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God's plan for becoming a Christian:
 
1. HEAR the gospel of Christ
(Romans 10:13-17)
2. BELIEVE in Christ
(Mark 16:15-16)
3. REPENT of past sins (ACTS 2:36-47)
4. CONFESS faith in Christ
(Romans 10:9-10)
5. BE BAPTIZED into Christ (Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21)
6. Live FAITHFULLY (Romans 12:1-2)
   
 
 
The church of Christ:
 
1. The Bible is its only guide (Romans 1:16;
I Thess. 2:13)
2. Wears a Biblical Name (Romans 16:16)
3. Established at the right place
(Isaiah 2:2, 3;Acts 2)
4. Established at the right time
(Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2)
5. Established on the right person (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:36)
6. Saved are in it (Ephesians 5:23;
Acts 2:47)
7. Its members are enrolled in heaven (Hebrews 12:23)
8. Membership in it is obtained by obedience to God's commands including baptism (Acts 2:41-47; I Cor. 12:13)
 
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"..and upon this rock I will build my church" (MT. 16:18)
 
Information about the church of Christ click
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"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (MK 16:15)

 
Bible correspondence course (FREE) click
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 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32)
 
 
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Virginia
Church of Christ
702 5th Avenue South
Virginia MN 55792

(218) 741-5831
 
www.virginiachurchofchrist.com
 
 
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What must I do to be saved

 

The most important question to ever be asked is the one asked by the jailer of Philippi (Acts 16:30).  He asked, "what must I do to be saved?"  When this question is asked of different churches, different answers are given.  That can be very confusing for one who wants to know the truth of the matter.  God's Word is the truth (John 17:17), and it is the only inspired document which tells us how to be saved (Romans 1:26).  The Bible must be accepted as the source for the answer to the question, "what must I do to be saved?"

To be saved one must have faith in God.  Jesus taught this fact clearly (John 8:24; Mark 16:16).  What is often disputed is how one comes to have faith in Christ.  The Bible teaches that true faith comes from knowledge of the Bible (Romans 10:17).  Hearing the truth taught produced faith in the hearts of those present in Acts chapter two.  Peter said it was God's plan that men come to have faith after hearing the Gospel (Acts 15:7).        

When faith has been produced in the heart of the individual through the Word of God, then that faith will be clearly seen in the actions of the individual (James 2:14-26).  The great examples of faith in Hebrews eleven show us what the faith of these individuals caused them to do.  A proper faith in the truth will cause one to obey God (Romans 16:26). 

To be saved one must repent.  When the Jews asked Peter what they needed to do Peter said, "repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).  Without the remission of sins there is no salvation (Isaiah 59:1, 2).   Without repentance there is no remission of sins. 

Repentance can clearly be understood when looking at the way Christ used the word "repent" in Matthew 21:28, 29 (King James Version).  A man told his son to go work in his vineyard, but the son refused.  The Bible says, the son later repented and went.  Clearly then repentance involves a change of mind that leads to a change in direction and action.  When one repents of sin he determines to no longer engage therein then follows that up with the actions that give evidence of such a determination.  For example, the thief who repents will no longer steal.

Confession of faith in Christ is important for one who is a disciple of Christ (Matthew 10:32,33), and for one who desires to become a Christian (Acts 8:37).  When the man from Ethiopia wanted to be baptized, Philip said, If "thou believeth with all thine heart, thou mayest."  To which the Ethiopian replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."  After this good confession, the man from Ethiopia was baptized.

To be saved one must be baptized.  Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"  (Mark 16:16).  Peter told the Jews on Pentecost they must be baptized to receive remission of sins (Acts 2:38).  Paul taught us that salvation is in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10) and that one must be baptized in order to get into Christ (Galatians 3:27).

When one has been baptized the blood of Christ shall cleanse him from his sins. Baptism is a burial into the death of Christ (Romans 6:1-4).  It was in His death that Jesus shed His powerful blood which is able to remove sin (Revelation 1:5).  It is at the point of baptism that the sins are removed.  That is why Peter said, "baptism doth also now save us" (1 Peter 3:21).

To be saved the Christian must continue to faithfully serve God.  He must devote his life as a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1,2 ).  He must be willing even to die for his Lord (Revelation 2:10).  It is possible for Christians to sin and fall from grace (Galatians 5:4).  Christians who sin must ask God for forgiveness and must repent of that sin (Acts 8:22). 

When one becomes a Christian and is living a faithful life he is on his way to an eternal home in heaven with God.  Let us help you make heaven your eternal home.

                                                             

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Who is Jesus?

He walked this earth nearly 2,000 years ago and yet His teaching and influence live on to this day.  Salvation through Jesus Christ is the theme of the Bible from beginning to end.  What does the Bible say about Jesus?

Jesus existed before the world was created (John 17:5).  He has always existed as a member of the Divine Godhead.  He is one with the Father (John 10:30).  They and the Holy Spirit make up the One True God (Deuteronomy 6:4).  Because Jesus is a part of the One Eternal Godhead He took part in the creation.  The Bible teaches that Jesus was the actual creative agent who created at the command of the Father (John 1:1-14).  Colossians 1:15-17 teaches us that all things were created by Christ.  Because all things were created by Him, He cannot be a created being.

Jesus not only played a role in the creation, but He also played a role in our salvation.  He was born into this world miraculously through a virgin by the name of Mary (Luke 1:26-35).  As an adult He busily prepared the way for the coming of the kingdom (Matthew 4:17), for which He was crucified.  The crucifixion of Christ was prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred (Isaiah 53).  The death of Christ was a part of God's plan.  In becoming the sinless sacrifice for the sins of mankind upon the cross Jesus made salvation possible.  His blood purchased the church (Acts 20:28), removes sin (Revelation 1:5), and makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God (Romans 5:8-11; Romans 6:1-4). 

When Jesus died, His physical body went to the tomb, but His spirit went to Paradise (Luke 23:43).  Three days later His spirit was reunited with His body and He was resurrected from the grave (Matthew 28:1-15).  There were many eye witnesses to the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 15:4-8). 

Days after His resurrection Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11).  At this time His Second Coming was promised.  The Bible tells us Christ is coming again to raise the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  He is also coming again to destroy the earth (2 Peter 3), and to judge the world (Acts 17:30, 31).

The Bible is centered upon Jesus Christ and His sacrifice which was made for the salvation of mankind.  Jesus shed His blood for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:28).  Have you contacted the saving blood of Christ?  Let us help to you to understand how to receive remission of sins so that Heaven may be your eternal home.

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What are angels?

Interest in angels has been steadily increasing over the past few years.  More and more books are written on the subject, while TV shows and movies often have angels in their stories.  In order for us to gain a proper perspective on the subject we must turn to the Bible.

Angels are created beings.  Nehemiah 9:6 tells us the angelic host was created by God.  Psalm 148:1-5 shows us the angels were created at the command of Jehovah.  These created beings are free moral agents.  In other words, they are beings who can make moral choices for themselves.  They are required to obey God (Psalm 103:20, 21), and yet some have chosen to rebel instead (Jude 6: 2 Peter 2:4).

Angels are not physical beings.  They don't marry nor do they have children (Matthew 22:29, 30).  Further, because they are spirit beings they are invisible to men. Balaam could not see the angel that was standing in his way until God allowed him (Numbers 22:31).

Angels have appeared to men in various forms.  In Ezekiel's vision the cherubim he saw each had four faces and four wings (Ezek. 8:4; 10:20-22).  In Isaiah's vision the seraphim each had six wings and flew around the throne of God praising Him (Isaiah 6:1-3).  Angels have assumed the form of men in the past.  Some appeared as men to Abraham and later to Lot (Genesis 18:1, 2; 19:1, 2).  Jacob wrestled with an angel who came in the form of a man (Genesis 32:22-28).  The angel who rolled back the stone of Christ's tomb and announced His resurrection was in the form of a man (Mark 16:5).

Angels are powerful.  The angels who visited Lot were able to strike men blind (Genesis 19:11).  An angel of God killed 70,000 Israelites in 2 Samuel 24:15-17, and an angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 19:35, 36.  It was angel who shut the mouths of the powerful lions for Daniel (Daniel 6:22), and an angel who enabled Peter to escape from prison (Acts 12:10).  No wonder the psalmist wrote angels are "mighty in strength"  (Psalm 103:20).

What do angels do?  Angels worship God (Revelation 6:4, 8) and yet refuse to be worshipped by men (Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 22:8,9).  Angels have acted as messengers in the past (Genesis 18:10; Luke 1:11-19; Luke 1:26, 27) and are ministers of God's providence today (Hebrews 1:13, 14).  We know that angels love children (Matthew 18:10,11), rejoice when sinners repent (Luke 15:10), and carry the righteous to their reward when the righteous die (Luke 16:22, 23).

The Bible may not tell us everything we want to know about angels but it gives us all we need to know (Deuteronomy 29:29).  Not only does the Bible tell us all we need to know about angels but is also tells us all we need to know about how to make heaven our eternal home.  Let us help you make heaven your eternal home so that you can spend eternity with the angels.

                                                             

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Who is Satan?

Satan is referred to in different ways in the Bible.  The name "Satan" means "the accuser, an enemy."  Another term used to refer to him is "The Devil."  This word means one who is a false accuser.  He is called Beelzebub in Matthew 12:24-27, which means one who is lord of flies and refuse.  He is also called Belial in 2 Corinthians 6:15, which means one who has no good value in him.

Satan's descriptions tell us a little bit about his work.  Jesus calls him the father of lies, and a murderer (John 8:44).  Satan lied to Eve in the garden of Eden and brought death into this world.  We die because of Satan's murderous and deceptive work. 

Among other things Satan is also spoken of as "the tempter"  (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5).  He tempted the Lord when he thought the Lord might be weak.  He will use our own lusts and desires to tempt us (James 1:14, 15).

Satan is a created being.  Only deity is self-existent, having no beginning or no end (Exodus 3:14).  Satan does not possess the characteristics of deity.  He is not all knowing (1 John 4:4), neither is he able to be everywhere (Job 1:7).  Because Satan is not deity he must be a created being (Colossians 1:17).

Though Satan is a created being, he was not created evil.  The Bible says that all that God created was very good (Genesis 1:31).    Satan is a being of free will who deliberately chose at some point to rebel against his Creator.    It is possible that Satan may be a fallen angel.  If so, then he is an exception to 2 Peter 2:4.

Satan is limited in what he can do.  God will not allow him to tempt us above what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Furthermore, God can give us the spiritual strength to resist the Devil (James 4:7).

Eventually Satan will be punished and his power taken away.  His downfall was first predicted in Genesis 3:15.  Ultimately his power shall be destroyed and he shall suffer in everlasting fire prepared for himself and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

Are you serving God or Satan?  If you are not serving God then you are serving Satan whether or not you have made a conscious decision to be Satan's servant.  When you choose to sin you choose to serve Satan.  Let us help you to serve God, resist Satan, and make heaven your eternal home someday.

                                 

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Where do I go when I die?

There is much speculation concerning life after death.  Some deny there is any life after death, while each major religion has its own views concerning what happens to a person when he dies.  Because God is the Creator of life, He most certainly knows what happens in death (Genesis 1:1).  The Bible is God's revelation to man (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).  The Bible is the only true and accurate source of information concerning what happens to a person when they die.

The Bible teaches that man is more than just a physical body.  Man is a spirit inside of a body.  God is a spirit (John 4:24).  Man is made in God's image (Genesis 1:26, 27).  Man is a spirit housed inside of a physical body (2 Corinthians 5:1-9).  The body dies when that spirit leaves the body (James 2:26).

Where does the spirit of man go when it leaves the body?  The place where the dead go is spoken of in Luke 16:19-31.  This place is "Hades" (Luke 16:22,23 - New King James Version).  It is the same place Jesus went when He died (Acts 2:27, 31 - New King James Version).

Luke chapter sixteen teaches us that Hades (the realm of the departed spirits) is divided into two sections.  There is "Abraham's Bosom," as it is called in Luke sixteen, which is also known as "Paradise."  Jesus referred to this part of "Hades" as "Paradise" in Luke 23:43.  Paradise is that part of Hades to which Christ went when His body died on the cross.  Paradise is that section of Hades to which the righteous and faithful go when they die.  It is the place of reward.

The other part of Hades is called "Tartarus" in 2 Peter 2:4, and is referred to as a place of torment in Luke sixteen.  This is the part of Hades into which the wicked go when they die.  This is a place of punishment. 

Luke's account also tells us there is no way one can cross from the place of torment into Paradise because there is a great gulf fixed between the two (Luke 16:26).  This means there is no second chance after death.  Once one has died his fate is sealed. 

Hades (the realm of the dead) shall not last forever.  On the day of judgment Hades shall give up the spirits contained there and then Hades shall be destroyed (Revelation 20:11-14).  There are at least two reasons why Hades will no longer be needed after the day of judgment.  First, there will be no more death, for on that day death shall be defeated, there shall be a great resurrection and no one shall die physically again (1 Corinthians 15).  Because there will be no more death, there will be no more need for a realm in which to house the dead.  The second reason why Hades will no longer be needed is because there are two other realms which are eternal, and into these other two realms mankind will be sent for all eternity.

At the second coming of Christ there shall be a great judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 17:30,31).  At the judgment those who have served God will be separated from those who have not.  The wicked (those who did not serve God) shall go into Hell for eternity.  Hell is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).  Hell is the second death (Revelation 21:8).  It is described as "a furnace of fire" and a place where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth"  (Matthew 2:13).  It is the place of outer darkness (Matthew 22:13).  Hell shall last forever (Matthew 25:46).

When the righteous (those who have served God) are separated from the wicked on the day of judgment, they shall go into Heaven for eternity (Matthew 25:46).   This is the place where the faithful receive their great reward (Matthew 5:12).  This is the place of great beauty figuratively described for us in Revelation chapter twenty-one.

Where will you go when you die?  If you are faithfully serving God you will go to paradise to await the second coming of Christ and your eternal home in heaven.  If you are not faithfully serving God when you die you will go to a place of torment to await the judgment of Christ and your eternal punishment in Hell.  Choose today to serve God.

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Who is God?

God is the self existent Creator of the universe.  He is the first cause that produced this universe and life on earth.  The Bible teaches us that God created both time and matter (Genesis 1:1).  Because He created such we know that He existed before time and matter came into being.  God identified Himself to Moses as "I AM"  (Exodus 3:14).  God simply is.  He always has been, He is now, and He will always be.  In other words, He is self-existent having no need of an origin or a creator.

God is all knowing.  His vast knowledge is seen in that which He created (Genesis 1:1).  Further, God even knows what is in the hearts of men and women (Psalm 44:21).  God sees all that everyone does (Psalm 33:13,14), and His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).

God is able to be anywhere He chooses.  David spoke of the ability of God to be with David at all times (Psalm 139:7ff.).  The account of Jonah's attempted escape from God proves the same (Jonah 1:9). 

God is all-powerful.  With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  While this verse emphasizes the unlimited power of God we must understand that there are some things, which God will not do (James 1:13).

God is perfectly balanced in character (Romans 11:22).  He is a God of mercy and love (Ephesians 2:4).  Love is an inherent aspect of His nature (1 John 4:8).  While a loving and patient God, He is also a God of severity.  The Bible teaches us that the anger of God will come upon those who refuse to obey Him (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 5:6).  Those who choose not to follow God should fear Him (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).  

God is the self-existent first cause.  He is more powerful and knowledgeable than man can imagine.  Furthermore, God is perfectly balanced in character.  He appropriately extends love and mercy toward man while executing wrath upon those who refuse to accept His grace and follow Him.  Do you serve God in the way He has commanded in the Bible?  Only those who do shall be in Heaven with Him someday.  Let us help you make Heaven your final and eternal home.

                               

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Standard of Authority

When there is no standard of authority there is chaos and confusion.  If there were no rules for athletic competitions sports would be a disorganized mess.  If there were not standards of measurement we would never really know for sure how much gas we were paying for at the pump.  When anyone can treat others as they please without laws telling us certain things, such as murder, are wrong you have anarchy and mayhem.  The religious world is no different.  There is mass confusion and chaos in the religious world because there is no common standard of authority adhered to by all.

What should be our standard of authority in religion?  Obviously the standard must be the truth.  Pilate once asked Jesus Christ the question, "what is truth?" (John 18:38) Though Christ did not immediately answer Pilate, He did reveal the answer to us in one of His prayers to the Father.  Jesus said, "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth."  (John 17:17)  The Word of God is truth!  It is the truth, which can set us free from sin.  (John 8:32)

The Holy Spirit revealed the Word of God to inspired men.  (John 16:12-15)  These inspired men wrote down the very words which God would have them record.  (1 Corinthians 2:13)  This collection of inspired writings from God is sometimes referred to as the Bible.  The entire Bible was given to man through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  (2 Timothy 3:15)

The Bible is a complete work that gives man everything he needs to be a faithful Christian.  No other revelation is needed.  (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Man does not need God to whisper into His ear today.  Man does not need the Holy Spirit to reveal any more truth, for He has already revealed all that we need to know.  The Bible is the all-sufficient source of revelation from the Creator.  For this reason, we must conclude that the Bible, and it alone, is to be the common standard of authority in religion.

                               

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Heaven and the Bible

The Christians addressed by the book of "Hebrews" in the Bible had been ridiculed and persecuted because of their faith. (Hebrews 10:32-34)  These Christians had even given up their possessions for the faith.  They did so because they knew they had something better waiting for them in Heaven. The hope of a home in Heaven encourages Christians to be people of great faith and spiritual strength.

What does Heaven look like?  Revelation chapter twenty-one gives us some idea.  Here we see Heaven figuratively pictured for us as a city coming down from God.  The walls of the city are made of diamonds, while the structures within the city are made of pure gold, and the gates are made of pearl.  The walls are set upon twelve foundations of various precious stones.  These stones add strength and beauty to the city.  Some of the stones are clear while others are blue, green, red, yellow, purple, etc.  The light of that city comes from the glory of God so that there is no need for a sun or moon, and there is no need to close the gates of the city because there is no night there.  Truly this figurative picture of the real place called Heaven gives us some idea of its great beauty.

One of the most wonderful aspects of Heaven is that there shall be no suffering there.  (Revelation 21:4)  There is no more pain, no more death, no more sorrow, no more suffering.  On this earth there is much suffering.  In Heaven there is no suffering.  This ought to motivate all to try to make Heaven their home some day. 

Who shall be in heaven?  All three members of the Godhead shall be there.  (1 John 5:7)  Angels are in Heaven.  (Revelation 4:8)  The saved of every nation shall be in Heaven.  (Revelation 21:24)

How do I become a part of the saved and get to Heaven?  I must hear the Gospel.  (Romans 10:14-17)  I must believe in Christ and in His Gospel.  (Hebrews 11:6)  I must repent of my sins.  (Acts 2:38)  I must be baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38), and I must live a faithful Christian life (Romans 12:1).

Let us help you to know the way to Heaven.  Ask for the free Bible lessons sent through the mail by clicking on "Correspondence Course" on the web page.                               

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