Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 46
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
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In this issue:
Roy E. Cogdill
Attendance at the services of the church is the best index of interest in
one's own spiritual growth, and is a certain indication of one's own
interest in the Lord's church.
One of the purposes for which God gave the
church is that we might be edified as a member of the body (Eph. 4:16). The
edification of the body as a whole depends upon each member contributing his
individual part thereto. This is the object of worship and fellowship in the
church. We need this strength for life's problems and temptations, and we
cannot successfully live the Christian life and render an acceptable service
to God without it. Every one of us should be determined, therefore, to
obtain it by attending every service that it is possible for us to attend.
The services of the church are designed for this very purpose. They can be a
blessing for our souls and make us stronger Christians. We must attend them,
however, with the right attitude if we are to receive a blessing from them.
No service can do us any good without our being present, no matter how much
truth is preached. Every service will benefit us unless we come to it with
an improper attitude, unteachable, and prejudiced in heart. We rob ourselves
of the strength we need if we fail to attend with the right disposition of
In these services, through study and instruction, and the worship ordained
of God, we receive admonition and exhortation, and therefore strength. No
member of the church can be the strong Christian that he should be without
attending every service possible. It is entirely impossible for us to be
Christians that we must be in order to please God, and grow as we should, if
we habitually miss the services held for the very purpose of helping us.
Neither is it possible for us to please God, and grow as we should, be
merely attending on Sunday morning. Sunday morning Christianity is
half-hearted Christianity, and the person who has it needs a whole-hearted
conversion to the Lord.
When our services on Sunday evening present only about 60% of our attendance
on Sunday morning; when, on Wednesday night, we have only about half of
those present for the breaking of bread on Sunday morning; when attendance
at the Bible classes is less than the membership of the congregation; and
when more than half of the membership of a congregation do not attend and
support a series of gospel meetings to preach the gospel; something is
seriously wrong with the church. Such half-hearted devotion to duty and the
interests of the kingdom can only be a reproach to the church, and be
disappointing to the Lord. Where do you, as an individual, fit into the
picture? If you have been attending only a part of the services, won't you
become a full-time Christian?
ETERNAL REWARD AND
to a 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center, most Americans still believe
in heaven and hell. However, there is a great deal of confusion over what
those places are, who will be in each one, and how long they last. For
example, more people believe in heaven (73%) than hell (62%) and only half
of people think that people experience suffering in hell (psychological
suffering, 53%; awareness of suffering they created in the world, 53%;
physical suffering, 51%; cannot have a relationship with God, 49%).
Shockingly, about 40% of people report that you don’t even need to believe
in God to go to heaven! Many people’s understanding of the afterlife is
clearly warped by personal biases and false teaching.
The Bible affirms that heaven and hell are real and describes them in detail
for us. It will do us no good to be deceived about something with eternal
consequences, so let’s examine some Scriptures. Since we have focused on the
book of Revelation in the last few weeks, we’ll do that again here though
the Bible has more to say about heaven and hell in other places as well.
Heaven is eternal rest and reward. Revelation 7 describes a great multitude
from every nation who are clothed in white robes and come before the throne
of God to worship. One of the elders reveals to John that these people are
the servants of God who triumphed in the face of tribulation on earth. Their
robes are white because they were washed in the blood of the Lamb. There is
no stain of sin; they stand righteous before God.
The elder then further explains the fate of the saints in Revelation
7:15-17. They will perpetually be in the temple of God and be sheltered by
the presence of God without interruption. Existence that is continually in
the presence of God would not necessarily be a reward for every person! If
you hate God and His ways or are apathetic about Him, this probably reads as
smothering and even torturous. But since faithful disciples are the ones who
have experienced the love of God, cultivated a love for Him in return, and
have been molded by the Word, this is the fulfillment of their life’s
purpose. The devotion that they have shown toward God is rewarded with
eternal closeness (cf. Rev. 21:3-4).
The eternal, perfect nature of heaven is reiterated in this same text. In
heaven the constant needs and afflictions of man are removed. There is no
hunger, no thirst, no blistering heat from the sun, no loneliness, and no
reason to ever weep or be in need ever again. Christians can rest secure in
the fact that our life after death is without flaw or end.
Hell is eternal torment and separation. Revelation 14 contains a vivid
description of the punishment awaiting those who rebel against God. In
particular focus in Revelation’s context are those who worship the beast and
receive his mark (14:9). The beast is a powerful and terrifying entity that
nevertheless is only a tool of Satan. The beast can be understood as Rome in
the immediate context (since Rome was a great oppressor of Christians in the
second half of the first century when Revelation was written) and more
broadly as any of the forces, governments, and powers throughout history who
advance the cause of Satan.
The ones who follow Satan will face the full strength of God’s wrath—the
smoke of torment forever and ever where there is no rest (14:10-11). The
image a little later in 14:17-20 is that of a worldwide harvest where the
wicked are thrown into the great winepress of the wrath of God. Imagine what
a grape goes through in a winepress where it is being trampled and its juice
expelled. That is the description of how God tramples the wicked in
judgment—the blood will flow like a river. This is certainly a gory and
graphic passage, but when compared to the horrors perpetuated by the evil as
described in Revelation, God’s judgment is righteous and proper.
Even Satan will suffer in hellfire. The pop culture understanding of hell is
a place that Satan owns and rules. Sometimes it is thought of as a place
where sinners party and have fun with the devil and in other versions Satan
is the torturer who is tasked with punishing sinners. Both are incorrect.
“The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur
where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day
and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). Not even Satan can avoid
Conclusion. It is generally more appealing for us to affirm the eternal and
perfect nature of heaven. We are looking forward to it and it is what makes
all the hardships of life worth it. We must be just as willing to accept
Scriptural teaching on an eternal, torturous hell. Both are taught with the
same strength of language and are promised by the same unchangeable God.
Both should drive us to serve God faithfully and endure until the end.
Created by John Bass, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149