What Does It Mean To Be Saved?

When you think of being saved, what comes to your mind? Consider the one who has been lost at sea, floundering in the waves desperately hoping for someone to rescue them. Ponder the child who is stranded in the upper floor of a burning building, screaming for help. What torment there is for the one who is suffering in these situations! Yet, what incredible joy and relief when they are rescued.

At the Church of God, when the word “saved” is used – it means to be free from sin.

Similar to the physical examples above, an individual can feel mentally hopeless in life. Instead of joy, each day seems to be full of heartache and sorrow. No happiness can be found, although it is searched for in many places. Dishonesty, unfaithfulness in marriage, the vices of tobacco, alcohol, drugs or pornography can tightly grip an individual, just as if they were in prison. How can a man be set free?

Jesus came to be hope for the world, to offer new life. Matthew 1:21- “for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus, who was born the Son of God, died on the cross and arose again on the third day that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

A sinful life is truly unnecessary. Some will refute that point, stating that sin cannot be helped. If that is the case, Jesus’ death was to no avail. He did not die to just help man live a better life.  He died so that man could be holy, just as He is holy.

In the physical examples above, when they are saved – the lost one at sea is no longer in the water; the child has been removed from the flames. Jesus came to completely changes lives! “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) This is the amazing wonder of truly being saved. The things that once held a person in bondage can be totally removed. The addiction can be broken, lives put back together and happiness restored through the power of Christ. We invite you to attend our services and find out more about this incredible gift of Salvation.

By J. Shick

The Dumbing Down of The Gospel Message

Jeremiah 5:30-31: “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”


Our society has long been in a downward spiral. The decline in all facets of our American culture is most evident.

Consider the decay of morals and ethics. Observe the destabilization of the nuclear family. In many instances, schools and universities use the classroom to indoctrinate rather than truly educate. In government, statesmanship is rare. What exists are career politicians, men and women, who corrupt our form of government for their own gain. This chronic condition is due to our low expectations. Mediocrity has become the standard, permitting even lesser performance and behavior to be accepted.

Sadly, the same can be said of religion. The failure of religion, Christianity in particular, is an attributing factor our society’s decay. Yes, I said failure. America is in great peril.

As a whole, Christianity has failed to lift up Christ and to teach people how to live under the standard of holiness. It has lost its strong, clear, and certain voice. The effect is that several generations of Americans do not really know the Savior. They do not know the hope found in true salvation.

We live in a “dumbed-down” world. A world that is highly educated, but unable to reason or understand. A world with lofty ideals, but with low and compromised standards. A world where weak men appear strong and strong men are seen as tyrants.

Christianity has been affected. It is no exception. It has “dumb-downed” the message of the gospel.

A “dumbed-down” gospel is comprised of smooth preaching filled with error and deceit. Isaiah 30:9-11 reads, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

This type of preaching is derived from theology that permits or excuses sin, carnality and fleshly living. This theology fails to recognize the power of salvation to deliver a person from sin and make that person free. Such doctrine runs contrary to the message of our triumphant Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

Paul plainly states in Rom 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The same chapter closes with Paul declaring to the brethren in Rome, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The effect of a “dumbed-down” gospel message is devastating. It lowers the standard of holiness and lessens the requirements of God’s Word. It fails to establish the fear of God in a person’s heart. It fails to create faith in God. It leaves a person to their own reasoning and understanding.

Jeremiah 5:31 asks, “And what will ye do in the end thereof?” In the end a “dumbed down” gospel message creates a deceived, delusional, and depraved people, one generation after another. The evidence can be found across our nation, today.

The message of the gospel must be preached in very clear and certain way. It must be filled with the Holy Ghost and not laced with the compromise of social agenda and political correctness. There also must be a place for people to go and hear the message, and to learn the ways of the Lord.

Micah 4:2 declares, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

The Church of God is that place.

By Pastor K.A. Karns

Starting To Run

Over the past five years, I have renewed my love of running. On my outings, thoughts about our spiritual race come to me and I write them down when I return home. These lessons from being on the trail come to my mind whenever I face a new challenge in life. What we encounter along the way gives us so many opportunities to learn.

In his writings to the Church, the apostle Paul often compared the Christian life to running a race. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Why was running  so often chosen over, say, jousting or chariot racing? For one thing, a long race requires patience. This life is not a sprint, nor is it a boxing match that lasts a few minutes before a new round begins. It is one continuous path that we run until we reach the finish line.

Along the way are many different challenges, but there is no winning in running unless you run the full course. Each runner is victorious the moment they step through the finish gate, no matter who crossed before or who is coming behind. You must run your own race. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Galatians 6:4)

Another element to running a race is the full submission a runner must have to the maker of the course. There are no short-cuts. You can complain about your path ‘s difficulties, but it only slows down your progress and steals your enjoyment of the race. Some might decide to stop and turn aside when facing the grueling parts of a race, but they lose out in the process.

A runner never wants to have a DNF (did not finish) on their results. The only way to win is to endure through whatever the race holds. A runner must reach the point of compliance. Their will is no longer a factor in the run, and they are content to follow the path set before them. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Perhaps you have not yet started in this Christian race and you are instead consumed in the rat race of life, seeking for prosperity and happiness in temporary ways.

Through God’s Word, we learn how to run the only race that truly matters, that which gains us eternal life. All the success you may find in this world will not give you lasting joy. There is only one way to get that prize. Come hear the true gospel preached, repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Begin your new race. If you ‘re already in this contest, do not be distracted by the affluence of this world or grow discouraged by the obstacles. There is only one way to be victorious: run! “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

– R Smith

What We Believe: Repentance

The Church of God has a  set of doctrines and cardinal teachings which are preached in our services and lived by our members. What exactly do we stand for? Here is a short description of the first cardinal teaching, backed by scripture.

Repentance – A person must come to the realization they have displeased God because of their sin. Even “small” sins like this from the past become large and our guilty conscience turns into a heavy burden because we have chosen to do what we know is wrong. This is why we must repent.

What is required for true repentance? First there must be sorrow of heart. Not just because we have been caught in the act, but because we know that we have done something that displeased God. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death…“(II Corinthians 7:10)

We must also desire to be set free from the burden of sin, and determine never to go back to our old ways.

So what is repentance? It is acknowledging that we have sinned, humbly praying to God, and asking His forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” ( 1 John 1:9)

This scripture contains a promise that after we have told God we are truly sorry and asked for His forgiveness, He will forgive us! The burden of sin will be lifted and you will feel an unexplainable joy within you! This will be followed with a desire to please God in all that you do and say.  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

But this is just the beginning of what we believe! In our next issues, we’ll continue to summarize everything we stand for as a church.  Stay tuned!

– A Roxbury

A Satisfying Taste

Have you ever bitten into what you thought was a delicious chocolate chip cookie, anticipating the taste of chocolate, only to be sorely disappointed with the realization that those brown dots were raisins?

Have you ever gone to church searching for answers only to leave feeling more confused than when you entered. What looked like a church on the outside was just a social gathering on the inside. Or worse yet, what the preacher was saying didn’t seem to line up with the bible.

If you are dissatisfied with religion, you are not the first. Jesus Christ himself became very upset when he went into the Temple and discovered that it was being used for buying and selling as opposed to a place of worship (Matthew 21:12).

If you are searching for something to satisfy the longing in your soul, for a sincere experience with God, then you are on the road to discovery.

Much of our success in finding God is based upon our earnest searching. Deuteronomy 4:29 instructs, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” It is man’s duty to seek and serve his Creator. It is written in Psalms 63:1, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”  I can picture God peering down from heaven into the hearts of man, trying to find if there is one that may seek Him. When God finds a soul that is longing after him, he will do anything to help that soul find truth.

In Mark 4:5-20, Jesus speaks about the hearts of men in terms of different types of ground. There are different reasons that cause people to give up in their search for truth. Some don’t want to give up those things in their life that they know God is displeased with. Some allow Satan to steal their desire for truth and become disinterested. Some find it too difficult to endure any suffering for Christ’s sake. And, others allow the cares of life and the pleasures of this life to choke their zeal for God. We must desire the treasure of salvation so much that we will not allow anything to stand in the way of our search for truth.

God is calling people everywhere to salvation. He is looking for hearts typlified by Mark 5:20. “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” If you will seek after God with your whole heart, God will reward your search. Jeremiah 29:11-13 states, “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Every scavenger hunt is done in search of some treasure. What is this spiritual treasure that we must seek after? It is truth. Is truth some vague notion, that we cannot clearly understand until we reach heaven? This is not the case.  God’s word tells us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  The Bible also tells us that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:4-6). God has given us His Word to use as our map to find the truth. Through it, he has clearly marked the way for mankind to be saved from sin and live a holy life pleasing to Him.

Only being religious is not the answer, just as raisin cookies can never taste like chocolate chip. Some people try to look the part, but when you get close enough to see the hypocrisy in their lives, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

God wants souls to seek Him so that he can lead them to The Church of God. In these last days the truth is still being preached in Gods church. It is written in Micah 4:1-2, “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow into it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” God will never disappoint your soul. The way of truth still satisfies.