West Side Church of Christ

Services will be returning to the building on Sunday, June 7, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

West Side Church of Christ

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

See today's reading schedule & excerpts from the Psalms & Proverbs at the bottom of this page

A Non-denominational Church

Our congregation is dedicated to worshipping God in spirit and in truth as closely as we can ascertain from the New Testament. We search the scriptures for guidance and authority on how we ought to live our lives in order to be pleasing to God.

To learn more about us, or to get in touch with us — stop by in person or send us an email at:

wscoc@wschurchofchrist.org .
Or Call (216) 671-1759.

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Sunday AM Sermon

Sermon from Nov 29, 2020
Speaker: Mike Mathis

Sunday PM Sermon

Sermon from Nov 29, 2020
Speaker: Kevin Cleary

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A Character Study of Peter
Our Wednesday Night Class

Jesus' Compassion

Just ten days before the crucifixion, Jesus and His disciples set out for Jerusalem, they had been in Jericho where Jesus gave them specifics about what was going to happen there.

He told them that the Son of Man would be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they would condemn Him to death, and would hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day, He would be raised up.

With the weight of the world on His shoulders, and knowing in full detail what would soon happen, Jesus still had the wonderful and loving attitude He always had. His love for mankind didn't waiver.

Many of us, if we were in His circumstance, would be terrified, angry, so consumed with "trying to get out of it," we would unlikely notice or care about someone else who had problems.

But not Jesus. He stuck to the mission to seek and save the lost, He still put others first. He left us with such good examples of grace under fire. In the face of meeting His own death, observe Jesus' love for the unfortunate.

Mat. 20:29-34, “As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"

(Mark's retelling of this event mentions that one of the men's name is Bartimeus. By these men calling Jesus, "Son of David," it is an acknowledgement to their faith in Him because that is the same as calling Him Messiah)

The crowd sternly told them to be quiet. (The crowd that followed actually tried to silence them...can you imagine? But isn't that like the world and Satan? They will do everything to keep a soul from finding the Lord's salvation.)

But they cried out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

(They showed their determination to get the Lord's attention and their efforts were rewarded. Jesus knew what they wanted, and He wanted to heal them because He loved them, He just wanted them to express it and ask for it out of faith.)

They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”

Mark's account mentions that after Jesus healed them He said, "Go, your faith has made you well." He dismisses them. After having compassion on them and giving them sight, a life altering event, going from blackness to seeing clearly, they received their sight, believing in Jesus, the Light of all men.

They ignored Jesus dismissing them and followed Him. We don't know for how long they went with them on Jesus journey to Jerusalem, I would like to think that they became disciples of Jesus. Just think about the events that their new eyes were to behold in the next week.

Jesus is God's compassion in action. Cling to Him brothers and sisters!


Historical Types Are Examples - Examples For Our Learning, More Wednesday Class

1 Corinthians 10:6

6 Now these things took place as examples [Grk: tupos] for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

Paul recalls some of Israel's early history to the Corinthians to instruct them on their behavior. He calls the historical events of Israel: examples (Grk: tupos, ie types). As we are learning, the Bible uses type and antitype relationships for the purpose of placing the type against the antitype to make comparisons.

Paul is identifying in this passage specific Israelite historical events as types. He is telling the Corinthian church not to behave like the types. So he's telling them to compare themselves to the Israelite historical types. Therefore, we, the church today, represented here by the Corinthian church, are the antitypes.

What does Paul tell us about our historical types in 1 Cor 10?

  • vs5 With most of them, God was not pleased.
  • vs7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."
  • vs8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
  • vs9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them DID and were destroyed by serpents,
  • vs10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11

11 Now these things happened to them as an example [Grk: tupos], but they were written down for OUR instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

He then gives us a warning, a promise, and an instruction
1 Corinthians 10:12-14 (ESV)

  • The Warning
    • vs12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
  • The Promise
    • vs13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  • The Instruction
    • vs14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (ie Don't put ANYONE or ANYTHING else before God)

Because, our historical examples that typify us, DID all these things. Read and learn how God dealt with them and apply those lessons to us today. — Scott R

How Does a Christian Deal With Sin? —Here's a Clue

Romans 4:7-8

7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

Psalms 32:1-5

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said,

"I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Who Determines What's Moral?

Who determines what is right or wrong? Is there such a thing as morality? If so, who determines what is moral and what isn't? Any one individual? A family of individuals? A group of individuals? A nation of individuals? The consensus of all individuals? A majority of individuals? From a naturalistic point of view, concerning the electro-chemical reactions that are living things, whose electro-chemical processes are any better or worthy of making a moralistic determination than any other individual's processes?

However, from God's point of view, God the Creator reserves that right for Himself,

Isaiah 45:18-19

18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!):

"I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness;

I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,

'Seek me in vain.'

I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.

The solution to how we deal with sin, (as outsiders or as Christians), begins with God... more to follow.

—Scott R

Blessed are- The Poor & The Poor in Spirit

Luke 6:20 says,

"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."

Matt. 5:3 says,

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (NKJV)

The poor have no influence, power or help, therefore, they are downtrodden and oppressed by men. The poor put their trust in God. Thus, they are "poor in spirit." They realize they are dependent on God. There is no haughtiness of attitude thinking they have no need for anything or knowledge. But they look to God for their every need, especially spiritual needs.

That is why Jesus said,

"For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Mike Mathis

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A Character Study of Peter
Our Wednesday Night Class

Jesus' Compassion, continued

(Mark's retelling of this event mentions that one of the men's name is Bartimeus. By these men calling Jesus, "Son of David," it is an acknowledgement to their faith in Him because that is the same as calling Him Messiah)

The crowd sternly told them to be quiet. (The crowd that followed actually tried to silence them...can you imagine? But isn't that like the world and Satan? They will do everything to keep a soul from finding the Lord's salvation.)

But they cried out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

(They showed their determination to get the Lord's attention and their efforts were rewarded. Jesus knew what they wanted, and He wanted to heal them because He loved them, He just wanted them to express it and ask for it out of faith.)

They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”

Mark's account mentions that after Jesus healed them He said, "Go, your faith has made you well." He dismisses them. After having compassion on them and giving them sight, a life altering event, going from blackness to seeing clearly, they received their sight, believing in Jesus, the Light of all men.

They ignored Jesus dismissing them and followed Him. We don't know for how long they went with them on Jesus journey to Jerusalem, I would like to think that they became disciples of Jesus. Just think about the events that their new eyes were to behold in the next week.

Jesus is God's compassion in action. Cling to Him brothers and sisters!


Witnesses for the King

To establish truth or guilt God required that a matter be established by eyewitnesses who could give testimony.

Moses writes in Dt. 19:15,
"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established."

Jesus likewise used this standard for his church. Mat. 18:16,
"But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established."

And Paul also used it in his second letter to the Corinthians 13:1,
"This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word be established."

So God himself provided to Mary and Joseph people who would give eyewitness testimony to establish as truth the words spoken by the angel Gabriel. First are the shepherds who came and saw the baby Messiah in the manger and told Mary and Joseph all that happened to them and what they heard. Then came the Maji from the east and worshipped the King of the Jews that was born. When the mother and father of our Lord took him to the temple to present him to God, we had both Simeon and Anna take the child and prophesy about him and bless them and praise God for getting to see the consolation of Israel.

God himself also gave eyewitness testimony concerning his Son. At Jesus baptism, at the transfiguration and at the market place when the Greek men were seeking audience with Jesus, God thundered from heaven,
“This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased-listen to him!” and,
“I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Brothers and sisters it is a well established fact that Jesus is the Christ, the King of kings and the son of the Living God of heaven.


A Grand Announcement

The proclamation of great news is often made into a special event. When a young couple decides to tie the knot and get married, careful consideration is given to what kind of announcement cards are used. Often the available cards to pick from are just not good enough and they end up designing their own special announcement card. The same is true in announcing the birth of a child, a lot of thought goes into how that will be done.

My daughter Amy, told Ruth and I, that she was going to have another child and came up with a rather fun and unique way to tell us what the sex of the child would be. She brought over a black balloon filled with either pink or blue paint and a bow and arrow and attached it to a tree and had me pop the balloon with the arrow... yes, it did put a lot of pressure on me to show off my bow skills, but much to my amazement I popped the balloon and pink paint exploded all over, announcing to us that Amy and David were going to have a baby girl. To me, that was better than an announcement handed to me on a silver platter!

God, no doubt, had the most elaborate announcement of all time concerning the birth of his son. God sent first, an angel to proclaim the birth of the Christ child to some shepherds who were tending their flock at night.

"And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them,

'Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.'

And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!'

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

'Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.'

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."

Such great news needed a great announcement and God gave exactly that. Though Joseph and Mary were very poor, God our father provided the most glorious birth announcement anyone could ever want.


A New Dispensation

As we enter our study of Peter, it is important to point out that we are entering a new "era" or "dispensation" in the bible known as the Christian era or Christian dispensation. An era is a period of time characterized by a notable historical event that has occurred. Such eras include the pre-flood and post- flood eras where the great global flood of Noah's time is the historical event that marks the period of time on earth before and after the flood. In our dispensation, the birth of our Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth is the single most significant event the world has ever known; God being born as a man and living among his creation. It was an event even more significant than the flood itself which destroyed the world's sinful inhabitants at that time. It is more important because the birth of the Christ Child will bring everlasting life to all of mankind who believe in him. The words era and dispensation vary slightly in that dispensation is a more descriptive word to illustrate important aspects in the moments of God's dealings with man.

Daniel Webster describes the word dispensation this way:

“That which is dispensed or bestowed; a system of principles and rites enjoined; as the Mosaic dispensation; the gospel dispensation; including, the former the Levitical law and rites; the latter the scheme of redemption by Christ.”

You know what? They talked funny in the Puritan Era so; a dispensation is a significant moment in time marked by a historical event in which a method or scheme of the unfolding of God's love,mercy, and grace that God uses to carry out his will for the redemption of mankind. Synonyms for dispensation are; administration, stewardship, management and economy. There are three major dispensations throughout the bible. The Patriarchal, the Mosaic and the Christian dispensations. As a biblical excersize, see if you can determine times, places and events that mark the various dispensations in the bible. Examine also these bible passages that use these words for dispensation. 1 Cor.9:17; Eph.1:10; 3:2,9; Col.1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4


The Holy Family

As we establish the main characters in our study of Peter, God first shows us in the gospels of Matthew and Luke the family of Joseph and Mary, and Zacharias and Elizabeth. They are related through the maternal side; Mary and Elizabeth share the same blood. When the angel Gabriel announces God's plan of salvation to Mary and that she would carry God's Son, the Messiah, he gives her a sign of proof that her relative (kinswoman, possibly a cousin or second cousin) who is old and barren is in her sixth month of pregnancy. So this family has two miracle babies! Nothing is impossible with God. And that also makes Jesus and John related. These two children would grow up to be so vitally important to not just Israel, but to the whole world. John would be the harbinger, ushering in and making the people ready for the Messiah who was to follow.

Peter may have been one of John's disciples along with Andrew his brother and their fishing partners James and John. So these four men were keeping a watchful eye out for the messiah. James and John we can trace through Matthew, Mark and John's account of the crucifixion, and of who were there of the women that followed Jesus and witnessed his death are the sons of Mary's sister Salome, making them first cousions of Jesus. Mary and Joseph had children themselves and they are: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas and daughters though not mentioned by name, making them half brothers and sisters. So if we were to see a gathering of this holy family, they would be: Zacharias, Elizabeth, John, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, Judas, Jesus' sisters, Zebedee, Salome, James and John. Look at all the names in this family and you see many of them contributed greatly for the cause of Christ.

Amen! JL

The Angel Announces God’s Plans

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah in the temple, he announced God's plan for he and his son in the scheme of redemption. The angel made seven points to him that we can see become fulfilled as we read the gospel story.

The points are:

  1. God answers his prayer- Elizabeth would bear him a son
  2. His son is to be called John (God has shown favor)
  3. The son would bring joy to them and many will rejoice
  4. His son would be great in the sight of God
  5. He is to take no alcohol (the Nazarite vow? Num.6 e.g. Sampson & Samuel)
  6. The son would be filled by the spirit from the womb
  7. He will bring back many to the Lord and he will go before the Lord in the "spirit" of Elijah, making the people ready for the Lord, fulfilling Malachi's prophecy

Likewise the angel told the details of God's plan of salvation as revealed to Mary and Joseph with these points:

  • Mary was favored by God and God was with her
  • She'll have a son and will call him Yeshua (Jehoshua/Jesus)
  • He will be Son of the Most High conceived by Holy Spirit fulfilling Is. 7:14 God with us, Immanuel
  • He'll sit on his father David's throne fulfilling Micah 5:2
  • His kingdom will have no end fulfilling Daniels prophecy
  • Nothing is impossible for God

As we go through our study, look for these points and make note of them; this will show you God's invisible hand at work, exercising his providence and will to fulfill his word.

— Jim

A Study of Peter, The Gospel Period

As we enter the gospel period of time in our Wednesday study, we are introduced to two families; Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth and Mary and her betrothed Joseph. It is a very wonderful time to say the least because we read of supernatural events taking place which causes great excitement in these families and their communities. God sends an angel; Gabriel, to Zachariah and to Mary, to announce to them that God would bless them with a child. To Zachariah, his wife who was barren would be blessed with a child that would be the 'Elijah' that was to come and make straight paths for the Messiah and to Mary he told her that she would bear the Son of the Most High and that God would give him the throne of his father David and that his kingdom would have no end. It may have even been the angel Gabriel who came to Joseph in a dream after he had contemplated divorcing his wife quietly and explained to him that the baby conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit and that the child would save his people from their sins. The lives of these four people would be changed forever as well as the lives of the people of the whole world. I would highly encourage you to read these particular stories from the gospel because they are an excellent revealing of our Christian history, they can be found in; Luke 1:5-56 and Mat.1:18-25. They aren't only just a lesson in history for us but there are lessons we too can apply in our lives. One such lesson is about belief. In Zachariah's case he doubted when Gabriel told him God's plan, he said to Gabriel, "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." He was immediately punished for his disbelief by being struck mute. Mary had an attitude that should be emulated by all believers, her response was, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And Joseph too was faithful in his due dilligence and took Mary as his wife. Let's have good and positive attitudes in our lives and service to our Lord as we seek to serve him too. For his glory! Jim

Beyond Remedy

God's people in the Old Testament went through many trials that tested their faith and allegiance to God. Exodus 20:20 (NASB) Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin." God knows that man is prone to sin. God loves us and knows that sin can enslave us and be our 'master'. He is a jealous God and wants all of our devotional focus on him, not idols. We are to have no other gods except him, today we may not bow before an image made of wood or stone, but we create idols of other types in our lives that are sinful. Paul tells the Philippians, 3:18-19,"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things." The phrase "whose god is their belly" means; our carnal appetites can become our gods or idols in this life and that makes us enemies of Jesus. If unrepented of, our idol worship can cause us to be eternally lost.

Sin can so consume us it literally can deceive us and blind us to the lost spiritual state we are in. Israel found that out the hard way, they rejected all the prophets who warned them to repent and their sin got so bad that the Assyrian kings killed many of them and carried the rest of them away. Judah too soon found itself in the same predicament years later. 2 Chr.36:16 "but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until Yahweh’s wrath arose against his people, until there was no remedy." No remedy; nothing could fix or heal them, they were in spiritual hospice waiting to die. God had to destroy them to get their attention, most of them were slaughtered and a remnant were exiled to Babylon for 70 years. John tells us that there is sin that leads to death, I believe it is sin that is unrepented of that has become an idol in our life, John then concludes his letter by saying, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."

— Jim L

Setting Our Minds for Our Study on Peter

As we have stated in our Wednesday evening bible study: The Apostle Peter, we are "setting the table," so to speak, to set up the mood of the day.

I ask you to read 2nd Chronicles 36 and if you have the gumption, the book of Daniel also. These verses from the bible have some rich history we can go over to better help us understand what Israel and Judah in particular just went through that shapes their thinking and attitudes during Peter's day.

If you read the book of Daniel, pay particular attention to the dreams of both the king of Babylon and Daniel himself because they both cover the world empires that will be of interest to us.

Happy reading and I can't wait to discuss these topics in class with you.

See you then. Jim

Yes, Jesus Did That

It may be difficult for some of us to imagine that an all powerful eternal God has walked with mankind on earth through all the ages; but it's not difficult for us to imagine one who reigns from heaven and directs the affairs of man from there. But we do have a God who is a "hands on God", and has interacted with his creation on an intimate level, face to face even.

The apostle John tells us in John 1:18 (NRSV)

"No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known."

So it took the Son of God to actually reveal the Father to us through his life and teachings.

John further tells us, John 14:6-11 (NRSV)

Jesus said to him,

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him,

"Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

Jesus said to him,

"Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves."

So the oneness of the Godhead is shown to us in Jesus' statement. When we see Jesus, we see the Father, for they are one in purpose and mind. Jesus has interacted with his creation in many different forms.

In the Garden of Eden we see it is in the form of the eternal being, "Jehovah Elohim", which is "LORD God." He was the first law giver, and gave Adam the Law of Sin and Death to follow, yes — Jesus did that. — Jim

Good Lord's Day to everyone! (For Sunday, 9/13)
We are starting a new class at West Side on Wednesday

Having completed a study in the elementary teachings of Christ, we will be examining the life of Simon the son of John whom the Lord gives the nick-name Peter.

Peter is one of my favorite characters in the bible because he is an average working class guy who has many flaws and many wonderful traits. Jesus saw great potential in Peter and mentors him to become the 'Rock' which he saw him as.

This class will be for young teenagers who want a deeper understanding of our faith so that they may have a faith of their own and become a Christian one day, so the 'milk' of God's word will be taught; plus there will be plenty of 'meat' to chew on in this class for the mature audience as well.

My expectaion for this class is that upon its conclusion, we can all be of the same mind that if God can use a person like Peter in his ministry, he can use me too! I hope to see you all this Wednesday.

In his service — Jim

Why Are Types & Antitypes Important?
The Holy Spirit Expressing Spiritual Ideas with Spiritual Words – 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Lately, in preparation for our future class on the book of Hebrews, we have been exploring the concept of types & antitypes. The idea came as a result of looking at Adam (referred to by Paul as a "type of" Christ) & Jesus in Romans 5:12-21, baptism and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, in Romans 6:1-11, and Peter, when talking about the flood, mentions that the "antitype" (of the flood), namely baptism, now saves us, 1 Peter 3:20,21. We learned that types & antitypes are for making comparisons. You can hold the type up closely against the antitype for contrasting effect (juxtapose). This is what the Bible does in Romans 5, 6 and 1 Peter 3, as mentioned above.

Last Sunday night, in the PM sermon, we looked at Ephesians 5:21-33, where Paul makes the comparison between the husband, wife relationship and the relationship Christ has with His church. Paul used this comparison to instruct us on how we ought to behave in our marriage relationships, emphasizing that this contrast was intended for us to make the comparison. In fact, he says, "Therefore," and states the law of marriage. Then says, "This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." (i.e. because God wanted to show man the importance of His relationship with His church, He designed marriage.)

In other words, the marriage relationship AS a type of Christ and His church IS THE reason marriage exists!

Marriage is the ONLY authorized relationship for sexual union because God designed it (marriage) to show the relationship of Christ and His church. That is why all other sexual unions are wrong (because they don't show the relationship Christ has with His church). Not because of some "phobia" we may be accused of having.

Further, Jesus connects the dots for us when He was asked what was proper behavior regarding marriage. He says, "Have you not read that He who created them FROM THE BEGINNING (predating Moses) made them male and female, and said, 'THEREFORE, '" and He states the law of marriage, (i.e. because I made them male & female, they are to be married), Matthew 19:3-6.

Simply stated:
THE REASON why God made us male and female is to be married and our marriage was DESIGNED to show the relationship of Christ and His church. And that IS WHY marriage between a man and a woman is the ONLY relationship that is RIGHT for sexual union and ALL OTHER relationships are NOT. See 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20.

— Scott R (The power of the type and antitype)

Hebrews — Beyond the Basics
There's a Reason for Mature Instruction

One of the things Hebrews reveals is a series of comparisons between Angels and Jesus, Moses and Jesus, Jesus and Melchizedek, and the Levitical High Priest and Jesus our High Priest, all showing the superiority of Jesus. Not to mention comparisons between the Tabernacle and Heaven, the old and new covenants, and between animal sacrifices and Jesus' sacrifice.

But, there are other things mentioned too. In the passage of Hebrews that identifies and contrasts the elementary teachings to teachings for the mature Christian we find a context that is the book of Hebrews in miniature. The Hebrew writer is in the middle of a deep discussion when he stops to give a criticism, a list of elementary teachings, and a warning to his audience. After the warning he returns to his discussion right where he left off. We see this cycle of instructing & warning repeated over several times.

The instruction is aimed to address the warnings the writer presents to his audience to help them maintain their walk with Christ. Some warnings are listed.

  • Heb 2:1-4, Pay attention,
    • lest we drift away
    • How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
  • Heb 3:7-4:13 - If you hear His voice,
    • do not harden your hearts [as previous generations did]
    • [God says], "They always go astray in their heart
    • They have not KNOWN my ways,
    • I swore in my wrath, 'They shall NOT enter My rest.'"
  • Heb 10:26-31 - if we go on sinning deliberately
    • after receiving the knowledge of the truth
    • there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
    • but a fearful expectation of judgment,

Take time to read Hebrews and see for yourself how the writer tailors his instruction to the warnings he presents. Give careful thought to his message. It is as pertinent today as it was 2,000 years ago.

— Scott R

The Elementary Teachings Class Concluded

Thanks to Jim Lokenbauer for an excellent study on “the elementary teachings about Christ” from Hebrews 6:1,2.

Jim plans on taking us through a study on the Apostle Peter next. We’re looking forward to his class.

Following that, I would like to present a class on the book of Hebrews. It is in the context of discussing difficult Biblical ideas that the Hebrew writer tells us what the elementary teachings about Christ are. This Biblical definition of what constitutes the basic/elementary principles/doctrine that are foundational to the Gospel appears almost incidentally. Without this list we would be left to our own opinion/understanding of what forms the basics of the oracles of God (Hebrews 5:12).

The book of Hebrews is a case study of the “meat” of the gospel. In our Hebrews class we will take a look at the arguments the author makes with a mind of trying to understand what he is saying and for what purpose.

While Jim is on vacation, I plan on presenting, over the next Wednesday or two, a brief overview of the book of Hebrews. We will identify the structure, outline, and some arguments of the book and look for clues to what was motivating the writer to pen the book. Hopefully this will stimulate interest for everyone to read & study the book of Hebrews in preparation for the future class.

See you Wednesday Evening —Scott R

Time is Drawing Near — Are You Ready?

By the power of Jesus' word he created the heavens and the earth and holds everything together by it (Ps.33:6, Heb.1:3) Creation was the start of time, year zero. In that same year, he established his law to Adam and Eve, the law of sin and death. Through the twisting of God's word Satan deceived the first couple and got them to break that law. Mankind chose to listen to Satan and therefore has been under his influence ever since. God has a plan to redeem mankind and save them from the power of Satan and his fate.

Two thousand years later, God Jesus established a people who would be God's chosen people. He appeared to Abraham and gave him three great promises; a family, a land, and a Savior Messiah from his bloodline that would bless the world.

Two thousand years after that, the Savior was born in Bethlehem through the lineage of King David, the fulfillment of the third promise to Abraham. He taught the people the gospel of the kingdom of God; repentance and obedience and love and peace are the core of those teachings.

These are some of the reasons as to why Jesus came down from heaven.

  • "I must preach the good news of God's kingdom." (Luke 4:43)

  • Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. (Mat.5:17)

  • Jesus was born King of the Jews and came to testify to the truth. (John 18:37)

  • Jesus came to die on the cross to redeem mankind. (John 3:16, 12:27-33)

  • John tells us in his first letter 1 Jn.3:8,

  • "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus died on the cross and rose again to redeem mankind back to himself and destroy the works of Satan. It seems like these two thousand year periods are marked with significant religious events, the only promise yet to be fulfilled is Jesus second coming which will bring about the destruction of creation and the end of time. It's also when the resurrection and Judgment Day occurs and the unbelievers and Satan and his army of demons will be thrown into the lake of fire, and the redeemed will enter heaven for eternity.

And you know what? Two thousand years passing is upon us, are you ready? —Jim

What Manner of Spirit are You?

Jesus our master and savior knows how to mold and shape each of his disciples into his image.

In Paul, James and John, and Peter we have men who had the spirit of the sons of thunder. Their thought processes were worldly and carnal and not on the things of God. Saul (Paul) delivered on his murderous threats, James and John seriously wanted to rain down fire on the Samaritans and incinerate them and were jealous over others calling on the name of the Lord besides them and Peter forcefully took Jesus aside and rebuked the Son of God for revealing that he was going to Jerusalem to be killed by the gentiles.

In each of these events, the Lord showed his wisdom in dealing with each of them, whether it was a sharp rebuke or blinding light he knew how to get through to them to redirect their thoughts and actions to do his will.

Examine their attitudes in these verses. Act 9:1, Mar 9:38, Mat 16:23, Luke 9:53-55. Their manner of spirit was worldly, thinking only from the human viewpoint, they could've easily been influenced by the evil one while walking according to the flesh (Eph 2:1-3; 6:10-13). That should make us stand up and take notice, they were with the Lord and were still carnal minded and/or influenced by the evil one.

Thankfully the one whom they called "Lord" is stronger than he who is in the world. Unfortunately, Judas Iscariot, who was very carnal minded, never changed spiritually and his faith and life was influenced and destroyed by Satan. We as humans have so many obstacles to overcome to be faithful to Jesus and be led by the Spirit, but God is faithful!

The greatest challenge to our faith is what baggage we carry around with us from our lives prior to becoming Christians. Also our own frailties and weaknesses and lack of biblical knowledge are hindrances too. It is only through prayer, reading and studying God's word, being a part of a body of believers, and keeping God's word at the forefront of our thoughts that can remedy this. We need to carry our cross daily as we go through our lives so as to influence our decisions and actions that we can be the clay that's set apart for noble purpose for the Master Potter to transform us into something special. If we will believe we'll be set free by his words and if we reject him we'll be judged by Jesus' words.

John 8:31-32, "So, Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.' "

John 12:48, "There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day."

Let us be ready. —Jim

Matthew 25 and the Judgment

Matthew chapter 25 has three parables that depict the Savior being away on a long journey, as He is right now. Upon His return, which will be His second coming, it shows how He deals with His followers, not those who don't believe and reject Him in this life, but His followers.

The first is the Ten Virgins. It shows two types of believers, wise and foolish.

  • The wise show their faith by being prepared and waiting.
  • The foolish...not.

(Hebrews 9:28 "so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.")

(Matthew 25:13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.")

The second parable is the Talents, three are given talents acording to their abilities.

(Romans 12:6-8 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.")

  • The first two immediately get busy and vigorously use their talents for their master.
  • The third buried his talent, not using it and did nothing for his master the entire time he was gone.
  • Upon the master's return he settles accounts with each servant, the first two he congratualates them for being fruitful with their talents and welcomes them in to his joy.

    (John 15:8 "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.")

  • The third servant made ad hominem excuses and returned the talent back to his master. The master pronounced judgment on him and called him a wicked and lazy servant, he did not enter his masters joy.

The final parable which we will go over in detail this coming Wednesday bible study, is called the Final Judgment, or the Sheep and the goats, and it may surprise you just who exactly are the goats.


The Tree of Life

After God created the heavens and the earth and all that was in them, He planted a garden in Eden and placed man there to tend to it. In the middle of the garden God planted two special trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told man that he was free to eat from any of the trees except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were commanded not to eat from that tree or the punishment of death would come upon them.

Presented to mankind was a choice,

  • obedience to the command and free access to the tree of life, or
  • disobedience to the command earning them condemnation and death.

After time, the two innocent souls were confronted by that age old protagonist Satan, who through trickery and twisting the word of God beguiled Eve and the woman and the man ate of the forbidden fruit, breaking the only command they were given.

After God meted out judgment and punishment on them all, deferring man's death sentence till a latter time at the end of all time, a final judgment day, He instituted temporary systems of atonement using animal sacrifices. He also removed their access to the tree of life.

Because of the original couple's sin and condemnation, a death sentence was presented to all mankind, because all have sinned, all will die. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only man to have led a sinless life which meant He was righteous in the sight of the law and by Him being willing to be crucified illegally made Him the perfect atoning sacrifice to take away man's sin. By having faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He is the Son of the Holy Living God of Heaven, and that God raised Him from the dead, we receive mercy and grace from that loving God and we have peace with Him.

Since Jesus death burial and resurrection, mankind is now faced with a new choice, believe in Jesus Christ as your personal savior and have future access to the tree of life, or reject the Savior and face eternal condemnation in the lake of fire.

Tree of Life references;
Gen.2:9, 3:22, 3:24, Rev.2:7, 11, 22:14

—Jim L

After the resurrection comes judgment

Soon we'll be studying the sixth and final elementary teaching; eternal judgment.

Immediately following the resurrection, judgment on mankind happens and the destruction of creation takes place. According to Peter's account, the heavens and the earth and everything in them will be burned up. The gospel gives us so many warnings of the judgment to come. Even as Jesus was casting out evil spirits, they knew who Jesus was, the Messiah, the Son of God! They actually gave testimony as to who He was! Listen to these testimonials.

Matthew 8:29
"What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"

Mark 5:6-7
When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down to him, and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don't torment me." and after that meeting all of the disciples were believers

Luke 4:41
Demons also came out of many, crying out, and saying, "You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Rebuking them, he didn't allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Acts 16:16-17
As we were going to prayer, a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. Following Paul and us, she cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!"

Acts 19:15
The evil spirit answered, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?"

Those demons knew Jesus was the Son of God, that salvation was through Him, that there was coming a day of judgment and that they would be tormented for all eternity.

Brothers and sisters! With the belief and knowledge the bible gives us, let us not be out-evangelized by demons! Time may be short and hell is an awful horrible place, we need to tell others about Jesus, God is being patient with us, He doesn't want anyone to suffer this fate, and wants all to repent!

Mark 13:32
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

As the hymn goes,

"Will your sheaves be many, will you garner any for the gathering at the harvest home?"


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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Excerpts from Proverbs 1 and Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

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    Proverbs 1:1-2, 7-9
    (World English Bible)

    • Introduction to the Book
      • continued
      • Proverbs 1:1 - 9
    • 1) The proverbs of Solomon,
      • the son of David,
        • king of Israel:
    • 2) To know wisdom and instruction;
      • To discern the words of understanding;
      •  ...
    • 7) The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge;
      • But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.
    • 8) My son, listen to your father's instruction,
      • And don't forsake your mother's teaching:
    • 9) For they will be a garland to grace your head,
      • And chains around your neck.

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    Psalm 2:1, 5, 9-12
    Book 1 (Psalms 1-41)
    (World English Bible)

    • 1) My son, if you will receive my words,
      • And store up my commandments within you;
      •  ...
    • 5) Then you will understand the fear of Yahweh,
      • And find the knowledge of God.
      •  ...
    • 9) Then you will understand
      • righteousness and justice,
        • Equity and every good path.
    • 10) For wisdom will enter into your heart.
      • Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
    • 11) Discretion will watch over you.
      • Understanding will keep you,
    • 12) To deliver you from the way of evil,
      • From the men who speak perverse things;

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