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

May 15, 2011

 
In This Issue:
The Christian Life: Sacrifice and Progress
by Richard Thetford

What Sin Does
by Rick Harlow

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The Christian Life: Sacrifice and Progress

     The Christian life is a life of sacrifice and progress. Jesus showed us what sacrifice really was when he went to the cruel cross and gave His life in order that each one of us might have forgiveness of sins through obedience in Him. His sacrifice paved the way of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him (Heb 5:9). What Jesus asks of us in return for His sacrifice is that we sacrifice our life to do His will and continue to progress along the way.

Our Sacrifice 

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." The word "sacrifice" does not mean that which may be convenient for us to do. When we truly sacrifice for the Lord, we are putting Him first (Matt 6:33; Col 3:2) in our life and all the material pleasures, wants, and even our own self-will second. When we really do that, then we are making sacrifices for the Lord. Many things are included in our sacrifice for the Lord. One of the areas in which we are expected to sacrifice for Him is in our giving. We should give to the Lord's cause our money to the extent of sacrifice - not that which is convenient or left over. We should also be willing to work in Christ's vineyard to the extent of sacrifice - not ONLY when everything else that we must do gets done first. That is usually why there is not a lot of work (physically and spiritually) getting done for the cause of Christ. We are not sacrificing our time to ensure first things are taken care of first!

Our bodies are also to be offered as a sacrifice to the Lord. I ask you to read those two verses again. Notice that our bodies are to be sacrificed to God as being holy and acceptable. Anything that we are doing with our body that is not considered holy and acceptable to God is sinful and we are not making sacrifice for Him. Paul says this is our reasonable service, meaning it should be a voluntary service because we love God to the extent that we WANT to do EVERYTHING that is pleasing to Him. Our lives should be lived (sacrificed) so that others can see in us that we are proving those things which are only good and acceptable in the eyes of God. Can that be said of each one of us? Are we really living for God and not ourselves or someone else? We sacrifice to God because of His mercies toward us. Brethren, it is our "reasonable service!"

Our Progress

We live in an age of progress. We see progress in education, travel, and farming. Progress is God's order. Plants and trees grow and all nature rises higher. God has always expected man to progress in life. But, what about the Christian? We are not talking about a progress to a higher life socially and financially. In fact, this kind of progress for an individual is often an impediment (Matt 6:25). We are not talking about progress intellectually only because the Devil is wise, but not good. Even Solomon's wisdom did not keep him from sin. The Christian's progress should be a progress in faith, love, and devotion to God. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." We should always strive to grow in the Lord. Let us run the race so that we might obtain the crown of life (1 Cor. 9:24), pressing toward the mark (Phil 3:13-14).

I would encourage all of us to look at our life and make sure that we are really sacrificing and progressing in the Lord's work. If we are not, then make the necessary changes that will "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

 -- Richard Thetford

--via ThetfordCountry.com, adapted


What Sin Does

Did you ever take the time to sit down and consider why sin is so terrible? Many times we fail to adequately consider the consequences of sin in our lives. The list which follows in this article is certainly not all inclusive of the problems which are caused by sin.

  1. Separates One From God. Even though God loves and cares for all men, He cannot be in fellowship with sin. Isaiah pointed this out to the children of Israel a long time ago. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:1-2).

  2. Brings Spiritual Death. To die spiritually means to be eternally separated from God. Sin is the cause of this malady which is common to man. The spiritual death of man goes all the way back to the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:16-17) and continues even to this day. Paul shows us in Romans 3:23 that all men are sinners. He continues in Romans 6:23 and shows us the high price we will have to pay should we choose to continue in sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

  3. Cost The Death Of God's Son. Because of sin, it was necessary for God to send His own precious Son to this desert of sorrow and sin to die on Calvary's cruel cross. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Without the shedding of Christ's blood, there would be no forgiveness of man's sins. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

  4. Keeps God From Hearing. In Isaiah 59:2, we see that sin puts us in a position where God will not hear us. This is further pointed out in the New Testament. "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God and doeth his will, him he heareth" (Jno. 9:31). Peter emphasized it this way: "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (1 Pet. 3:12).

  5. Causes One To Miss Heaven. This is the tragic result of an unrepented of and unforgiven life of sin. Paul points this out in Galatians 5:19-21. Are you willing to sacrifice eternal life for temporal pleasures of this world? Please consider the consequences of sin. If you miss heaven, you have missed it all!

Are the pleasures of sin worth the price of sin?

-- Rick Harlow

Via Elletsville Church Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 20, October 27, 1994