Paoli Church of Christ
Gary's Teen Talk
It Is Not Over Until It’s Over
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Why is Jude bringing up the past? The New Testament is all about the New Way, the Movement that is happening. The apostles have been busy trying to convert people from their old ways. They are supposed to see Jesus as the way God wants them to be.
The past has been mentioned to show a certain pattern of God. God is the same today as He was with Adam and Eve and the same as He will be when He calls us home. The pattern is a simple one - God tells us what we need to do, and we do it, or suffer the punishment.
These two examples from the past show that, even though the Israelites were His chosen people, He didn’t hesitate to punish those who broke the law. The angels that He created who chose to go against Him were banished with the one they followed, the devil, mentioned in Matt. 25:41.
We are being warned that if we choose to disobey God, He will punish us as well. The warning is to become a faithful servant of the Lord and don’t depart. The other two groups were once saved then lost focus. Jude is telling us that it is not over until it is over. Don’t give up or lose focus.
It’s that time of year again, it seems that everyone is headed in ten different directions, all at the same time. Yesterday, Janet hosted her open house, and you would have had all the Christmas treats you could eat if you went. Thank you, Janet, for opening up your home to everyone.
This afternoon is the caroling to the shut-ins. This is always a treat to each person visited. At this time, at least 12 visits are planned. Last Wednesday night our younger classes put together gift bags in class to be distributed when caroling. What a great way to teach our kids about giving and sharing.
Don’t forget… there will be no Sunday evening services tonight. After carolers return, there is a time of fellowship planned. Even if you don’t go caroling, you are still encouraged to attend the fellowship.
Paoli has had a lot of sickness recently, please continue keeping tabs on each other. Remember what James reminds us in Ch. 1 about being “Doers of the word and not hearers only,” I, for one, have certainly enjoyed our study of the book. So much to learn, so much to apply.
At this time, please continue being vigilant in supporting “Essentials” and the food pantry. Both need our support, especially at this time of year, (the needs list can be found elsewhere in the bulletin).
Until next time… KEEP PRAYING, KEEP WORKING, AND KEEP LOOKING UPWARD. It will all be worth it one day.
Essentials Program needs:
Men’s and Women’s Deodorant
Progressive Meeting Jan 15-20, 7pm
Monday – Randy Weilbaker at Big Springs
Tuesday – Larry Sawyer at Martinsburg
Thursday – Lee Collins at High St. in Salem
Friday – Greg Circle at PaoliSaturday – Denny Moon at Kansas, dessert fellowship following
Let the Son Shine In
Paoli Church of Christ | 219 Stucker Street, Paoli, IN, United States
What Brings Joy?
Many times in our lives, we will experience that great emotion, joy. It is an emotion we like to experience. It usually means something good has happened in our lives, and we are glad it did. We look forward to those times when we believe joy will be part of the experience.
Being around family becomes an important activity for many at this time of the year because, for most of us, being together with family and friends will bring on a feeling of great joy. We are pleased with one another’s company, and we relish the times we spend together. This activity becomes even more dear to us when we can only spend this time together a few times a year.
Certainly, other times in our lives will bring on that feeling of joy: a new house, a new job, a birth into the family, a marriage to a good person. We know the times in our lives when we have experienced that feeling of joy. We want to feel joy and maybe feel it more than we do.
As a child of God, there are times when we experience that joy that is not fully understood by the world. As the people of God, there are times of joy for us that are even more precious than anything else we experience in this life, and people in the world, with the mind of the world, will not understand why we feel this way. For the people of God, and I hope you are of this mind, there is nothing better than hearing about a person who has obeyed the Gospel of Christ.
We feel this overpowering joy for, and with, those people because we understand what they now have. As part of the body of Christ, they now have a home in Heaven forever. They have been saved from the depths of sin and the horrors of Hell and now have a home in the light where joy and happiness will be felt forever. We understand what they have obtained and what they have been saved from.
When this happens to someone we love, there is no better feeling of joy for the person of God. For us, when our loved one, our family, puts on Christ, it is a joyful occasion like no other. No other decision that they make in life, nothing else they can do, will be more important than this decision to follow God. Sure, there will be other times of joy we can experience with that person, other times when we can share joy and happiness together, but no other time will match when a person we love comes to Jesus.
I know that the world will not understand the joy we experience when this is done. I know that the weak in Christ and those who are not spiritually strong will not fully get it. They do not understand because they fail to understand either that Hell is as horrible as God says it is, or they fail to believe what God says He will do. If we know, at least what we can, about the horrors of Hell, and if we understand, at least in part, the glory, fulfillment, and happiness of Heaven, then seeing people obey the Gospel will have joy flowing through us like nothing else will.
In the book of 3 John, John tells us about the great joy that is felt for the people of God In verses three and four, he says it like this, “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Look at what John says. No other joy is greater.
John understands what we need to understand. He knows how important it is for a person to follow God and be part of the body of Christ. He knows what is at stake here - eternity.
Paul writes in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Our greatest joy is the place where we are created to be, where we will find happiness and contentment, and that is in Heaven. There, we will experience the greatest of all joys. This is what the people of God know and understand; this is why we have that great feeling of joy for everyone who puts on Christ. We have this incredible feeling of joy for those whom we see walking in the truth. Not only did they put on Christ, but they are now obedient to Him. Now, they are people of God and part of the Kingdom of God.
Sure, there will be other times in life when we will experience joy, and we will know happiness as we interact with the world, but obedience to God, getting to Christ, and staying with Him brings so much joy because we believe in the importance of it. It is the most important decision a person can and will make.
Let’s make the decision that will bring us joy forever. Let’s do our best to follow God. If seeing someone put on Christ does not bring us joy, and if seeing people being obedient to God does not bring joy to our hearts, then maybe we do not understand the importance of what is happening. It is eternity, it is forever. God wants us to know the joy found in Him, and He has made it possible for us to obtain it. Let’s make that great decision and know the place and the person that brings joy to the world! - Jesus Christ!