Do you ever think, I would sure like to know all the people that we worship with, but just never get to the other side of the building to meet them? Sometimes we may get comfortable with just the people we have known for a long time, and never make the attempt to meet others. We are so blessed with people from different walks of life that it might just be to our detriment that we fail to meet them. The larger we get, the more difficult it will be to know everyone, but we all need to start somewhere, and today just might be that time. In Acts 2:44 “And all those who believed were together and had all things in common.” And then 46 “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” We know that we all don’t live close together like the first century Christians did, but that does not mean we should not know each other and be close to each other. It does take work, but it can be done with some effort.
One of our dear sisters ask me to write about this because she would like to know more about the people she worships with. We all can make an effort to get to know each other better, but we need to take the first step by talking to someone that we have not talked to before. It is a great thing to do and we can find much joy in getting to know someone.
We sing the song “A Common Love” which goes like this “A common love for each other, a common gift to the Savior, a common bond holding us to the Lord; A common strength when we’re weary, a common hope for tomorrow, a common joy in the truth of God’s word.” We need a common love for each other if we love the Lord. We all do a pretty good job at getting to know each other, but that does not mean we can’t do even more in this area of our lives.
My prayer every day includes the phrase “let my light shine.” It is a great privilege to do the best I can every day.
My Brothers and Sisters, are we seeking to serve the Lord Jesus in the best way we can? When we read the example that Jesus gave us, are we doing our very best to conform with the example that He gave us? Can we say we are putting the Lord first? In a song we sing the chorus goes like this “do they know we are Christians by our love?”
Our duty in life is to lift up the Lord Jesus before a lost world. Our lights need to be shinning before them and we should not be indifferent towards the lost.
All we need to do is look at Calvary to see the cost that Jesus paid to save us from Hell. I know that motivates me. I have no desire to spend eternity lost in Hell. Yes, it is a privilege to serve the Lord, something each of us should have the strongest desire to do. It will be worth it when Judgement Day comes, what words will we hear, “well done” or the dreaded words “depart from me, I know you not.” Remember this, it will take effort to serve Him, and anything worth having is worth working for. God’s word says, “let’s work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” - Philippians 2:12 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:8-10. What a privilege we have to serve the Lord!
We sing the old song “Trust and Obey.” This old song is very dear to many of us, who have sung this song many times in our lives. The chorus in the song says, “For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” When we say that we trust in what the song says, does that mean we have complete trust in what we are singing? Do we really think about what we are saying in the song? Do we trust in what we are singing? When we sing to our God, it means we put it in our hearts and give full attention to what we are doing, no other ideas in our head but to praise our wonderful and loving God. “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.” What a great blessing it is to sing songs of praise to our Lord and to trust and obey. Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.” Amen!!! Obey is the other part to this song. If we don’t obey, then we really don’t believe. That would be a sad condition to be in, and I am sure no one wants to be in that position. So, when we sing that song Trust and Obey, we remember that trust and obeying need to go hand in hand. To be happy in Jesus there is no other way, and likewise the Lord will not be happy with us if we don’t trust and obey. Now that is not where we need to be. Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, we must obey God rather than men.” Amen!
This past year has been a very trying year, that is the reason we must all put our full trust in God and to obey what He tells us through His Word.
I believe we know that to create something you need a pattern to follow. When God created this earth, He had a pattern. It is called a blue print. Can you just imagine the results of this earth if there was no pattern? From the very beginning, God had a plan for us to come close to Him.
God understood that we needed a pattern to follow. He did not fail to let us know that there is a pattern to follow. God has blessed us with His Word. Surely, we remember that God gave Noah a pattern to build the ark. Noah knew he had to follow the plan as God laid it out, or he and his family would be lost with all the other people of the earth.
God gave the people of Israel a plan to follow that is found in Exodus chapter 20. “Then God spoke these words.” They were to follow that pattern. The building of the tabernacle had a precise pattern. What was in each part and who could go where. The pattern is found in Exodus chapter 25 and the chapters that follow.
In the New Covenant, God has also given us a pattern to follow and it is precise. It tells us how to treat others, it tells us how to love, it tells us who to put first in our lives, and it tells us how we might get to heaven. There is a pattern to follow and there is only one pattern. That pattern comes from God and not from the thoughts of man.
To understand what the pattern is, we need to read the blue print. There are no change orders in God’s pattern. It is to be followed as written by the inspiration coming from God. This pattern was given to the first century Christians and it the same one that we have today. That pattern was given to the Jews who had come to Jerusalem to worship. That pattern is given to us starting in the Book of Acts in chapter two. When the apostle John comes to the end of the Book of Revelation in 22:18-19. He warns the people not to add to or take away. Remember John was there in Jerusalem with Peter and the rest of the apostles in Acts chapter two. Follow the whole pattern God has given to us.
In John 20:1-10 the Bible tells us “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 read, they ran to the tomb with John out-running Peter and getting 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 facecloth 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 again from the dead". (Psalm16:10&Luke24:46)
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 conversing 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 Who He was, she went and announced to the disciples that she had "seen the LORD” and what He had said 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 (aka Didymus), upon touching the wounds in the hands and side of Jesus, said "My LORD and my God!" (v.28)
John 20:29 contains Jesus' response to Thomas, 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) Thesae few words are deeply profound because they form the basis or foundation of the Christian faith! "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through (by) the word of Christ” (or "God" - NKJV). (Rom. 10:17) "Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen." (Heb.11:1) Hebrews 11:6: ”Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God, must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” 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. (1st Corin.15) He also informed the church (1st Corin.11:23-26) to do what Jesus instituted (Matt.26:26-29) and eat the bread and drink the cup "in remembrance of" Him to "proclaim the LORD's death until He comes" (as He promised in John 14:1-3). Further, we learn from Acts 20:7, as well as 1st Corin. 11:20ff, that the church came together on the "first day of the week" to eat the bread and cup (in modern times often called "The LORD's Supper”).
The Ripon church of 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, not just once, or a few times, a year. 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! (Mark 14:25) May The Good LORD and our Savior, Jesus the Christ (Messiah) bless us as we live our life of faith and seek to do His will always!
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366