Conway Church of Christ
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Sermon from January 10, 2016
Brother Joseph Barr
1 Corinthians 13:11 "11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
Sometimes it is funny when children try to speak & behave like adults. When adults think and behave like children, it’s very often not funny at all. The purpose of this lesson is to encourage us all to be matured Christians. More matured this year than we were last year. It is time for all of us…myself included…to put away childish things and childish thinking. All of us need to endeavor to grow up. Men need to act like men. And women need to act like women. Men need to think like men. Women need to think like women. This is an obligation that God has set on all of us. The scripture teaches, commands & admonishes us to grow into strong, spiritual people. In Eph. 4:14-16, the Bible says, “14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Many times we know we ought to be doing something in the church and because of our child-like thinking and our child-like attitudes we fail to do what we ought to be doing. Our adult mind says “Joe, you need to get up and go to worship or go to the hospital and see so and so or visit with so and so,” but sometimes my child-like mind over rules and I do what I not ought to do. All of us need to add to our faith.
II Peter 1:5-8 says, “5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Children have a tendency to procrastinate but grown people need to learn to put first things first. When it comes to being an adult we need to be diligent about our faith. All of us need to be bearing fruit. A good question to ask ourselves sometime is what kind of fruit am I bearing? These are questions none of us like to ask ourselves ‘cause we really don’t like the answer. But God asks us to bring forth fruit. We all know what happened to the man in Matthew 25 who didn’t use his talents wisely and didn’t bring forth fruit. He was cast into darkness! All of us need to grow up. All of us need to do better. And I’m not just preaching to you. I need to do better too.
In the last book of 1 Corinthians he’s saying, “Watch out! Stand fast in the faith! Give an account as an adult.” When the Bible speaks of men, they speak generically because women are a part of mankind so he’s speaking to everybody. So Paul says, “Be the man that God wants you to be.” Boy men really need to hear this. Count for something! Why am I alive? What is my life about? What have I done?
There are 4 questions we need to ask ourselves:
What do I want to become as a person? Do I want to become a better husband or a better wife? Do I want to become a stronger Christian? All of us are evolving into something. All of should be becoming a better version of Jesus Christ. And put on the new man that is created into the image of Jesus Christ.
What am I willing to do to strengthen my relationship with God? We know, but are we willing to do it? Is that one of my concerns? Some people aren’t really concerned about having a stronger relationship with God. I’ve been around long enough to see that. Now you know what’s going to happen to them. That’s childish thinking. That’s an immature person that doesn’t think about their relationship with God and be working on it.
What am I willing to do to strengthen my relationship with my family, with my spouse or with my children. I need to set aside some time to be with my spouse or with my children. I think 2nd to my relationship with God, my spouse ought to be next. How can I expect to have, according to 2nd Peter 3: 7 and following, a good relationship with God if I don’t have a good relationship with my spouse? If that relationship can hinder prayers, than it can hinder my relationship with God! What is the Bible trying to tell us? If being a Christian doesn’t help you at home, then what good is it being a Christian?
What am I willing to sacrifice to help the church reach its goals? Brothers and sisters, like it or not, there is no getting around the church, and there is no getting around the local congregation of the church. Every Christian is obligated to serve the church at the local level. How do I know this? Am I preaching Bible? Paul wrote to Titus & Timothy and told them they were to promote elders to oversee the flock, and elders were appointed in every city, that means the elders had the responsibility of overseeing the local congregation, then elders oversee the local congregation. If they had to oversee the local congregation, then there had to be a local congregation for them to oversee. If you try to float from congregation to congregation, you are disrespecting what the Bible says and you can’t get to heaven like that. That’s the way God’s got it fixed. I ought to be doing my level best to help the church in every way. We all are the eyes, ears, fingers & toes of the church We are the church and we ought to love the church.

All of us need to be aiming at something. What are the four aims? What are you targeting? What do you want? Our young people, some of them, are finishing high school. That’s their aim. Some of us are trying to get through college to get our degree, or a masters or a doctorate. Some of us are hoping to begin a family. Some of us already have families, and so our aims are different yet very similar.
You know what all of us need to be aiming for? All of us need a good prayer life. You know why I put that one first? I came across a good scripture which I’ve read before but it got me this time. In Luke 6:12 look what the Bible says, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. ”When Jesus went off by himself, he wanted to get away from distractions and he went to this private place. When he went to pray, and he prayed all night, the Bible doesn’t say that God answered him back. Jesus was praying just like you and I pray. He was praying to a silent God who was listening. That tells me I need to pray. Because I know there’s a silent God who is listening. You can’t show me anywhere in the Bible where God ever spoke back to him. And He was Jesus! God tells us He’ll answer in action but He’s not going to speak back. What did Jesus pray for all night? There is power in prayer. The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much! The reason some of us don’t pray is because we ain’t livin’ right! But we can fix that quick, fast and in a hurry….repent! God is ready.
We need to aim for a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible. You know, denominational people, well, most people, don’t read the Bible. Not really. But you and I need to study the Bible. Study to show ourselves approved unto God. In Col 3:16, the apostle Paul says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Richly! You ever had a dessert, you tried it, and you said, “Man, this is rich! I can only eat a little bit of it.” That’s how the word ought to be in us. And by the way, I’ve been preaching for over 30 years and I still don’t know it all. I showed you that this morning! But I’m working on it.
We ought to all aim for a righteous life. This is where we struggle. You know, all of us sin. None of us is without sin. We try and we fail and we try and we fail but the thing is, you’ve got to get up! I want to talk for a moment on something that can help us. Look at James 1. James 1 tells us a little bit about the nature of sin. James 1:13 says, “13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”Now the nature of sin is this: the thoughts enter into our minds, these sinful thoughts tempt us. Thought always comes first. That’s what Jesus taught us. We develop a lust for those thoughts and when lust has conceived, the decision is made. That lust, we give birth to it. The decision is made when we carry out the action. And when we carry out the action, it brings forth sin. And sin brings forth sinful death. A lot of us get locked in this cycle of thought – action – sin. And when we sin, it just reinforces the thoughts and round and round and round we go. And the longer you stay in this cycle, the harder it is to get out of the whole. One day you wake up and you say, “I must have been born like this!” But God provided us a way out of that. It’s called repentance. All of us ought to be aiming for a righteous life before God. The only way that’s possible is with the blood of Jesus. We’ve got to walk in the light because He is in the light.
Self evaluation: What sin do I commit the most? What time of day do I often commit this sin? What day of the week is this sin most prevalent? Who is with me when I commit this sin? (1 Corinthians 15:33 "33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”") Where do I often commit this sin? What emotions do I experience before & after the sin? (How long am I going to go through life being ashamed of myself?)
We’re all in this together. None of us can escape this lesson because all of us have to deal with ourselves. None of us can throw stones, can we? Let me tell you this: God is not mad with you. God loves you. And the sin that you’re involved in, you’re hurting yourself. Ultimately you’re going to lose your soul. God wants you to come out.
Let’s all strive to do better this year.

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Sermon from January 3, 2016
Isaiah 41:8-10 “8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. 9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: 10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Before I begin this lesson I want to say that this is a sermon with all of us in mind…the congregation of Christians that meet here at 4107 Hwy. 378, Conway, SC. It’s for us because all of us are in this together. None of us are any better than the other. We are all one in Christ Jesus. All of us are members of each other. We are part of the body of Christ. Some of us are the hands, some the feet, the ears, the eyes, the nose. We are all in it together. None of us are perfect and all of us are struggling. I have been trying to impress on our church for the past few weeks our need for Jesus. I’ve talked about how to commune with & get closer to Jesus Christ. What I’m about to share with you comes directly from heaven…because you can read about it in your Bible. Look at Isaiah 41:8-10 above. (This is God speaking through Isaiah to Israel.)
God says, Israel, you are my servant. I am YOUR God. Those are some important words. I want to speak on the subject: I am the Lord, your God. The Lord God wanted Israel to know that, unlike other nations that served idols, they serve a living God. In Galatians 6:16, the Bible says “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God..” This says that God is our God today. We are His servants today and He is our God. Forty-one times in the O.T. is the statement: I am the Lord, your God. God wanted Israel to know that He is their God. And God is OUR God. When you speak personally you can say, “He is MY God.” See my friends, we can learn from the Old Testament.
In Hosea 2:23, here’s the promise God made to the Gentiles, “Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” In Romans 9:25-26, Paul confirms this: “25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” 26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
I want you to look in Leviticus 19:9-10: 9 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.’ He’s telling them, when you pick from your vineyard, you can’t pick every grape from the vine. People think the Jews gave a tenth of their income but they gave much more than that. The picked the whole vine. So it was much more. He’s saying you don’t need to be selfish because I’ve got your back. I am the one taking care of you.
V. 11-12 “‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” You don’t have to steal. You don’t have to cheat or lie to make it in this world. God says, “My people don’t have to live like that. You don’t have to cheat on your taxes. Why? Because I am the Lord your God.”
V. 13, “‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.”. In other words, pay the man if he worked for you.
v. 14-18 says, “14 You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord. 15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. 17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” God says, “You don’t have to behave like the world behaves. I am your God.”
In Joel 2:27 the Bible says, “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” God says, “If you do everything I’m telling you to do, you will never be put to shame.”
In Provers 3:5 the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” God is telling us that these things were said in the shadow of the cross but we are IN the cross. In Hebrews 7, Paul demonstrates the superiority of the Law of Christ over the Law of Moses. Vs. 26 & 27: “26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
I want you to understand that if they had those kinds of blessings under the old covenant, what better blessings are coming to us under the New Covenant? So when Proverbs say “trust in the Lord with all your heart,” we can, the church that was purchased, bought, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we have been given the gift of praying for ourselves. God is still our God, our Father. Do you know what a blessing that is to be able to say, “My Father, who art in Heaven?” I believe it’s John 3:1 that says, “what a blessing it is to be called sons of God.”
We must trust in the Lord in our everyday life. We’ve got to own it. Our God is my God and I am His child. You and I can open our hearts to our fellow man. We can share what little we have with those in need. I don’t need to be selfish or covetous over what God has helped me earn. God is looking down, watching over his servant and I know he is my God.
In James 4:13, “13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will[a] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit” We’ve got to include God in our everyday conversations. Lord willing, I’ll do such and such. Include God in our everyday life. We are Christians. The Bible says “all such boasting is evil.” We need to trust in the Lord when it comes to our marriages. God is not going to speak to us audibly. That’s now how it happens. Trust in God’s word…trust in what the Bible teaches. That’s what you put your trust in. Base your marriage on what God says about it in your word. Ephesians 5: “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Husbands, when you said you wanted to get married, you gave up your rights, and most of your privileges! What did Christ give up for the church? His LIFE!
Instead of people trusting in the Lord, they take matters in their own hands, and when you do that, you will never have anything any better than what you have right now. And some of you don’t have much! Some of you have a man that’s not worth two cents!
The Bible says that fornicators will be judged and sent to Hell. And you’re trying to do the right thing. Everyone around us is fornicating, fornicating, fornicating. You turn on the tv and they’re fornicating. Everybody is just having a high old time! You need to do the right thing and wait on the Lord. I promise you when that young man or young lady comes along, you’ll know it. People that are in the world jump from one bed to the next bed to the next bed. If you’re in the church of Christ, somebody taught you better than that. Whoever says it takes forever to get to know somebody was wrong. Check life spent and you’ll know. If you check life spent and see no job, no car, and living with mama, what are you going with him for?
God said to Israel, when you plant your feet, don’t glean all the grain out of the field, leave it for strangers and the poor. Then they had to give a 10th and then give love offerings and peace offerings and sin offerings on top of that. And when He said to do it, He always finished the sentence with “I am the Lord your God.” Our giving must never be out of our abundance. Jesus said, “See those people? They’re giving out of their abundance. There’s no sacrifice. There must be a sacrifice.” You should give as you have been prospered. From your disposable income, you must give an amount that is a sacrifice.
We might be riding down the street and think, “I’d like to take my wife out to dinner.” And you drop $75 and don’t think another thing about it. You’ve got it and you want to spend it on your wife and to that I say Amen. But on Sunday, you drop $25 in. You’ve not made a sacrifice.
You’ve got to believe in God. He is watching over me and will take care of me.

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Sermon from Dec. 6, 2015
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I want to have a message this morning especially for us that meet here in Conway. My lesson has one point. I want to remind you as we travel throughout the holiday season to remember the Lord, our God. We are about to enter a joyful holiday season where people have generous spirits. I feel so bad about the tragedy in California and ask you to keep remembering them in prayer. I’m not a prophet – never claimed to be one – but I see the pattern of things as it’s laid out in the Bible. The apostle Paul told us that evil men will wax worse and worse. That’s why I know that things don’t get better, except in one or two cases. Evil men wax worse. Our country is involved in a war and in this particular case, we are fighting one of the most dangerous kinds of wars there is to fight. When you are fighting an ideal, you are fighting one of the most dangerous things known to man. And we are fighting an ideal in the form of radicalized Islam. The news media refers to it as radicalism. But the fact is, that’s exactly the way the Muslims started under Mohamed. They would surround cities and say, “Except you except Allah as god and Mohamed as profit, you will be murdered.” And that’s how it got started. So what they’re doing now is not new. They’re following their leader. When you have people that are willing to give up their own lives for an ideal, they’re going to kill more and more innocent Americans as the days go forward. And you can pass all the gun laws you want to pass but nothing is going to stop somebody that thinks that to praise Allah, they must go into a theater, a grocery store, or a ball game and kill, all in the name of religion. There’s nothing any authority can do about that but there’s something we can do.
When you look at a situation like that, you feel helpless. When you see people crying and hurt, you ask why. You may ask, “Well, what can I do?” I’ll tell you what to do. Because Jesus has already given us the way and they way is the church. I’m telling you today and the message is this: get your soul ready. That’s all we have is our souls. I want to ask you this morning, as you travel over the holidays and enjoy your families, don’t forget who you are. And don’t forget what God, our father, has entrusted you with. You’ve been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you must in your visitations, as best you can, honor that trust.
I had the privilege during the Thanksgiving weekend to study with a loved one and I took it upon myself to do this study. We were doing well till I hit a particular verse, and when that person read the verse they said, “Oh no. I don’t accept that. I don’t believe that. There’s nothing in the world that will get me to believe that. I don’t care what the Bible says.” Well that alarmed me quite a bit and not because it hurt me personally but because I hurt for them! That’s a very dangerous attitude. And it’s an attitude that is very pervasive amid the so-called “educated.” When a person says that, what they’re saying is: “I don’t want to be saved. If I have to do that to be saved, then I’m not going to be saved.” This is a person that goes to church. A lot of your friends go to church at one denomination or the other. Remind people of that as you’re talking to them. At least they believe in God, and they probably believe that he’s eternal. From everlasting to everlasting. God couldn’t have a maker, or else the maker would be God. God can’t have a beginning. And God can’t have an end. Can God be killed? Then He’s not God so no, He can’t be killed. He is infinite. God has infinite knowledge, power and understanding because His attributes are infinite with Him. He has not one speck of evil in Him because He is infinitely good. I’m telling you this to show that everything we believe is built on something: God. It makes sense to believe God.
So John is precisely correct when he says, “God is Love.” The reason He is, is because He has infinite love. It’s boundless. It’s the only quality He has. God is a giver. He gives life, breath, shelter, food…He gives and gives and gives because that’s the only thing He can do. He doesn’t need to take because He has no need for anything. Psalms 15 says, “If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell you.” ?
Titus 1:2 says God cannot lie.

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