January 24, 2010
TO OUR VISITORS
The family of God here at Dowagiac Church of Christ wishes to extend to you a warm welcome. If you have questions about our worship services and why we do what we do, we will be glad to give you a biblical answer. The uniqueness of the church of Christ is that we are trying to restore to the best of our ability those things that we see the first century church doing. We are also working hard at building the spirit, unity, and love that Jesus taught and prayed for. We have no clergy, but are working together as equal co-workers trying to serve one another and the area in which we live. Come study with us, grow with us, and serve with us as we strive to do God’s will in all things.
CHILDREN'S CHURCH OFF TO GOOD START: Our thanks to Julie and Karl Marcussen who have gotten our children's worship off to a good start. It is a wonderful thing that our children are net sitting in the auditorium during the sermon, bored, uninterested, and building negative attitudes towards "going to Church." For them to have a lesson at their own level, and to free up their parents to seriously consider what is being presented in the sermon is a win-win situation for everyone. Our thanks to Julie and Karl for getting this started. We hope to work others into the class to help continue this wonderful addition to our worship. If you are willing, see the Marcussens so you know what they are doing and make a commitment to take a turn at the joy of teaching children God's message. We want everyone who comes to our services to have a full hour of worship and teaching of God's word. The phrase "No child left behind" certainly applies here.
THANKS BILL. Bill Gibson does a great deal of work that goes unnoticed by most of us. We have been going through a lot of work in connection with the water problems this property has and the water system we use. Bill has wired the sump pumps in the basement, which was a major job, and saved the Church a great deal of money. He has also been working on the water heaters, trying to find the best and least expensive option, and he has been working on the baptistry which is part of the water system. We thank God for workers like Bill and Patty who selflessly and quietly spend time, their own money, and energy keeping this facility working. We do not take workers like this for granted.
IS SATAN REAL?
INTRODUCTION--What do you visualize when you think about Satan?
FIRST QUESTION--DOES EVIL EXIST?
Atheist Richard Dawkins: "In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. . . . DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (River Out of Eden, page 133)
What is your experience? Does evil exist? What is the evidence? Evil is not like a rock--evil is a choice made by sapient beings.
THERE ARE SATIENT BEINGS THAT ARE NOT HUMANS.
Evil does not exist in the natural world--earthquakes are not evil.Satan is a sapient being--his name means adversary.
Ephesians 6:12; 3:10; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6
Always shown as "The prince of opposition"--John 14:30 Eph 2:2THE LOGIC OF BELIEF IN SATAN.
Very little about Satan in Old Testament.In the New Testament, Satan tries to get God to compromise
Matthew 4; Luke 4; Mark 1--physical world is offered.
Jesus came to win and destroy the works of Satan--1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14.
All evil is an accidental function of our brains.
There is an intelligence that propels evil towards mankind.
Satan's direct communication is with spirit beings--Job 1,2; Jude 6.
Satan's role with humans is indirect not confrontational--Ephesians 4:27; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Luke 22:3; John 13:2, 27; Acts 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Luke 13:16.
Satan is a malignant reality.
He cannot overpower us--James 4:7.1 Peter 5:6-9
God does not leave us helpless--1 Corinthians 10:13.
BEING A REAL CHRISTIAN
Our classes in Romans and our studies in James are all concerned with living as real Christians, not just name wearers. We call America a Christian nation, but in reality less than 50 percent of our population believes Jesus was the Son of God. Even more significant is the fact that Christianity does not seem to have much of an impact on the lives of those who claim to be Christians. What we do for others, how we talk, how we dress, what we do for entertainment, what we refuse to participate in, and how we treat people speaks louder than the blank we might check on an application or survey.
In Colossians 3 there is a wonderful parallel to what we have been studying in Romans 6-8. In both passages Paul talks about putting our earthly or carnal nature to death. Colossians 3 is more specific than Romans. Paul identifies the earthly nature as sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. (verses 5, 8, 9). A culture like ours is full of greed in the form of materialism. We now have filthy language coming out of our music channels and television sets to the point where words that would have offended us 25 years ago are now in every day conversation.
In Romans we have been talking about what it means to be walking after the spirit and how we do that--what helps us. In Colossians 3:12-25 Paul again becomes very specific. We are told to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiving, submitting, loving, being thankful, uniting, and obeying. We are also told that the word of Christ needs to dwell in us (verse 16) as we teach and admonish one another in our worship. Singing is specifically mentioned in verse 16. This is why we gather here and why we do what we do. Life is hard, and we need the love and support of people who are waiting to help us and serve us.
We urge you to be a real Christian, not just a name wearer. It is getting more and more popular to not be a Christian. Abuse and denigration is growing towards those who are Christians. One positive side of that is that it will prune the name wearers only who are unwilling to be changed by God and motivate Christian people to increase their walk with God. There are other helps God gives us. Join us tonight and on Wednesday night as we study what God offers us as we try to be real Christians.