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Standing Fast in the Faith

Friday, April 17, 2020

STANDING FAST IN THE FAITH
Darryl Harrison

          To say that the world in which we live is divided religiously is certainly an understatement. Any seeker of religion will have no problem finding a church or doctrine which suits his own tastes. Just like the local buffet restaurant, many selections are available, but all honest persons yearning for the truth must question this present arrangement. Is it God's will that people be divided over the most crucial of subjects? The Philippian jailer asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” That question is still being asked today, but unfortunately Bible answers are not being given. False doctrines relative to the plan of salvation abound and the Lord's church must equip itself to fight these errors tooth and nail.

        The apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.” Every word in this powerful verse rings out with the concept of war and spiritual conflict. Paul, in essence, was calling the church at Corinth to arms. The New Testament church today must also heed this militant call to war. The line of demarcation has been drawn and the enemy has been identified, but the fact of the matter is that many pulpits throughout the land have imposed a self-restricting ban on doctrinal preaching for fear of offending the masses (2 Tim. 4:1-4). Weak elderships are retreating instead of preparing the flock for a protracted confrontation with the wicked adversary of God's people -- none other than Satan. Peter describes him “as a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) of whom Paul said “we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). The church has an obligation before God and man to stand for the truth by which we shall gain the ultimate victory.

        Concerning the doctrine of Christ, that is, the inspired teaching of the New Testament (Acts 2:42; Titus 1:9), we should uncompromisingly promote and defend it. The beloved John wrote so forcefully in 2 John 9, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.” Keep in mind that John was known as the apostle of love and wrote much on the subject in his epistles. It is therefore not unloving or unkind to expose false teaching and those who propagate it! In fact, it is the most loving thing any faithful Christian can do for his fellow man. There is a current trend in the religious world and also in the church to tone down this blessed doctrine. The preaching which characterized the first century church was plain, bold and loving. The Gospel which filled the streets of Jerusalem and caused men to be “pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37) is the same Gospel that will save men today (Rom. 1:16).

        Considering the fact that we have the responsibility to stand for and defend the Gospel, there is an inevitable conclusion that will be drawn. When the doctrine of Christ is presented as it should be, then conflict is to be expected. Darkness hates light (John 3:20). In the same sense, error does not like to be exposed by the light of truth. If the church never faces any attack from the world, particularly the denominational world, then that is a good sign that we are not standing as firmly as we should. Whatever happened to the kind of preaching and Christian living that caused the church to grow in the first century? This was a time when God's people loved God and man more than their own lives (Acts 20:24). They unhesitatingly drew the “sword of the Spirit” and met in battle the foes of the Gospel of Christ.

        The church of the 21st century must return to the divine pattern of evangelism in order to be pleasing to God. We must be convinced the only answers that are sufficient in matters of religious doctrine are Bible answers! Will we not hearken unto the commands of the captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10) and faithfully execute our mission so that souls may be won back from the devil's grip and that God may be glorified? May each and every member of the body of Christ heed the personal admonition to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3).                                                                                                                             

Our Cares and God's Care

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Our Cares and God's Care

Dub McClish

A verse that we all should commit to memory and upon which we should ever rely is the following: "casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). When we learn to trust this promise, it will bring us great consolation and courage.

There was great anxiety among the brethren to whom Peter wrote because of persecution. They were being "put to grief in manifold trials," and their faith was being "proved by fire" (1: 6–7). There was a "fiery trial" among them (4:12). Peter gave numerous indications that these brethren were undergoing great sufferings for the Lord. Opposition and persecution brought great anxiety to their hearts. Peter told them how to deal with these anxieties.

The "anxiety" of this passage refers to those things about which we worry and about which we are unsettled or undecided. It reminds us of Paul's familiar exhortation: "In nothing be anxious . . ." (Phi. 4:6). The Lord made a lengthy statement on this subject in the Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on…. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Mat. 6:25–34).

If there is a difference in the exhortations of the Lord, of Paul, and of Peter, perhaps it is this: The Lord and Paul urge us not to be anxious in the first place. Peter tells us what to do when we nonetheless become anxious and worried.

The antidote for worry is the promise of God's care and concern for His children. The word Peter used for God's "care" refers to His interest and concern and implies both the will and the ability to meet our needs. If God cares for the sparrow and the raven and adorns the expendable grass of the field, does He not much more care for those who are His children (Luke 12:6, 24, 28)? If He knows the very number of the hairs on our heads, He knows and is concerned about all of our far more important needs (Luke 12:7).

The promises of God and His Son that they are ever with us are many. God's promise to Israel in this respect applies to us: I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee. So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me? (Heb. 13:5–6).

Our Savior promised that He would be with His people as they do His work "always, even unto the end of the world" (Mat. 28:20). Peter's words are an echo of Psalms 55:22: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." Therefore, let us fret less and trust and pray more.

Where is God in our Troubles Pt 2

Sunday, April 05, 2020

WHERE IS GOD IN OUR TROUBLES?  Part II
Garland M. Robinson

 GOD KNOWS, GOD CARES

        Where was God when Job was suffering such horrendous afflictions? The loss of all that he had did not turn Job’s heart away from God. He lost his worldly possessions and his children (Job 1:13-22). Even when he lost his good health (2:7-8), Job still would not turn away from the Lord. His wife even suggested that he curse God and die. But Job would not (Job 2:9- 10). He maintained his integrity.
        One of the things that made Job’s suffering so frustrating was that he did not understand why all these things were happening to him. He was completely at a loss. He was in misery and grief. His friends turned against him. His wife did not help. He was all alone. He questioned God and cried out in despair. He just did not understand. But, he still trusted God! He understood that though he did not see the “big picture” of it all, he knew that God did. God rules. God knows. God cares. He didn’t understand, but he trusted that God would handle it. He could not give up on God.
        Perhaps Job thought he would understand in the “by and by” but even if he did not, he still trusted God. He is supreme. He is loving. He is perfect. Job lived by the principle, “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (
Job 13:15).
        How would we fare under similar conditions? The point is certain that most people would crash long before they ever reached the brink of Job’s suffering. That was so in Job’s day just as it is so today.
        People often ask in the midst of tragedy, “why is this happening to me?” Both good things and bad things happen to all people alike. God maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (
Matt. 5:45). None are exempt.
        Immense suffering came to Job in spite of the fact that he was a good man. He feared God and hated evil. He was pure in thought and conduct. Yet such calamity came upon him that none could say they’ve had it worse. Those who were once his friends became “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). Job cried out in despair asking, why was I ever born? Even when I was born, why didn’t I die at birth? Since I did not die at birth, why can’t I die even now?
        Job was full of questions for which he cried out for answers. God eventually responded with a barrage of questions that left Job speechless. Where were you, Job, when the foundations of the earth were laid (
Job 38:4)? What do you know about the springs of the sea (38:16)? What about the gates of death (38:17) or the breadth of the earth (38:18)? Where is the dwelling place of light and dark (38:19)? God knows these things. God made these things. God controls these things (cf. Heb. 1:3) and millions more. Therefore...
        God knows about our suffering, our hardships, our troubles. He cares about us. He does not respond as we might have him to, but he is there just the same. We don’t see the larger scheme of things. We’re not able to see the whole picture. Our job always remains the same, to bear up under the most trying of circumstances. Through our suffering, whether mental, emotional or physical, God will provide.
        God provided a lamb for Abraham to sacrifice (
Gen. 22:8).
        God provided ravens to bring food to Elijah on the banks of the brook Cherith (
1 Kings 17:3-6) and when the brook dried up, he was sustained by a widow at Zarephath with a handful of meal and a little oil that never ran out (1 Kings 17:9-16).
        God provided a place for Joseph in Egypt when his brothers sold him to a band of Ishmeelites (
Gen. 37:28). Can you imagine his despair in a strange land so far from home? Yet it worked out to sparing of the lives of all in his father’s house when the seven years of famine came.
        God took care of Daniel when he was thrown into the den of lions (
Daniel 6:16-22).
        God took care of Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego) when they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace (
Dan. 1:7; 3:8-30).
        The Lord cared for Stephen when he was being stoned to death. He saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God observing this despicable deed (
Acts 7:55-56). This is the only time you read of Jesus standing in heaven. Every time it’s mentioned, he’s always sitting (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).
        God cared for the apostle Paul throughout his many travels. He did not always protect him from being harmed (he suffered many things,
Acts 9:16; 2 Cor. 11:23-27), but he was with him through it all. Nearing the end of his life, Paul would write, 6“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
 hough so many of these events were miraculous does not lessen the fact that God knows and cares for his people. Though the days of miracles are over, God still knows and he still cares. God is there. God will provide. Our undergirding hope must be, God’s will be done! That’s what Jesus prayed (
Luke 22:42).
 So, don’t despair. Things may not turn out as we would like, but don’t blame God or think he has abandoned us. Praise God. Give him thanks for his tender care, mercy and forgiveness. Be like Paul who said, “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (
Phil. 1:12). “If [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16).

Where is God in our Troubles Pt 1

Saturday, March 28, 2020

WHERE IS GOD IN OUR TROUBLES?
Garland M. Robinson

        The day began very early. Two hundred miles would be driven to a lonely hospital room where a dying man would, in just a few hours, breathe his last. A smile and a tear came across the faces of both father and son as their eyes met. As the tragic event of death was nearing, I sat and held my father’s hand for hours as I saw the life slipping from his tired and worn out frame. I would be holding that same hand the next day as he breathed his last sigh and as the warmth gently left his body. How many of you have endured such pain, such trouble, such loss? Is there anyone who hasn’t?
        Where is God in our troubles?
        Where is God when a husband and wife pull from each other in what is often called “irreconcilable differences?”
        Where is God when there is pain and suffering?
        Where is God when little children are caught in the cross- fire of reckless, senseless and wicked deeds?
        Where is God when millions of innocent babies are ripped from their mother’s wombs every year in that horrifying despair called “a woman’s right to choose?”
        Where is God when brethren set themselves on a course of destruction to their own souls and faithful brethren can’t stop it?
        Where is God when brethren divide in spite of all the prayers and pleas of peacemakers?
        Where is God when congregations fall apart and split?
        Where is God when faithful preachers proclaim the whole counsel of God and evil men and seducers wax worse and worse?

        God is where he’s always been. He hasn’t moved. He knows, He cares. He is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (
2 Peter 3:9).
        The story is told of the old farmer and his wife driving down a country road when his wife speaks up and says. “You know, when we were young, we used to sit together as we traveled. Now, you sit on your side and I sit on mine. Why is that?” The old farmer lovingly looks over at her and says, “I haven’t moved. I’m still behind the wheel where I’ve always been.”
        It’s easy to grow apart isn’t it? It can happen without us ever realizing it.
        Where is God in our troubles?

GOD IS IN HEAVEN

        God has not moved. He is where he has always been. He watches. He knows. He cares. We are the ones who have moved away.
        In Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, he ask God’s blessing upon them and ask that God hear from his dwelling place in heaven (1 Kings 8:30,39,43,49; 2 Chron. 6:21,30, 33,39; 2 Chron. 30:27). The Psalmist declared: “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven...” (Psa. 11:4; Isa. 66:1; Acts 7:49)? Habakkuk 2:20 declares, “the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” From heaven, He looks upon men to see if there are any that understand and seek him (Psa. 53:2).
        Jesus tells us that God the Father is in heaven. It is the place of his throne (
Matt. 5:34; 23:22). Jesus said, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven...” (Luke 11:2).
        God cares, Oh, how he cares!

GOD IS IN THE WORLD

        “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psa. 103:19).
        God has his finger on the pulse of the world. God rules over all the kingdoms of men. This very pointed and grave lesson was taught to king Nebuchadnezzar because of his pride and arrogance. God would send him to the very depths of despair and teach him a lesson. He would learn that God rules over all. In the book of Daniel, three verses show us that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (
Dan. 4:17,25,32). Oh, how this lesson needs to be learned in the world today!
        God cares about what goes on. He is there and knows about our troubles. However, He will not help unless we turn to him in obedience according to his will.

GOD IS IN THE CHURCH

        God’s eternal plan was fulfilled in the church of Christ. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11).
        Since God has taken such great care through the ages in watching over his word to perform it (cf. Jer. 1:12), shall he not care about it now? Has God lost his interest in us? Does he not care what happens to his saints? Of course God cares!
        Paul writes by inspiration, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (
Rom. 8:35-39).

GOD IS IN OUR HEARTS

        “...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
        Though God lives within us, we often feel alone in times of trouble. But, we must always keep in mind that “if God be for us, who can be against us” (
Rom. 8:31)? Even then, our heart is many times heavy with burdens. But in such times, we must also remember that “...if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20). If we continue faithful, God will provide.

By The Trickery of Men

Sunday, March 22, 2020

“By The Trickery Of Men”
James E. Farley

The apostle Paul issues a warning to the Lord’s church at Ephesus concerning the danger of immaturity in the Christian faith resulting in their being “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). The New King James Version has this verse, “...no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting....”

 The Lord expects us to GROW (Eph. 5:15; Heb. 5:11-14; I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18). The way of the Lord demands that we be alive; and any living thing that is not growing is either dead or dying. It is true that we have to die to become a Christian...die to sin...crucify the old man...but Christ must LIVE in us by faith as we rise to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 2:20). As we walk this new life in Christ, we must renew our minds daily through study and use of the Word of righteousness. Only by the Lord’s Word can we discern good from evil, right from wrong (Rom. 6:3-5; I John 1:5-7; II Cor. 5:17; Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 4:16; II Tim. 2:15; Heb. 5:13-14).

  The devil, our adversary, does not want us knowledgeable. He does not want us to grow in knowledge and grace, for his two main tools are ignorance and the lie. It is easy to lie to ignorant folks! Satan cares not that a person, or a group of people, are zealous, just as long as they are ignorant (Rom. 10:1-3). The father of lies and liars (John 8:44) has little trouble convincing ignorant people of his false ways, for if a person does not know the Truth (John 8:31-32), how will he be able to judge whether a doctrine or practice is right or wrong? Yes indeed...it is easy to lie to ignorant folks! 

God has placed the treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels (human beings). That means he has given the commission to preach the good news to men, not to spiritual beings (Compare II Cor. 4:7; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:26,29; Acts 9:6,10-17; Acts 10:1-6). So too, Satan uses men to carry on his deceptive work. He has ministers, and they, like him, are very active in carrying out their father’s bidding, deceiving and being deceived (II Cor. 11:13-15; II Tim. 3:13). These troublers pervert the Gospel of Christ, and lead men and women into a snare to become captives of the devil (Gal. 1:6-10; II Tim. 2:25-26; 3:5-9). Keep in mind that they do this with deception and trickery. They appear to be “ministers of righteousness” (II Cor. 11:15).       

We know that Satan is active and very successful among and through denominational churches, and for years we have prepared ourselves to fight “against the wiles of the devil” on that front (Eph. 6:10-20). However, when those from among our own number turn out to be his deceitful disciples, it delivers a blow that is staggering indeed. This is especially true when we have come to love and trust the one who turns out to be a heretic (Titus 3:10-11).  

Paul wrote of some “false brethren” who came in “privily” (Gal. 2:4). Jude says they “crept in unawares” (Jude 4). You see, they sneak in, for they are of their father, the devil. They “lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). They ambush using lies and hypocrisy as their camouflage. They are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15-20; Acts 20:27-32). Think for a minute about that picture. Think what one lone wolf could do to a flock of innocent, unsuspecting sheep! Obviously, the Lord wants us aware of this great danger, and He wants us to prepare to meet them and stop their pernicious ways! Therefore, we must “try the spirits” to see whether they are of God, and if they do not have the doctrine of Christ, they must be marked and avoided (I John 4:1; II John 9-11; Rev. 2:2; Rom. 16:17-18). Furthermore, when one of these heretics is uncovered and warned twice, he must be rejected. Notice the urgency in Titus 3:10-11. If a wolf is loose in the flock, we do not use tolerance and patience with him. We do what we can quickly to rid the flock of this pressing danger.         

Brethren, may God help us to be loving in all we do for Him (Eph. 4:15). We must love Him first and foremost with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30). We must love Jesus who is the Christ; the one who bled and died for us (I John 4:19). If we truly love Him we will obey Him (John 14:15). We must love the church of Christ, purchased with the precious blood of the Lamb (Titus 3:15; I Peter 1:22; 3:8; I John 3:14-16; 5:1-3). Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). We must love the Word of God that directs us as a lamp in this dark world of sin and error (Psalm 119:97, 104-105, 127). And, we must love the souls of men and women even to the point of warning them of these kinds of dangers. Paul loved the church and he warned of the dangers of wolves within (Acts 20:28-32).

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