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Why Do Christians Fall Away?
J. C. Choate

It is so thrilling to see people obey God. Those who do are richly rewarded with the forgiveness of their sins. As they become children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, they have the Lord’s promise that He will be with them and bless them and care for them. These rewards and blessings, however, do not come without responsibilities. The Lord gives, but He expects something in return. For instance, He expects His people to be faithful, loyal, and obedient to Him. This is very little in comparison to all that He gives and does for those who love Him.

When one knows what the Bible teaches about salvation, and all of the blessings that God bestows on His people, it is hard to believe that there would be those who would deny the Lord and return to the ways of the world, but some actually do this. Why would a Christian ever do such a thing? Let’s examine this matter and see what we can come up with. We would hope that in doing so, we might keep one or more from making such a tragic mistake.

Some Fall Away Because They Were Never Sufficiently Taught God’s Word. It is difficult to believe in Christ without knowing who He was, His purpose in coming, and what He requires of one. Paul said that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Hebrew writer declared, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

In giving the parable of the sower, Christ said that some of the seed "fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: And forthwith they spring up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away” (Matt. 13:5-6). In explaining that, He said, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he no root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matt. 13:20-21). Christ was saying that there are those who hear His word, but do not come to fully understand it and to believe it. They, therefore, do not count the cost and are not willing to pay the price when the time comes that they must give up something or must suffer some for Christ. To them, then, the only alternative is to quit.

Others Fall Away When They Are Left Alone in Some Place, Isolated From the Church, or when they are a part of some small congregation that does not give them enough help and encouragement to carry on. These are usually young Christians who have not grown and developed and matured to the point where they are strong enough to remain faithful. This reminds us again of our need for one another, of our need to meet each week to read and study God’s Word, to pray together and to pray for one another. We need this fellowship so that we can encourage one another and to involve ourselves in good works that will help us to grow personally and will help the church to grow in numbers. After the church was established in Jerusalem, the record says, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).

Many Christians Fall Away Because They Are Influenced by the World. Those who are not Christians or those who are doing those things that are wrong will try to persuade God’s children to join them. They may try to do this in different ways. Some may mock and ridicule those who are following Christ. Others may tempt them to join them in their worldly practices. Sad to say, some are not strong enough to withstand such attacks. In the parable of the sower, Christ said that the seed that fell among the thorns represented those who hear the word, obey it, but allow the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the Word, and to be unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

Some Brethren Are Deceived & Led Away Into Error. Besides all of the traditional religious errors that exist, there are constantly those who are rising up with some new teaching. That is why the Scriptures warn again and again that we be not deceived. For example, Paul wrote his brethren at Ephesus, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6).

Finally, There are Those Who Quit Because of Envy, Jealousy, & Not Being Able to Have Their way About Something. We would probably be surprised to know of the ones who fit into this category. These are the little petty things that brethren get involved in that can be deadly and destructive. Paul wrote of the spirit that Christians should have toward one another. He said, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (Rom. 12:15-16).

There are many other causes why a percentage of the Lord’s people fall away. None of them are justified. Those who leave Him are very unwise. They not only give up their relationship with the Lord, and all of the good things that He can provide, but in their departure they are also giving up their hope of eternal life in heaven!

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s2smodern

What Kind of Member Are You?
Gus Nichols (1892-1975)

There are all kinds of members referred to in the New Testament. Some had lost their first love (Rev. 2:4-5). Others had become only lukewarm (3:14-19). Some had forsaken the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:25). Others had gone all the way back and had fallen from grace (Gal. 5:1-4). Some never did return to the right way (John 6:66; 1 Pet. 2). There are many other classifications of members in the New Testament. Then there are some modern groups each of which has quite a following. What kind of a member are you?

Are you a “ONECER”—one who attends church services only once per week—on the Lord’s day morning? Such members enjoy good health, but they never come at night. Had they been at Troas, they would not have heard Paul preach until midnight, and would have missed the fine fellowship of the occasion, plus the witnessing of the miracle of raising a man from the dead there that night (Acts 20:7-14).

Some are church “TRAMPS”—they go tramping from one congregation to another, worshiping here and there, so as to dodge any responsibility for doing anything in the church and having any part in any real program of work. They are often called “Church Drifters.” They never settle down so as to work and grow in the church (1 Cor. 16:13).

Others are simply “LEANERS”—they “lean” on the church in every time of illness, mis- fortune, and the like, but they never contribute to its work. They are out to “get” and not to “give.” They are like the Dead Sea which has no outlet. They have no life. They are like sponges—they take in all they can hold but you have to squeeze them to get anything out of them!

Some others are “SPECIALS”—they work for the church on some special occasions which happen to appeal to them. But the regular work of the Lord has no appeal unto them. The every-day matter of being Christians is to them a drab affair. When they are tuned up they work enthusiastically, but no one ever knows when they are going to get rubbed the wrong way about something. They are “supporters” of that part of the work of the church that they like, but they oppose the other good works being done by others.

But some are “PILLARS”—they are always dependable. Without them the church would be a laughingstock in the community. They stand ready at all times to do what they can for the glory of God. They are happy that they have been saved, and feel that if they had a thousand lives to live, they could not do all they would like to do for the wonderful Saviour who came, bled, and died, that they might be children of God and have the happiness which they enjoy in the Lord, every day, along the way.

WHAT KIND OF MEMBER ARE YOU? You need not try to deceive anyone by your answer, for the way you are living proclaims daily the kind of member you are! Maybe you need to change your ways, and move up in the church—up to higher ground of Christian living. Many have changed who found themselves in a failing group, doing little or nothing for the church.

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Because He LIVES . . .
We enjoy every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).
We have redemption & forgiveness (Eph. 1:7).
We have an inheritance (Eph. 1:11).
We have His power (Eph. 1:19).?
We have been made alive (Eph. 2:5).?
We have been saved through faith (Eph. 2:8).?
We live with purpose (Eph. 2:10).?

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s2smodern

Racism Has No Place In The Church

George McNulty

The Lord Jesus Christ said in the gospel account of John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This is not a suggestion.  It’s a command directly from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Who does it apply to?

In Matthew 7:12, we read,  “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Here is the clear command to treat others as we would ourselves!  If we were at the hands of an enemy, would we not want mercy?  So, we should realize that, according to the blessed Redeemer, there is no room for hatred in the heart of one of his followers!

In 1 John 3:15, we read, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Yet, there is a hate that is held onto and passed along like a precious heirloom.  Racism is a cancer to the very depths of the soul that endangers those infected with the peril of Hell.  Jesus commands Christians to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That includes ALL of mankind. We are told, in John 3:16, “For God so loved the WORLD.”  That is as inclusive as it gets. God loves the world and all that are in it.  He loves the human race in its entirety.

Acts 17:26 says that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men.”  We are one blood; we are the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christians are described in Galatians 3:38 as being  “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” In the book of Revelation, we get a glimpse Heaven, where there is no segregation...Gods kingdom is no apartheid state. In verse 9 of chapter seven, we are shown “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”  Did you catch that? All nations!   Red, yellow, black, brown and white!  ALL nations are become one in the kingdom of our Lord!  One King, one kingdom, one people, one blood.

The hate of racism cannot be defended and should not be defended! What is learned can be unlearned; hate can be put aside and the love (that practical concern for our human brothers and sisters) can take its place. This should bring respect, care, and a color blindness when we see with our souls as fellow creatures of God -- sinners in need of a loving, merciful and inclusive Saviour, who came “to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:1).

If we are to be faithful to Christ, then we must forsake inherited patterns of hate and the language of hate. The use of degrading words are clearly unacceptable in the heart, mind or mouth of one who calls himself a Christian.  These words unfit for mention are aimed at dehumanizing others whom Christ gave his life for!

If you have hatred, you must get out of it and get into Christ. In Galatians 3:27, we are told how we can be purified from our sins:  “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Some people need to put away the hate and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to unlearn hate and learn love from the Master who made us all, with purpose, with love, with compassion, and with joy.  The master artist Jesus Christ created all things, and “he offers his mercy and grace to all” (John 1:1).  The rich man was told to leave his riches and we, too, must leave the things that are keeping us from Heaven.  Give up your old treasured sins and become the Christian that God requires you to be.

Love, love, love, love.  The gospel in one word is love.  Love thy neighbor as thy brother.  Love, love, love.”

 

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The Beginning of the Church of Christ
Victor M. Eskew
There are some scholars and preachers within the church who are confused about the date of the establishment of the church.  They teach that the church of Christ rose of out the Restoration Movement of the late 1700's and early 1800's.  To hear them tell it, the church of Christ did not exist prior to this time period.   In a tract entitled, “What You Can Expect When You Visit the Church of Christ,” Joe R. Barnett begins his discussion with “a brief description of our background.”  He writes: “We are part of ‘The Restoration Movement.’”  In the book, Decades of Destiny, edited by Lindy Adams and Scott LaMascus, we read the following on page 21:
“In New England, Elias Smith and Abner Jones rejected the Calvinism of their Baptist heritage and began establishing Christian churches in the early 1800s.  A few years later in Tennessee, a group of Presbyterians, led by Finis Ewing, Samuel King, and Samuel McAdaw, also rejected Calvinism and formed the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.   It would be three other Presbyterians who would lead in forming the movement that produced the Churches of Christ.”
The word that troubles us in the above quote is the word “produced.”   Did three Presbyterians form a movement that produced the churches of Christ? Some seem to think so.
The reality is that the church of Christ was produced, established, and built on the earth in the first century.  The precise date of its establishment is the first Pentecost following our Lord’s resurrection.  Peter and the other apostles preached the gospel for the first time on that day (Acts 2:14, 22). Those who gladly received their words were baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38, 41). At that point, they were saved (Mark 16:16).  The Lord added these saved ones to the church. “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:47).
To which church were these individuals added?   Not a single denomination existed at the time.   Jesus, however, had promised to build “His” church. At Caesarea Philipp, He said: “And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).  Surely, this was the church to which the save on Pentecost were added.   Romans 16:16 confirms this to be the case. Paul wrote: “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” If the church of Christ existed in the first century, it is impossible for three Presbyterians to have produced it in the 1800s.
Those who believe that the church of Christ is a development of the Restoration Movement also fail to understand the “seed” principle with regard to the kingdom.  Plants exist in different forms.  One of these forms is seed.  Corn, cotton, beans, squash, peas, okra, and tomatoes begin each farming season as seed.   When these seeds are planted in the ground and are properly cared for, they bring forth fruit after their kind.   Tomato seeds produce tomatoes. Cotton seeds produce cotton.  As long as the seeds exist, the produce exists.  This principle holds true in the spiritual realm also.  In Luke 8:11, Jesus said: “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.” God’s Word is the seed of the kingdom. It is planted into the soil, that is, the hearts of mankind. In good soil, its fruit is produced (Luke 8:15).  In the first century, the seed of God’s Word produced Christians, members of the church of Christ.  If that seed is planted today, it will produce exactly the same thing.  It is important to understand that as long as the seed exists, the church also exists in seed form.  Jesus declared: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”(Matt. 24:35).   If Jesus’ words are true, then the church has, and always will, exist, at least in seed form.  Thus, the men of the Restoration Movement did not “produce” the church of Christ.  They merely planted the incorruptible seed of God’s Word into the hearts of honest hearers and the church grew from its seed form into its mature state.
There are far too many within the churches of Christ that view the church of Christ as a denomination among many.  They see it as the product of man’s efforts.  They do not see it as the one and only body of Christ (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18).   They fail to see it as the wisdom of God that existed in God’s mind from eternity (Eph. 3:8-11).   We wonder if they believe that the church of Christ is the divine institution that was purchased by the precious blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Dear readers, the church of Christ is not of man-made origin.  It is not the result of the studies of good men of the 18th  and 19th  centuries.  The church of Christ is a divine institution that was established on earth on Pentecost Day as recorded in Acts 2!
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s2smodern

Children are from God
Aaron J. Dodson
Paul wrote that God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen “being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [Deity]…” (Romans 1:20). God had him write this as a means of demonstrating that man is “without excuse” before God (Rom. 1:20c). The creation of heaven and earth are evidence of God’s power and marvelous design. Of course, someone might argue that there are many defects in the universe and in mankind and such is evidence that God does not exist. However, careful examination of both creation and Scripture demonstrate that God created all things “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and when sin entered the world so did the consequences of it including death, decay, disease and the like (cf. Gen. 2:17; 3:16-19). The thing that God created sometimes described as the “pinnacle” of His creation is human life. On the sixth day of creating God said “Let Us make man [mankind] in Our image, according to our likeness...” (Gen. 1:26). Mankind has been rightly described in this way because God declared of mankind that we are to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). As a person reads Genesis it becomes clear that the first man and woman were mature adults not babies. What a sight that must have been! We know that since that time all have been born from a man and woman as babies. Though Jesus was not physically born from a man he was born of a woman (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Gal. 4:4) and in this He shared in humanity (“yet without sin”  Heb. 4:15). On Saturday, August 29th 2015 our daughter Cheyenne was born at 6:11a.m. Mommy Lindsey experienced and endured a completely “natural” (without pain medications) birth. Lindsey described the experience with one word, “intense.” Despite the pain, to see Cheyenne born and to see mommy hold her in her arms and to be with mommy and baby through the entire experience is simply breathtaking and amazing to say the least. It baffles me to no end to think that there are many “educated” people who proclaim that this entire birth process is a result of rocks, dirt and gases (with no Divine beginning), with no logical explanation (“it just happened, no God started it nor designed it”), through long, long, long, long, long periods of “natural selection,” (billions of years) methodically created and caused all material things to exist and be perpetuated and sustained as they are now! This is what I call the “god of chance.” The One true God says “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1). To me its sad that anyone could experience all the joys of childbirth and then attribute all of it to “nothing” that came from “nothing,” that had no “divine purpose.” The One true God says “..children are a heritage [possession] from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3)! Thank you Father in Heaven NOT the “god of chance” (that doesn’t even exist).

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s2smodern

                                        Time For Spring Cleaning
                                               Victor M. Eskew

 

For some reason, spring is the time for cleaning the house and yard. We refer to it as “Spring Cleaning.” During the course of a year, things get dirty, out of order, and piled up around the house. Prettier weather makes individuals want to clean up, organize, and get rid of things around the house.

Since, it is the time of year for Spring Cleaning, maybe each of needs to take a look at our spiritual house. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul states: “What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Each Christian can view his body and the life that he leads as a house. It is a spiritual house. It is designed for more than secular pursuits. It is designed to bring glory to God. Our spiritual houses are much like our personal houses. They need to be cleaned up from time to time. So, maybe it is time for some Spring Cleaning.

Over the course of time, we have a tendency to collect things in our home. Some of the things we collect become “junk.” Junk consists of things that we no longer need or that are no longer useful to us. Junk just takes up a lot of space. We may sell our junk at a yard sale or donate it to Goodwill. We know that we need to get rid of it. In our spiritual lives, there are things that we need to cast out. It could be sin, or bad habits, or a bad relationship. In the opening verse of Hebrews 12 the writer exhorts us, saying: “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” James, the brother of our Lord, gives us a similar admonition in James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

In our homes, things often get out of order over time. We are busy and we throw things here and there. We intend to put them in the right place, but never get around to it. When we do our Spring Cleaning, we get things organized again. We put things in their rightful place. Our spiritual lives can also get “out of order” in time. The less important become the important. The urgent takes the place of the essential. Our wants come before the things of God. Thus, when we do our Spring Cleaning, we have to put order back into our spiritual lives. As we do, we keep in mind such passages as Colossians 3:1-2 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” As we live our lives, the here and now becomes more important than the then and there. It is imperative that we take some time and restore the right order to our lives. Jesus counsels us in this matter in Matthew 6:33 “But see ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

When we do Spring Cleaning at home, we really do some deep cleaning. We dust. We wash. We scrub. We sweep. We mop. We make the inside and outside of our homes like new again. We need to do the same thing when we clean our spiritual homes. We have a tendency to put things to the side and they collect dust and need to be cleaned. It may be that we need to get the dust off our Bibles. We had good intentions of studying more, but we have not. We need to clean the dust off, open the cover of our Bible, and begin to diligently read and study its divine contents (2 Tim. 2:15). We might need to clean out our prayer closets as well. Again, we believe in prayer and intend to pray, but others things often get in our way. Before we know it, our prayer closet becomes a dusty, musty mess. We need to open it up, clean it out, get in, close the door, and pray fervently to our heavenly Father (Matt. 6:6)

When individuals get involved in Spring Cleaning, they clean the house from top to bottom. It is not just a cleaning of the floors and carpets. The one cleaning looks at the ceiling, the crown molding, the lights, and the ceiling fans. All of the dust and cobwebs in these places are removed. In like manner, we may need to reach into the upper parts of our house and do some cleaning. There are times when the cobwebs of opinions, earthly principles and false teachings clutter our minds. If they are not removed, they begin to take over our thinking processes. Paul’s instructions in 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 are worthy of implementation. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

Spring Cleaning is difficult work. It means the investment of a lot of strength and several hours of toil. However, when it is finished, a person looks at his/her house with a sense of satisfaction. The same is true when a person cleans his spiritual house. It requires an investment of time and work. When it is done, the individual will look at his/her spiritual life with great satisfaction. Sadly, some never get around to Spring Cleaning their house. They allow the dirt, and filth, and clutter, and junk to remain. The same is true of the spiritual lives of some Christians. Don’t let this be you. Set aside some time. Do that Spring Cleaning. You will be glad you did!

Welcome

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Lay Lake church of Christ

23868 Highway 145, 

Mile Marker "23"

Columbiana, AL 35051

 

(205) 901-4703

 

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