AND RIGHT IS STILL RIGHT
Roger D. Campbell
There are numerous Bible exhortations for God’s people to follow that which is right and stay away from that which is wrong. In the spiritual realm, it is God alone Who determines what is right and what is not. Here are three New Testament passages that point to the need for Christians to stay with what is good:
“Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. ... Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”(Rom. 12:9,21).
“Prove(test) all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil”(1 Thess. 5:21,22).
“Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good”(3 John 11).
Regardless of what happens in life, regardless of what others do or say, the Lord’s will does not change. Wrong is still wrong, and right is still right. Let us look at some applications of this truth.
Wrong is still wrong, even if you are a King.King David slept with another man’s wife. “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (2 Sam. 11:27).
Wrong is still wrong, even if you are my brother in the flesh.When Aaron led the Israelites in making a golden calf, regardless of the fact that he was Moses’ older brother, Moses properly called Aaron’s action a “sin” (Exodus 32:21).
Wrong is still wrong, even if you are my cousin.Korah’s rebellion against the authority of Moses and Aaron was wrong, even though he was their cousin (Numbers 16:1-11).
Wrong is still wrong, even if you were faithful to the Lord in the past.Good conduct in the past does not offset or cover up present evil. The churches of Galatia had run well, but someone later hindered them from obeying the truth (Gal. 5:7). Past faithfulness does not negate current negligence.
Wrong is still wrong, even if you are a Gospel preacher.When Peter acted as a hypocrite, Paul rebuked him to his face (Gal. 2:11-14).
Wrong is still wrong, even if you are my friend.None would doubt that Judas sinned when he betrayed Jesus, though the Bible calls Judas the “familiar friend” of the Messiah (Psalm 41:9).
Wrong is still wrong, even if many people support wrongdoing.The Jewish leaders that wanted to see Jesus killed got the backing of “the multitudes” in crying for His death. Nonetheless, their action was evil (Matt. 27:17-24).
Now consider the other side of the picture.
Right is still right, and truth is still truth, even if the one that tells me the truth is arrogant.His arrogance is unacceptable, but if he shows me that the Bible says Jesus is the Head of the church, then his arrogance does not change that fact (Eph. 5:23).
Right is still right, and truth is still truth, even though the one who tells me the truth is inconsistentin their own life. One may not “practice what he preaches” in the matter of being prejudiced toward others, but if he shows me from James 2:1-9 that partiality and racial prejudice are wrong, then the truth he has proven from the Bible is not negated by his own personal inconsistency.
Right is still right, even if the one that tells me the truth has a bad attitude.The one who points me to the truth that Jesus wants us to seek the kingdom (church) first may be an envious, bitter, grumpy man that simply cannot stand people, but what he says about Jesus’ demand is still true (Matt. 6:33).
Right is still right and the truth is still the truth, even if I do not like it.An advocate of a modern “Women’s Rights” group may not like what God says about women not being allowed to have dominion over men in spiritual activities, but God’s instruction remains true, whether any human likes it or not (1 Tim. 2:11-14).
Right is still right, even if other people make fun of it.Jesus endured mockery more than once, but His message and course of action were correct, regardless of men’s negative reaction.
We read about it in the Bible time and again. We see it demonstrated in the lives of people in our generation over and over again. People who are doing wrong often try to come up with some kind of defense to justify their wrongdoing. They may be able to smooth it over with others, but God still sees and knows. Wrong is still wrong. At the same time, people who are told what is right, either about religious truth or else the reality of their own personal activities, sometimes try to dodge the truth by appealing to some fault in the messenger of truth or in other people. When all is said and done, however, right is still right.
May the Lord help each of us to have a love for that which is right and an equally strong hatred for all that is wrong in God’s eyes. May we each be committed to doing good and abstaining from evil.
SAD, MAD OR GLAD
When the Truth is proclaimed (2 Tim. 4:2-4) the hearer will respond in one of three ways: sad, mad or glad. The obedient people on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 responded with gladness (Acts 2:41) while the rich young ruler was sad when he heard the Truth (Matt. 19:16-22). In Acts 7:51-60, some became so mad at what Stephen preached they stoned him to death. False accusations were made against Jesus (Matt. 11:19; John 10:20) and the apostle Paul (Acts 26:24) out of anger over the Truth that was proclaimed.
Do people generally respond in the same way today? Yes! We are thankful that some are glad to hear the Truth and obey it. But how tragic it is when people respond in a sad or mad way and continue to do so.
Why are people sad or mad when Truth is proclaimed? Let’s notice three reasons.
1) People are sad or mad when they hear what is NEEDED, not necessarily what is wanted. Some want their ears tickled with fables and foolishness (2 Tim. 4:3-4). They want to hear that which is smooth and not right (Isa. 30:10). Too many want to hear what pleases them rather than what God demands that must be preached.
2) People are sad or mad when they hear NEGATIVE preaching. It is amazing how some believe there is no place for negative preaching. One cannot read and understand 2 Timothy 4:2-4 and not understand that negative preaching is a part of “God pleasing preaching.” The very words “reproving” and “rebuking” demonstrate that. Of course, there must always be the preaching of both the positive and negative.
3) People are sad or mad when they hear NAMES called or mentioned. Is it wrong to identify those who are making havoc of the Truth and/or who are false teachers? Of course not. FulfillingRomans 16:17-18 demands that it be done. Paul did it in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 and 4:14-15. He was not wrong for doing so. Some will become mad when a false teacher is identified but will not say one thing when that false teacher (by his teaching) causes others to lose their souls. Indeed, isn’t that strange. Such is a demonstration of the wrong attitude toward God, His Word and the church.
We must not become mad with the message nor messenger of Truth. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
PARENTS, HANG IN THERE
Roger D. Campbell
From the outside looking in, being a parent looks like one of the most stress-free, easy tasks that one could imagine. Reality hits home, though, once we become a dad or mom and we are the ones taking care of and being responsible for the little kiddies. Then, without our permission, those little ones turn into turbulent teens. Parents, hang in there!
God wants parents to love their children (Titus 2:4-5). He wants parents to teach them His righteous instructions (Deut. 6:7). He wants parents to be a pattern of good behavior for their children (Matt. 5:16). God also wants parents to discipline their children (Heb. 12:9-11). None of those matters are negotiable — God wants parents to do them, and He wants them done His way.
Sometimes we struggle to maintain our cheerful demeanor and sanity when dealing with our children —dealing with their facial expressions, attitudes, mouths, irresponsibility, ever-changing likes and dislikes, and their day-in-and-day-out stuff. Parents, hang in there! Keep on loving them, keep on praying for them, and keep on helping mold them into instruments conformed to the image of God’s wonderful Son (Rom. 8:29).
If you feel challenged to “hold it together” as a parent, believe me, you are not the first parent who has encountered some testy trials of your patience. Think about Jacob. Two of his sons, Simeon and Levi, acted inappropriately and caused Jacob’s name “to stink” in the land (Gen. 34:30). Your children may make choices which make your family name stink, too. Hang in there.
God’s children, those whom He had “nourished and brought up,” rebelled against Him (Isa. 1:2). If that ever happens to you, God knows your pain. Parents, hang in there.
David’s son, Absalom, sought to undermine David’s authority and peaceful life (2 Sam. 15-18). Your children may try that with you one day. Parents, if that ever occurs, hang in there.
David’s heart was broken when he lost more than one child to physical death (2 Sam. 18:33). Parents, if you have to face the horror of losing a child, or worse yet, experience the horror of seeing your own child turn away from the Lord and die spiritually, hang in there.
If your child tells you, “I hate you,” “I can’t wait to turn eighteen so I can move as far away from you as possible,” or “You have to be the worst mom/dad in the world,” hang in there. When people get all worked up, they say hurtful things that they do not really mean. Keep on loving them, praying for them, and doing your best —that is all you can do, right?
When the Jews were working feverishly to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, their adversaries made a mockery of what they were trying to accomplish (Neh. 4:1-3). Sadly, some people today, out of ignorance or meanness, or both, make fun of Christian parents who are trying their best to raise their children in harmony with the Scriptures.
It is a real tragedy when other members of the church make fun of or talk behind the backs of parents who discipline their children, “drag” them to every single worship service and Bible class, restrict their use of the internet, phones, and TV, refuse to allow them to flaunt their nakedness in public, and demand that they speak respectfully to and about others. Brothers and sisters, if you are striving to raise your children by God’s Book, do not feel intimidated by the devil’s snickers, and do not let the whispers of worldly-minded children of God deter you from being the godly parents that your children need.
Parents, hang in there!
Is Faithful Attendance Important?
It is quite strange to hear some members of the Lord's church express their thoughts about attending all services of the congregation. They have been purchased with the blood of Christ, separated from the world to live according to Christ, enlisted in the army of the Lord, commanded to be lights in the world, and instructed to put the Lord and his work before all other interests. But in some way we have convinced ourselves (deceived, a better word) that faithfulness in attendance is only optional, except for the Lord's supper on Sunday morning, which we do not see as too pressing even then.Please think seriously and look again, before Judgement day comes, to the real truth of the matter:
- Faithfulness is the seventh fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is produced in our lives only when we follow the Holy Spirit's teaching (Gal. 5:22).
- Faithfulness means dependable, constant, reliable, honorable and loyal. Could this be said of our attendance when we only attend once a week?
- Faithful attendance is directly commanded along with holding fast our confession and considering one another as we should (Heb. 10:23-25). Are we practicing the Golden Rule concerning other's interest (Matt. 7:12)?
- Faithful attendance causes the church to be seen as "a city that is set on a hill"; while unfaithful attendance puts our influence "under a bushel" (Matt. 5:14-16).
- Though we are commanded to seek the lost, do we realize that no one can influence any of the lost to be saved while not being faithful (1 Peter 3:1-7).
- Those who substitute faithful attendance for people and/or things of the world will soon have corrupt morals (1 Cor. 15:33).
- Unfaithfulness to all services keeps one from growing "in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
- Children, whom we are charged with training, will grow up undisciplined in honorable loyalty to the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
- Unfaithfulness in attendance expresses a lack of concern for our souls and ignores those charged with watching and giving an account for our souls in the Judgement (Heb. 13:17).
- Unfaithfulness causes us to miss the fellowship, strength, comfort and peace intended by God in the church (1 John 1:7; Phil. 4:6-8).
- And worst of all, unfaithfulness will cause us to miss Heaven with all its joy, peace and eternal bliss, because sin will not enter there (Please read James 4:17).
One hour with the people of God in worship unto God is more profitable to a citizen of Heaven than all the fleeting pleasures or cankering gold of this world. The bottom line is really found in whether we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind (Matt. 23:37).
WHY I AM A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
Garland M. Robinson
God has not left it to the judgment of the individual as to what is right and wrong in religion; nor has he given men a choice in regard to what church they belong (as so many declare).
Jesus came into this world to establish his kingdom, which is his church/body (Matt. 16:18-19; Mark 9:1). There is “one body...one faith” (Eph. 4:4-5). The one body is identified as the “church” (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Jesus is the saviour of the body (Eph. 5:23). Do you think he will save any other body than his? He said he wouldn’t in Matthew 15:13, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, SHALL BE ROOTED UP!”Don’t you want to be in the Lord’s church, the body of the saved?
God has certain principles and laws that must be obeyed:“Forget not my law” ... “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye”(Prov. 3:1; 7:2). Sin is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Everyone must abide by the Lord’s way. What seems right to men is the way of death (Prov. 16:25). It is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). We must follow God’s directions and be faithful to his commands. When we do, the Lord adds us to the body of the saved which is his church (Acts 2:38,41,47). We have no choice in the matter.
Why should everyone be a member of the church of Christ? Notice these many reasons.
Because it is scriptural in organization.It has elderswho oversee (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7), deaconswho serve (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13), evangelistswho preach and teach (2 Tim. 4:2-5) and members/saintswho faithfully follow the Lord (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:2). It has no higher authority on earth than the local congregation. There are no earthly headquarters or legislating body to make rules. It’s citizenship is in heaven, not on earth (Phil. 3:20). Every congregation appeals to the Bible and answers only to God.
Because it requires no more or less than that which is set forth in the Scriptures.First Thessalonians 5:21 declares: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”Colossians 3:17 demands authority for everything said and done. The church of Christ works and speaks as the “oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). The Bible is its only creed.
Because it is scriptural in its worship.Worship in the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16) consists of: singingpsalms, hymns and spiritual songs without instrumental accompaniment (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), prayingunto God the Father in the name of Jesus the Son (Matt. 6:9; John 16:23-26; Acts 2:42), givinga freewill contribution on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1-2), partaking the Lord’s supperon the first day of every week (Acts 20:7; Matt. 26:26-28), and preachingthe Gospel (Acts 20:7).
Because it is the fulfillment of divine prophecy — God’s eternal purpose.Ephesians 3:1-11 explains this well. The Lord’s church is not an accident or substitute. It is spoken of in Isaiah 2:1-4, Micah 4:1-4 and Daniel 2:31-45. It is the eternal kingdom spoken of throughout the ages by the holy prophets (cf. Acts 2:16). Jesus said, “I will build my church”(Matt. 16:18). It is his and wears his name (Rom. 16:16).
Because the Bible is its only creed.The church of Christ has no manual, catechism, discipline or prayer book. The Bible is completely sufficient. “...His divine power hath given unto us all thingsthat pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him....”(2 Peter 1:3). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnishedunto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is the book from which all will one day be judged (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12). I want no other! How about you?
Because it is built according to the pattern in the New Testament.There is one builder and head, Jesus the Christ (Matt. 16:18; Heb. 3:3-6; Eph. 1:22-23). “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19- 20). On what was the church you attend built?
Because it has a Bible name.Why would a bride choose to wear a different name than the groom? “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:12). Romans 16:16 speaks of congregations everywhere and says, “the churches of Christ salute you.”What name does your church wear?
Because the Gospel is its only drawing power.Gimmicks and gadgets, food and fun, party and recreation will not save. Those drawn by such look for the “loaves and fishes” and will walk away when they are no longer offered (John 6:26-27). Men are drawn to God by the Gospel, nothing else (John 6:44-45; 1 Cor. 1:18-21). It is God’s drawing power to save (Rom. 1:16). Men are saved when they obey it (1 Peter 1:22; Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:8-9; Matt. 7:21-23). What draws you to the church you attend?