“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) We Must Die to Live (Doy Moyer)
2) Possible or Impossible? (Bill Crews)
3) To Whom Were They Speaking? (Carrol R. Sutton)
We Must Die to Live
“I have to die to get better.” Have you felt that way? You feel so sick that you about wish you would go ahead and die so that you can feel better? We say that as a bit of a joke (or maybe not). Of course, at the time that we feel so badly, we do wish for about anything to happen that would improve our condition. Being sick is no fun and we will do whatever it takes to feel better. Of course, as Christians, doing “whatever it takes” still needs to be within what is moral and right. The world doesn’t always follow that path.
Spiritually, the concept of dying in order to get better is a truth to which we must conform. In order to get better, in order to be free from sin, in order to experience forgiveness and true freedom, we must die. This is an important idea in Scripture. For example, Paul put it this way:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:1-4).
Paul follows up by saying, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…,” then speaks of some of the sins that characterize the one who has not yet died to self. We put to death what is worldly, put off the sins of the flesh, and put on Christ and the new self (vv. 5-15). To be new, the old must go. We must die to live. Paul also wrote to the Romans:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:1-4).
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11).
Again, before receiving forgiveness from God, we were considered to be dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). That death came as a result of sin (Rom 6:23). However, we must experience another kind of death. This death is a death to self and sin in order to be brought to life by God spiritually. In other words, we must die to live.
This is another way of speaking about self-denial. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)
Self-denial is a way of putting self to death in order to live for God. If we try to save our lives by refusing self-denial, we will suffer a death no one ultimately wants. If we will deny self, losing our lives for His sake, then we will be saved. It’s paradoxical, but if we can see the kinds of death involved, we can see that the point is simply this: we cannot put ourselves first over God and others and expect to receive the blessings God offers. If we want to live, we must die. If we want to be saved, we must lose our lives for His sake.
This is what Jesus did for us. He is the ultimate example of one who emptied (denied) self and died (Phil 2:6-8). Yet, He lives. The resurrection is what makes eternal life possible now, as Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
By God’s grace, we can die so that we will live. This goes beyond our spiritual death and new life here. This points to an ultimate life that comes from Christ conquering death through His resurrection. We die to live now. Then, because death has been conquered, our physical death is not something to fear because we, too, shall take part in the resurrection of life (Heb 2:14-15).
We don’t want to die; we want to live. Yet as physical death is necessary to resurrection, so also is death to self and sin necessary to the new life in Christ. By God’s grace we can experience both.
In order to get better and live, we must die. Have you?
— Via the bulletin of the Vestavia church of Christ, March 24, 2019
Possible or Impossible?
Can an accountable person who so desires become just a Christian? And can a group of such people constitute a congregation (such as those we read about in the New Testament) that is nondenominational and that belongs to Christ? The religious world in general says that it is impossible; we say that it is possible. Christians in the first century were neither Catholics nor Protestants. All of the Lord’s churches were non-denominational and neither Catholic nor Protestant. Our plea is for people to lay aside human names and designations, human creeds and doctrines, human organizations and systems and become only Christians, and constitute only churches of the Lord.
Can any accountable person, as a result of his own sincere desire and effort, understand the Bible so that he can know what it teaches and so that he can see clearly what it is that God wants him to know, to believe, to do and to be? The religious world in general says that this is impossible; we say that it is both possible and necessary. We know that God is unlimited in power, wisdom and knowledge; that He is capable of giving a revelation that can be understood by men; and that He certainly wants men to understand this revelation of His will. To maintain that people cannot understand the Bible, or that they cannot “under-stand it alike,” is more of a reflection upon God and His Book than it is upon men.
Editor’s Note [of the Roanridge Reader]: To the degree that we understand the Bible, we will understand it alike. There are not different meanings to God’s Word. It is not subject to a variety of interpretations. Either we understand it, believe it and obey it, or we do not. Read again Bill Crews’ fine article. It is brief but full of meaning.
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 22, page 4, June 2, 2019
To Whom Were They Speaking
Carrol R. Sutton
In Acts 16:31 when Paul and Silas said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” they were speaking to an unbeliever, the jailor at Philippi (Acts 16:12). In Acts 2:38 when Peter said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, … “ he was speaking to believers in Jerusalem” (Acts 2:36-37).
In Acts 22:16 when Ananias said: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” he was talking to a penitent believer, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4-18; 22:3-16).
In each of the above cases, each person was told what he needed to know at that particular time. To have the proper concept, we must accept the sum of God’s Word.
— Via The Elon Challenger, Volume 16, Number 9, May 2019
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)