Kent Bailey

7A Righteous Man In A Wicked City

Acts 17:10-16

Kent Bailey

In the reading of our text we note that after leaving Philippi, Paul along with Timothy and Silas, continued his journey, leaving Luke in Philippi. They traveled about 90 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica, then proceeded to Berea, where they found the more noble Bereans to be receptive to the word of God. The term noble (eugenes) was used to denote those born into high ranking families. J. H. Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon, page 257, stated that in this specific context the word indicated those who were noble minded.

The Jews in the synagogue at Berea proved to have a more noble attitude than those at Thessalonica. Whereas the Jews in Thessalonica permitted Paul to preach in the synagogue for only three Sabbath days, resulting in only a few accepting the truth, the Jews in Berea were open to investigation what they had heard to determine if such were true or not. Listening with a desire to know the truth, they examined the Scriptures daily to determine whether of not Paul correctly represented the Scriptures. Their nobility consisted in the fact that they neither stubbornly refused to listen to that which they had not previously heard, nor gullibly accepted Paul’s words as those who were tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). In the preaching of Paul, he demonstrated that Christ was the one to whom the Old Testament Scriptures pointed, and they examined those Scriptures to see if those things that Paul preached were so. God had provided those Scriptures as divine revelation, and the Bereans esteemed those passages as the word of God, the truth against which all other doctrine must be measured.

After leaving Berea, Paul departed Macedonia (leaving Silas and Timothy behind) and came into Athens Greece. To the pagans of that city, Paul, the apostle of Christ, proclaimed the one true and only God–The God who was unknown unto them. It was during this time frame that Paul sent for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, so they departed. It was while Paul waited for them to come that he took note of what was transpiring among the people. Luke records the fact that the city was wholly or entirely given over to the practice of idolatry (kateidolos). This term is literally translated “full of Idols.” In walking along the streets of a city whose fame had been familiar to him from childhood, and in noting, in the temples and statues on every hand, the constant processions of people going to and from their places of worship, though a stranger, who might have been awed into silence by the magnificent around him, Paul was deeply aroused in his own soul to make one mighty struggle for the cause of truth in this city–first in the Jewish synagogue and then among the educated and elite of paganism. Paul was therefore a righteous man in a wicked city committed to preaching and defending the only hope for that society–the gospel of Christ.

Paul’s attitude toward error. We note the fact that Paul involved himself with disputation with the unbelieving Jews in the synagogue in Athens as well as with the devout persons in the market places indicates that more than sincerity is required for individuals to be right with God (Acts 17:17). While indeed sincerity is both commendable and necessary, it takes truth in conjunction with our sincerity to produce Salvation (Romans 10:1-5; Romans 1:16-17).

When the truth of God is preached plainly and there is a righteous defense made of such, it will arouse opposition (Acts 17:18-21). The unbelieving Jews brought opposition due to Paul’s stand for truth regarding Christ. The Greek philosophers opposed Paul because of his stand regarding the essence and nature of God and even human life itself. The Stoics taught that the true philosophy of life was a total indifference to both sorrows and pleasures in this world. Paul refuted such a notion by arguing that we should weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). The Epicureans sought escape from life’s sorrows by means of self indulgence regarding their fleshly lusts. Paul refuted such a heresy by arguing self control (Titus 2:6-15). The basis of his approach is a proper understanding of the being of God (Acts 17:22-31).

Paul’s practice toward error. He presented the truth of God is a very plain uncompromising manner because of his love for God, truth, and the souls of those who were in a lost condition. Our text states that he engaged in disputation (dialegomai), i.e., he stated his case completely by argumentation, dispute and/or reason. Paul saw the value of public debate (Acts 17:2; Isaiah 1:18; Philippians 1:17). The life of Christ constituted a prolonged series of arguments. The Scriptures do not condemn debates but rather wrangles. Those who oppose public debating are either weak in what they believe, afraid of their own position, or else uninformed as to the controversial nature of truth. In Acts 17 Paul debated with the Jews regarding their misunderstanding of the Old Testament, the Gentiles regarding their false view of God. He at various times even debated with brethren because of their misapplication of divine revelation.

Paul’s reward. As we take note of Paul’s great work there was no great financial reward in such (1 Corinthians 4:11-13). This is not to say that he was undeserving of such, nor had the scriptural right to receive such (1 Corinthians 9:1-12). This is an affirmation of the fact that financial reward was not the basis or motive of his work (1 Corinthians 9:13-16). Regardless of whether the brethren loved Paul the way God would have them love him or whether they were covetous and sinfully stingy lacking in the love of Christ, Paul loved the truth of God and the souls of men to preach the gospel of Christ.

Paul knew his ultimate reward would be eternal life in Heaven (2 Timothy 4:6-8). May the people of God today strive to be righteous individuals living in a wicked society. May we stand uncompromisingly for that which is truth and right, looking not for personal gain or popularity for our eternal reward in glory.

Profiles In Courage

1 Corinthians 16:1-16

Kent Bailey

Within the borders of the kingdom of Christ exists an unending need for courage in the lives of all Christians. By the term courage we refer to that of mettle, spirit, resolution and/or tenacity. We are referring to that of mental and moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship.

Courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. Mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience. Spirit also suggests a quality of temperament to hold to one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened. Resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one’s ends. Tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

In 1 Corinthians 16:13 the admonition is given by Paul for Christians to adapt our lives to set forth courage during times of difficulty and to accomplish those things in our own lives as necessary to our own personal faithfulness to Christ in addition to being an encouragement to other Christians. We need to be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men and be strong. We must be definite in both actions and thought to allow all things to be accomplished in love–love for God, truth, one another, and also to depict our love for lost souls.

Those who are strong are those who both conquer and win victories for Christ and truth. As Christians we must be victorious over Satan. Those who are weak both falter and fall before the temptations of the Devil. Rather than being weak, the Christian needs to be strong. The means that God has provided for us is described in Ephesians 6:10-18 by putting on the entirety of the gospel armor.

Within the Bible we read of various individuals (both in the Old and New Testaments) who demonstrated significant courage in opposition to all odds in fighting the good fight as spiritual warriors. Let us note these profiles in courage.

Caleb and Joshua: Having been led out of bondage, wandering in the wilderness, and being prepared to enter into the promised land twelve spies were sent out to bring back a report to the people of God as to what were before them as they were about to make entry into the land. As the report was given it was observed that indeed the land was rich. It was as if it overflowed with milk and honey. It was also noted that the heathen who lived there were very strong and lived in walled cities that were very great. They were mighty warriors who would fight bravely to defend sin and error. Both Caleb and Joshua were men of courage who stated that Israel needed to go up at once and posses the land. They knew that with God’s help they could do so (Numbers 13:27-30).

Esther By the providence of God Esther was “come unto the kingdom for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). She became Queen of Persia about 478 and saved the Jews from massacre (Esther 4). She appeared 40 years after the temple had been rebuilt and 30 years before the wall of Jerusalem was restored making possible the work of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah Nehemiah was cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes, which brought him into a position of great honor of having association with the king and other leaders. Nehemiah demonstrated tremendous courage in leading God’s people not to compromise in the rebuilding of the walls about Jerusalem that would offer them protection from the enemies of truth and of God (Nehemiah 4). Sanbalat, Tobiah and Geshem desire to meet with Nehemiah to work out a compromise. However, Nehemiah had the courage to say no (Nehemiah 6:1-3).

Jeremiah In his preaching to the people of God Jeremiah’s sermons were not popular. He barely escaped with his life (Jeremiah 26:7-16). He was beaten and imprisoned. The people of his day from the king to those on the streets of Jerusalem did not want to be told that they were sinners in need of repentance and that destruction was coming (Jeremiah 37).

Christ The purpose of the coming of the incarnate Christ was a fulfillment of divine prophecy to enable God to be both just and the justifier of accountable humanity from sin (John 1:1-14). During his earthly ministry Christ demonstrated himself to be the mighty Son of the most high God as well as the fulfillment of God’s scheme of Redemption to bring about the salvation of all of those who submit to his rule in becoming components within the church that would be built (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2). The majority of the Jews rejected him, repudiated his true kingdom and turned away to walk with him no more (John 6:66). Christ demonstrated courage in accomplishing his Father’s plan.

Stephen Stephen has been correctly identified as the first Christian martyr. Because of his love for the Father, Christ the Son, truth, the church, and those who of his day were lost in sin he mustered enough courage to lay down his life that the truth of God might live (Acts 7:54-60).

Barnabas A careful study of the book of Acts identifies Barnabas as being a truly good man. His goodness is demonstrated by his courage regarding his standing up for the apostle Paul when it was not popular (Acts 9:26-31).

Antipas: In writing to the church at Pergamos, Christ knew of the faithful Christian, Antipas, who out of great courage had held fast unto his name, had not denied the faith and because of his love for truth had laid down his life (Revelation 2:12-13).

May we as Christians today take note of such profiles of courage. May we hold fast to the faith and demonstrate the same courage in our own lives as we fight the good fight of the faith.

Source: Northside Anchor Bulletin articles for Sunday, March 29, 2020, elder & editor, Ron Hall

The Joy Of New Testament Christianity
Philippians 1:1-21

Kent Bailey

We should all desire to receive the best of life. As a matter of fact when one thinks correctly they desire to place talents, energies, and abilities in worthwhile endeavors. Unfortunately, not all understand the importance of such. Because they really do not appreciate things of great value they really do not enjoy life.

The greatest value of life is a proper understanding in noting the value of being a Christian: a member of the New Testament church. The most profitable way one can live and spend our sojourn on earth is to become a New Testament Christian, live as a Christian, and die with the hope of a Christian. It is the case that some question the value of being a Christian. They believe in the false doctrine of the Epicureans as recorded in Acts 17 and Luke 12. The view of Epicureanism was “eat, drink and be merry—for tomorrow we die. They had a very low estimate of life with no knowledge of spiritual values. There is a modified view of Epicureanism that has permeated society to a great degree in modern history, especially during the past 50 years. Individuals do not understand the Biblical concept of joy. The Biblical concept of joy is brought about by submission to the will of God as set forth in the scriptures. The knowledge of the scriptures leading one to obey the word of God and live a life of submission to the will of God is the only true means wherein one can have a God acceptable joy in life.

When one considers the problem of the Philosophy of Humanism one can see how Secular Humanism has even influence the minds of some Christians. When it comes to the concept of joy they “put the cart before the horse.” They strongly desire a feel good religion. While all of us have a desire to feel good; there are times when individuals need to be made to feel bad through being convicted of their sins by the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Only by being made to feel bad, i.e., convicted of their sins, will they come to an understanding of the truth of the gospel of Christ and be brought to obey such and motivated to live faithful as a Christian. Biblical, God approved joy is a by product of being acceptable to God; not the means of being acceptable with Him. One can be made to feel good about themselves without obedience to Christ and thus without ever being accepted by God. Such is the very core and essence of false religion. Some individuals are sincerely on the road to Hell and only desire to be made feel good about it.

In the book of Philippians Paul, by the inspiration of God, gives us information about how to develop the true Joy of New Testament Christianity. One can have this true joy by:

Developing gratitude for others in being influenced by the word of God to live as faithful Christians (Philippians 1:1-11). Those addressed by Paul at Philippi had through their obedience to the gospel of Christ left the influence of the world and had been added to the church of the Lord. Their lives were so committed to the truth of God and had so influenced Paul for the cause of truth that he thanked God for them upon every remembrance of them. He was grateful for their participation in his work of the gospel financially. He had them both in his “heart and bonds”. Indeed he was filled with their fruits of righteousness that brought him joy.

Motivation as Christians to accomplish the work that God would have us do (Philippians 1:12-18). Paul had to face many bad situations and difficulties both in his life as a Christian as well as in his work as an apostle of Christ, preacher of the gospel, an defender of the faith (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Consider the fact that he at 5 different times received 40 stripes save one. He also on 3 different occasions was beaten with rods, 1 time he was stoned, 3 times suffered ship wreck, a night and a day he spent in the deep. He constantly was in journeyings. He faced dangers of robbers, his own fellow Jews, as well as those who were heathen. He faced dangers in the city, wilderness, in the sea and among false brethren. He knew the stress of weariness, pain, watchings, hunger, thirst, and fastings. There were times of being subjected to the cold weather not having sufficient clothing in addition to the care of all the churches.

Paul accomplished such suffering for the cause of Christ unto the furtherance of the gospel which even enabled him to take this gospel message to the palace guard of the Roman Empire. While such sufferings are not pleasant, such did enable Christians to grow steadfast in their boldness and were moved to speak the truth without fear. Some presented the truth out of love while others presented the truth to add to Paul’s bonds. Notwithstanding, because the truth was preached he rejoiced.

Understanding the greatness of the reality of the blessings in Christ. In these blessings we:

· Surrender yet win the battle—Romans 12:1-2; James 4:7-10.

· Are humbled yet are victorious—2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 5:4.

· Die daily yet live abundantly—2 Corinthians 5:1; John 10:10.

· Long for Heaven yet live better lives on earth—Philippians 3:20; Jude 21.

· Crucified with Christ yet never die—Galatians 2:20; John 11:25-26.

· Buried with Christ yet walk in a new life—Colossians 2:12; Romans 8:1-2.

· Past sins forgiven yet press onward—Acts 2:38; Hebrews 6:1.

· Sojourn on earth yet await mansions in glory—1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:10-13.

· Content with blessings yet never satisfied with attainments—Philippians 4:11; Romans 8:31.

· Deep in debt yet free in Christ—Romans 1:14; John 8:36.

All of these attendant joys of the faithful Christian encourage a spontaneous response of devotion in our own lives.

Northside Bulletin for Sunday, November 3, 2019, Ron Hall, editor

The aspect of the local church necessitates that Christians who comprise local churches learn how to properly work together. Such necessitates a development of proper attitudes. Paul, the apostle, discusses the development of proper attitudes in Romans 12:4-12. Some of the components described and discussed in this particular passage deal with the regulation of miraculous gifts limited to the first century. Others deal with the permanent aspects of New Testament Christianity. All of the principles, however, imply the import of the development of proper attitudes.

We must allow the scriptures to control our thinking where we will develop proper attitudes toward God, ourselves as individuals, fellow Christians–especially those who are members within the local church where we labor, the work itself in which we engage. We must also learn to develop a proper attitude toward unfaithful brethren–in order that we may seek to restore them to Christ as well as to development of a proper attitude toward non-Christians, enabling us to present to them the gospel of Christ.

Attitudes toward God.
We must develop a proper love for God. Christ defined this type of love in Matthew 22:37. Do we as Christians love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds? We must develop a strong faith and trust in God (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith it is impossible to be pleasing unto Him (Hebrews 11:6). Do we have the type of faith that pleases God (Romans 10:17)? We must also develop an attitude of thankfulness toward God (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17). God’s righteous indignation is against all those who are unthankful (Romans 1:18-21). Sacrifice is a crucial attitude that we all need to develop in a proper attitude toward God (Romans 12:1-2). Sacrifice demands giving God the very best of our time, our abilities, and our financial resources. If we fail in this we will become conformed to a world of sinfulness.

Attitudes toward ourselves as individuals.
There are several areas of life that influence our own thought and actions. To be faithful to the Lord we must develop a proper humility (Romans 12:3,16). Humility will entail that one develop a willingness to engage in menial tasks (John 13:6-17). Those who are unwilling to do small things cannot be trusted to accomplish great things. As Christians we need to be careful to develop a teachable disposition. In living as Christians we need to see the value of Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15). Such implies growth in knowledge. Just because we have never considered a concept from the Bible previously does not mean that it cannot be true. Growth in knowledge of the scriptures is not limited to those things we have always heard in past years. A proper attitude toward ourselves is also indicative of being honest regarding our mistakes and falling into even unintentional sin (James 5:16). In order to be acceptable to Christ we must have a willingness to correct them.

Attitudes toward fellow Christians.
A proper attitude necessitates a development of love (John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 1:22-23), cooperation (1 Corinthians 12:23), appreciation for the worth of others (1 Corinthians 1:14), submission (Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 13:17), peacefulness (Matthew 5:9). hospitality (Romans 12:13), warmth, friendliness, and openness (Acts 11:27-30), gentleness and meekness (2 Timothy 2:24-26), forgiveness, forbearance, and longsuffering (Ephesians 4:2, 32).

Attitudes toward our work.
If we lack a proper attitude to what we hope to accomplish for Christ, our work will go undone. We must have gratitude for the privilege of work (1 Corinthians 15:9,10). Such necessitates enthusiasm and eagerness (2 Corinthians 9:7). We learn to do the very best that we can do and improve upon our labors (Colossians 3:23). Faithfulness in our work necessitates that we learn to become self-starters, that we approach our tasks with a positive attitude and persist until completion (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Philippians 2:14; Hebrews 6:12).

Attitudes toward unfaithful brethren.
Those who have been baptized into Christ, however, have fallen into an impenitent practice of sin are in a lost condition (Acts 8:22-23; 1 John 1:6). Brotherhood in Christ does not automatically bring endorsement and fellowship. One must walk in the light of God’s truth as a Christian to insure an abiding fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). When one fails to abide in the truth they do not have Christ or God (2 John 9-11). Christians do not accomplish the Lord’s work by having a broader concept of spiritual fellowship than what the New Testament authorizes. When fellowship is withdrawn from fallen Christians because we genuinely love them and are seeking to restore them to a proper relationship to Christ, then the work of the local church will bring honor and glory to God (Romans 16:17-18; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15; James 5:19-20).

Attitudes toward those who are non-Christians.
Individually as Christians and collectively as local New Testament churches we must develop a concern for lost souls (Jude 21-25). After delivering one of the most scathing sermons against sin in the harshest of human language, our Lord expressed his love and compassion for those who had rejected him (Matthew 23:37-38). The sufferings of Christ on the cross was endured not only to purchase the church, but also to enable sinners to respond in obedience to the gospel (Hebrews 2:9-12). When we emulate the love and compassion of Christ, we will recognize the importance of the preaching of the gospel and defense of the faith (Mark 16:15-16; Philippians 1:16-17; Jude 3). Our preaching, teaching, debating, and personal work endeavors must be geared to winning the lost to Christ.

May we through the development of proper attitudes bring honor and glory to Christ by building up the local church.

Source: Northside Anchor Bulletin for Sunday, May 14, 2017. Editor: Ron Hall. Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA.

I Firmly Believe In
The Resurrection of Christ
However-I Do Not Endorse
Nor Observe Easter

1 Corinthians 15: 1-6

Kent Bailey


During the season of spring every year many individuals acknowledge in some way that Christ was raised from the dead some two thousand years ago. Modern day society refers to such an observance as Easter.

The name of this religious day is of pagan origin and was observed in celebration of false gods such as Eastre (a pagan false god of Germanic origin), Beltis (a false Chaldean goddess) believed to be the queen of Heaven. Among some of her worshippers she was also known as Astarte. In Assyria she was known as Ishtar. Easter is nothing more than the Roman Catholic version of Ishtar.

The adaptation of Easter to Roman Catholicism. The observance of this pagan holy day was adapted as a means to bring pagans into the apostate Roman Catholic Church. There are various adaptations the Roman Catholics invented to “spice up” this special day.

Lent: A forty day period of liturgical period of fasting representing the forty days Christ fasted in the wilderness.
Ash Wednesday: The first day of the forty day period of lent demonstrating repentance when a priest rubs ashes on one’s forehead.
Holy Week: The week before Easter and the last week of Lent. The last week of the events in the life of Christ are remembered.
Good Friday: A commemoration of the crucifixion of Christ.
Easter Vigil: The first official resurrection of Christ between sunset on Saturday and sunrise on Sunday.
Sunrise Service: An early morning worship service practiced by many Protestant churches replacing the Easter Vigil.
Eastertide: This is the fifty day period between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.

The only time the term Easter appears in the New Testament is recorded in Acts 12:4 of the King James Version. It is a mistranslation of the NT Greek word pascha that is translated Passover. Acts 12:1-4 was previous to the establishment of the false religion of Roman Catholicism and thus before the establishment of the religious observance of Easter. There is no authority for a religious observance of Easter (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9). The New Testament authorizes the remembrance of the resurrection of Christ every first day of the week (John 20:1-9; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Those who respect New Testament authority limit their practice to what the scriptures authorize.

Reasons why I refuse to observe Easter. My reasons for such a refusal is not based on cultural reasons. There are they based upon reasons because I oppose the observance of the secular grounds of a non-religious national custom. I reject such observance because:

I will not celebrate a day that is named for a false goddess.
I refuse the practice of Lent which was derived from paganism who worshipped Tammuz—Ezekiel 8:13-14.
I refuse to conciliate with pagans, Roman Catholics and/or Protestants by compromising and observing their false religious practices—Jude 9.
I refuse to engage in unauthorized religious practices that uses an egg as a religious symbol. The ancient Druids bore an egg as a sacred emblem of their order. The Egyptians and Greeks engaged in the same pagan customs. Under Pope Paul V, Catholics were taught to pray at Easter that eggs were to be eaten in religious observance of the memory of Christ.

I do believe in the resurrection of Christ. The New Testament authorizes such through explicit statement. It also authorizes such by means of example as well as implication:

Romans 1:1-4.
1 Corinthians 15:13-20.
Acts 2:16-31.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
Acts 2:23-36
John 20:11-18
Luke 24:1-6
Matthew 26:26-29
Matthew 28:18-20.

Observations drawn from adequate evidence. God has given specific instruction in the New Testament as to how we must worship Him (John 4:23-24). The Holy Spirit provided divine information regarding all of the acts of worship. No where has God left it to our own uninspired judgment as to what constitutes the day the church is to assemble or the avenues by which we are to approach Him (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

No where in the Scriptures are we to formulate special holy days and bind them collectively upon the church as religious functions—Galatians 4:8-11; Colossians 2:16-23. In view of the importance of limiting our practices to that which is authorized by the New Testament of Christ, we dare not accept neither practice a religious holy day such as Easter. Such is a relic of paganism and Roman Catholicism which has been foolishly borrowed by the Protestant churches. Let us follow the scriptures and stand upon the solid rock of divine truth.

–Bulletin for 4/21/2019, Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA, Ron Hall, Ed.

Therefore Stand
Ephesians 6:10-20

Kent Bailey

Christians, both individually and collectively, involves a constant form of conflict. When Christ began his earthly ministry of preparation for his kingdom, his church he entered the arena of battle with Satan. There was no “let up.” He fought as a gallant warrior during this period of preparation. As we carefully study the gospel records of his life such gives evidence of such (1 John 3:8).

It was also the case that when the church of the Lord came into existence on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ that those first century Christians immediately entered into full battle mode. Satan had it in his mind to destroy the work of Christ. Because the New Testament church was purchased by the blood of Christ, such is crucial to our salvation. Bringing about the destruction of the church would thus thwart the very purpose of its existence in making known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:8-10).

That which was true in the first century is also true today. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation of the lost (Romans 1:16). Such is the revealed system of God’s eternal scheme to make sinners righteous through the blood of Christ (Romans 1:17). Satan uses the agency of various sources to attempt to thwart the power of God today in bringing lost people to that of salvation in Christ: He uses various systems of unbelief such as Atheism, Agnosticism, Modernism, and Post-Modernism. He uses various forms of false religion such as Roman Catholicism, Protestant Denominationalism, and Cult-ism. He also uses the passionate fleshly desires of uncontrolled lusts to keep the message of salvation from the masses (Galatians 5:19-21).

Various forms of apostasy and heresy within the New Testament church also gives Satan the opportunity to thwart God’s plan in the lives of humanity. The truth of God is ordered after a divine pattern that has been once and for all time revealed in the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:15-17). When one abandons such, they are turning away from Christ and truth. The recognition of New Testament authority is therefore paramount in standing for that which is right.

As Christians we must therefore stand (Ephesians 6:14). We must stand for the truth of God, on the truth of God, in the truth of God (John 8:28-36). By doing so one will be made free indeed from the power of sin, the contaminating results of sin, and the control of sin. The word of God constitutes the truth the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (John 17:17).

There is therefore an obligation to accept and obey the conditions of truth in submitting to the gospel in becoming a Christian (Acts 2:38-47). There is also an obligation to continue in the truth of God by walking in the light of such truth John 1:3-10).

As Christians we must recognize the source of the strength of truth (Ephesians 6:10-11). Note that Paul writes that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. There is therefore both a power and strength for Christians that is beyond what they can provide. (Ephesians 1:19; 3:16-21; Colossians 1:9-12). This divine strength is available through the everlasting gospel of Christ and is activated when we on an individual basis apply such to our own personal lives. This spiritual strength comes from the armor of God. God makes provision for this armor and we must clothe ourselves with such.

There is a specific need for such spiritual strength (Ephesians 6:11-13). The reason that this specific need exists is because of the wiles of the Devil. The term “wiles” speaks with reference to cunning arts, deceit, craftiness and or trickery. We must never allow ourselves to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan will take every opportunity to make use of such to his fullest extent (2 Corinthians 4:1-4; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-3. Only with God’s help of the divine revelation of his inspired word can we defeat our wicked enemy (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).
Not only do we battle against the person of Satan; we also are engaged in a battle of a vast array of opponents under the command of Satan. While demon possession was phased out by the end of the apostolic age, nonetheless, the agents of Satan still act in accordance with false doctrines and unauthorized practices (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

There is a spiritual nature to the strength that God provides (Ephesians 6:14-20). As Christians we are not at liberty to pick and choose the implements of battle. If we are to stand against the wiles of the Devil and if we are to stand for truth and fight bravely withstanding against evil we must make usage of the entire armor that God has provided for us. Every element that Paul describes is essential to our becoming strong to fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12. Such involves:

Truth that serves as a spiritual belt (John 8:32; Hebrews 12:1).
Righteousness which serves as a breastplate (Philippians 3:9).
The gospel of peace which is the power of God (Romans 1:16).
Personal faith—our protective shield which emanates from the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Salvation in Christ, which serves as our spiritual helmet (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
The word of God—the sword of the Spirit, which is truly a weapon that we may use in going on the offense of valiant attack (Hebrews 4:12).
Prayer, the means by which we remain watchful (Matthew 26:41).

May we see the need for that of perseverance where we never ever give up; but rather diligently pray for all the faithful brethren in Christ.

Bulletin articles for Sunday, February 24, 2019, Northside Anchor, Ron Hall, editor

Biblical Optimism

Philippians 3:1-16

Kent Bailey

Northside Anchor Bulletin. Sunday, December 24, 2017. Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA. Ron Hall, editor.
Paul, the apostle of Christ, was a great gospel preacher and defender of the New Testament faith. In consideration of his life and the sacrifices for the cause of truth, he had a great deal with which to contend and to cause depression. In 2 Corinthians 1:5-11 we read of Paul’s trials:

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffered; or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life; but we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: In whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

In view of our text in Philippians 3:1-16 in conjunction with Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 1:5-11, we can have a true insight into Paul’s thinking. No doubt he was a person of tremendous optimism. Over the past years we have heard much about optimism. However, often times such has been perverted by the cult of Positive Thought. These individuals have a twisted view of optimism rejecting the reality of things negative and living in a dream land that promotes an unrealistic view of life.

The concept of optimism is certainly taught in the scriptures. When we examine the life of Paul, especially his inspired words as recorded in Philippians 3:1-6, one will readily note that Paul’s optimism was not that which was based exclusively on that of idealism—the formation of high ideals and living under such influences. Certainly we need to have high ideals that conform to the word of God. However our optimism needs to also be based upon that of realism, where universals exist outside the mind itself. Biblical Optimism is thus high ideals based upon objective truth and reality which causes one to understand the problems we must face in real life. Let us note some specifics as to how to promote Biblical Optimism both individually as Christians and collectively in the local New Testament church.

We must be willing to bury our past failures. By making personal wrong choices we have sinned against God. Non-Christians need to obey the gospel of Christ and receive God’s divine forgiveness. Fallen sinning brethren need to repent and be restored to Christ (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Acts 2:38; 8:22). We cannot change the past (Joshua 1:1-9; Daniel 1). However we can learn from the past (1 Corinthians 10:11).

We can look to the future. Christians must make the firm decision to run the race that is before us (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). We must:

Run the race to obtain the crown.
Run the race and strive for mastery to be temperate in all things.
Both run the race and fight with all diligence.
Run the race to keep our bodies in subjection.
Recognize that even though we preach the truth to others we can be rejected ourselves and be lost in eternity.
No one today has completed this race—Hebrews 12:1; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Romans 8:28-31.

We must focus on God’s plan for our lives. Such necessitates being submissive to the authority of the New Testament pattern (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9-11). From a positive perspective we must remember what we can and must do: We must live godly lives (1 Peter 4:1-6); worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-34); and work the works of God with all of our hearts and might (1 Corinthians 15:58).

We must put our ultimate and complete trust in God. When we speak of trust we speak with reference regarding total faith, confidence, and reliance. We must walk by such faith (2 Corinthians 5:17). Recognize that God has the power to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Remember that the Christian’s final reward will not be realized until eternity in Heaven (Philippians 4:13; John 15:4-8; Hebrews 12:28).

Be thankful for the autonomy and independence of the local church. Whereas all of those saved comprise the church in its universal extension. The only way the church can collectively function is through the independent local church (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Work for Christ as if this year will be our last on earth. Let us never forget that in comparison to eternity, life is only a very short period of time. We are not promised tomorrow. What we accomplish for the cause of truth must be accomplished now. To have both knowledge and opportunity to accomplish such and to fail to act in the accomplishment of such is indeed sinful (James 4:13-15).

May we strive to the best of our ability to see the importance of Biblical Optimism.

Northside Anchor Bulletin. Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA. Ron Hall, editor.

In John 18:28-19:6 we read of the trial of Christ before Pilate. It was during this aspect of the trial of Christ that the unbelieving Jews brought unsubstantiated legal charges before the Governor, falsely accusing Christ of having attempted an overthrow of Roman authority.

During the course of these proceedings Pilate inquired of Christ if he considered himself to be a king. We also read of our Lord’s response:

Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing, or did others tell it of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered up unto the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice (John 18:33-37).

With reference to the Governor’s earlier question, “Art thou the King of the Jews,” Christ responded that he did indeed have kingly claims. He also indicated that his kingdom would not be of this world and therefore was not a threat to the Roman government. There was no reason for concern on the part of the Roman governor that our Lord’s work would lead to rebellion against Rome. This statement of Christ had very clear implications: his kingdom was not secular, political, or military to be perpetuated by the sword. The goals of the kingdom of Christ were vastly different than those of Rome. Not being of this world, there would have been no reason the kingship of Christ to be involved in an overthrow of a worldly political kingdom. Colossians 1:13-14 gives evidence of the design of the kingdom established by Christ on the Pentecost following his resurrection–deliverance from the power of darkness; redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of our sins. This was the design of the incarnation, birth, and earthly ministry of Christ and pointed towards his suffering and death.

While indeed the birth of Christ is an important component of God’s scheme of Redemption the culminating aspects of such is the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ resultant in the establishment of his church. We are authorized to remember his death, but not his birth. Such is accomplished in the Lord’s supper the first day of every week (! Corinthians 11:23-29).

There are specific errors regarding Christmas traditions: Various errors have been taught for so long that individuals assume that they are true without any evidence. There is the error of the three wise men. While indeed a plurality of wise men did visit Christ and his earthly family, we do not know the exact number (Matthew 2:1-10). Furthermore, when they found Christ he was not in the stable as tradition states (Matthew 2:11).

The time element regarding the shepherds in the fields with their flocks also has been corrupted by tradition (Luke 2:1-20). History records that the time element regarding shepherds taking their flocks into the fields. According to the Roman custom of “keeping watch” there were four watches: 6:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 12:00 midnight, and 3:00 am. This activity disproves the tradition that Christ was born in December in that during the winter months shepherds in Palestine did not and even yet do not take their herds into the fields. Regardless of the time of the year that our Lord was born, there is no authority to celebrate his birth (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9-11; Galatians 4:9-10; 1:8-9; Matthew 28:18-20; 15:8-9).

What we are NOT affirming: In the basic thrust of our study we are not denying the incarnation and virgin birth of Christ (Matthew 1:18-25). We are not demeaning the birth of Christ (Luke 2:10-20). We are not denigrating prophecy (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6). We are not demoting Mary (Luke 1:26-31, 46-49). We are not formulating unwarranted conclusions (Isaiah 8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:6).

We are accepting the truth that in the New Testament the emphasis is placed upon the Cross not the Manger. Christ depicted his death, burial, and resurrection as being the sufficient sign (Matthew12:38-40). Such was the design of God’s plan (Matthew 16:21-23). It was the fulfillment of prophecy and the purpose of his incarnation and birth (Luke 24:25-27; 44-46; John 12:27-33).

The inspired preaching of the apostles and the first century church emphasized the Cross not the Manger. We find such in the preaching of Peter (Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-15; 4:2). We note such in the preaching of Paul (Acts 13:26-39; 17:2-3; 18:4-6). Note the emphasis of the cross in the epistles (1 Peter 1:3; 18, 19; 2:24). No where in the New Testament do we find the birth of Christ being celebrated (Galatians 6:14).

What the Cross of Christ demonstrates: Such demonstrates the awfulness of sin (Hebrews 2:9-12). Such tells us of the love of God (John 3:16; 1 John 4:4-10). The cross informs us of the grace of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). That Christ became incarnate and was born (Galatians 4:1-4). Such is a demonstration of our need to obey the conditions regarding the gospel (Romans 6:3-17; Colossians 2:11-13).

With regards to Christ, let our emphasis be upon the Cross not the Manger.

Northside Anchor Bulletin. Sunday, December 24, 2017. Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA. Ron Hall, editor.

The Reality Of Eternity
Isaiah 57:15

Kent Bailey
By the term Eternity we refer to that which is endless or immeasurable. We are not dealing with the essence of time due to the fact that in eternity there is no time.

In our text Jehovah identifies himself as the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity. He transcends his creation and is eternal in his being. God was not created–he has always existed. God will never end–he always will be. In realization of this fundamental truth one correctly concludes that the concept of eternity is that which is very real. Because of such reality we must give serious consideration to divine obligations incumbent upon all accountable individuals.

While the Biblical Doctrine of Eternity is clearly set forth within the scriptures, it can be difficult to fully grasp the total significance of such. This is especially true when considering the aspect of the element of Eternity Past. It seems that we can better understand the aspect of that which is non-ending more so than that which has always been. Even at that, living in the element of time makes it difficult to accurately ascertain the aspect of that which will never have an ending or termination.

Humanity will live again after the completion of earthly existence. The inspired writer of Ecclesiastes saw the need of making adequate preparation for eternity during life on earth that would culminate in one going to their long home (Ecclesiastes 12:1-5).

Physical death does not bring about the destruction of one’s identity, personality, reasoning capacity or even one’s existence. The essence of humanity survives death and exists in a different realm (Matthew 17:1-3). Our Lord viewed the reality of life even beyond the grave, the resurrection, and the Judgment that extends into eternity (John 14:1-6).

Paul, the apostle of Christ, viewed life as being so important, and eternity as being so real, that faithfulness to the Lord was the only real thing that counted in so far as true accomplish-ments one will attain in our earthly existence (2 Timothy 4:1-8). The rich man in Luke 16:19-31 discovered this fact after it was too late.

The journey into eternity is certain. This fundamental fact is evidenced by observation of that which is obvious. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Science has indeed benefited humanity through the years. God has permitted man to learn to fly, travel into outer space, split the atom and vastly improve our means of communication. In the field of medical research it is astounding how both the quality and quantity of human life has been extended. None the less, the greatest scientific minds cannot change that man goeth to his long home.

Physical death is the point which one begins the journey into eternity. This is affirmed in Hebrews 9:27. The writer of Ecclesiastes realized such in chapter 12 and verse 5. As we examine life, there have been and will be two attitudes demonstrated toward the reality of death. Such is seen in the attitude of the rich man in Luke 16 and in the view of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Notice the contrast and difference of the two.

When one dies faithfully as a Christian it is likened unto leaving an old house and moving into a new residence (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). When one dies outside the will of the Lord one faces the aspect of total misery (Luke 16).

Eternity is our long home. Whether it be by physical death or by the final coming of Christ we all shall leave this world. The relationships that we have on earth should be used to make preparation for eternity. Our friends can assist in either making or breaking us–let us chose them wisely. Family relationships are important. The institution of the human family is designed and ordained by God. Such is for our benefit. May we use such to make preparation for eternity.

The Judgment will be the day of sentencing. The decision as to our respective abodes within eternity will not be decided at the Judgment. It will be decided by our lives. The purpose of the Judgment is to announce the sentence of eternal life or that of eternal death (Acts 17:30-31; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15).

One’s eternal destiny is contingent upon obedience to the gospel of Christ and faithful living. So very many have a false view of Salvation as being based upon a dead, incomplete, inoperative faith. The faith that saves is the faith that obeys!
Others falsely view Salvation as being an exclusive activity of God with humanity playing no part at all. Such a view is false in that God requires all individuals to respond to his offer. Our response to God will determine our eternal destiny.

There are but two dwelling places in eternity. For the faithful of God, Christ is preparing the glories of Heaven (John 14:1-6). For those who reject God and his word, Christ is preparing eternal torment and torture in the flames of an eternal Hell (Matthew 25:41).

We have been given the power of choice to decide between the two. The ultimate choice will be made by all accountable individuals. We alone can decide.

God has provided the way to be saved. Paul depicted this way in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. There are conditions that must be obeyed. Faith changes our trust. Repentance changes our will, confession changes our allegiance, and baptism changes our state. Faithfulness will lead us safely to eternal fellowship with God.

God makes provision for the unfaithful to return to him in repentance, confession of sin and prayer. May we see the need to make adequate preparation for eternity.

Northside Anchor. Calhoun Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA. Bulletin articles for Sunday, November 11, 2018. Ron Hall, editor.

Four Fatal Facts
To The False Doctrine of Original Sin
Romans 3:23; 6:23

Article by Kent Bailey
The false religious system known as Theological Determinism as developed by John Calvin has produced a terrible blight upon the thinking of accountable individuals. Even among those who reject Calvinism as a system have been influenced to accept two of its pernicious points. Calvinism in its entirety falsely affirms five false presuppositions:

· Total Hereditary Depravity (Original Sin).
· Unconditional Election.
· Limited Atonement of Christ.
· Irresistible Grace (Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit).
· Perseverance of The Saints (The Impossibility of Apostasy).

To state a brief synopsis of the false system of Theological Determinism or that of Calvinism, regarding that of Salvation in Christ, this perverted form of religion argues, “If you seek it you cannot find it. If you find it you cannot get it. If you get it you cannot lose it. And if you lose it you never really had it.”

In denying this system of religious error one can by the word of God demonstrate the fallacy of every point in this specific system. Such has been accomplished over the years by faithful contenders of faith in the crucible of controversy and in the dialectics of debate on the polemic platform. Time and time again propositions have been formulated demonstrating the fallacy of Calvinists affirming that of Original sin, Unconditional Election, The Limited Atonement of Christ, The Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit, and the Impossibility of Apostasy. Time and time again defenders of God’s truth have stood confirmed in the conviction that the positions they have predicated are impregnable and that there is no fear in opposing those who affirm error. A sense of security is known in the premises that only truth can beget.

In reality one is not required to defeat Calvinism point by point. While such has indeed been accomplished, all one is required to do is destroy the foundation of a false system. When the foundation is demolished the entirety of the false system will collapse from its own weight.

Theological Determinism or Calvinism was falsely presupposed upon the concept of Total Hereditary Depravity or Original Sin. From this false presupposition the false views of Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement of Christ, Direct Operation of The Holy Spirit, and Impossibility of Apostasy of the Saints were predicated. It is falsely assumed by the Calvinists that because all of humanity has inherited Adam’s sin there is within all of us a need for a direct miraculous working of God both to convert and keep individuals from sin. Demonstrate the concept of Original Sin to be false and the total system of Calvinism falls.

Calvinism is contrary to the New Testament concept of sin. John argued that “sin is transgression of the law.” When one sins he transgresses the law (1 John 3:4). “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17). Anything that violates God’s righteousness is sin. One who works apart from or against God’s will and word is guilty of sin. He performs iniquity; he acts without divine authority (Matthew 7:21-23). Sin is the child of lust (James 1:15). When one is drawn away and enticed, lust conceives her offspring and gives it birth. We are separated and alienated from God “by wicked works” (Colossians 1:21). It is OUR sins which are produced by the fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind (Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 2:13). This is the New Testament concept regarding how one becomes guilty of sin. Sin is definitely NOT inherited.

Calvinism is contrary to the New Testament concept of forgiveness. The word of God does not describe the forgiveness of inherited sin. It does not mention forgiveness of the guilt of original sin. The New Testament teaches the reality of “your sins” and “thy sins” (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 22:16). One is forgiven of his own acts of transgression, iniquity, and disobedience (Hebrews 8:12). The body of the sins of the flesh are put off, cut away, when God forgives in one’s obedience to the gospel (Colossians 2:11-13). As the sins are those that one commits, the forgiveness applies to those sins. If the doctrine of Original Sin were true why are the Scriptures devoid of any statement, implication, or example regarding such?

Calvinism is contrary to the concept of the sacrifice of Christ. Christ “was delivered for our offences” (Romans 4:25). “Who in his own self bare our sins in his own body” (1 Peter 2:24). It was “in the body of his flesh through death” that Christ reconciled us to God (Colossians 1:21-22). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). All individuals can consider that “Christ died for me” (Galatians 2:20). Such is the case because our sins, our guilt, is of our own doing (Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 59:1-2). The death, suffering, burial, resurrection, and ascension was because of my sin, my guilt, and my Salvation. Therefore such was accomplished “for me.” The sacrifice of Christ was never affirmed for the purpose of removing original sin.

Calvinism is contrary to The New Testament concept of the final Judgment. The final Judgment is pictured in the New Testament and varies in many respects. However, in this one item they are all constant and consistent—accountable humanity will be judged by how they have lived and what they have accomplished; not upon the basis of some original inherited sin (Matthew 5-7; 13 and 25. Please note the awe and dread of Revelation 20:10-15. Hear the admonition and warning of Galatians 6:7-9; Matthew 16:27; and Revelation 2:23). There is one single fact affirmed in all of these passages. Individuals will be judged by their own works. They will be rewarded by their own works. The Judgment is not viewed as real because of what Adam did, but rather because of what we do. The doctrine of Original sin is false. Because such is demonstrated as being in error, the structure of Calvinism collapses because of the error of its own foundation.

Source: Northside Anchor. Bulletin. 4-23-2017.
Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA


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