The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

August 28, 2011

In This Issue:

Do We Lay It To Heart?

by Robert F. Turner

Are You A Bible Christian?

by Richie Thetford



Do We Lay It To Heart?

 Every parent knows the difference in "Do I have to go" and "Do I get to go?" "Do I have to go to bed" means the child wants to stay up. "Do I get to go to the show" means the child wouldn't miss it for anything.

 Isn't it strange that some of us will wave those same clear signals with reference to the Lord's service, and not see that we are being just as transparent as our children? "Do we have to go to Bible study" says the same thing about our desires as it does when voiced by our child. When one asks, "How much must I give," he is saying clearly, "I do not want to give anything, and would like to know how little will pay the bill." Either that, or he has failed to grasp the most fundamental and essential element in the spirit of acceptable service unto God.

 There can be no coming to Christ except we deny or give self (Matthew 16:24). Translated into the context of "doing," this means we must first want to do all possible (100% committed) to serve the Lord. The proper spirit must motivate the doing, or it is shallow and empty - may even be an abomination in His sight (Hosea 6:6). God told the priests of Judaism, "If ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory to My name&ldots;, then will I send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart" (Malachi 2:2).

 Lay it to heart! That means truly respect God; take Him seriously. The priests had offered polluted bread on the altar (Malachi 1:7); offered blind and lame animals as sacrifice (1:8). They said of worship, "What a weariness it is" (1:13-14)! To make this current, they said, "Do we have to go to worship?" "How much do we have to do, or give?" "Do it any old way, just get it over with; we want to go home to the TV." And to top it off, when rebuked, they acted innocent and said, "When did we ever do that" (Malachi 1:7)?

 "Oh that there were one among you that would shut the doors, that ye might not kindle fire on mine altar in vain" (Malachi 1:10). Better to close up shop - call it off - than to play at worship, and not lay it to heart.

-- Robert F. Turner

Via Plain Talk, Vol. 17, No. 6, August 1980

Are You A Bible Christian?

People grossly misuse the name "Christian." The name belongs to an individual, not nations of people, such as "Christian nation." What makes a person a "Bible Christian?" Before we answer that question, let's first look at who is NOT a Christian. Not all "good people" are Christians. Morality is the obligation of a Christian but that does not make them a Christian. Cornelius was a "good" man, but needed to hear "words" to be saved (Acts 11:14). Nicodemus was a "good" man, but had to be born again to be saved (John 3:5).

Not all "religious people" are Christians. Some heathens are religious (Acts 17:22-23). Any religious person that calls himself a "Christian" and was not made that way based upon the Lord's teaching is not a "Bible" Christian! "Joining" a church does not make one a Christian and neither does living "in a church" make one a Christian. Yet today many people think just because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He existed they are saved, calling themselves a "Christian."

We can learn from the Bible that a "Christian" is made. To become a Christian one must be born again as Jesus stated in John 3:3-5. The physical birth is the first birth and the spiritual birth (baptism) is the second birth. To know what is required to be "born again," we must be begotten (conceived) by the Word of Truth. Paul wrote: "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15). We learn from the Word of Truth that man must do something to enter the kingdom of heaven and that is to be "born again."

After one is "born again" through baptism, then we can look at the name that is to be worn. What name do you wear in your family? Those in the kingdom of God take on the name that our Father has named His children. Those that DO what Christ has commanded are known as His disciples. The disciples "were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). The people of God honor their Head by wearing this name. There is no salvation offered in any other name but in Christ (Acts 4:12). When we put ON Christ through obedience to His teaching (Gal 3:27), then we have the right to wear His name.

In Acts 26:28, Paul was preaching the gospel to King Agrippa. Then we find Agrippa saying: "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Agrippa knew that if he had obeyed the gospel that Paul was preaching, that it would make him a Christian. Friends, it will do the very same thing today! When reading the Bible we can know what is required of us to become a Christian. We need to believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as the Son of God (Rom 10:9-10), and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of our sins (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-5). Jesus plainly taught His disciples in Mark 16:16: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

Once we are born into the family of God, the kingdom of God, through baptism, then we are "Bible" Christians. We then must understand that it takes a commitment on our part to serve Jesus. Are you willing to make that commitment? The name of Christ that we wear should really mean something to each one of us. His name is above every other name (Phil 2:9-11). May God help each one of us to honor the name of Christ by wearing it and living up to it.

Have you been made a Christian based upon Christ's teaching? It is only through willful obedience to Christ that you and I can wear the name "Christian" and be saved (Heb 5:9).

-- Richie Thetford