The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

August 21, 2011

 
In This Issue:

"Because of the Love"

by Steve Klein

Farewell

by Tim Johnson

DO THE DETAILS MATTER?

by Steve Klein

 

BACK TO INDEX

"Because of the Love"

   "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her"  (Genesis 29:20).

   Jacob's service to Laban could hardly have been easy or particularly enjoyable on its own merits.  But Jacob was extraordinarily happy.  Time flew by, "because of the love" that Jacob had for Rachel.

  Jacob's experience has at least this much in common with my experience working with the church at New Georgia over the past ten years - the time seems to have flown by because of the love we've shared together in Christ.  Wasn't it only a few days ago that I was nervously preparing to begin work here?  Loving your work and those with whom you work truly makes life fulfilling and joyous.

  The love that we have shared together as Christians has been much more than warm sentiment.  There has been a willingness to sacrificially serve one another, to support one another in hard times, to keep unity when differences arose, to correct one another when correction was needed and to forgive one another. 

  These attributes, which are so much a part of the fabric of the New Georgia church, are all evidence of Christ's love.  It is "through love" that we "serve one another". (Galatians 5:13).  It is love that motivates us to be likeminded, tenderhearted, and compassionate (1 Peter 3:8; Philippians 2:1-2).  Love corrects (Proverbs 3:12).  And love forgives (2 Corinthians 2:7-8).  There has been among the members at New Georgia a pervading determination that "as the elect of God, holy and beloved"  we will "put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another&ldots;" (Colossians 3:12-13).

  In 1 John 3:14, the apostle John wrote, "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren."  Because of the love we've shared together, we have great confidence in our eternal salvation.   Earthly relationships may come and go, brighten and then fade with time, but because of the love we have shown to one another, we have a hope of being together again in one endless day, beyond the borders of time and space, in which love will define every blessed moment for all eternity.  We look forward to that great day.

   Whatever the future holds between now and then, the work at New Georgia has been etched in my mind as a time of blessedness&ldots;because of the love.  Whatever the challenges that lie ahead for New Georgia, they can be met with confidence because of the strength of love.  Love "endures all things" and it "never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:7-8).  As Thomas a Kempis wrote, "Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible."  May you continue to be "rooted and grounded in love" and ever steadfast "in the faith" (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:23). 

-- Steve Klein


Farewell

Steve Klein - evangelist, teacher, friend, and brother in Christ:

 We, your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at New Georgia, bid you and your family farewell and Godspeed. Although we are very sad to see you leave us, we understand the need for your teaching in other areas. We have benefited greatly from this teaching over the past ten years.

 Like the apostle Paul, you have been with us at all seasons, serving the Lord with humility of mind. You have taught us publicly and from house to house, testifying of repentance toward God and of faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. You have not shunned to declare unto us the whole counsel of God. And, for the space of ten years, you have not ceased to warn us night and day (Acts 20:21-27).

 Unlike the apostle Paul, we fully expect to see your face again if the Lord wills. We now "commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).

 God bless you, and go with God!

-- Tim Johnson


DO THE DETAILS MATTER?

Near  the  end  of  his  life  the apostle Paul wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,  I  have  kept  the  faith"  (I Timothy 4:7).  Like Paul, each one of us who succeeds at keeping the faith is assured of a "crown of righteous-ness" when the Lord appears again (2 Timothy 4:8).  If we understand this, keeping the faith which was "once for all delivered to the saints" will become the focus of our lives.

But what constitutes "the faith"? What must be "kept" in order to go to heaven?  Must we simply believe that Jesus is the Son of God?  Do we also have to believe in the three Persons in the Godhead, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the inspiration of scripture?   What about religious practices?   Does it matter what one accepts as God's will concerning what to do to be saved or how the church is to be organized? Should we care if one religious group forbids its bishops from marrying while another requires them to be married?  Is it possible that we are all keeping the one faith despite our disagreements over these details?

Today we are told with increasing frequency that the details don't matter.   As long as believers are agreed on certain basics, what we teach and practice scarcely makes any difference.  Of course, even those who say such things are not agreed on what constitutes "the basics."  Even if they were, their popular position is contrary to scripture. The scriptures teach that the faith was to be maintained, not just concerning the basics, but also concerning the specifics and the particulars.

In I Timothy 4:1-4, the Spirit foretells that some would "depart from THE FAITH" by "forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods." Does it matter whether or not church leaders are forbidden to marry or church members are allowed to eat meat on Friday?   Are these unimportant details?   The scriptures teach that those who believe and practice error in these things have not kept the faith; they have departed from it. Inattention to detail can cause one to stray "concerning the faith" (I Tim. 6:21). May it be our aim to keep the faith once delivered to the saints.

-- Steve Klein

Via 1 Faith, Vol. 2, No. 4, July/August 1993, Westside church of Christ, Rainbow City, AL