The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

July 10, 2011

 
In This Issue:
Giving All You've Got
by Steve Klein

If the Son Makes You Free
by Troy Nicholson

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Giving All You've Got

          A poor widow was commended by Jesus for giving two mites; although it was a small pittance monetarily, in Jesus' eyes it was more than the large sums that the rich gave, "for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."  (Mark 12:41-44).  Such faith and commitment got the Lord's attention, and it astounds us even today.

  It is rare indeed that anyone would give their entire livelihood for any cause, no matter how noble.  But when such a thing is done, it is easy to calculate how much has been given.  All that the person has equals all that the person gave.  It reminds me of the spoof some years ago purporting to be a new simplified IRS tax return form.  As I recall, besides the blanks on the form for identification and address, there were only two other items: How much did you make?  Send it in.  Now that's simple!

  It is somewhat more difficult to calculate just how much of ourselves we are giving to a cause or an effort.  But the Lord wants you in your entirety much more than He wants any of your money.  Paul praises the Macedonians because in giving for the needs of the saints, "they first gave themselves to the Lord." (2 Corinthians 8:5).  The complete giving of ourselves to Christ is also described in the New Testament as being "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20), and presenting our bodies to Him as "a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1).

  Those who have given themselves first to the Lord have no problem giving all they have to His cause in any of the following areas:

  • EVANGELISM.  To the Romans Paul says, "So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also." (Romans 1:15).   Notice that phrase "as much as is in me."  Paul was ready to give every bit of what was in him to evangelize.  He was ready to lay out all of his energy, knowledge, strength and dedication for the benefit of the Romans.

  • SERVING FELLOW CHRISTIANS.  The household of Stephanus had "devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints" (1 Corinthians 16:15).  They had dedicated themselves to serving others.

  • MEDITATION ON BIBLE READING, EXHORTATION AND TEACHING.  Paul tells Timothy, "Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all" (1 Timothy 4:15).

  If we have given ourselves to the Lord, there is no area of His work that deserves less than our all.  Let us be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).  "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

-- Steve Klein


"If the Son Makes You Free"

 This past week our nation celebrated its freedom.  We cherish and value our freedom.  We set aside time to remember those who fought to provide and preserve it.  There is a freedom, though, that is far greater than the freedom we experience as Americans - the freedom we experience as Christians.  Jesus said, "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

How Does He Make Us Free?

Some people say that the Son makes us free by overpowering us and forcing His freedom upon us (That does not sound much like freedom, does it?).  Others say that we undergo some "better felt than told" experience and at that point are made free.  What does God say?

Just before speaking of making us free, Jesus told us how He does it.  He says, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32).  Jesus makes us free through the truth which He has presented to us.  We must learn the truth and obey it to be set free.  As He said, "If you continue in My word, you are truly disciples of Mine" (:31). 

From What Does He Make Us Free?

When we talk about the freedom we celebrate as a nation, we refer to the freedom we have from foreign rule.  In what ways does the Son make us free?  Let's consider a few.

The Son makes us free from sin (Rom 6:3-7, 18, 22).  Sin ensnares and entangles us (Heb 12:1), and none of us is immune to it (Rom 3:23).  But Jesus was willing to come to this earth and die so that we may be made free from sin. 

The Son makes us free from worry.  Many people constantly worry about everything around them, but Christians have no reason to worry.  Jesus said that when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all our needs will be met (Matt 6:25-33).  I was talking to a brother yesterday about financial hardships he had suffered who commented, "I know God won't let me go hungry."  The Bible says that we can take all of our anxieties and turn them over to God in prayer (Phil 4:6).  When we do, we experience a peace, a freedom from worry, that is beyond our understanding (:7).

The Son also makes us free from death.  While we all must face physical death (Heb 9:27), Jesus made it possible for us to enjoy spiritual life.  Speaking of the sting of death, Paul said, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57).  Jesus told the church in Smyrna to "be faithful until death" and that they "will not be hurt by the second death" (Rev 2:10-11).

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm" (Gal 5:1).

-- Troy Nicholson