Worship Services





Bulletin cover

August 23, 2020


This is the church bulletin for the congregation of the Church of Christ that meets in Dowagiac, Michigan, on M 51 just south of the city. Ordinarily we meet on Sunday morning for Bible study and worship and also on Sunday evening and Wednesday night for a Bible study. Since the pandemic forced us into not having meetings at our building we have been meeting via Zoom on our smartphones, tablets, and computers. When weather permits we are also meeting under the` trees behind our building. If we meet under the trees we still have our Zoom meetings, and the plan is that once we are allowed back in our building we will have our Zoom meetings for those who are not able to meet in person. Everyone is welcome to participate in this worship service at 11:00 on Sunday morning. If you want to participate with Zoom, contact Karl Marcussen at 574-514-1400 to get the information to join us.

DUE to the COVID-19 pandemic
and government mandates we
will not have Bible classes until further notice.


WELCOME TO OUR VISITORS: We are meeting under the trees or on ZOOM in obedience to the requests of medical experts and legal authorities. We ask everyone to keep six feet from others and wear a mask so that no one becomes ill by attending worship. If in the future you wish to participate in ZOOM contact Karl Marcussen at 574-514-1400 and he will help you get on.

WEATHER CALL LIST: We have prepared a call list for all who regularly attend services on Sunday morning. A copy of that list is enclosed with this bulletin. If you know someone we missed, please let Karl or John know. We will meet under the trees unless you are called. You will be called if weather makes it difficult for us to meet outside. When the quarantine is lifted we will still use this call system, but only if services are canceled.

SHULTS-LEWIS COMMODITY DRIVE: Shults-Lewis has moved our date to October for them to pick up the commodities to use in their work with children. Our commodities are paper towels and canned fruit. We encourage you to get these items when you can and eventually get them to the building. If no one is there when you come, put them on the pew in the lobby of the auditorium.

GOSPEL MINUTES: The little four-page periodical mailed weekly by David and Clem Thurman is having financial problems due to the virus. They are soliciting donations so they can continue, but our discussions so far have indicated we probably have reached the point where we need to drop the magazine. Very few are taken and the content is not well suited to a mission field congregation like ours. If you have concerns about this, please let them be known. See one of the men you see leading worship.



Sound on icon

John Clayton

INTRODUCTION — Why study this subject?
A. There is an economy of language in the Bible on this
1. God does not want fear or bribery to motivate us.
2. Humans like the sensational and dote on it.
B. The spiritual is hard for us to grasp.
1. The spiritual messages are untimed and undated.
2. Words can have a different meaning in context.
3. “Rapture” from Greek harpadzomal = to snatch
a. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 — not connected to judgment
b. Usually associated with pleasure
C. Because of word economy speculation runs wild.
A. Eternal (Olam in Hebrew, Aion in Greek)
1. Isaiah 60:15; Deuteronomy 33:27 used as eternal
2. Same Hebrew word: Genesis 6:4; Exodus 21; Exodus 31:17; 1 Samuel 1:22; Jonah 2:6
B. Aion — Eternal in Romans 1:20; Ephesians 3:11; 1 Timothy 1:17
1. Same word in Hebrews 5:9; 9:12; Matthew 25:41, 46; 21:19. Our word “eon” means age lasting.
2. Eternity is not infinity. Time is eternal, not infinite.
1. Matthew 10:28;
2. Revelation 2:11 and 20:6 (Second death)
A. Rapture — Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Read context.
B. Tribulation — Not a single event; 21 uses in New Testament.
C. Heaven is after judgment — John 3:13.
D. Luke 16:19-31 is a parable.
E. Hebrews 12:1-3 — A sport analogy. We are all winners.
F. Immortality is based on obedience — 1 Timothy 6:16.
G. Punishment is proportional — Luke 12:47-48.
H. The message:
1. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 — Revenge is not the message.
2. Separation from God is the message (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
I. God does not send anyone to hell — we do it.
A. What is heaven like?
B. What is hell like?
C. Is God fair?
D. Does God torture?



Our lessons today and next Sunday have to do with what happens to us when we die. This is a subject we all have to deal with, not only because it is what our future is, but because there is so much erroneous teaching by religious groups. All of us have already been touched by this subject. We all have loved ones who have died. Most of us have had loved ones who did not believe in God or never obeyed God in baptism or participated in a religion or denomination that teaches things we do not believe.

Let me make it clear that I do not have all the answers to these questions. Let me also make it clear that it is not up to me or any human to be the judge. If God chooses to save the worst criminal that ever lived, that is God's prerogative and God tells us, “I will show mercy on whom I shall show mercy” (Exodus 33:19 and Romans 9:15-16).

On the other hand, God has given us some understanding of what his judgment will be and how our existence will end both physically and spiritually. The biggest problem is that we tend to cling to life in an unrealistic way. We tend to spend massive amounts of money to prolong life even when there is very little quality to life. We devote our lives and our resources to physical comfort even though we know that comfort is temporary. This is portrayed vividly in the 12 chapters of Ecclesiastes.

The classic demonstration of all of this in our day is the denominational tradition of “end times.” In spite of the fact that Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, we have religious organizations building a theology on the basis of Jesus winning a physical war. The idea of Jesus coming back and re-establishing a physical kingdom in Jerusalem with military force flies in the face of everything Jesus taught and lived.

We will study next week what the Bible says about judgment and end times. Read Matthew 25:31-34 and Revelation 22:1-6 and contrast that with destructive power, war, and the physical violence of dispensationalism.

— John Clayton

Our sign by the street!

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Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.