The Bible indicates that salvation is received when one confesses his or her belief in Jesus as the risen Son of God (Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-10), repents of the sins that he or she has committed (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10), and submits to baptism so that he or she reenacts Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and, thereby, comes in contact with God’s grace through Christ’s blood which removes all sin (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:18-22). How salvation is received is a question of prime importance, and, once answered, it breeds a corollary question, which is, “Can salvation be lost after it has been received?”
Nearly every religious body associated with Christianity administers baptism in some fashion. Some believe it is an act of obedience that symbolizes a believer’s faith in Christ and death to sin. Others believe that baptism is simply the means by which a believer becomes a member of the church body. But the congregations associated with the Church of Christ are known for their insistence that baptism is an essential part of salvation. On what is this belief based?
Have you ever had a garage sale at your house?
Brooke and I have hosted a few successful garage sales during our 11 years of marriage, and by “successful” I mean that we are still married.
Garage sales are fun, aren’t they? When I say “fun,” I mean “awful.” The only part I don’t hate about a garage sale is the 4-inch stack of wrinkled one-dollar bills at the end that means we will get at least one sit-down meal at a semi-nice restaurant in exchange for all of our stuff and all of our trouble. Everything else about a garage sale is absolutely terrible. The worst part about a garage sale is the marriage-threatening process of deciding what to sell and what not to sell. These discussions always seem to end up on the level of hostage negotiations, and for some reason, my hostages always die. What’s the old saying? “One man’s treasure is another woman’s opportunity to make 75 cents”? Just because it’s at the bottom of a box in the basement with a family of spiders living in it does NOT mean that I don’t need it, woman!
As a member and minister of a congregation associated with the churches of Christ, I often encounter “why” questions—questions like “why do Churches of Christ lack instruments in worship,” “why do Churches of Christ forbid women from leading in the worship service,” “why do Churches of Christ observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday,” and “why do Churches of Christ place so much emphasis on baptism.” Sometimes the questions are posed from those outside our fellowship, and sometimes the questions are posed from those inside our fellowship. Regardless of who is asking, it seems obvious that an understanding of the church’s distinct doctrine is lacking. Therefore, over the next several weeks I will be presenting articles that help explain the Biblical basis for our beliefs and practices by answering some of the more frequently asked “why” questions.
Timothy was unique as a minister because of his age, frequent illnesses, and what appears to be a timid spirit. Such obstacles could hinder many individuals from becoming successful ministers, but Timothy had a secret weapon named Paul.
Research has revealed that one of the most critical elements to preventing new converts from leaving the church is friendship. According to one study, “Each new person should be able to identify at least seven friends in the church within the first six months.” In other words, developing faith based friendships is critical to faith development.
Our teenagers live in a demanding world, and one of the greatest demands that are placed upon them comes in the form of homework.
A 2014 survey discovered that high school teachers, on average, assigned approximately 3.5 hours of homework each week. If a typical high school student has five classes with five different teachers, this could theoretically add up to 17.5 hours of homework every week! This would dwarf the amount of time that most teens spend in Bible study, prayer, or other spiritual activities, and would most likely compromise other important areas of life (family, friends, recreation, etc.).
William Arthur Ward once wrote, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.” I believe that sentiment embodies the example of a man named Joseph who was integral to the growth of the church during its infancy.
As we wrap up this study on our response towards fear, let’s take a look at one final approach:
THE “FEAR OF GOD” APPROACH:
What does this approach towards fear look like? Imagine the following scenario:
Something happens in our life that causes us to be afraid, but instead of doing nothing or reacting to the cause/source of that fear, we remind ourselves of whom we fear most: God. As a result of this foundational “fear” of God, we make very different decisions in the midst of this scary situation. With this approach, we have a singular, overriding goal: to please Him above all else.
Have you ever noticed the abundance of traffic signs around you? Everywhere you look there are traffic signs. Some signs regulate the flow of traffic like speed limit signs and stop signs. Other signs tell you what to expect ahead such as construction signs, speed bump signs, and curvy road signs. Then there are signs that indicate your location or provide directions such as street names, mile markers, and exit signs. The most important thing about traffic signs is that every sign serves a purpose. Some provide drivers with useful information, some keep drivers safe during their travels, and some direct drivers toward their destination. Without traffic signs driving would be a chaotic, frustrating, and dangerous endeavor.