Going To Heaven

By Jack Glover

Do you think much about heaven? We all know, in spite of medical miracles, life passes quickly. Job said of man: “Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. (14:2). He also said, “For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, because our days on earth are as a shadow (8:9).

It is an indisputable fact that all of us will die. But what happens after that?

The scriptures are explicit about life after death. All will continue to exist but in spiritual bodies (I Cor. 15:35-58). We are told this spiritual body will either exist in a state of punishment or joy. Paul says: “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress [a]for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 2:7-10).

Whether we live in punishment or joy will depend on how we live our lives while on the earth, before our deaths. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

Back to the question, do you think much about heaven? It would seem that because our lives in our physical bodies is short, we would be concerned about the next one. All of us will live eternally in heaven or hell. The rules that determine where we go are found in the scriptures: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Jesus made it very plain that how we follow his teaching, not how we follow laws man has made, will determine our fates in the future life.
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The Price Of Sin

By Jack Glover

From the beginning of time, the cost of sin has been high. It cost Adam and Eve the right to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). It cost Israel the lives of all those over 20 their right to the Promised Land (Num. 32:11-12). And as we read below, it cost Judah 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:3-11).

“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these 23 years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” declares the Lord, “in order that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon 70 years.

The Bible contains numerous examples, as well as teachings, warning that sin is not free. In the book of Jeremiah the phrase “you did not listen” or “you did not hearken” are found many times. It is apparent that they were refusing to listen to the prophet, or prophets. Many warnings were given, but few, if any, were heeded.

Most of us have heard the warning “There is no free lunch.” Everything has some cost. When making decisions about life, especially the Christian life, we need to count what the cost is before going ahead with a sinful action (Luke 14:28). Is committing adultery really worth breaking up your family, ruining your reputation or getting incurable diseases? Are the consequences of stealing, cheating and lying worth losing your job, going to prison or offending friends? Is the pleasures of any sin worth the cost of your soul?

God has asked His people repeatedly to listen to the warnings He sent through the prophets, Christ and His apostles. They all tell us that sin will bring punishment in the form of losing our eternal reward. (Rom. 6:23) Although we are not under the Old Testament (Mosaic) law today, its examples are still there for our learning, and there are many examples of punishment to both individuals and nations (including God’s chosen nation) for disobedience to his commands and teaching.
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Thoughts On The Pope And Government

By Jack Glover

Some may think this disrespectful. I do not intend it to be so. I am watching some of the great ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the pope and having some thoughts concerning it.

I have watched other greetings of heads of state in the past. I have not seen this type of ceremony for any of them, at the White House and certainly not in a stadium with a 75-foot altar. Many thousands of people are gathered there along with much pomp and ceremony. It is a beautiful sight.

We live in a free country. I am thankful for that blessing. I am thankful for freedom of religion, but there is a problem, an inconsistency, with this freedom in our country, and I am looking at it right now.

If I, as an elder in the church of Christ, wanted to make arrangements to hold a meeting like the one going on at present with the pope, I would be denied and probably laughed at for such a notion — separation of church and state, you know.

My questions and thoughts are, why does this separation apply in certain situations but not in all? Obviously, I am watching a religious ceremony, with prayers, teaching, many mentions of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and communion. Why is this allowed and supported by our government but I can’t read, or in some cases even have, a Bible in a school? If the pope can teach scriptures, and scriptural principles, why am I not allowed to confront false doctrines in class books in our schools? Why can I not ask for God’s blessings at a ball game or graduation, but the pope can ask blessings at a government supported religious event?

You say that the government is not supporting this event, that it is the Catholic church. I beg to differ. This event has cost thousands and probably millions of taxpayer dollars for security and other things, and is supported from our president on down.

Do I dislike the pope or Catholics? No! I am just wondering why our freedom of religion is being snuffed out in about any government-built building or associated event, but the rules change in this type of situation. What happened to my right to confront teaching that is obviously against the scriptures, in state- and federal-supported class books, while the government allows evolutionary teaching by professors, school teachers, etc.

Freedom of religion is a right that I, as well as the pope, have under the Constitution, and I should be able to exercise it without government interference. God tells me to preach the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). That is what I want the freedom to do.

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Tis The Season Without Reason

By Jack Glover

They call it Black Friday. It’s a day when many seem to transition from one holiday season to another. Many find it exhilarating to get up very early and join the crowds fighting for bargains. Some lose all reason, manners, patience and kindness to their fellow man for an understocked bargain. It’s the beginning of a season without reason.

Before you conclude that I’m a brother to Scrooge, let me say I like the holidays. There are many things to bring joy and happiness when families and friends can be together.

The Christian, however, faces many conflicts during this season. Christians are to be people of sound thinking (II Tim. 1:7). They are to use sound speech (Titus 2:8) and sound words (II Tim. 1:13). The example they set is always important (I Pet. 2:21).

To the Christian, this is truly a season without reason. The Bible speaks nothing of the date of Christ’s birth or celebrating the same. There is no historical evidence of when Christ was born. The early church, under inspired apostles and leaders, did not celebrate Christ’s birth; they celebrated his death by partaking of the communion that he instituted just before his crucifixion (Matt. 26:26-30).

This day, like others holidays, is man-made and without scriptural precedent or reason.

Each day the Christian is tried by the events, songs, decorations, skits and comments of others to participate in religious actions of the period. We need not be unkind, but we do need to speak as the oracles of God (I Pet. 4:11).

There are times that seemingly innocent activities can lead others to believe what is not true. Such was the case with eating meats offered to idols (Rom. 14:15-23). We must not become a part of unscriptural activities that send the wrong message to those around us.

Titus put it this way: “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. … In all things show yourself to be … sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:1, 7-8)

This season is a part of our culture and life. We probably could not get completely away from it no matter how hard we tried, but we need not lie or participate in things that teach falsehood or set the wrong example. Just like any other activity in our lives, we must make decisions based on what the scriptures say. This would be true of any holiday.

So enjoy the family visits, the children and grandchildren, the blessings of food aplenty, and the gift of life for another day. Remember, these things are right and do come from God.

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Sin

By Jack Glover

It is evident that we have different attitudes toward sin. Actions that at one time were considered sinful are now readily accepted. Why the change? Do we have the authority to decide what is sinful? If so, could not each person, or nation, determine what will be considered sinful and what will not? Is that what we are doing now?

A wise man once said, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). If sin is a reproach (disgrace), why is it so easily accepted? Why do we justify it by calling it by other names? How do we determine what is sinful? Where did the idea of sin originate?

The concept of sin is a Bible subject. If one wants to understand (or define) sin, he must go to the Bible. Government is from God, but government does not determine what actions are sinful and what ones are not. Parents are from God, but parents do not decide if one is guilty of sin. Sin defined is “transgression of the law,” or lawlessness (I John 3:4). When we violate God’s law, we sin.

When we understand this, we do not seek answers from other men to determine if an action is sinful. It does not matter what man may think, only what God thinks. Government may make laws instructing us that we must accept certain actions that are sinful. It does not have authority to do that, as “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Does God know when we sin or justify sins of others? The answer is yes: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). No man can sin without God knowing it. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). As David found out, sin eventually will find you out (II Samuel 11-12), many times with severe consequences.

What can we do about sin? We must speak out and stand against it in all forms. We must not condone it in ourselves, family, government or anywhere. Many seem to be afraid to let their voices be heard against it.

We can obey the one who has made it possible to have our sins forgiven — Jesus, the Christ. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). You notice I said “obey” because obedience to all teachings of the Bible are required.

Remember, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Sitting quietly by while sin takes over all around us is unacceptable.

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Salvation In 30 Sincere Seconds

By Jack Glover

Yesterday, while watching a parade, I noticed a lady circulating through the crowd and passing out something. After much time had passed (long parade), I felt a tap on my shoulder, and the lady handed me a small tract with the title in the headline for this article.

The tract continued:

Did you know that it only takes 30 sincere seconds or less of your life to assure you have a place in HEAVEN for all ETERNITY? This is SERIOUS BUSINESS for you and for me … so PLEASE READ HERE and you will find THE VALUE DEAL OF ALL ETERNITY!

When it comes to a serious matter such as: Eternal Life – or – Death, Heaven – or – Hell, there is only one place to go to get THE TRUTH.

The tract then quoted John 8:32 and II Tim. 3:16 before making the following points:

Then came the question and a suggested answer to it:
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Growth

By Jack Glover

The church grew quickly when it began on the day of Pentecost, by 3,000 souls (Acts 2:41). A little later, another 5,000 conversions are mentioned (4:4). Then we read of multitudes being added to the church (5:14) and of the number of disciples multiplying in Jerusalem exceedingly, including “a great many of the priests (6:7). When the persecution became great in Jerusalem, the believers simply scattered to other places, preaching the gospel and making more disciples (8:1).

The church also grew during the American Restoration Movement as people accepted the plea to return to “speaking as the Bible speaks.” During the 1950s and 1960s, it was said that churches of Christ collectively grew the fastest in the nation.

It seems that things have changed. No longer does our growth astonish anyone. Why do you suppose that is? There was an interesting study in the February issue of The Christian Chronicle that raised the same question. A chart with figures from 1980 and 2006 showed a decreasing trend in many areas and slow growth in others. I think most of us would have to agree with the assessment of a slowing growth in the church.

What has happened, and what can we do to reverse this trend? The study mentions various reasons (or suppositions) as to why growth has become a problem. There is some validity in all of them, but I don’t have space to list them here. I encourage you to read the article. Though I agree that we have a problem with growth, some of the reasons why concern me:

  • The Word alone is not enough. There seems to be an indication that old-time preaching is not enough in today’s society. While it may be true that our nation is becoming like Sodom, and is developing many traits that have destroyed other nations, that calls for more plain, gospel preaching, not less. It was God who chose to put the power in the gospel and to save by the foolishness of preaching (Rom. 1:16-17; I Cor. 1:21-25). Let me suggest that we may find other methods to grow in numbers, but we will just make crowds, not Christians. It was plain, non-compromising preaching that caused the church to grow in the beginning, and it will still work because it is God’s plan. Should we consider that when we began trying other methods to attract people, it caused our growth to slow, or stop, because we were no longer distinct?
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