Displaying 156 - 160 of 233

Page 1 2 3 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 45 46 47

Being A Christian is Costly

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Marvin Weir

        The devil would like nothing more than for one to believe that it does not cost to be a Christian. Some well-meaning folks will even declare that after one becomes a child of God, his troubles are over. Those who expect their problems and sorrows to disappear after obeying the Gospel are then discouraged when the devil attacks with all his fury. One must remember that the word of God warns: “be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When Satan loses a soul because of one’s obedience to the Gospel, he will unleash his fury in seeking to tempt the new convert to apostatize from the faith.
        If people are taught and realize that Christianity is costly, it will be more difficult for Satan to sow seeds of discouragement. Let us consider some of the costs of becoming a Christian.
        First, one must be willing to give up the pleasures of sin. Not all are willing to turn from certain sins. The devil will do all in his power to convince one to continue the wickedness that brings temporary pleasure. This is why many folks continue to live in and enjoy an adulterous relationship. They do not desire to forsake that which is pleasurable! The Bible, however, encourages all to imitate Moses. God’s Word says, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (
Heb. 10:24-25).
        People need to see sin for the bad investment it is. God makes it clear that those who live in or practice sin will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (
1 Cor. 6:9-10). The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
        Second, one must be willing to surrender to the will of God. Even the majority of the “religious world” has no desire to turn from their man-made doctrines and surrender to God’s plan of salvation. Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (
John 14:15). Countless thousands say they love Christ, but their actions speak louder than their words! So many claim to believe in and accept Christ but reject the command to be baptized for remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
        The truth is that many people today are related to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. John stated, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (
John 12:42-43). One must be a “doer” of the word and not a “hearer only” (James 1:22).
        Third, one must be willing to be separate from the world. The apostle Paul said, “But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (
Gal. 6:14; cf. Gal. 2:20). Paul taught the brethren at Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).
        If a man is in love with the world, the love of the Father is not in him (
1 John 2:15-17).
        Fourth, one must pay the cost of self-denial. Many determine this is too high a price to pay as they will not say “No” to themselves. The Lord taught, “...If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (
Luke 9:23).
        It is true that it costs to be a faithful Christian. But the costs are greater when one rejects Christianity. Can you afford to live your life in such a way that it costs you your soul, heaven, and eternal fellowship with God and those of like precious faith?
        The cost is great to be a Christian, but the cost is far greater to be a servant of Satan.

Is America at the End?

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Charles Blair

        It is God alone who can read hearts. God gave this truth to Samuel in the long ago. God does not see things as men do; but instead, looks on the heart of individuals (1 Sam. 16:7). The end of America or any nation is determined by God when He sees there is not enough righteousness to turn the nation around. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people.”
        How bad is America? If we are left to trusting the media, we need to understand that it feeds on that which is bad. The question becomes, does this represent all of America or is it just a few? There is no way for us to know the actual numbers that are involved. There is an increasing amount of scandals in the nation. These scandals represent individuals who enjoy power and will do anything to get and/or keep it. The scandals also show that some individuals live very immoral lives. The question becomes, does this represent all of America?
        If God sees fit to bring our nation down, we must know it would be because He gave up on the direction in which we’re headed. On the other hand, if it does not fall, then God would see there is yet time to turn things around. This leaves us in the position of knowing how to view the world around us. We are not to love the world or the things in the world such as power, greed, hatred or violence. The message is, “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Our view must be to focus our attention on where we live and strive to win as many as we can to the cause of Jesus Christ.
        The rest of the world we must leave in God’s hands and devote ourselves to prayer for our nation and the world. If we stay at home and do not vote, then we in a sense believe God has given up on our nation. We cannot afford to be distracted from reaching lost souls, edifying the church and being benevolent toward all men. This nation has always needed the Lord and more so even now. Let us pray, vote and continue to work for the Lord daily.


        The prophet Ezekiel wrote about God’s judgment coming against Tyre and Zidon in chapter 28 and then against Egypt in chapter 29. Daniel, who was already in Babylon captivity having been taken in the first deportation, spoke about God reigning in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:17). History tells us a great deal about empires, nations, thugs and rulers who believed their power was absolute. At times when evil seems to be the way of all men’s hearts, God’s people are reminded that God is observant and concerned about what men do with their lives.
        In the days of Noah, God saw a world that could not be redeemed. It was a world where the wickedness of man was great and was growing (
Gen. 6:5). At least the cause was addressed as Moses tells us that man’s imagination was on evil continually. Long after the flood, the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim did not possess enough righteousness to stop the wrath of God from being poured out on them (Gen. 19). God would likewise deal with His own people in Israel and Judah. He would be forced by their yearning for evil to finally divorce them (Isa. 50:1). Israel would go into Assyrian captivity and Judah would a short time later go into Babylonian captivity. Both actions were a result of the judgment of God.
        What we find in prophets like Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah is that those who were not God’s chosen people still faced the wrath of God. The message presented is that at times evil grows and the hearts of men turn from trusting God. Then things happen and mankind tires of the effects of sin and start searching for answers about life itself. God is not now nor has He ever been powerless. When one argues that God does not care what we do, they are given examples of Tyre, Zidon, Egypt and many more. No civilization can reject the knowledge of God for any length of time and survive very long (
Prov. 1:7). The book of Psalms speaks about all the inhabitants of the world being in awe of God (Psa. 33:8).
        Aside from the days of Adam and Eve and Noah and his family coming out of the ark, there has never been a time when the righteous outnumbered the unrighteous. The idea then of all the inhabitants of the earth standing in awe of God is another way of saying that at times, righteousness and moral conduct is what the world chooses. Not even in such times of the revival of men’s spirits do we find everyone participating. The sad truth from the Scriptures is that many will walk the broad way as opposed to the narrow way selected by the few (Matt. 7:13-14). I had rather live next door to moral or religious people than one who has no moral compass at all.
        In the church, Paul writes to Corinth about any person “who is called a brother” (
1 Cor. 5:11). He warned the Galatians about false brethren being brought in (Gal. 2:4). Jude warned about those pretending to be Christians that were spots on the body of Christ (v.12). My point is, that even though God’s people have the truth, it does not necessarily mean that all will follow the way of God.
        Those who are not ready to meet God must face this truth. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). Pharaoh believed he could cross the Red Sea just like his slaves (Israel) did. Assyrians thought they could enter Jerusalem like they had done to all other cities. Babylon thought there was no way they could ever fall. History contains the ruins of civilizations, families and individuals who thought the judgment of God is always far away from them.
        We are all warned to be sober and vigilant (
1 Peter 5:8). Are you?

The Christian and Facebook

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Mark Lance

        Some people love Facebook while others seem to think it’s evil. The truth may be somewhere in between. It depends on how we use something, whether it is good or bad. Alcohol is a wonderful thing when it is used properly. It can cleanse and sterilize. But it’s a terrible thing when it is misused. When used wrongly it can lead to someone cheating on their spouse, or it can even cause someone to be involved in an automobile accident killing themselves or someone else. It all depends on how it is used. God gave it to us, but He expects us to use it wisely.
        Facebook can be a great tool used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some preachers post messages every day that are very inspiring. They strengthen those who read them and put them to use in their lives. Facebook can be a great way to encourage those going through difficulties. Friends can stay in contact with each other and see what is going on in the lives of others that they may not otherwise know. We can share our funny stories. We can share the pictures of the family as we go through our daily lives. Facebook can truly be a wonderful tool when we use it as is proper in God’s sight. We should even thank God that it is available, and we can reach around the world in a matter of seconds.
        Facebook can be a deadly tool when misused. Unfortunately this happens all too often. Even those professing to be Christians are posting pictures that, to say the least, are not approved by God. Pictures that show people dressed immodestly. Pictures that show people doing ungodly acts. One thing that is very disturbing is to see those who post things they shouldn’t and Christians hitting their “like” button. Why would any person professing to be a child of God want to put their approval on something that God condemns? In the words of James, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (
James 3:10).
        Another area on Facebook that is causing great harm to the body of Christ are those who are posting things about other brethren that otherwise would not have been known. Jesus said, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matt. 18:15-17). It is possible to have truth and misuse it. When it is posted on Facebook, even non- Christians are seeing things that should have been handled privately.
        Yes, I know there will be brethren that will encourage the ones posting such things with their “teach the truth brother” and “I am with you brother“, but we should remember the approval of men is not the same thing as the approval of God.
        Dear brethren, may we use Facebook, and all things, to bring glory to our loving Father in Heaven. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (
1 Thess. 5:28).

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!
Roger D. Campbell

Satan spoke a lie when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die” (if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, rdc; Gen. 3:4). Not everything that even the first human couple heard was on the up and up. They should have learned at an early time in their existence that, no, not everything you hear in this world is true. We all are aware of this fact, yet for whatever reasons, sometimes we gullibly swallow untruths that others present to us. In some areas of life this may not bring about monumental consequences, but being deceived in the spiritual or moral realm is devastating.
        Does not the New Testament repeatedly tell Christians, “Be not deceived,” or something very similar? Indeed, it does (I Cor. 3:18; 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7; James 1:16,22,26). Two truths stand out in such a statement of warning from God. First, it is possible to be deceived. Second, each one of us is personally responsible for seeing to it that we are not deceived. What that means is, if we are deceived, though those that deceive us must also give account of their wrongdoing, we are ultimately the ones at fault for allowing ourselves to be deceived. Remember, it is God’s direct command:Be not deceived.”
        Don’t believe everything you hear in the religious realm. In all seriousness, when it comes to religious teaching, we would be foolish if we believed every religious message that we ever heard. For a moment, let us step outside of the arena of religion. Is three plus four equal to six? If one math teacher says, “Yes,” but a second one says, “No,” would you believe both answers are correct? Of course not. If we refuse to accept absurdities in secular matters, why do so many people accept obviously contradictory answers in the realm of spiritual affairs?
        You can turn on the TV and listen to three consecutive religious broadcasts that give three totally different answers to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” You can listen to two consecutive programs on the radio that give the exact opposite answer to the question, “Is it scriptural for women to preach to an audience that includes men?” A person could get on the internet and view two web sites that give the exact opposite answer to the question, “Is it scriptural to worship Mary, the mother of Jesus?”
        False prophets and false teachers abound. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets,” did He not (Matt. 7:15)? Indeed, He did. So do not believe everything you hear in the religious realm. Come to think of it, did not God say something about that? Listen to I John 4:1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Bottom line: don’t believe everything you hear in religion.
        Don’t believe everything you hear on the news. Not long after Ronald Reagan became president, he was shot. Some news agencies reported that he had been killed by the shot. The report, as it turns out, was false. Just because a professional reporter tells it to millions of viewers or readers, that does not guarantee that in every instance it will be 100% true.
        In many cases news agencies just pass along the information they receive. Some time ago it was reported on the national radio news that a former employee of a TV network had sued someone because she had been forced to sit through some planning sessions in which vulgar language was frequently used. Some court shot down her case, saying that in some situations it is necessary to use foul language! “Necessary” to use vulgarity to express ourselves? That is what the court ruled, and the news reported it. The court’s statement was ludicrous! The Lord God said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29). So many people have become so hardened to sin that using the language of the gutter does not cause them any sense of shame (Jer. 6:15). We must not waver in our commitment to speak and uphold only wholesome language! Others may try to portray us as “having a hangup,” but we must keep our speech pure and encourage others to accept God’s revelation about how to use the tongue.
        Young people, don’t believe everything you hear in the classroom at school. Yes, be respectful to your teachers and to their right to express their views, but do not swallow everything they say just because they earned a college degree. So-called science textbooks are filled with references to evolution being a proven fact. No, no, no, evolution is not a fact, but rather an unproven and unprovable t-h-e-o-r-y. It contradicts the fact that living things come only from living things. It contradicts the fact that living things can only produce living things of the same nature as themselves (and not some different kind of critter). And, it contradicts the fact that the Lord God created this world in six days (Exodus 20:11; Gen. 1:1).
        Don’t believe everything you hear in a gathering of friends. Some friends are as honest and trustworthy as your own grandma, while others will sell you down the river without batting an eye, just like Judas betrayed our Lord (Psalm 41:9). Some friends probably do not mean any harm by it, but they just seem to be very skilled at blowing things all out of proportion and spreading false rumors. All of us need to check things out carefully before we begin spreading to others information that has been passed to us. Better to hear the whole matter before we rush to conclusions and participate in telling things that are not true (Prov. 18:13). Reputations, reliability, and trustworthiness are at stake, both for ourselves and for others.
        Don’t believe everything you hear via e-mail or on the internet. Many kids growing up today never lived in the B.E. days -- Before E-mail days. The use of computers to search out information and send letters is still mind boggling to those of us from the old school. The internet and e-mail are simply tools. In and of themselves, they are neither righteous nor evil. It all depends on how we use them. Deceptive advertisements about various products abound on the internet. As far as e-mail goes, there always seems to be a huge amount of scams that make the rounds. Before hitting the “Forward” button to send messages on to others, we would be advised to first check them out. I can think of a couple of cases where great harm was done by sincere people failing to investigate a matter before broadcasting it far and wide as if it were a fact. Consider “the Golden Rule” (Matt. 7:12) before sending out false and/or potentially harmful information.
        Don’t believe everything you hear about sister congregations. Tragically, some of the most ridiculous things that are spoken are told by members of the church about other local churches. “I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I heard that over at congregation X they have kind of gotten out in left field and are having women lead prayers now.” Upon further investigation ["investigation,” that is a key word here!], you might find out that, yes, in their ladies Bible classes a sister leads prayer every time. That certainly does not violate the instruction for males to lead prayers (I Tim. 2:8). At one time a rumor was going around that at the congregation where I have been a member for nearly the past seven years, the elders stand at the door to prevent any females from entering the building if they are wearing pants. It simply is not true. When rumors swirl about sister churches in the Lord, do not believe everything you hear. Accept only that which can be put to the test and proven.
        Each of us needs to use common sense when we consider what others have to say. We need to seriously analyze what is said before we accept it as being truthful. In the spiritual realm, let us all strive to be like the Bereans of old who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Are You a Liberal?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Richard Guill

        Since the church of Christ today is being rent asunder by what is labeled as “liberalism,” it is not uncommon to hear a brother or sister referred to as “a liberal. It is often used to describe preachers, but is not limited to them. What is meant by the term “liberal?” Are you one? How would you or anyone else know? Let’s think about this.
        The terms liberal, liberally, and liberality are used in the scriptures nine times, five times in the Old Testament and four times in the New Testament. In all of these usages the term refers to something desirable and good. Liberal and liberalism, as those terms are used today, generally are not references to something good and desirable. They usually refer to an attitude and philosophy in religion which is in conflict with the Word of God. Thus we turn to the dictionary to see what the word “liberal” means and then apply that meaning to see if we are “liberal.”
        Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition (1960) defines “liberal” as follows: “(1) originally, suitable for a free man; not restricted; (2) giving freely, generous; (3) large and plentiful, ample, abundant; (4) not restricted to the literal meaning; (5) tolerant of views differing from one’s own, broadminded. SYN. Liberal implies tolerance of others’ views as well as open-mindedness to ideas that challenge tradition, established institutions, etc.”
        Now, let’s apply that definition to one’s religious views and practices.
        1) NOT RESTRICTED. Liberals do not like to be restricted by anyone, God included. Their language will be filled with expressions that show their dislike for restrictions. They will talk about “not being under law, but grace,” or of God “not having a list of ‘shall nots’,” etc. They don’t want to tell anyone they are wrong about anything (except about them). Nor do they want anyone trying to restrict what they say or do. The desire for freedom from such restrictions is the heart of liberalism.
        2) GIVING FREELY, GENEROUS. I would hope that every Christian would be liberal in this sense. Sadly however, this is not the case. Many who need to be liberal in their giving of time, energy and money to the Lord are not so. God bless those who are liberal in this manner. Just as some in the first century were commended for their liberality (2 Cor. 8:1-8), we need to commend some brethren today for being liberal in their giving. Unfortunately, it seems those who are liberal in their teaching and practice are also more liberal in their giving. I have noted that liberal churches often have higher contributions and pay their preachers more than “conservative” churches of the same size. However, you cannot atone for a liberal spirit in doctrine and practice with liberal giving.
        3) LARGE AND PLENTIFUL, AMPLE, ABUNDANT. With a smile on my lips, I say that we have a great many brethren who are liberal in this sense, preaching brethren like myself included. Too many of us eat too much, exercise too little, and become “liberal” in this sense.
        4) NOT RESTRICTED TO THE LITERAL MEANING. One of the marks of a liberal is to criticize the literal interpretation of the Scriptures and make passages which “restrict” them to be figurative or to give words a different meaning than their usual and common one. A good example of this is found in 2 John 9-11. The term “doctrine of Christ” obviously refers to the doctrine taught by Christ, either in person or through the apostles who were guided by the Holy Spirit. That entire body of doctrine is the New Testament and by its precepts and teachings each of us will one day be judged (John 12:48). However, since this passage teaches there must be unity based upon the common truth of that body of doctrine, and that anyone who will not abide in that doctrine does not have God and must not be fellowshipped by faithful brethren, the liberals advance the idea that all that is meant by the expression “doctrine of Christ” is the acknowledgment of the deity and person of Christ. Looking for an alternate meaning, or one that is figurative rather than literal, when the passage is clearly literal, is a sure identifying mark of a liberal.
        5) TOLERANT OF VIEWS DIFFERING FROM ONE’S OWN, BROADMINDED. The predominant movement in religion in general is “broadmindedness.” Our liberal brethren feel right at home among the denominationalists of our day. They do not criticize the denominational person nor tell him he is wrong, and the denominational person loves him for that and does not tell the liberal member of the church of Christ that he is wrong either. They have swallowed the error of thinking they can “agree to disagree,” ignore doctrinal differences as long as there is a common acceptance of Christ as the Son of God, and have “unity in diversity.” The only one with which the liberal will not be tolerant and open-minded is the one who disagrees with him, whether it be a denominational person or a brother in Christ. The liberal loves to fellowship denominational people and other liberal brethren, and has only good things to say about and to them, but from his mouth comes the most scathing denunciations of those who dare to criticize what they teach and practice. Yet they claim to be the ones who really know what love is and to practice it toward all.
        6) SYN. LIBERAL IMPLIES TOLERANCE OF OTHERS’ VIEWS as well as open-mindedness to ideas that challenge tradition, established institutions, etc. Have you not listened to nor read what the liberals are saying about our “traditions?” You would think the church of Christ is just a group of people who practice their religion because of tradition rather than having a God-given basis founded upon the solid rock of biblical truth. Such issues as instrumental music in worship, congregational singing, refusing women the role of leadership in the church, and a host of other such things are scoffed at as being only matters of tradition and not matters of faith. The church as Jesus designed it and as the apostles organized it, and as it has existed for centuries is not good enough for them. It is too out-dated for the modern “baby-boomers” who do not like its “traditionalism,” so they are determined to change it and alter it to the extent that it no longer resembles the church you read about in the Bible. What do they use as an excuse for doing so? They claim the scriptures do not contain a plan, a pattern, or a blue-print for the church and its worship. Thus we can change it to suit our whims and fancies and God will accept us and our changes.
        Brethren, these are all marks of a liberal, but they are not the only ones. I hope that as you read these things and examine your own attitudes and life, that you discover you are liberal in the good sense, i.e., with your time, money, etc., but that you are not a liberal in doctrine and practice. Furthermore, considering what these brethren are doing to the Cause of Christ, I hope you not only resolve never to become a liberal yourself, but also not to lend them any encouragement or support in their pernicious ways lest you become a partaker of their sins (2 John 9-11).
        Let us all, rather than simply abstaining and remaining silent, stand up and speak out and earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). To do less is to fail our Lord.       

Displaying 156 - 160 of 233

Page 1 2 3 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 45 46 47