"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations" - Matthew 28:19

Welcome to the Southside Church of Christ. Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth. Christ, our Lord died... for us, and he has risen! Like you, we daily need wisdom and love beyond our own capacities. Because of this we’ve found it important to set aside a few hours each week to worship God and learn from His Word. In our Sunday School and worship services both young and old learn principles for successful living, not just for Sunday but for everyday. More

From Jeff's Desk

In January our series is titled, Your Faith, Bible Faith. Today, faith in Jesus is the beginning and end of our faith. As the month progresses we will consider Bible pictures of saving faith, the relationship between faith and fruit, and then the distinction between faith and opinion.

All 4 Gospel accounts tell of the feeding of the 5,000 but John tells us the rest of the story. The people return the next day, not finding Jesus they sought him out elsewhere. Jesus knows why they are looking for Him and then makes one of the most astounding statements of your Bible,John 6:26-29, “....the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Work is a task, something you do. Jesus says God has done something, you must do something. God’s task was to send His Son. Our task is to believe “in the one” God sent.

God’s greater work is the sending of Jesus into the world. God’s lesser work was sending bread from heaven which fed man for a day. It is easy to want bread for today. Jesus would have us want bread from heaven that does not perish. Read John 6:30-34.

Believing in God’s greater work has eternal implications. To see Jesus is to see God. This is more than believing Jesus is an historical figure. This is realizing He is Lord of heaven and earth. This is to realize He is Lord of your life. Being ruler, He will invade your every decision, and activity, and priority. Believing in Him is realizing that at the “last day”, you will be before Him. Read John 12:42-50.

It is an insult to your intelligence to suggest that you can have a casual, passing faith in Jesus. To believe “in the one” whom “God has sent” reaches every crevice of your life.

Consider the advice old folks give young folks when monumental life decisions are being made. We advise they consider how this decision will affect the rest of their life. If marriage is under consideration we might remind them how from that moment on, all decisions must be made with the family in mind. It will not be “his” and “hers”, it will be“ours”. We might speak of the beauty of mutual submission to each other and the horror of marrying someone not worth submitting to. Should anyone believe in Jesus without similar forethought?

To believe in the one God sent has greater implications than any other life decision we make. Belief in Jesus has eternal consequence beyond this life. Believing should not be entered into lightly. Belief in the one God sent is the greatest, heaviest, most profound decision of our life. If you believe the one whom God has sent, confession of faith, repentance, and baptism into Christ is soon to follow. But get ready, some real life changes are about to follow.

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff's Desk

In heaven and on earth, Mary, the virgin chosen by God to be with child of the Holy Spirit, is honored. Listen to the language of Scripture, “you are highly favored, the Lord is with you”, “you have found favor with God”, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”, “my spirit rejoices in God....for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” Read Luke 1:26-49. Once, after Jesus had been accused of working with Satan, a woman in the crowd cried out, “blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you”. Read Luke 11:27-28.

We should have no problem honoring Mary. The scriptures do. Joseph, Elizabeth, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon and Anna all honored Mary. Even an unknown woman in a crowd honored Mary. Jesus honored his mom as all sons should, John 19:25-27.

John Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic priest explains why the Catholic Church honors her so highly. In the General Council of Ephesus in 435, an official “Mother of God” title was given her. Beyond that, Catholic tradition concludes that Mary had no “original sin”, that she was a perpetual virgin, and that as a Saint, she can be prayed to and through. That of course is too much honor and far beyond Bible teaching.

In thinking about Mary, the emphasis remains on the Son. He is the only mediator between God and man. Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. John 14:6-14 & I Timothy 2:15.

In thinking about Mary, I would ask you to think about how God uses earthen vessels for his purpose on earth. Yes, she found favor and was used by God very much. Some do not seek the favor of God, and are used very little. The Son and the Gospel of the Son both employ earthen “human” vessels in fulfilling God’s purpose on earth.

I should be seeking God, so that God can use me. Another virgin to bring another Son is not in the mind of God now. You might say, God has been there, done that. But do not minimize God use of earthen vessels like Mary, or even you. As an earthen vessel you can be used for God’s purpose in astounding ways. Mary was chosen, you are chosen. Mary was honored that God worked through her, you can be so honored.

2019 is almost here. In all your reflections, I suggest you make your life ready before God to be used by God for God’s glorious purpose in 2019. God’s work in your life might not be as advertised as was Mary’s, but God can and will use you if you will honor Him.

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff's Desk

King Ahaz has watched Israel fall. He wonders the fate of
Judah. Syria is on the rise and coming his way. He fears asking
God for a sign about the fate of Judah. Isaiah the prophet says, God
will give a sign. This sign may have meant little in days of Ahaz,
but to us, who know the rest of the story, it is prophetic and
comforting. It clarifies that God keeps His promise. God protects.
God saves. God will live among us. Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the
Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and
will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
The virgin birth explains much about the nature of Christ. It
explains His eternal existence, even before he became flesh, John
1:1-5. It explains His equality with God and the humility of “taking
on the form of a servant.”, Philippians 2:5-8. The virgin birth
explains how Christ is creator, with all authority, Colossians
1:15-20. It explains how Christ is the exact representation of God’s
being and that He speaks to us today, Hebrews 1:1-5.
Paul Harvey tells a story of how a farmer, on a cold winter
night tried to herd some small sparrows into the warmth of his
barn. The birds would not even come near. The farmer was alien
to them. They could not understand that he was trying to do them
good, and not harm. The farmer realized that only one of their own
kind could lead them, communicate to them, and help them. It is a
monumental message from God when Christ became flesh.
Without the virgin birth, like Moses, we cannot even look at
God. Without the virgin birth we tremble because the mountain
shakes, the fire consumes, and the loud voice is deafening. Read
Exodus 20:18-23 & Hebrews 12:14-29
Christ, born of a Virgin is one of God’s greatest designs. No
man could think this up. Only our God would be so desirous of
relating to us that He became one of us. God became flesh,
therefore we love Him, praise Him, and serve Him!
So, Ahaz, do you want a sign? Here’s your sign, “...the virgin
will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him
Immanuel.” The virgin birth of Christ explains much about our
Wonderful Father in Heaven!!!

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff Smith

 

Published on: December 23, 2018

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Christmas Caroling

On December 9th, 2018 we will go Christmas Caroling to the Nursing home and the shut-ins. There will be no Bible classes and we encourage all to participate.

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Thanks-Singing

Thanks-Singing @ Southside on November 18, 2018 at 6pm. Everybody will meet in the auditorium. Songs, Scriptures, and stories of Thanksgiving. Make sure to invite a friend or two.

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GREAT NEWS!

We are happy to announce that Austin Harden and his friend, Blaise Presley were baptized Friday, July 6th, 2018 at Camp Joy.

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

     Today we begin a new series about fundamental facts we must not     forget. I remember hearing Alan Highers say in effect that sometimes we teach error by failing to teach truth. You don’t have to preach error, just start ignoring the truth on a given subject, and error takes over. I do not assume the hearers in my midst know some of the fundamental facts we will discuss. If you know them, congratulations, this is a refresher course.

     Our text today is II Corinthians 4:1-7. The thing I want you to see is that God’s greatest treasure, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is placed in earthen vessels like you and me. The NIV uses the phrase, “jars of clay”.

     First, I wonder if I would entrust to you my greatest treasure. As a teenager, I was hesitant to let even my best friend borrow my car. I had suffered to buy that thing and feared losing it. One friend was offended when I refused his request. Meanwhile, God’s greatest treasure, the     treasure He sacrificed to obtain, is placed in the hands of “earthen vessels” like you and me. How unsearchable are His judgments!

     God uses earthen vessels in conversions to Christ. In Acts 2 the Spirit is present in a glorious way but God used Peter, an “earthen vessel” to preach the Gospel. In Acts 8 an angel was well aware of the Ethiopian Eunuch searching for truth but that angel called Philip, an earthen vessel, to share the story of Jesus. Acts 9 tells of Saul’s conversion. Beyond the flash of light and the voice of our Lord, God sent Ananias, an earthen vessel to instruct Saul further. The same with Cornelius in Acts 10. God could have used angels, visions, or some direct operation of His Spirit to share the treasure with Cornelius. He used Peter, an earthen vessel.

     Jesus confirms God’s use of earthen vessels to carry the treasure of the Gospel. You are the light of the world, let it shine he says in Matthew 5:14-16. Go preach and teach and teach them again he says in Matthew 28:16-20. He even speaks of the Counselor who will prepare his disciples to testify about him, John 15:26-27. I’ve always loved that Jesus prayed for we who believe on him through their message, John 17:20.

     Sometimes, people are still awaiting some fantastic working of God’s power before they will believe and obey the Gospel. Meanwhile, in our midst, God has placed a “treasure” in “earthen vessels” like you and me. Are you carrying that treasure well?

     You are probably thinking, that was them, not me. They were good earthen vessels with great treasure, not me, “I’m too earthy”. That’s the point of the whole matter. You are no more “earthy” than Peter, Ananias, or Paul and the treasure has not diminished one bit. As an earthen vessel with a treasure inside you are obligated to carry the treasure well. Are you???

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….       Our earthly Fathers love us.  They desire good things for our life.  They would never act to do us harm.  But their love is contractual.  There is something in it for them.  Children bring fulfillment in a father’s life, they bring him joy, and they care for him in his old age.         God’s love is like our earthly father’s love.  He desires to give me good things in life, Matthew 7:7-12.  The Bible is full of convincing     pictures of God’s love.  He runs to greet a fallen son, Luke 15.  He made mankind His crowning act of creation, Genesis 1,2 ; Psalms 8.  His arm is long enough to save us, Isaiah 59.        A father’s love is good, God’s love is better.  God’s love is          Covenant Love.  Covenant Love has characteristics so much better than contractual love.  You can spend a lifetime praying to “grasp” the Heavenly Father’s love, Ephesians 3:14-21.  In God’s love there is no condemnation, Romans 8:1-4.  There is life and peace, Romans 8:5-8.  One lives because of His righteousness, Romans 8:9-11.  Covenant love cannot be moved, it cannot be shaken, and it makes us more than conquerors, Romans 8:31-39.        If you want a picture of the frustration of living by the “sinful     nature” read Romans 7.  If you want a picture of living in God’s love, read Romans 8. Which chapter describes you?             In this life, the only unmerited, unmovable, total love I can           experience is God’s love.  God loves me regardless of my loving Him.  God is not dependent on me loving Him, I am dependent on His loving me.  Nothing can remove His love from me.         The reality of God’s love is this, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make him love me less.  Christian’s who doubt salvation, doubt God’s love.  Christians who immediately conclude God punishes them for sin, forget that Christ was punished for our sin.  Christians who think they are saved by how they feel, or what they know, or what they do, are minimizing God’s love and     maximizing man’s futile efforts to be saved.         To become convinced of God’s love is to have the greatest            motivation for Christian living in this “sin fallen” world.  Some     Christians, in doubting God’s love, live in doubt and fear when they could live in victory and peace.   How are you doing believing in God’s love in your life?     It is good to be at Southside!!!  Jeff W.  Smith

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From Jeff's Desk

From Jeff’s Desk…..

     To be convinced of God’s love, I must come to terms with God’s long arm which provides salvation for fallen man. God did not quit   loving mankind upon man’s rebellion against God. Rather, He acted so that all might be saved. David reflects upon God’s creation and man’s lowly estate, “what is man that you are mindful of him…..?”, Psalms 8.

     The fall of mankind is the source of our troubles. When God made it, it was good. Man’s rebellion against God produced the fall and the   consequence of the fall. When the thoughts of man’s “heart” was evil all the time, God used the flood as a cleanser to start again. When man was determined to honor man and not God, God scattered man and confused the language. Read Genesis 1:31 ; 2:4-7 ; 3:14-19 ; 6:5-8 ; 11:1-9. The   consequence of sin still reigns in the world. Man’s mortality is             self-evident. Creation scientists are convinced our weather patterns are still effected by the consequence of the flood. Our language is still “confused”. But, over it all and through it all God determined to provide salvation in Christ. Read John 3:16-21 ; Romans 5:6-8 ; I John 4:10 ; II Peter 3:9.

Take a think on some great Bible passages:

     First, consider that there was no mercy, no scheme of redemption for angels who sinned. Read II Peter 2:4 ; Jude 6 & Hebrews 2:14-18. It is not angels that God helps, but Abraham’s descendants! That includes you and me.

    

     Second, consider Isaiah 59:1-20. Upon declaring the gravity of     Israel’s sin and its consequence, two great statements are made. First, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” This condition is observable in creation. Second, look close at Isaiah59: 20, “the Redeemer will come”. Come, He did in the person of Jesus Christ. It is no surprise that the creation “groans” while awaiting our “adoption as sons, the     redemption of our bodies”. Read Romans 8:22-23.

    

     Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.BUT, that is not God’s fault! God “so loved”, God “sent”, God “is not willing that any should perish”, God reveals “truth” by sending “light”. Anybody who doubts or denies the love of God, has not read or does not believe the truth of God’s word. You should be convinced of God’s love because He has a long arm of salvation, and uses it!

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

     We can be convinced of God’s love by acknowledging the fact that mankind is God’s crowning act of creation. God gave us the power of freewill, therefore, we can choose to honor our Creator, or not. Our       intelligent mind cannot ignore the observable reality that mankind is far superior to all other living things.

     Read Genesis 1:26-31. Mankind was fashioned in the spiritual,       rational, emotional, and the volitional image of God. Volitional is our power of choice, our freewill. We are not made in God’s physical image, God is spirit. In a tragic episode at the Cincinnati Zoo last week, Zoo   officials realized the life of a child was of greater value than that of an endangered lowland “grey-back” gorilla. This decision had to made quick. Did they learn the value of human life from the Bible or just     observe that in nature? I would to God that all humans would choose to glorify God in our daily existence. Many do not. Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Note the purpose of mankind given in the Genesis text. To “fill the earth”, we have. To “subdue it”, we have. To “rule over”, to the extent we can, we have. It seems easy for me to distinguish between the chirp of a bird or the moo of a cow, and the reasoned and formed       communication of man. Mankind’s role in the universe testifies to God’s love.

  

     Read Psalms 139:1-18. The fact that we cannot escape the presence of our creator should comfort the righteous and scare the unrighteous. I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” is almost an understatement when one considers DNA, the coded information that is found in every cell of your body. The Bible says life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and   everything we know about our circulatory system reveals how true this is. Imagine the blood in your body. It processes oxygen from your lungs and delivers it to every part. It brings back waste products to just the right place to be disposed of. The process is performed over and over and over again. Your blood includes 20 different clotting factors that offer repair when the system is interrupted. If one of 3 billion complex DNA “words” is out of position, you can have serious abnormalities. If one clotting   factor is out of sequence you can bleed to death, or have a life threatening condition with a clot in your brain or lung. God balanced all systems just right so you can live in this universe.

  

     If you doubt God’s love, consider your humanity! Look around and observe the exalted position of man in the universe. God created man with purpose, design, and intellect. In all that is observable, we begin to realize God’s love.

  

   It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith    

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From Jeff's Desk

From Jeff’s Desk…..

     Memorial day is a fitting tribute to soldiers who have died on the battlefield for our freedom. What began as “decoration day” in 1866 has evolved to honor all soldiers from all wars who gave their life for our   freedom. Without a “Memorial Day”, we might forget.

     King David would not let the people forget what God had done.             As the ark is moved into Jerusalem David leads the people in a psalm of memory and praise. Read I Chronicles 16:1-36 & Psalms 105:1-15.

     The Old Testament is full of memorials. The Passover was a special memorial so that when their children inquired, the story of God’s           deliverance could be told, Exodus 12. That 12 Stone memorial in     Joshua 4:1-7 was there to remind them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off as they entered the land. Samuel raised a stone, an “Ebenezer”.       This was a stone which said, “thus far, the Lord has helped us”, I Samuel 7:12-13. The Feast of Purim celebrated God’s deliverance of the Jews from destruction. Mordecai and Esther were used together, Esther 9:18-23.

     There are great New Testament Memorials. One woman broke open a box of very expensive perfume and anointed the body of Jesus.           The disciples thought it a waste of good perfume, Jesus said it was a                               memorial to her (and Him) whenever the Gospel is preached, Matthew 26:6-13. Every time we read or preach this story, the prophesy of Jesus is fulfilled. Later in that same chapter there is that feast of celebration, the Lord’s Supper is established. The bread and the cup memorialize the body and blood given by Christ to redeem us from sin. Read Matthew 26:26-30 & I Corinthians 11:23-36.

     We need memorials because people are forgetful. God blesses us continually, then one day something doesn’t go to suit us, and we doubt God’s love. Remembering what God has done, especially to save us, is very necessary. Would any among us say to God, “What have you done for me lately?” Christians should never put God to the test. Those habits of prayer and Bible Study, and assembling are great ways to never forget what God has done.

  

     It is good to remember good soldiers who gave their last full     measure of devotion for our freedom. It is better to continually         remember God’s gift to us in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Christians are in a constant state of memorial.                         Remembering God’s love will convince you of God’s love.

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk……

     Dr. Kevin Leman produced a great book titled, “The Birth   Order Book”, “why you are the way you are”. His study has interesting application for the older and younger brother in Luke 15:11-31. The firstborn is the only one to receive the undivided     attention of the parents for a period of time. The oldest born is usually better organized, a higher achiever, and often more self-reliant than the younger born. Some firstborns react with indignation towards the parental attention given their siblings.

     In the story of Jesus the younger brother pursues a life of self-discovery. In his quest to find fulfillment it didn’t matter who got hurt, until it was him. Then he appreciates his father’s love.

  

     The older brother on the other hand pursues a life of moral           conformity. He evaluates himself as a good fellow and demonstrates     resentment toward the reckless behavior of his kid brother which led to a demonstration of the father’s love. . The older brother is convinced he   deserves his father’s love. He deserved that love first, he deserves it more. Grace is absent from his thinking.

  

     Some older brother must have named this story “The Prodigal Son”. It should be named “A Father’s love”. The father loved both boys. One said “I wish you were dead, give me my share”. The other one who said “I will not join the party”, “I deserve better than him”, “Why don’t you love me?”.

     Actually, the father sought both boys. One he looked and longed for actually running toward him. The other, he left the party and went out to plead with him.   One son underestimated grace by thinking he could be as a hired hand. The other determined that grace wasn’t fair, he preferred the merit plan. Both boys were wrong.

     What do all older brothers need to know?1)God reaches out to you too! Read Philippians 2:6-8. The extreme God went to demonstrate His love for us cannot be ignored. 2)Our Father’s house is full of grace right now. Bible obedience is not merit, it is faith. Read Romans 4:2-12. Justice is fair, grace is not. 3)Everything the Father has is yours, right now. Would you minimize the scope of those blessings because it rains on the day of your picnic or because God is gracious toward someone you deem less worthy?

     We can be convinced of God’s love if we would read familiar         passages more carefully.  

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk…..

     I love to preach passages I have never preached. Such is the case with Mary’s Song in Luke 1:46-55. Mary was convinced of God’s love, she was humble, and she was full of praise. Moms of today do well to follow Mary’s example.

     It was God’s choice that made Mary special. She was not to be the intercessor of sins. Mary had God’s favor, this made her special. Her song is a faith response to God’s grace.

     Chosen for motherhood, Mary glorifies the Lord! The Lord was great before Mary magnified Him. Upon visiting her, she       re-evaluates God’s greatness. God was greater than she thought.   David, her ancestor, did the same thing, Psalms 34:1-10.

  

     It was Mary’s “humble state” in which the “Mighty One” did great things. This is good commentary on the words of Jesus,   “….he who humbles himself will be exalted….” [Matthew 23:11, 12] Mary was humble, but given a high position. God gives grace to the humble. Read James 1:9-11 & 4:5-10.

     In the Bible the proud are made low. Ask Pharaoh in

   Exodus 14, or Sennacherib in II Kings 19.

     In the Bible the low are brought high. Ask Gideon in Judges 6 or the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7. Mary testifies to what God does with people of low estate.

  

     Mary also knew that God keeps His promises. God did not forget his promise to Abraham. Nor did he forget the promise that from the seed of woman would come a crushing blow to Satan’s head. Read Genesis 3:15.

     Today’s mom should take their cue from Mary. From your lowly estate, God made you “mom”. God still extends His mercy to those who fear God. God still fills the hungry. Mothers today should still give God praise. As “mom”, you will bless many through your children. Southside is producing some great husbands and wives for the future because of the quality of our moms in our midst today. Therefore, our soul glorifies the Lord!  

     There is no greater privilege than being mom!!!

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s desk……

     Some question God’s love because He doesn’t give them what they want, when they want it.  To know God’s love is to ask humbly, believing that God will give you what you need, when you need it.  Our text is Luke 15:11-20 with special consideration of the young brother who said,  "…..Father, give me my share of the estate." 

     "Give me, I want, I want" was the cry.  He didn’t say please.  Did he assume his father owed him?  I like Romans 11:35, "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?". A careful reading of Jesus’ words reveals that our daily bread is promised, luxury is not.  Read Matthew 6:11 ; 31-34.  We want more, we want it all, we want more than the next guy.  Meanwhile, every blessing in the father’s house is available to us right now. 

     "Give me, I have a plan" is the intent of this young man.    James 4:1-3 is good commentary on this.  Pride in this case is an arrogance that was sure the son knew how to manage blessings better than the father.  The blessings within the father’s house was not satisfying to this young whipper snapper.  How did his plan work out for him?  Soon, he "wasted recklessly", soon, "he  began to be in want", soon, he had time to ponder his father’s love among the pigs.   

     The Bible illustrates those who want God’s blessings on their terms.  Adam and Eve had it all, but they wanted their independence.  Folks are still dying over that one.  The rich fool was about take his ease in his blessings, but his life was demanded of him that night.  Somebody else had some new barns.  Read Genesis 2:15-17 ; 3:1-7, & Luke 12:13-21.

     God’s love means I will be blessed according to need, blessed responsibly, blessed for my good.  God’s blessings are only enjoyed within the confines of His will.  Read Psalms 119:97-106.  Asking God for his blessings should be a very humble activity.  God has given us what we need.  Read Romans 5:6-8

     To demand from his father as this son did was a sure sign that he did not appreciate the blessings he already had in his father’s house. Don’t make the mistake this young man made.  Are you convinced of God’s love for you? 

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

     “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Read Matthew 13:24-30 and then Christ’s explanation of the parable in       Matthew 13:36-43. At night, the enemy sowed bad seed. Weeds and wheat     co-existed in the kingdom only to be separated at harvest, by the angels of God. One is destined to a “fiery furnace”, the other is destined to “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father”.

   We should limit our discouragement when a Christian is found to be from bad seed. Christ warned us it would be so. The Word of God is good seed. God only sows good seed. If you discover bad among the good, blame the “enemy”, not God.

     We should limit our judgment in this life. We do not have the ability to judge a man’s soul, that’s God’s business! God’s ultimate judgment comes after this life. Let God be God. Righteous judgment in this life must come from the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5.

     Do you tire of hearing Christianity bashed as if we were some evil force in the world?Chaz Bufe lists 20 reasons to abandon Christianity. Among them, “Christianity is cruel”, “it sanctioned slavery”, “women are treated as inferior”, and Christians are “homophobic”. One wonders if Mr. Bufe has ever considered how women or gays or fellow humans are treated in countries without the         influence of Christ.

     People of faith in Christ have produced some great blessings in this world. The “Judeo-Christian Ethic” is foundational to such things as the United Nations Human Rights Declaration, the Magna Carta, and our own Constitution with its “Bill of rights”. God fearers who believed in Christ built the first orphanage, the first home for the elderly, braille for the blind, literacy for the illiterate, and housing for the homeless. 100 of the first 110 Universities in this country were founded by God fearers. On average 26% of our population does some sort of volunteer work each month. Among Evangelical Christians, 81% volunteer and serve monthly. God fearers and Christ believers are the largest single provider of healthcare and education in the world. Especially in 3rd world countries.

     I will not deny that bad seed gets mixed in with the good. Jesus gives me a perspective on this that is both comforting and disturbing. In our last look at this life and beyond I wanted to simply let Jesus speak. We bear the sentiment of Paul in II Corinthians 5:11-21, “….we know what it is to fear the Lord, therefore, we try to persuade men….if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…..”   There is much good seed being sown at Southside!

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff's Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

     Do you have regrets in life? Sometimes, regrets can be overcome. If you wanted to see Elvis in concert, you’ve waited too late.   But, if you are reading this, it is not too late to obey the Gospel. With that said, please   consider that waiting to obey the Gospel might erase your opportunity. That would be a regret from which you cannot recover.

     Those word pictures in your Bible clarify a wonderful state of being in heaven, and a horrible state of being in hell. Heaven is referenced as “inheritance”, “the New Jerusalem”, no tears, no death, no pain, the full presence of God. Hell is referenced as “eternal fire”, “lake of burning     sulfur”, “torment” day and night. Read, Matthew 25, Revelation 18, 20, 21, 22.

     Our text today is Revelation 22:10-14. Of interest in the passage is that “fixed state” of the righteous in heaven and the unrighteous in hell. Then, there will be no changing. There will be no more opportunity for decision. Heaven will have no place for sin. Hell will have no place for righteousness. That great gulf between torment and bliss cannot be crossed as confirmed by Jesus in Luke 16:23-31. Then, the day of “God’s favor” would have passed as spoken of by Paul in II Corinthians 6:1-2.

     Man would love to change the idea of a coming “fixed state”. Some think time in purgatory to pay for your sin will do nicely. Then you can then enter Heaven, or so they believe. Others suggest you should search your genealogy and somehow be baptized by proxy for beloved family members who have passed.   Some think God made the choice, not you. Still others suggest that a God of Love would not allow a permanent fixed state that cannot be undone.

     God does not fail if you make the wrong choice. It is your failure. The Cross of Christ declares God’s righteousness and neither you nor I will be an exception to God’s righteous act.

     Read carefully Romans 2:5-11. It was unthinkable to the Jew that a Jew could be lost or that a Gentile could be saved. Maybe, even some Gentiles felt they had no access to God’s salvation. In truth, Jew or Gentile should be taking advantage of the time of God’s favor when a decision to accept truth was available. God does not show favoritism.

     Since heaven & hell is indeed a “fixed state” which will not be changed, we must seriously plead with all people now to accept Christ while they can. Later, your heart may be hardened. Later, you might be dead. Later, time and opportunity may have passed you by.

     As I think of it, Hell will be a place of nothing but regrets. In Heaven, not a single regret will be found.

        

It is good to be at Southside!!!   Jeff W. Smith

          

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk……

     If the resurrection of Jesus is true, the Cross is in fact the most       important event in the world. Resurrection validates every claim Jesus made about himself. If the resurrection is not true, Christ is not even a “good moral teacher” as some claim him to be. You cannot be good based on a lie. The Apostle Paul summarized well our status if Jesus did not rise from the grave. Read I Corinthians 15:12-19.

     Some very logical proofs of resurrection:

1.The story of resurrection comes from varying accounts, told by     different witnesses, and yet those accounts are non-contradictory.

2.The empty tomb is a historical given. If enemies took the body, they never produced it as they would have. How could the disciples take the body when the tomb was sealed and guarded? Only the             resurrection of Jesus explains the empty tomb.

3.The tomb of Jesus did not become a shrine. Greats of all generations have elaborate and celebrated “resting places”. But not Jesus. Surely this guy who changed the way we view our calendar would have a memorialized tomb, but he does not.

4.The conviction, suffering, and eventual martyrdom of the disciples of Jesus bear witness to His resurrection. You might die for a lie if you don’t know it’s a lie, but you would never die for a lie knowing it was a lie. There was no personal gain of suffering for the Gospel short of resurrection?

5.The only way the tomb is empty is resurrection. Women couldn’t roll the stone away. Rome didn’t roll it away. The Jews wanted it to   remain closed. As Paul told Festus, “it was not done in a corner”, Acts 26:26.

    

     Nothing about Jesus rings true if He did not rise.   Jesus said he was living water, and the bread of life. He said the dead would hear his voice, and live. Jesus was willing to lay down His life only to take it up again, “of his own accord”. Jesus said he was the resurrection and the life. Jesus said the prince of this world had no hold on Him. Jesus said in a little while you will see me no more, then you will see me. Jesus said grief will be turned into joy, a joy no one can take away. Read, John 4:13 ; 5:19-30 ; 6:61-64 ; 10:17 ; 11:25-26 ; 13:1 ; 14:30 ; 16:16, 19-22.

     The resurrection is established in history and logic. It establishes that Jesus is genuinely the Son of God. Surely you believe Jesus is risen.     Therefore, don’t wait another moment to confess Jesus, to be baptized into Jesus, to live for Jesus. I wouldn’t wait another moment before confessing the precious name of the Lord and Savior of the World!

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

        

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk…..

     To live with a longing in our hearts for heaven is to live with a longing in our hearts to be in the full presence of God. Therefore, it is appropriate to have some “separation anxiety”, wanting only to be in God’s full presence, minus sin, suffering and decay.

     After resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven. The apostles were told to “wait”. Waiting is hard. Wait they did with great joy and praising God. Read Luke 24:45-53.

     Old Testament imagery helps us envision heaven. They longed for a land flowing with milk and honey. They wanted to be free from bondage. They envisioned a Messiah leading them to victory. Abraham was “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God”. Read Isaiah 33:17-24 &               Hebrews 11:9-10.

     New Testament imagery about heaven is even more fantastic. Heaven is God’s throne. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. Jesus spoke of a place prepared. The Kingdom is from heaven. Those in the kingdom have their name written in heaven. The kingdom will be delivered back to heaven. Read Matthew 5:34,35 ; 6:19-21 ; Luke 15:10 ; John 14:1-4.

  

     God used imagery in Revelation from earth’s precious       elements to describe a very special existence. The “new             Jerusalem” shines with precious jewels. Streets are of gold, walls are precious stone. F. LaGard Smith reasons well that if we are   attracted to heaven because of those precious stones, we might not be the right people to be there. It is enough to know that heaven is   beyond my finite value system. Then, heaven is described as the Garden of Eden restored. Complete with the “water of life”, even the “tree of life”.   If all that doesn’t attract you, then consider that     God dwells there. Tears and death, and mourning, and crying, and pain and thirst are all wiped away. Read Revelation 21 & 22.

     Is your name written in heaven? Only Jesus can write your name there. In this life you decide to be “in Christ”, or not.   Get right church, long for heaven now, so we can all go home in due time.

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith      

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

     Man isbody, soul, and spirit. This simple but profound truth is found in Genesis 1:26-28 & 2:7. Males and females are made in “God’s image”. Our body is made of dust. Into that dust God breathed life and we became a “living being”, a “living soul”. Life is more than what you can see, touch and feel. Our soul lives beyond this life, but how, where, and in what state? God knows some things, I do not.

    

     That said, I have some questions. After Lazarus was in the grave 4 days did anybody ever ask him, “What was it like?”, or “Where did you go?”, or “Did you see God?”, or “Was it like being asleep?”. Paul was caught up in “paradise”, and he declares there were things “inexpressible” that “man is not permitted to tell”. Did Lazarus have the same experience? Read John 11:38-44 & I Corinthians 12:1-6.

     I hear about 4 possibilities concerning status of the dead.1. You are extinct, no life, no existence, nothing. This denies Genesis 1 & 2 and many other Bible texts. 2. There is an unconscious sleep until Judgment. The Bible does refer to death as sleep many times. 3. There is a conscious existence in the “abode of the dead” that includes a status of “paradise” or “torment”. This comes primarily from Luke 16:19-31. 4. Some talk as if everybody goes immediately to heaven or hell. Most assume everybody goes to heaven. The thought of hell is unimaginable. But what about Judgment Day?

     Think!Every generation will pass through the same judgment day. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the people of Nineveh, the Queen of the South in Solomon’s day, the Athenians of Paul’s day, and all that have lived in every generation. This includes those you know who have died.   Read Matthew 10:5 ; 12:41 ; Acts 17:29-31 ; II Peter 2:4-10.

     The Judgment Day to come is actually a pronouncement. The key is to arrive at “that day”, being “in Christ”. Right now is the time to be “in Christ”!   The finished work of Christ is the only real comfort I can give to any of you about the Judgment Day.     Read II Corinthians 5:1-10 ; Acts 24:25 ; Revelation 20:11-15.

  

     Knowing that you are body, soul, and spirit, is the beginning wanting God to receive your spirit upon death. Christ did this well, so did Stephen. Read Luke 23:46 & Acts 7:59-60.

     Something happens beyond our death. You are body, soul, and spirit. This realization will change this life now, and life beyond the grave. This will also lead you to praise God who created you a “living soul”.    

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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From Jeff’s Desk

From Jeff’s Desk….

We have come far in this series titled, “When we come together”. Today, consider some famous assemblies in the New Testament.

Jesus gathered with His disciples. He instituted the Lord’s Supper, He spoke of betrayal, then a dispute broke out over who would be the greatest, Luke 22:14-38. After the resurrection, one assembly went from sorrow to joy, John 20:19-30. Jesus assembled with His disciples over breakfast and one soul was restored, John 21:10-19.

In Acts, gatherings varied in theme and content:

1. They met from open temple courts to houses. The fellowship was good, Acts 2:46-47.

2. When forbidden to preach Christ, the disciples gathered and prayed, Acts 4:23-24.

3. The assembly was a place to be accepted, Acts 9:26-27.

4. After Cornelius was converted to Christ, Peter and others assembled for a few days, Acts 10:44-48.

5. In one assembly in Antioch, a need was presented and responded to, Acts 11:27-30.

6. A very important assembly in Jerusalem met false teaching head on, Acts 15:1-2.

7. The gathered church in Antioch was glad to receive instruction from

the Apostles over a false doctrine that troubled them, Acts 15:13-15.

8. One prayer meeting down by the river relocated to Lydia’s house after she became a Christian, Acts 16:13-15.

9. A jailor, converted to Christ fed Paul and Silas in his house. There was joy, Acts 16:33-34.

10. After a riot in Ephesus, Paul gathered the disciples together for encouragement and to say goodbye, Acts 20:1.

11. At Troas, the assembled church celebrated the Lord’s Supper, ate a meal together, and Paul preached until midnight, Acts 20:1-11.

12. Paul was well received by the Jerusalem brethren and reported all that God had done among the Gentiles, Acts 21:17-26.

13.Though under house arrest, Paul welcomed all who came to see him and “without hindrance” preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 28:30,31.

To say we gather to worship is not a complete description of all we do when assembled. Like them, our assemblies are varied, productive, and encouraging. Do you value the assemblies of the Lord’s church? May we always proclaim Christ while we long for His return. One more time, read Hebrews 10:23-25.

It is good to be at Southside!!!

Jeff W. Smith

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