Bulletin for 6-11-23

Birthdays and Anniversaries

6-12 David Weeks

Prayer requests:

Emma Reames new doctor, working it out

Chaney Reames is undergoing extensive dental work.

Gladys Ramirez tests on stomach.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Got stem cell treatments. Pray for their success.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Teresa Weeks, Steve’s sister, having age related issues. She has Down’s Syndrome. Also a fractured shin.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care and not doing well

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues

Darla Nitti, recovering from a fall

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

Conflating judging with knowing

In my yard several trees reach for the skies. Some are taller. Others are shorter. Their leaves, bark and trunks differ as well as their branch growth patterns. 

Would anyone consider themselves judgmental or feel as though they were judging if they identified some trees as live oaks, crepe myrtles or Myer lemons? Nope. In fact, they would probably simply regard their assertions as knowledge!

So why does no one feel judgmental in making these determinations?

It’s simple.

When people apply a handbook’s information regarding the shapes of leaves,  characteristics of bark and flowers, the possible presence of fruit or nuts, as well as branch growth patterns to a particular tree, they can know what type of tree it is.

Here’s the thing. In his graciousness, God not only places people within the kingdom of his Son making them alive with Christ (Colossians 1:13,142:13), he also enables us to be confident that we have received this grace! We can know whether we are in Christ! 

How is this possible? God has revealed those conditions when he chooses to exert his power to transform and transfer someone from being dead in sin to becoming alive with Christ!

When people rely upon Christ and God’s power by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism, God performs a spiritual surgery upon them which Christ made possible. God cuts off their sin in order to make them alive with Christ forgiven of all wrongs (Colossians 2:12-13Ephesians 2:4-5,8Galatians 3:26-27Acts 22:16).

Accordingly, we can know whether God has added us to the body of Christ, the community of his saved (Acts 2:41,47). While being a disciple involves more than just faith and being baptized, we can know whether we have entered the kingdom. We can know whether we are in Christ or not. This is great news!

To my dismay, I’ve heard several people recently claim ignorance about who is in the body of Christ. They claimed to be ignorant about who were legitimate members of the Lord’s church.

This claim of ignorance was accompanied with “I don’t want to judge.” I assume they felt noble and justified. However, I don’t think they have thought this through. They are confusing judging with our ability to know what something is.

Scripture reveals the external expressions of faith called for by the gospel, namely confessing Christ and immersion. While we cannot know a person’s heart nor motives, we can observe the external expressions of faith commanded by the gospel. If someone has not yet been baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3), we do not have a biblical reason to consider that individual a member of the church over which Christ is head.

If these external expressions of faith are insufficient for knowing whether God has added others to the church, then we too cannot know whether God has added us! We cannot be both confident while claiming ignorance.

When we apply God’s word to specific situations, we promote the knowledge that God supplies. We have not jumped into God’s seat to render judgment. Rather, like someone identifying a live oak by using a handbook, we too are identifying God’s people by God’s word.

Barry Newton, link to original article