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Courtesy and kindness ought to “come natural” to a Christian. Rudeness, insensitivity, sharp and cutting words are not a part of the refined behavior that should characterize the elect. Such traits have caused countless doors to be forever slammed shut against the Gospel.…
Thoughtful Bible students realize that denominational “churchianity” bears no resemblance to New Testament Christianity. It is not only fundamentally undenominational; it is anti denominational.…
“Understandest Thou What Thou Singest?”— No. 1
The New Testament evangelist, Philip, asked the Ethiopian Bible student, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30). This question is also appropriate to ask concerning the “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” we sing in our assemblies.…
“Understandest Thou What Thou Singest?”— No. 2
In an attempt to help us better understand some of the words and phrases of some of our spiritual songs, I offer these additional comments….
Nothing is more obvious than that men who profess belief in the Bible do not understand it alike. Some believe this is inevitable or even good. If so, why does the Bible command that we “all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you”
People often make the sad old error of failing to distinguish between optional and obligatory matters, between aids in carrying out Scriptural commands and additions to Scriptural commands..
Our world is one of perpetual flux and uncertainty. Nations rise and fall. Our nation is under siege by hedonistic, God-hating Humanism, disguised as “secularism”—causing cataclysmic cultural and moral rot….We live in an unstable world where change is the great constant….
“Vacation Bible School” Reinvented
For several years some have been imitating the denominations in such things as parking lot sales and car washes to fund their programs. A growing number of congregations have become deeply involved in providing entertainment as bait to get people into their buildings.
God has so structured our existence in this life that honest work is fulfilling, beneficial, honorable, and required of all mature, able-bodied people..Though an Infinite Being is obviously not subject to fatigue, still God set a pattern of rest at the end of the creation week and in the Mosaic laws concerning Sabbath Day observance….
Vain is capable of two distinct meanings, depending upon context.… Vain action, however, is futile, ineffective, worthless, or unavailing effort. The New Testament describes various behaviors that are vain—they are a waste of both time and effort. A review of some of these is instructive….
Does God accept whatever kind of worship men may choose to offer to Him? If one is sincere and earnest in his religious activities, does he please God, even if he practiced things that are ordained of men rather than of God?
Some people have discounted such efforts [Gospel Meetings] by saying that they don’t hold any value in our age. Admittedly, there are more things that vie for the attention of modern men at present than when my grandfather led singing for such efforts a couple of generations ago.
To deny that the kingdom came in the first century is to affirm that Jesus was mistaken when he declared and commissioned others to declare that it was near them and that it would come in their lifetimes. Jesus could not be the Savior of mankind if He made a mistake.
The classic case of wasted wealth in the New Testament is not the “Prodigal Son,” although he surely wasted his fortune. A much truer case of prodigality (which means wastefulness) is the one Jesus describes in Luke 12:16–21.…
While speaking of the local church, the preacher said, “We are commanded to grow.” He immediately quoted Mark 16:15 as his proof text: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”…
It is lamentable, but true, that some members never think of the church in any terms except “they.” These brethren seem to view the church as sort of a corporation that operates from the church building. They thus think in terms of how “they” are going to spend the money, what “they” should be doing or what size crowd “they” had Sunday.
We have a real problem concerning members who grow Weary in Well-Doing and/or decide the Truth is just too narrow and drop out. It is very difficult for those who continue to faithfully serve the Lord to know what to do concerning them.…
For many years, every time an international political crisis has arisen (especially if it involves the modern nation of Israel), the cry has gone up, “Armageddon is imminent! The end of the world is near! Christ is about to come”!…
According to Webster, astrology is “The divination of the supposed influences of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” Simply put, astrology (not to be confused with astronomy, the scientific study of space) holds that the stars influence and control human thoughts and acts….
A concerted effort has been made in recent years to cloak the practice of homosexuality with respectability. One means of doing so has been the adoption of the term “gay” to cover the practice….
Premillennialism may be loosely defined as the doctrine that when Christ returns, He will actually come to earth and establish a literal kingdom in Jerusalem, reigning there 1,000 years.…Within the Premillennial cult … there are almost as many points of difference as there are adherents.
Poets and orators are sometimes said to be “inspired” when they produce a masterpiece. A sermon may have been “inspiring” to those who heard. But the inspiration claimed for the Bible is of a different character.
The “rapture” theory is that Christ will return for His saints secretly the first time and they will be gathered to Him in the air. This and other notions about the rapture are based on misinterpretations of several Scripture passages.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 1
Do we live under obligation to obey only the Old Testament, only the New Testament, or both? If we fail to understand the correct answer to this question, we will never be able to correctly understand the Bible at all.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 2
God has given two great written “Testaments” or “Covenants.” The first one is the “Old Testament” part of our Bibles. It was never intended to be God’s permanent body of religious law.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 3
The Old Testament teaches that it was to be succeeded by a “new covenant” between God and His people and the New Testament teaches that it fulfills the Old Testament and succeeds it.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 4
None who have lived since Jesus Christ died on the cross have been responsible for any of the commands of the Old Testament…Christ took away the first (covenant) that He may establish the second.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 5
Since the death of Christ, no one has been responsible for any part of the law of Moses, and it is both illogical and unscriptural to resort to Old Testament examples or commands for our religious authority. If we seek to bind upon people who have lived since the death of Christ any practice because it is in the Old Testament, we obligate ourselves to be bound by every precept of the Old Testament.
What About the Old Testament?—No. 6
Unfortunately, when the Bible doctrine is stressed that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect, some people jump to the unwarranted conclusion that we are teaching that it is of no profit to us anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Christian worship involves reverent acts of homage paid to God and/ or Jesus Christ. While the Old Testament is the inspired revelation of God, its authority perished with the death of Christ (Col. 2:14). The only source of information for worship that pleases God and His Son is the New Testament….
Someone has remarked that parents are not for raising children, but children are for raising parents…this is obviously not the whole truth in the parent-child relationship. Just what are parents for, anyhow?…
Abel is credited with speaking three times in the Bible. But in each case, he “speaks” without words…Influence, whether good or bad, is powerful. Abel’s life has been speaking for thousands of years, but what does it say?
What Does the Lord’s Supper Commemorate?
We may have sung a particular hymn for so many years that we can sing both words and music without thinking about them. The same is true concerning prayer. Sometimes one who leads prayers in the assembly will fall into a habit of using terminology that he has not really thought through (perhaps borrowed from a prayer he has heard someone else pray)….
Hell is not a popular or pleasant subject. The “don’t-offend-anyone” crowd doesn’t want to hear about it. Few preachers consider preaching on it, and more and more of them deny its existence. Some just don’t believe anyone’s going there….
It should be a sobering and solemn thought to all that the physical life of everyone ends in an open grave. While physical life will cease for all, each person has an immortal spirit that will never die. What if I have failed to obey Jesus, the Savior, when I die and find myself lost at the Judgment?
There is no “if” about the Bible to committed Christians, but rabid anti-Christians (and even “benign” secularists) would do well to ponder soberly and occasionally (as some likely do), “What if the Bible is true?”…
Many professed believers chafe at the restraints of Divine Law, as set forth in the New Testament. Those who thus pride themselves on being “broadminded” (i.e., “liberal”) often hurl legalist at those who emphasize the necessity of obedience to God’s Word….
The Bible records numerous miracles in both the Old and the New Testaments. God caused some of these directly (e.g., the astounding miracle of creation with which the Bible begins)….
A “saint” to most people implies someone who has attained moral excellence, if not perfection.
There is no single teaching of the New Testament over which more controversy has raged than the subject of baptism. There is only one reason why any controversy at all ever arose concerning the subject.…
There is no single teaching of the New Testament over which more controversy has raged than the subject of baptism. There is only one reason why any controversy at all ever arose concerning the subject.…
It is our premise that the New Testament is God’s verbally inspired Word and that what it teaches on any subject is God’s Will. This is true of the subject of faith, the virgin birth, moral laws, and every other subject, including baptism.…
The definition of the Greek word baptidzo which is translated baptize in the New Testament, is dip, plunge, submerge, immerse. Baptize never means pour or sprinkle since these are two distinct words and acts in the Greek language just as they are in English.…
While we have already called your attention to the statements of lexicons concerning the meaning of baptism in the New Testament, let us now cite quotations from numerous religious leaders of the past few centuries.…
Having surveyed the overwhelming evidence showing the only Scriptural action of baptism to be immersion, we will now seek to discover the Scriptural purpose of baptism.…
In previous articles, we have seen that the action of baptism is immersion, both by definition and description in the New Testament. This is substantiated by the scholarship of the world…
Is immersion in water an act done by a Christian (one who is already saved) or is it an act done in order to become a Christian (be saved)?…
When does this washing occur or how does one apply the precious cleansing blood to his sin-stained life? At the time of baptism which is submitted to specifically in order to receive forgiveness of sins.…
Does the Bible say who should be baptized? Jesus told the apostles to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, and promised, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”…
John Calvin was a powerful preacher, but his greater power was in his pen. Through his literary efforts he not only influenced his own generation, but millions of people in succeeding generations, down to the present.
Is obedience to Christ optional or unnecessary? Are belief in and “love” of Christ the only things required of sinners to be saved? Many would have it so and thus teach….
What Is the Biblical Name of the Universal Church?
The title above is one of several questions a visitor to my Website, TheScripturecache.com, submitted on December 28, 2017. His reading my MS, “The Church of Christ Is Not a Denomination,” provoked the questions (obviously disagreeing with my MS).…
There are many terms used to describe the church in the New Testament which help us to understand the nature and substance of the church.
The word Gospel is frequently found in the New Testament (101 occurrences). Its literal meaning is “glad tidings” or “good news.” It refers to the wonderful news that man can be saved from his sins through Christ and what He did when He came to earth.
We have a strange, self-contradictory element in the Lord’s church today. They pretend to despise what they describe as labels and those who are “guilty” (as they view it) of “labeling” their brethren.…
What Is True Christian Unity Worth?
To speak of true Christian unity implies that a unity may exist that is less than truly Christian. There may indeed be a true unity in religious matters without its being Christian….
Pontius Pilate asked our Lord the question of our title (John 18:38). Perhaps we will never know whether Pilate was sincere or sarcastic. However, there is no excuse for anyone who has read the New Testament to have any doubt whatsoever that Jesus recognized the existence of absolute, objective, immutable spiritual Truth…
What Is Your Idea of the Church?
When you hear the word church what picture do you form in your mind?…Who needs to change his or her idea of it?
What It Means To Be a Christian
The word Christian has greatly changed in meaning through the centuries. In modern usage, one may believe as little or much of the teaching of the New Testament, as long as a person lives “a good moral life.”
Paul described the Philippians as “lights in the world” in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phi. 2:15). In Paul’s time I suppose there was only one kind of light, the light that provided useful and necessary illumination. However, there are many kinds of lights in the world today….
There are many books on the subject of leadership. Several companies offer special seminars on the subject. Countless words have been spoken and millions of dollars spent to discover the secrets of leadership.…
In His immortal Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven….”
There is no more dramatic scene in all of history than the trial of Jesus in the court of Pontius Pilate. On one hand was a heathen governor who had to choose between just treatment of an innocent man and concern for his own political career. On the other hand, was a blood-thirsty mob, screaming for Jesus’ death, quite willing to accept the guilt, both for themselves and their children.…
What Shall We Call the Preacher
Frequently we hear Christians using terms that convey unscriptural ideas concerning religious subjects. We believe it is essential for us to use words that convey Scriptural ideas as nearly as we possibly can.
In the context of convincing the Galatian Christians that the Law of Moses was inferior to the Law/Gospel of Christ, Paul anticipated the foregoing question of our title (Gal. 3:19)….
What Will Happen When Christ Comes Again?—No. 1
All Bible-believers agree that Christ will come again. But there is much confusion about the events that will accompany His coming. What does the Bible say?
What Will Happen When Christ Comes Again?—No. 2
It is established by a careful study of such passages as John 5:28–29, 1 Corinthians 15:22–23, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, that all the dead, both good and evil, will be resurrected when Christ returns. After the resurrection, what then will occur?
What Will Happen When Christ Comes Again?—No. 3
The world will end in the dissolution of the physical universe…The Heavens and the earth are going to be shaken and removed, according to this passage, and only indestructible, spiritual elements will survive, which includes His Kingdom, members of His church.
Following these remarkable events described in Articles No. 1–3 of this series will be the most dramatic of all, however. The final judgment of all men will occur.
We seldom read the word sin in the newspaper or hear it on TV, in the movies, or even in conversation. It has almost become a sin to mention sin.
I can’t see why any Christian would not want the Lord’s church to grow. It is exciting to be a part of that growth and to see it happening before one’s very eyes. As a church grows, it is able to do more. It has greater manpower and womanpower. The more people a church reaches, the more it can reach. There are more jobs and more places to serve. We are servants of a great God who has big plans for us. Be not afraid of bigness!
A bountiful, but bitter harvest of dishonor, immorality, profanity, drug/drink addiction, and cold secularism have become commonplace in our beautiful America. These behaviors extend from the powerless and poor through all intermediate levels to the wealthy and most powerful in business and government (especially among those in government, it seems)….
From the day a little bird is hatched its mother starts preparing it to leave the nest. Each morsel of food brought by the mother is to provide strength and development necessary for its departure.
The New Testament plainly teaches that we sometimes sin as Christians. To children of God, John wrote: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”
The words house and home are often used interchangeably. A $350,000 house may be called a “beautiful home” when it is full of hatred, strife, and unhappiness.…A house where a family lives. A home is how a family lives…
In the 1980s a brokerage firm aired a series of TV commercials, using the theme, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” These ads effectively implied the authority of its sponsor and its trustworthiness concerning investments. How much more should human beings understand that when God and His Son, who created all things, speak or act, people should listen.
God is in the helping business. He has always acted in such a way as to help and benefit mankind. To be true to Him we must seek to be helpers of others. It should never be our desire to cause hurt for the sake of hurt.
There is no more important question for anyone to ponder because it involves one’s eternal destiny. One may be mistaken about his house, his job, his car, his health, mathematics, history, or any number of things, but one dare not be mistaken about this subject….
Luke 2:41–47 provides a rare glance into the childhood of Jesus. At the age of twelve, his parents accidentally left Him in Jerusalem upon beginning their return to Nazareth. This incident yields several practical truths:
A “norm” is a standard, a rule, a pattern. That which is “normal” is that which conforms to the norm or recognized standard. Departure from the rule or standard is “abnormal.” When a nation becomes so corrupt that it elevates abnormal behavior to the level of “normalcy,” it is in serious trouble…
Are there “signs of the times” for “the day of the Lord”? Can men discern the time of His coming from the numerology of Daniel or The Revelation?…
Three times in Paul’s great passage on the Christian “soldier” (Eph. 6:10–17) he tells us the source of all spiritual strength….
The skeptic philosopher, theological liberal, and atheist may accept the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived and died, but they “tune Him out” when they read the indisputable miracles He performed, witnessed by thousands.
I have observed that there are at least six levels of spiritual behavior to be found within any local church. Let us engage in some self-examination….
Modern folk—scholar, ruler, and commoner alike—who still profess to believe in God have nevertheless in many cases eschewed the fact that He created them. Contrariwise, denying God’s revelation of Himself, they have “made” Him in their image. As they have done with the Father, so they have done with His Son, Jesus, the Christ….
Atheism, Humanism, and Secularism now control many of the levers of power in our nation. Law-making judges are ever driving God and the Bible from our public institutions. Marxist-inspired “political correctness” has cast a pall of censorship over us, which has produced “hate speech” laws.
Who Do Men Say That the Son of Man Is?
Jesus once asked the apostles the question of our title (Mat. 16:13). They replied with the opinions they had heard expressed among the people. Likewise, in our time, if Jesus is being discussed, one almost has to ask, “Which Jesus?”
It is not unusual to hear all sorts of dishonesty and everyday cheating justified by the lame excuse, “Nobody got hurt.”
Most people apply Christian indiscriminately to anyone who gives even the least lip service to Jesus and/or his doctrine. But by Bible definition, who, in fact, is a Christian? Determining who is not a Christian may help us answer this question.…
We must clearly decide whom we will serve. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Mat. 6:24). So many have just enough religion to make them miserable….
The very fact that God, the Almighty, the Supreme One, is the source of all good, necessarily implies the eventual triumph of good over evil. God’s promise of Christ’s victory over Satan (Gen. 3:15) is a promise of the eventual final triumph of Truth over error….
Is the spirit of innovation/”creativity” in religion that which heroically exemplifies “what faith can do”? Let us test this matter.
“Who’s the Boss of This Church?”
One of our little visitors at Vacation Bible School once asked this question. His teacher told him the Lord was. He didn’t agree. He said he thought that man who stood up at the front (referring to me) was the boss….
God pronounced judgment on the foolish farmer who had stockpiled his harvests with only one aim—selfish indulgence. In one breath God told him he would die that night and asked him, “The things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?”…
The mail recently brought a small flyer with the question in the title above. The flip-side answers as follows: “You are here to have an eternal relationship with God!” To be Biblically accurate, we are here to serve and glorify God so that we can enjoy an eternal relationship with Him in Heaven….
In spite of the plainness of the singularity of Jesus’ purpose in coming among men, it is still misunderstood. Men have variously set forth such purposes as political revolution, social reform, and physical healing—all of which crucially miss the mark….
I suppose the most difficult task that each of us is called upon to perform is the examination of our motives. Jesus was talking about this when he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God”….
Do male and female need to be married to please God or can they just decide to cohabit and begin sharing bed and board at their own whim?..
Are Gospel meeting series still worth the time, money, and effort they require? Many point to the decline in attendance, when compared with such efforts thirty or forty years ago, and some congregations have discontinued them…
Among Jesus’ greatest causes of distress must have been those who failed Him. These included unbelievers as well as various disciples who abandoned, denied, or betrayed Him….
Why did God empower men in the first century to work miracles? One of the Biblical words for “miracle” (semeion) provides a clue.
Why One Should Be a Christian?
Some people are not Christians because they’re not willing to count the cost and pay the price. Some have too much pride to humbly obey the Word of Christ. Some are so steeped in prejudice that they will never give the Gospel a fair hearing.…
Why Should I Attend Bible School?
Every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening the congregation conducts Bible classes. Dedicated teachers prepare for their teaching duties each week. Lamentably, some do not take advantage of these learning opportunities.
When the walls of Jerusalem had tumbled in, and remained in that condition for a long time, Nehemiah was allowed to return to his native land for the purpose of rebuilding those walls. It was a great day in the life of the Jewish nation when these walls, which surrounded their holy city began to be raised again.…
Ever since the church began, some who obeyed the Gospel, thus being added by the Lord to the church, have failed to remain faithful. I am sure that there are some reasons with which I am not familiar. However, I have heard several in the years I have been preaching the Gospel.…
The church described in the New Testament is the greatest institution in all the world and through all time. This can be said without qualification because the church is a Divine institution
The New Testament church is the greatest institution ever built. This is so because it is ordained of God and built by Christ through the work of His apostles. Due to the ways in which men have corrupted it throughout its history, its simplicity and beauty have been obscured to most men.
The church of which we read in the New Testament is incomparable. It was planned from eternity by God and built by Christ through the work of His inspired apostles. Those who are content to abide by the teachings of Christ can know the blessings of being a part of His great church today.
Among all the organizations and institutions that have existed or that continue to exist on earth, the church of Jesus Christ remains paramount. It has Jesus Christ as its founder. He paid the incomparable price of His own blood for it. It is intimately related to Christ as no other body of people can be.
The most powerful and interesting preacher in the world is insufficient to draw crowds to hear the Gospel by himself. There must be the added element of the personal invitation, the personal visit, if a great crowd is to be gathered.…
In God’s inspired Word, the Bible, He has revealed everything anyone can know about His mind and will. Either He means what He says in His Word, or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, the Bible is merely advice that we may ignore with impunity.…
I have long observed that major movements in the world will sooner or later have their effect upon religion.… One example is the Women’s Lib movement and its implications concerning the church.…
All of those who love and are influenced by the world stand opposed to and alienated from God. Consider some of the warnings the Lord gives us against worldliness and the world.
“But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Paul’s description of ungodly men fits just as well now as when he wrote it….
Would Peter Come to Your House?
Acts 12 gives us the record of Herod’s cruel murder of James and imprisonment of Peter because it pleased the Jews. But the Lord had other plans for Peter and sent an angel to release him…When Peter finally convinced himself that he was not seeing a vision, but that he was truly outside the prison, he “considered” what he should do…
What a wonderful world this would be if this spirit “ran loose” each day of the year, and indeed, this is what the Lord wills. Along with all of the good things this season brings, I have observed some who have extreme positions toward “Xmas.”
“Ye Shall Die in Your Sins”—John 8-24
In John 8:24 Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
“A person who shoulders his responsibilities has little room left for chips.” There is so much truth in this sentence that it might be termed a proverb. It surely points us to one of the forgotten virtues of our times.
An adversary is an avowed, obvious enemy. He (or she) makes things adverse as often as he can. He opposes, contradicts, discourages, thwarts, and belittles everything that doesn’t please him. Such is the devil, old Satan, to the Christian.
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