Most of the time when we think or speak of home, we focus on that place where we live and eat and spend time with our physical family. For many it is the place of escape from the hustle and bustle of work or school or the other activities that make up our day. In our later or “retired” years, home is where we will spend more of our time and it becomes the central place of most of our daily activities. Whether in our earlier or later years, home is the place we go for refuge, comfort, refreshment, and to relax or rest. We express this sense of home as the place where we live with our family group.
Home and family can also be thought of in two other ways. Family can be defined also as a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation or fellowship. In this sense we usually think of home in a social setting. This family can be for recreational activity, such as a sports team. It can also be a gathering for a common spiritual or religious interest– a church family. The common interest of the church family is to help each other reach the goal of the ultimate sense of home – HEAVEN!
The Ripon Church of Christ is a family - a family that belongs to God and is deeply rooted in Christ! Our foundation is His great love that He demonstrated by the sacrifice of His One and Only Son for all of mankind (John 3:16). We love and support each other, and are united in our effort, as we strive to please Him in our common daily service (Rom. 12:1&2). When we assemble for worship we honor, praise, and glorify God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our endeavor in all that we do is helping each other to remain faithful to The LORD and His Truth as revealed in His Scriptures. Our common goal is, of course, eternal life in HEAVEN with our LORD and Savior! (John 14:1-3 & Rev. 2:10)
For our guests today, whether you are with us for the first time, are returning, or are in the assembly after an extended absence from “church”, we want you to feel at home. We are honored by your choice to be with us and pray that you will be edified or built up.
Welcome to our Home!
Some scripture that have been on my mind (again) recently that I want to share with all of you:
The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people... (Psalm 29:11)
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His
hands. (Psalm 19:1)
You have given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me… (Psalm 18:35)
For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illuminates my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but The LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? (Psalm 18:28-32)
The law of The LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of The LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of The LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of The LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalm 19:7-8)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
For The LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (or, with integrity). (Psalm 84:11)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him… (Hebrews 11:1&6a)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God…and also we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings…hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from The Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2nd Peter 1:3)
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places (or, mansions – NKJV); if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?” …but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the LORD. (1 Corin. 15:54-58)
Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Rev. 2:10 excerpt)
Finally, to paraphrase, Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, our rock and our Redeemer!
It is so wonderful that during times of difficulty, regardless of the reasons, we can find great comfort in scripture. Usually, we think of the 23rd Psalm in those times of distress, anxiety, sorrow, or uncertainty:
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." (ESV)
David, of course, was expressing his total reliance upon God for the peace and solace that he needed at a very difficult time in his life. He also expressed a trust that God would take care of him - no matter what - and in God's promise to reward him for faithfulness.
This truth was affirmed by Jesus in His words to His disciples, recorded in John 14:1-4: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." (ESV)
So, when you’re feeling down or disappointed; are grieving the loss of a loved one; are distressed; or just need some reassurance, meditate on these comforting words. Remember - God has promised to reward all those who remain obediently faithful to Him. (Rev. 2:10)
Pray that God will continue to bless us as we - the Ripon church of Christ: A Family of God Rooted in Christ - do our very best to live our life for Him!
Psalm 19: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands…The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes…the judgements of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether…by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them is great reward…keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins…then I will be blameless…and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
111th Psalm: “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart…Great are the works of the LORD…splendid and majestic is His work, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate…He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works…the works of His hands are truth and justice, all His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do his commandments; His praise endures forever.”
1st John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light as He, Himself, is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
The Bible tells us, in John 20:1-10, that "on the first day of the week" Mary Magdalene discovered that the tomb in which Jesus was laid after His crucifixion had been unsealed. When she reported this to the disciples Simon Peter and John, we are told, that they ran to the tomb, and John outran Peter and got there first. Upon looking into the tomb, John saw the linen cloths lying where Jesus had lain in death, but he did not enter. It was Peter who entered the tomb first and saw these same linen cloths as John, but he also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus' head neatly folded up (or rolled) and lying "in a place by itself". Afterward, the two disciples went back to their homes, believing what they had seen, but not yet understanding the scripture "that He must rise from the dead". (Psa.16:10 & Luke 24:46)
John 20:11ff reveals that Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb and wept. As she "investigated" the tomb she saw two angels, in white, sitting where Jesus had been laying, and inquired of them regarding where Jesus had been taken. As she was having conversation with the angels, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, although, initially, she did not know that it was Jesus. After a dialogue with Jesus and her recognition that He was truly Jesus, she went and announced that she had "seen the LORD and that He had said certain things to her. Subsequently, Jesus physically appeared to His disciples, as He had to Mary Magdalene, showed them his wounds and the disciples clearly understood that they had seen Him. After revealing Himself to one disciple who had not been in His presence earlier, Thomas, upon touching the wounds in the hands and side of Jesus, answered "My LORD and my God!" (v.28)
John 20:29 contains Jesus' response to Didymus (the Twin) which are some of Jesus' most important words for those who are believers. He said: "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." (ESV) These few words are deeply profound because they form the basis or foundation of the Christian faith. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb.11:1) Rom10:17:"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (or "God" -NKJV) The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that the resurrection of Christ provides the hope of resurrection to life eternal for all of us who are in Christ. (15:20-26 & Rom.6:15 & 8:1) Paul also informed the church that they are to do as Jesus instituted and eat the bread and drink the cup "in remembrance of" Him and that every time this is done we "proclaim the LORD's death until He comes" (1Cor.11:23-26; Matt.26:26-29; John 14:1-3) We learn from Acts 2:42&20:7, as well as 1Cor.11:23ff, that the church came together on the "first day of the week" to eat the bread and cup - often called "The LORD's Supper". "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God, must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who (diligently-NKJV) seek Him." (Heb.11:6)
The Ripon church of Christ - "A Family of God rooted in Christ" - lives and worships by faith! We believe that Christ was resurrected from the dead and have faith that He will resurrect us to life eternal. We believe that Jesus' sacrifice was important enough to honor each, and every, first day of the week. Yes, we come together on every LORD's Day to honor and remember and proclaim Christ's life, death, burial, and RESURRECTION until He comes and drinks it "new" with us! May The Good LORD and our Savior continue to bless us as we live our life of faith here and seek to do His will always!
600 West Milgeo - Ripon California 95366