Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - New Relationship with Apologetics Press
In the late 1970s, there was a need to make available scripturally sound and scientifically accurate materials in apologetics to be used among the churches of Christ. The idea for Apologetics Press was born—an idea that soon became a reality. Thirty plus years later, Apologetics Press is still a leading source for materials designed to enhance ones faith in God, the church, our salvation and hundreds of other topics we deal with in our war with Satan.
I am extremely pleased to announce a new relationship between the Christ Centered Lessons website and Apologetics Press where christcenteredlessons.com will host a dedicated page with links to specific lessons/topics etc. on ApologeticsPress.org. The purpose is to provide you with extremely sound and trustworthy material at the click of your mouse.
Special thanks goes to Kyle Butt and the work he did to help develop the content for this page. Our prayer is it will prove extremely useful to you in your walk with God and help you in your studies to strengthen your faith.
Please check back often as this page will continue to be built out!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - New Christian Evidence Material from Focus Press
“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.” --Adolf Hitler
Over the last 100+ years, humanists have taken this "call to arms" to heart and tried every means at their disposal to corrupt the minds of the children of this country.
One of the most successful tools they have used is the "theory of evolution" which was first spewed into existence by Charles Darwin and has now infiltrated every school textbook across our country and is stated as "fact."
Through the incredible work done by Brad Harrub and Focus Press, they have provided 2 powerpoints that expose Darwin and the lie which is macro evolution. Those powerpoint presentations are available for you in an effort to combat the godless worldview of Darwinian evolution.
Chuck Thursday, September 24, 2009 - Follow up to Instruments in Worship I have received two questions related to my article from yesterday, on instrumental music in worship, that I want to provide answers to. The first question states, “What about passages in the Old Testament that mention instruments in worship to God?” I am assuming that you are referring to the book of Psalms.To understand why these or any other Old Testament passages don’t govern our worship to God, we turn to see what the passages say. While the Psalms are sometimes referred to as law, we understand that the old law (Old Testament) was never intended to be permanent or universal in nature.
We are told in Deuteronomy 5:1, “And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.”The Gentiles were never subject to the Law of Moses.We read in the New Testament that Christ’s death fulfilled the Law of Moses, thus doing away with it.
In Matthew 5:17-18 we read, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”So, When Jesus fulfilled it, it passed away.Paul also speaks about the Law having been taken away. Ephesians 2:15 says, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace…”The “Law of commandments contained in ordinances” refers to the Law of Moses.Jesus abolished that law so both Jew and Gentile could be one and have peace through Him.
Paul further states in Colossians 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross…”The “ordinances” are the rules and requirements of the Law of Moses and they were taken away at the cross.The book of Hebrews speaks specifically to the superiority of Christianity to anything else and in particular the Mosaic system.Jesus tells us that God wants people to be “true worshipers” (John 4:23).Christ then set forth the components that were to constitute the type of worship with which the Father would be pleased. Those elements were three: object, attitude, and action (4:24). The proper object of worship is God, i.e., deity.
The correct attitude is in spirit. And the standard by which acts of worship are to be measured is the truth. Each of these is crucial.Our truth is the new law, the new covenant, the New Testament.It is where we get our direction for how to worship God “in truth.” The second questions states, “Chuck, the New Testament never mentions not using instrumental music.” To understand the truth which is God’s word, you must understand not just what it says, but you MUST respect the silence of the scriptures.When God says do “this and that”, he does NOT then have to tell us what not to do.
Please look at the following examples to prove this point.In the New Testament, 2 John 9-11 makes clear that, to be pleasing to God, one must have authority for what he does in religion (1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1:6-9; Gen. 6-9; Lev. 10:1-2). Just as the principle (law) of authority is crucial in everyday human affairs, so it is throughout the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation.Even though no man living today is under the Old Covenant (all are living under the New Covenant, the gospel, the law of Christ, Heb. 10:9; Col. 2:14-15), the apostle Paul made clear that men living today can learn – in principle – from the record of various events in the Old Testament (Rom. 15:4).
Note the following:
Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, offered in worship “strange fire” – that is they used in worship fire, which God had not authorized them to use (Lev. 10:1-2).Was their using in worship that which God had not authorized them to use an important matter?It was so important in the sight of God that he destroyed them. God told them what fire to use; he did NOT need to tell them all the fires not to use! King David and others moved the Ark of the Covenant in a way which God had not authorized (he moved it on a cart – not on the shoulders of the Levites, as God had authorized, 1 Chron. 15:1-15; 13:1-14; 2 Sam. 6:1-11).Because the affair involved an unauthorized way of moving the ark, and because an unauthorized man touched it, he was destroyed by God.God told them how to move the Ark; he did not need to tell them all the ways to NOT move the Ark.The matter of authority is crucial! Moses lost his ability to enter into the promise land because he disobeyed God.In Numbers 20:7- 13, the people of Israel were in need of water for themselves and their herds.Moses pleaded with God and was told to speak to the rock and water would pour from it.Moses struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it.What point should we take from this situation?Moses did exactly what he had been commanded to do when faced with a similar situation in Exodus 17:6. This time, God told Moses to do something different, he disobeyed, and was punished. God did NOT need to tell Moses not to follow the process he had previously used in Exodus.
The same principle applies to us when we talk about worship. Complete obedience to God’s instruction is crucial.All men living today are under the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mk. 16:15-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Lk. 24:45-49).Whatever the law of Christ says, it says to those who are under that law (See the principle set in Rom. 3:19 and 4:15).
I hope this answers the questions asked. Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - Instruments in Worship
I received the following question from a fellow Christian...Dear Chuck, we are beginning to have many in our congregation that want to change the way worship to God is conducted. The first item they want to change is how we sing. They want to introduce instruments. What can be said that will show them the choice they are making is wrong? The question regarding instruments in worship is one that has been discussed, debated and argued for the last 100 years. It is one that is easily answered by the scriptures.
Thirteen New Testament passages deal with singing. Of those, five passages relate to how we are to worship in song.
In the first two passages, I Cor. 14:15; 26, Paul corrects worship abuse at Corinth.Two points stand out in these passages – both spirit and mind are involved in worship in song, and everyone should understand and benefit from the songs in the assembly. The third passage, Eph. 5:18-19, contrasts the irrational worship of one drunk with wine, with Christian worship in song.Singing is edification.It involves “speaking to one another.”Singing is heartfelt praise to the Lord.The fourth passage, Col. 3:16, discusses the attributes a Christian should put on as a new self.One attribute is gratitude to God.The passage also shows that singing can help us teach and admonish each other.It further shows that singing arises from a thankful heart.The fifth passage, James 5:13, is brief and expresses that singing praises is the natural expression of a cheerful heart.Note from these passages that singing was done as personal praise to express joy, as edification to one another and as praise to the Lord. No New Testament scripture authorizes anything other than singing.Not choirs, praise teams, humming, or instruments. We each are to sing from our heart, speak to another in songs and hymns.Through this act alone we can express joy, glorify God, focus our mind on the sacrifice made for us, teach and even admonishthose who hear.Everyone is to sing not just a group of people. EVERYONE is to SING! Those who sit in worship and don't sing, using the excuse, "it sounds so beautiful..." are in violation of God's command!
Those who try to justify instrumental music, praise teams, clapping, etc, use the excuse “that it sounds so much better.”To who?Humans? Does God judge our singing the same as humans do?We are not worshipping to please humans; we are worshipping to please God! The scriptures say that scriptural singing comes from each of our hearts to the Lord! There are two subcategories when you speak about music, vocal and non-vocal. Look below as we make the logical argumant for vocal music in our worship and against non-vocal music. 1) Vocal > Communicable (a message) - A foreign Language. - One’s mother tongue. > Non-Communicable - Making sounds with our voice but those sounds not communicating a message. - Humming, whistling, making our voice sound like instruments of music, long sustained “Ah’s” or “Oh’s,” etc.
2) Non-Vocal > Mechanical (instrumental). - Brass (trumpets, trombones, tubas, etc.). - Woodwinds (clarinets, oboes, flutes, etc.). - Percussion (bass drum, snare drum, castanets, timpani, etc.). - Strings (violin, viola, cello, bass, etc.) - Electronic Synthesizers (electric piano, organ, etc.). > Non-mechanical (instrumental). - Sounds that are humanly produced. - Snapping fingers, stomping feet, hand boning, clapping hands, etc. What God did authorize considering the above when taken in conjunction with the New Testament scriptures on the subject of singing:
* Acts 16:25 - “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” * Rom. 15:9 - “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” * 1 Cor. 14:15 - “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” * Eph 5:19 - “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” * Col. 3:16 - “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” * Heb. 2:12 - “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” * James 5:13 - “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” * Heb. 13:15-16 - “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” He did not simply state to make music (if He had then anything would be permissible). God did not simply state to use vocal music (which would authorize any type of vocal music). The only thing God authorized is singing (which is communicable vocal music) whether in our native tongue or in a foreign language. Nothing else is authorized.
Non-communicable vocal music is NOT authorized by God in our Worship to Him thus instrumental music (mechanical or human—non-mechanical) is NOT authorized. That which is not authorized by the Lord, if acted upon, is sinful.
I hope this helps you deal with a problem that has been damaging the church for many years.
Thursday, September 17, 2009 - Seasons of Life
It is amazing to see God's handywork as pictures roll in from the northeastern part of the country showing the leaves changing from green to beautiful colors of yellow, orange and red. It is a sign of the changing seasons; from summer to fall.
Psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors will tell you that the human life is divided into 5 seasons: 1) Infancy and Early Childhood (Birth–Age 5) - Beginning with the first years of life, the early influences of the biological and social clocks, how children develop, and how they gain confidence and curiosity are explored. 2) Childhood and Adolescence (Ages 6-20) - The years before and during adolescence and the stressful task of molding an identity while the biological and social clocks are out of synch. 3) Early Adulthood (Ages 20-40) - Young adults hear the first of many messages from the social clock: to separate from family, get a job, find a mate, set goals, and face reality in this period of intense social growth and pressure. Life consists of leaving home for the first time, going to college, getting your first job and most likely getting married and having a family. 4) Middle Adulthood (Ages 40-60) - Older adults are concerned with creating a legacy for the next generation, changes in life direction, and personal goal achievement. 5) Late Adulthood (Ages 60+) - An examination of the last stage of life, when people consider what they might still do to change or add to their lives. Retirement, grandkids, healthSociety will tell you that success at each of these seasons of life is based upon wordly measurements such as what school you go to, what job you have, how much money you make, what kind of house and car(s) you buy, etc. No thought or consideration is given to the fact that many people will never live te see the fifth season of life.For Christians, the scriptures tell us a much different story about how we should look at our life. Christ tells us in Mark 8:36-37, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Materialistic gain cannot be the purpose for our life. It can't be the foundation upon which we live our lives, base our decisions or be the measurement for our success.
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." All of our earthly possessions will be burned up; become worthless. He then asks us a question in verses 11 and 12, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?"
We are also told that our life on this earth is short. James 4:13-14 states, "Go to now, ye that say, Today or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." We are not guaranteed how many "seasons" we will see!
If the possessions, the world tells us are important to obtain, are going top be burned up, and the breathe of life is precious and can end at anytime, then what should our focus and energy be geared toward? Christ gives us that answer in Matt. 6:33-34 when he states, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things."
There are so many things to being a Christian and seeking the kingdom of God, but I want to share with you a few that might be helpful in our daily walk with God:
1) Be prepared at all times; 1Pet. 3:15 - " But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" 2) Search the Scriptures; John 5:39 - "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." 3) Be doers of the Word; James 1:22 - "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." 4)Obey the Gospel; Rom. 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." 5) Add the Christian graces; 2 Pet. 1:4-11 - "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 6) Persevere; Matthew 10:22 - "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."Christians long for only one season; the season of the Lord.
1 Thes. 4:15-18 - For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. Are you ready? Thursday, September 10, 2009 - The Love of God
Two men were driving to a football game on a beautiful Sunday morning.The top was down on the car and they could hear church bells ringing in the distance.The driver said to the man with him, “we really should be at church.”His passenger responded by saying, “I couldn’t go anyway, my wife is sick.”
We all understand this is clear example of a man who was looking for any excuse not to be in the worship service to the Lord.The question I have is what motivated this man to ever go to church?What did he get out of a worship service to God when he attended?
The last Sunday in October 2000, I had the opportunity to preach on how, as Christians, our stance on moral issues should hold considerable weight when we determine how we should vote in elections.We discussed the sin of abortion, of homosexuality, of embryonic stem cell research, and many other issues that we are faced with every day in this country.After the sermon, I had a number of people make comments to me but two stood out in my mind.The first was a woman who simply said, “Chuck, that is exactly the kind of sermon I like; thirty minutes or less.”The second comment came from a man who stated, “I’m glad you got that off your chest.”This sermon was not presented from my point of view on the subject.It was backed by what God Almighty had to say on the subject!Yet, these two people did not seem to grasp that.It is no different than what you find with many people who don’t decide until the last minute on Sunday morning whether they will make worship (you can forget class), or those who reach in their pocket at the last minute to find “something” to throw in the contribution because they have given no thought of what is due the Lord through their financial planning.It causes you to want to ask them the question, “WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
I have asked this question to myself on several occasions based on the actions and attitudes of those you come in contact when you preach.Most people either don’t think or don’t care that the preacher can see all that goes on in the audience.The passing of notes, the constant checking of watches, the whispering between adults and/or children, and there are those who want to anticipate the “closing thoughts” of the sermon so they can speed down the isle like they were coming out of pit row at a NASCAR event and get to wherever they feel they need to be.I wish they would stop to realize that their actions may have thwarted someone from responding to the Gospel invitation.
Why is it that we can sit 2-3 hours in a movie, sporting event or any of a hundred other activities, but if the preacher dares to preach over thirty minutes, you would think a catastrophic event had taken place.
Preachers always try to determine why the audience is there for if we know the answer to that question, we can tailor sermons to help reach the heart, strengthen those in need and/or prick the heart of those who find themselves estranged from God so that they might repent.
The answer a Christian should/must find in their heart is that we are there to worship God because of our deep love for him, and that love is not/cannot be displayed in just those few hours we enter a church building but is a way of life that we show to people around us each and every day based on how we live.Christian’s live above matters of this life because we have a home waiting for us in heaven and our goal is to serve Him on this earth!God has promised that home to those who are found faithful.
Why do we have such a deep love for God?The scriptures tell us.1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”How did God show this love for us?
Will you give me 45 minutes?Will you click on the presentation on this page and learn about the love of the cross?Television will get 45 minutes of your time today.Will God?
Thursday, September 3, 2009 - The Passing of a Christian
This is not the article I had planned on publishing today. I had wanted to discuss worship and why people attend and how that is a true reflection of their relationship with God, but this morning all of that changed. A Christian passed away.
I only met the man in June of this year when I was fortunate to conduct a Gospel Meeting in Tennessee. In the days I was there, I received more compliments from him than I think I had ever received from anyone. He was one of the elders at this congregation and it was obvious the love he had for God, the congregation he attended and the work we have been instructed to do. Equally obvious was the love that the congregation had for him. His health was obviously bad as he was quite weak and needed oxygen to help his breathing.
In recent weeks, the news regarding the disease which would take his life became increasingly worse. This morning, Glendon Gattis ( a tremendous elder, leader, husband, father, friend, mentor and most importantly Christian) moved on to the reward which has been promised to all those who are found faithful to God. Brother Gattis is now comforted in the bosom of Abraham.
At a time like this, the human design causes our emotions of sadness and grief to dominate our reactions to the news of someone's death. The emotions are much stronger when it involves the death of someone who made such an impact on so many peoples lives. I know the toll this is having on my brother and his family because I know how much they love him. Sadness and grief are good; required for us to process what has occurred and it will allow us to move on.
As Christians, when we push through the sadness and grief, we know the joy that is found when someone goes home to be with the father.
Psalms 16 - Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.O my soul, you have said to the LORD, "You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You."As for the saints who are on the earth, "They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight."Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, Nor take up their names on my lips.O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.We weep today at our loss, but brother Gattis is comforted – no pain, no sorrow; he is at rest, at peace, with joy abounding. We grieve at our loss.Grief is a natural reaction to death.Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:1 that we should not lose heart when faced with death. In death there is comfort; comfort in the fond memories of this dear loved one and how he has touched all our lives, and comfort from the Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 we read, “But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope.For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”The death of a Christian, instead of being a senseless end to a futile existence, is really the crowning of a life lived in faith and obedience.All his life he was a teacher, example, encourager, and friend - but first and foremost he was a Christian.He knew that even though Jesus suffered physical death, God brought him forth from the dead.The rejoicing which belonged to Jesus Christ belongs also to every Christian. Brother Gattis has preceded us on a path that will eventually bring all who are faithful to that eternal home with God. This is the great hope of Christianity. Jesus tells us in John 14:2-3, “In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” The child of God never needs to fear death, for Jesus Christ came to earth to grant us victory over it.Our Glendon Gattis is now enjoying the permanent comfort and joy all faithful Christians have been promised. Rejoice in that thought.Our prayers go out to the church at Tullahoma, his family and friends.