Funding Church Works
Cade K. Somers
The love of money is the root of all evil
(I Tim. 6:10). This sentence sermon holds the key to
understanding why the rich farmer built bigger barns and why
wealthy and impoverished people alike are never satisfied (Luke
12:16-21; cf. Phil. 4:11). Repercussions for loving money include
urges to gamble, steal and scam acts of greed and
desperation. The love of money is often fed by the love to spend
money; therefore, many who find money promptly dispense of it as if
it were a hot potato. Even churches are caught up in this form of
covetousness. They spend endless dollars building and maintaining
massive facilities on tens of acres only to realize they want more
amplified auditoriums, lavished lobbies and bejeweled
gymnasiums. Months, maybe years, later the elders realize church
funds are low and financial desperation sets in. How are we
going to pay the preacher? We may be forced to stop
supporting a missionary overseas. Do we really have to
help the less-fortunate right now?
I believe most people are sympathetic toward organizations
like the Red Cross, American Cancer Society and United Cerebral
Palsy which require public donations to function. When you see
their volunteers on the street corner or at a storefront,
youre compelled to give. Increasingly common are churches that
have joined the beggary, assuming the same role as deprived secular
institutions. As a passerby, I would be forced to question why the
church, having multi-million-dollar facilities and hundreds of
members is holding bake sales, yard sales, raffles and car washes
to make ends meet. Smells fishy. Does the missionary overseas
really owe gratitude to a church that budgets based on what it
receives from local unbelievers, bar-hoppers, fornicators, liars
and hypocrites? If I were that missionary, Id feel worthless
and unappreciated. After Hurricane Katrina, many churches gathered
clothes to send the needy. Some solicited communities to donate;
partly, the result was an array of bikinis, skimpy lingerie and
printed-tees with inappropriate language or pictures. But, so long
as its money, the attitude is, Well take it.
Funding church works is a subject that would be more
difficult to discern if God had not spoken so clearly about it.
Now concerning the collection for the saints... Upon the
first day of the [literally, every] week let every one
of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there
be no gatherings when I come (I Cor. 16:1,2). The church
was to give for the work of benevolence to needy Jerusalem saints
(Acts 11:29). Their giving was to be done every man
according as he purposeth in his heart...; not grudgingly, or of
necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (II Cor.
9:7). The New Testament church, comprised of a membership of
Christians (I Cor. 12:27), works in three areas: 1) evangelism
(Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 8:4), 2) edification (Eph.
4:11-16; I Cor. 14:26) and 3) benevolence (I Tim. 5:16;
James 1:27). While a facility is expedient as a place for the
church to assemble and enjoy fellowship (cf. I Cor. 16:19), the
grandiosity of the meeting-place falls in the realm of sound
judgment. The local church should do its best to build modestly and
conservatively, for it is the Lords money we use and it is the
Lord Himself we represent. It says nothing of stewardship for a
church to flatter itself with costly extravagances and then to
cough out pennies to worthwhile works (cf. Titus 3:14; I Tim.
6:18). Jesus taught His disciples to serve God first and others
second (Luke 10:27; cf. I Cor. 9:19). Self should be last.
David said, I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
bread (Psalm 37:25). For what righteousness we do, God
rewards (Psalm 106:3; I John 2:29); therefore, may we note what
righteousness does for the local church: 1) Righteousness takes
care of the needs of the church that seeks God first (Matt. 6:33);
2) Righteousness does not lead to the church begging for bread or
soliciting the common man for help (Gal. 6:10); 3) Righteousness
does not leave one church isolated with no friend (Prov. 18:24; I
John 1:3,7; cf. I Kings 19:14,18). Only the church whose friends
are few and whose only strength is self will find no funds for
works of evangelism, edification and benevolence and conclude that
it must sell its products and services to the highest public
bidders. Elders of loyal churches, small and large, destitute and
affluent, never think once to have a church sponsored yard sale and
to publicize its proceeds to compensate for a mission trip or
support a home for orphans. Faithful Christians dig down deep in
their pockets, oftentimes to the detriment of themselves, to
support homes for orphans, preaching schools, missionaries and
other good works. They know they can call on sister churches and
trust their willingness, too, to support scriptural brotherhood
In every unwise, uncalled-for action done in the name of
Christ is the failure to comprehend the authority which Christ has
(Col. 3:17). Here is some scriptural advice for the church which
finds itself agonizing for added money: 1) Do not obligate finances
to works until those finances are in-hand, 2) Work harder to save
money and contribute to desired works later, 3) Request help from
sister congregations to alleviate the costly burden (cf. Gal. 6:2).
While many churches have heard complaints from good
brethren about poor fund-collecting tactics and continue with no
regard, there are some whose leaders simply have never thought
about the negative influence it has upon Christ, the church and the
community. Jerusalem saints sold items to supply one another (Acts
2:45), but the indication is that they did so individually
not under a great big sign reading Church Yard Sale: Help Us
Take Care of Needy Christians because We Cant Do it
Ourselves. Call it tact. Call it being above
reproach. Call it doing Bible things in Bible ways.
No matter how viewed, if members of the church give on the first
day of every week cheerfully, and if the church does not
frivolously waste its money, there will be no temptation to do
those things (fund raisers) which have no Bible authority behind
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Table of Contents
Salvation By Grace Through Faith
Garland M. Robinson
The old man of sin (an alien sinner, a lost
person) is buried in water baptism. The new creature in Christ
(a Christian, one saved from sins) is raised up from baptism.
Romans 6:3-6 and then verses 17-18 makes this clear. You dont
bury a live person. You bury a dead person. One does not partake of
Christs death, burial and resurrection at the moment of
faith. One partakes of Christs death, burial and
resurrection in water baptism (Rom. 6:3-6). Christ shed
his saving blood in his death and its when a person is
baptized into his death that we contact His blood (Rom. 6:3-6).
The blood of Christ is what washes sins away (Rev. 1:5).
But WHEN does one contact His blood? Its when one is baptized
to wash away their sins (by his blood, Acts 22:16). This is
salvation by faith! We have no confidence in ourselves. We do not
trust in works of merit. They cannot save. Salvation comes at the
point of obedient faith, not at the point of faith
alone (or faith that is without works/obedience). Obedience
proves one has saving faith. Jesus saves those who OBEY. He does
not save those who do not obey. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23,
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out
devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23). The moment one believes (faith
only), there is no obedience.
Abraham was justified by faith, but not until he obeyed
(WORKED) Gods command to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He
performed Gods work, not his own work. He performed (obeyed,
worked) what God commanded. His faith was useless at the point he
simply believed. But, his faith was made complete (perfect, alive)
at the moment he OBEYED.
James chapter two is complementing Paul in Romans chapters
four and five. James is explaining exact details about WHEN saving
faith works. Paul does not deny the teaching of James and James
does not deny the teaching of Paul. They go hand in hand. The
teaching of God is not either FAITH or WORKS. It is not one or the
other, it is BOTH. Faith and works (obedience) cannot be separated.
To separate the works of obedience from faith makes faith dead
(vain, useless). The works James is talking about are NOT
works of the law of Moses because they cannot save (Gal.
2:16). He is not talking about works of mans
righteousness because they cannot save and have no connection
with salvation (Titus 3:5). He is not talking about works of
merit where God would owe us (Eph. 2:8-9). James is talking
about works of obedience doing what God commands.
We trust in God who gave the commands. We do not trust in the works
He commanded and/or our performance of those works. We humbly
submit to the Lord in trusting faith and comply with His demands.
Was Noah saved the moment he believed God or when he did
what God said in building the ark? Had he believed only, he would
have drowned. But, by his obedience, I Peter 3:21 says he was saved
by water. Does this mean the waters of the flood saved
Noah? Yes, that is what the verse says. But, is that all there is?
No. We must understand something more in light of the rest of the
Bible. And, we must certainly take ALL the Bible says on the
subject of salvation, not just the parts we want to take not
just the parts we want to believe. Many want to pick out faith and
exclude the rest. But not those who love the Lord! Lets take
ALL the Bible says on the subject. That does not minimize faith at
all. That simply takes God at His word.
ALL that we do in the plan of salvation is done by FAITH.
We REPENT by faith, we CONFESS by faith, were BAPTIZED by
faith. Without faith, all these things are useless! That is why the
Bible sums up all the acts of obedience in the plan of salvation by
saying that we are saved by FAITH.
A living faith, an active faith, a saving faith, is one
that OBEYS ALL the plan of salvation. That is why the jailor was
told to believe and he would be saved (cf. Acts
16:31-33). Belief sums up ALL the plan of salvation. The word
belief stands for the whole plan of salvation. It is a figure of
speech (synecdoche) where a part stands for the
whole. Saving faith trusts in God, not ourselves.
Theres nothing we can do, of ourselves, that will bring about
salvation. Salvation does not arise from our own futile works.
Look back at Noah. I Peter 3:21 says he was saved by
water. In like manner (in similar fashion), BAPTISM doth
also NOW SAVE US. The usual rebuttal to baptism saving us is to
ignore or dismiss what this part of the verse says and move on to
the next phrase and quibble about a clear conscience. But, there
should be no quibble. When ones active faith prompts him to be
baptized, he certainly has a good conscience (a clear conscience)
because he knows he has done that which God commands him to do.
This is not mans work, this is the work God devised and
commands him to do. We trust God will extend salvation through the
atoning blood of Christ because of His sacrifice on the cross.
Baptism has nothing to do with washing the physical body.
Theres nothing different or unusual about the water. Its
just water. We can drink it. We can take a bath in it. We can water
our garden or wash our car with it. But, we trust God by submitting
to the act of being baptized in water because that is Gods
command. We know that Jesus shed His blood in His death and we know
that in water baptism we contact His blood because baptism is a
likeness of His death, burial and resurrection.
Water baptism is the new birth. In John 3:3-5 we read,
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can
he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus
answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God (John 3:3-5). As Jesus died on the cross, a sinner dies to
sin. As Jesus was buried in a tomb, a sinner is buried in water. As
Jesus was raised from the tomb, the one who arises from baptism is
a new creature, one who is now in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), alive from
the dead (Rom. 6:11,13) and washed in the blood of the lamb (Rev.
1:5; Acts 22:16). The one baptized in water now walks (lives) in
newness of life (Rom. 6:4) and is no longer of servant of sin (Rom.
6:12-13). This is a beautiful picture. Man could have never thought
of such a thing. This is Gods doing. All man does to be saved
is done in faith, humbly taking God at His word and obeying His
Have YOU been born again? Without it, you will not be
saved (John 3:3-5). Denominational doctrine cannot tell us what the
new birth is. Denominationalism refuses to believe what Jesus told
Being born again involves water. The only water we read
about in the process of becoming a child of God is water baptism.
Drinking water has no connection with salvation. Taking a bath in
water has no connection with salvation. But being baptized in water
has everything to do with salvation. The act of being baptized in
water is an act of faith, an act in which we trust in the sacrifice
of Jesus on the cross and his precious blood he shed in his death.
God chose the water of baptism to be the dividing line between
spiritual death in the world and being spiritually alive in Christ
-- between one dying in their sins and one having their sins washed
Jesus said water was essential in entering the kingdom.
Denominationalism says water has nothing to do with entering the
kingdom. Excuse me, but Ill accept and follow Jesus, not the
doctrines of men. The faith that justifies, the faith that is
approved of the Lord, the faith that saves, is faith that OBEYS. It
is a faith that submits to being immersed in water for the
forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; John 3-5; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16;
I Peter 3:21).
Do YOU believe? Will YOU obey?
Table of Contents
Wheres The Fight?
Alton W. Fonville
Changes have taken place. A few years back, wheres
the fight was a phrase that meant excitement and people
gathered around. An activity was taking place which meant opponents
were settling their differences. This was the case in the
world around us and also in the Lords church. But, things have
changed. The fight has almost ceased to exist among far
too many of the Lords church.
Headlines on some of the papers throughout the brotherhood
give the shameful details: Nations largest church of Christ
adding instrumental service and serving the Lords Supper on
Saturday night. Leaders say there was little opposition
to the announcement. Brethren, wheres the fight which we
entered when we took that oath of office to serve the
Lord, and became a member of His army? Certainly, it is not a
physical fight and our weapons are not physical. False doctrines
and practices, principalities, spiritual wickedness and rulers of
the darkness of this world are the things mentioned specifically by
Paul, and for which he fought his good fight of faith. He
was literally a prisoner in bonds for his constant fight against
these things, and he warned everyone night and day with tears,
about being constant in this fight, and using him as an example to
follow (Ephesians and Philippians).
At one time not too many years back, the church of Christ
was known as a fighter. Members were known as people
of the Book walking Bibles. The church was
growing faster then than at any other time in recent history, but,
we have changed and the fight is not in us now. We wonder
what has happened and where is that fight. It does not take too
long to find the answers. The Book has been replaced with words
which were not so harsh and the desire to please ourselves and be
entertained and to be at peace with the world, being thought of as
a group which fits in with the world has nearly done away
with that fighting spirit which Jesus Christ and the apostles
wanted the Christian to have.
How does that fit with the scriptures and its teaching?
Let that inspired word from God speak to mine and your
hearts. Love not the world, neither the things that are
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him (I John 2:15). Think not that I am
come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
... And a mans foes shall be they of his own household. He
that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me
(Matt. 10:34,36,37). And be not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye
may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of
God (Rom. 12:2). Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus...he humbled himself and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil.
2:5,8). Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark
them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk,
of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that
they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is
destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their
shame, who mind earthly things) (Phil. 3:17-19).
Those words from Almighty God have been perverted,
twisted, smoothed down, forgotten willingly and otherwise neglected
to the loss of our fighting spirit which each Christian should
have. We have loved this world and its pleasures more
than God. We have not humbled ourselves as servants of
Christ but to our own bellies. We have traded Gods word
for smooth sayings and loved to have it so. We have
become friends with this world and an enemy to God. We
sit idly by and let the chaste virgin become a spotted
and blemished social club which fits in with this
sin-sick world. We refuse to fight the good fight of faith. We will
pay the price except we repent.
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St. Paul, AR 72760
Table of Contents
Some Critical Questions In Romans 6:1-4
As a background to Romans 6, consider some of the things that
we know about the people to whom the Book of Romans was written.
They are called saints (1:7). Their faith was spoken
of throughout the whole world (1:8). They were justified by
faith (5:1), having been made free from sin when they obeyed the
Gospel in water baptism (6:17,18).
Just prior to the instruction that we have in Romans 6,
in the latter portion of chapter five we read about a contrast
between sin and righteousness, a contrast between the effects of
the actions of Adam and Jesus, and we further learn that sin is
awful, but Gods grace can overcome sin and its consequences.
With this context in mind, here is the message of Romans 6:1-4:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that
grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin,
live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were
baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore
we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of life.
This text presents questions about what to say, continuing
in sin, and knowledge of baptism. Let us examine these questions,
recognizing that questions cause us to think. They challenge us and
they can stir us to action.
Question 1: What shall we say? (6:1)
Say about what? In the context, the points under
consideration are sin, grace and proper living. What shall we say
about such matters? The principle would be, in all spiritual
matters, what should we say? The answer, of course, is that we
should say what God says. The prophet Micaiah said it this way:
As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I
speak (II Chron. 18:13). What shall we say? On any
biblical subject, we should teach the whole counsel of God (Acts
20:27), not adding to or taking away from what
God says. We should be committed to speaking what people need to
hear, not what they want to hear. Surely the Lord knew what He was
doing when He gave the charge to preach the Gospel, speaking as the
oracles of God (Mark 16:15; I Peter 4:11).
Whatever Paul might write about sin, grace, and proper
living, his instruction would come from God and nowhere else.
Question 2: Shall we continue in sin?
The full question is, Shall we continue in sin that
grace may abound? If someone understood that Gods grace
is demonstrated each time a child of God sins, but then repents and
God accepts Him again, then perhaps he might think, The more
a person sins, the more Gods grace is shown. Thus, it would
not be a bad thing to keep on sinning. What is Gods
answer to such an idea? God forbid [certainly not] (6:2).
Again, God says that we are dead to sin (6:2,11), so sin is no
longer to dominate in our life.
When one becomes a child of God, he/she must get out and
stay out of the sinning business! We are not to be slaves of sin,
but rather slaves of righteousness (6:12-16,22). In Romans 6:6 we
read that henceforth we should not serve sin. We are a
new creation in the Christ, so old things have passed away as we
have put off the old man and his sinful ways (II Cor. 5:17; Col.
3:5-9). We are instructed to abstain from the fleshly lusts which
war against our soul (I Peter 2:11).
But, what if? What if a disciple of Jesus decides to just
go ahead and continue in sin? In the first place, such a one is the
slave of sin. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield
yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness
(Rom. 6:16)? The same context shows that the one who
continues in sin is dead spiritually, as the wages of sin is death
(6:23). We learn elsewhere that the child of God who walks in
darkness (remains in sin) forfeits his/her fellowship with God (I
John 1:6). Ultimately, the slave of sin (unrighteous person) shall
not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9). Because of the
weakness of our flesh, we will commit sin. To deny this truth is to
deceive ourselves and reject the Bibles plain teaching (I John
1:8). However, we must not allow sin to rule in our lives, that is,
we must not become sins slave. Once again, shall we continue
in sin? God forbid.
Question 3: Know ye not, that so many of us as
we were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his
Remember, Romans 6 is a context that speaks about sin and
the need to avoid staying in it. Do you know the truth about
baptism? Do you accept that truth?
Truth about baptism: A person gets into the Christ by
being baptized into Him (6:3). Galatians 3:27 states, For
as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
Christ. Scripturally speaking, the only way to get into
the Christ, in Whom are all spiritual blessings, including
redemption (Rom. 3:24), is to be baptized into Him. Those that have
not yet been baptized into Him are still lost in sin.
Truth about baptism: A person gets into the death of the
Christ by being baptized into it (6:3). We are justified by
his blood (Rom. 5:9) and reconciled to God by the death
of his Son (5:10). Since the Lord shed His blood in His death
(by which we are justified), and since one gets into the death of
Jesus death by being baptized (6:3), then it follows that
scriptural baptism is a required part of the process by which one
is justified in Gods sight. Just as there could be no
justification without the death of Jesus, so a sinner cannot be
justified without water baptism.
Truth about baptism: We are buried with Jesus into death.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto
death (6:4). Just as Jesus died and was buried in a
tomb, so a person that is dead in sin is buried with him
in baptism (Col. 2:12).
Truth about baptism: Following baptism, one is to walk in
newness of life. Therefore we are buried with him by
baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness
of life (6:4). The fact that we should walk in newness
of life is another answer to the question, Shall we continue
in sin? Of course we should not remain in sin, because we are
supposed to be a new person with a new outlook! That means that sin
should be out the door. Note also that a person has a new
life, i.e., he/she is born again, only after baptism. That does not
mean that water can save a person, however it does indicate that
baptism in water is a required act in order to be cleansed from
Romans 6:1-4 is a clear, memorable section of scripture.
The three questions that we have considered from this passage about
what to say, continuing in sin, and knowledge of baptism, cause us
to think seriously about what the Lord wants us to be.
Now that we have learned from this passage, what shall we
do with our knowledge? Should we not apply it to our lives and
strive to live as servants of righteousness?
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Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
What Does It Cost To Be A Christian?
For which of you, intending to build a tower,
sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have
sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)
Many times, children of God find it difficult to
understand why those outside of Christ do not or will not submit
themselves to the Gospel, even when the urgency of accepting
Gods soul-saving plan is presented to them in the clearest of
terms. Aside from the problem of those who feel they have already
been saved through the misguidance of denominational
dogma, it is indeed a wonder why most morally good people do not
gladly accept the Bibles teaching concerning Gods great
and only way of salvation.
But the devil understands why...and within his arsenal of
evil endeavors is the proliferation of the belief that it costs too
much to be a Christian too many denials of self, too many
pleasures lost, too much fun to be missed. Young people especially
are vulnerable to such thoughts, and may find themselves asking,
Is it true? Is there a price? How much is it? If I become a
Christian, will I be happy? The God-given answers and their
subsequent lessons are vitally important to the souls of young and
There Is A Cost To Discipleship. It would be
deceitful to say that there is no cost, no price to pay in becoming
a Christian and living the Christian life. Jesus himself said that
one should count the cost. It would also be false to say
that sin has no pleasures. Hebrews 11:25 speaks of Moses who chose
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. There is pleasure in
sin, but it is not of long duration it is only for a short
In view of the fact that a cost is involved, someone might
ask: How much must I love the Lord and what must I be willing
to sacrifice in order to pay the cost of being a Christian?
The answers can be found in two passages of the Bible. The first in
Matthew 22:37: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy mind. The second in Romans 12:1-2: I
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye
may prove, what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of
The law of service demands that one follow Christ, as can
be seen in Matthew 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his
disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and
take up his cross, and follow me. This truth is
essential for those who would pay the price to take on the name of
Christ to serve and follow Him all the days of their lives.
The First Cost Is To Inform Oneself. The builder
of the tower in Luke 14:28 is told to sit down and count the cost.
Certainly, it would be foolish to do otherwise. A builder must have
that information in order to determine whether or not he can
complete his endeavor. He must be well informed in order to begin
and finish the work he has planned to do. In much the same way, we
must inform ourselves concerning the Christian life. The apostle
Paul was concerned with this in II Timothy 2:15 when he urged,
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Informing ourselves is a life-long process that leads to the
richest of rewards.
The Second Cost Is To Transform Oneself. The
aforementioned passage of Romans 12:2 teaches this very thing. When
a person becomes a Christian when he is purified and redeemed
by the blood of Christ a great transformation occurs in his
life. If this change does not happen, a conversion has not taken
place. The soul is purified when the hearts desires are
changed and altered, from that of evil to that of righteousness
transformed through obedience to Gods word.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye
love one another with a pure heart fervently (I Peter
1:22). His word must dwell in our minds and control our actions:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And
whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Col.
3:16-17). We must inform ourselves as to what the Lord wants us to
be in order for a transformation to take place.
The Third Cost Is To Deny Oneself. There is no
sin more prevalent than selfishness. Jesus taught in Matthew 16:24
that a person should deny himself, and take up his cross
and follow me. Those guilty of selfishness cannot
worship God as they ought nor will they be interested in helping
others as expected. It is no wonder that so many fail to worship
and serve Jehovah as sincere, consecrated Christians, when they
desire everything for themselves (including money, pleasures,
talents, love, desires and glory) and little or nothing for their
Heavenly Father. The story of the rich young ruler should be a
well-remembered lesson, along with the fearful fact that one who
refuses to renounce the world will also be renounced by Christ.
The Fourth Cost Is To Lose Oneself. Jesus taught
a vital truth in John 12:25 when he exclaimed, He that
loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this
world shall keep it unto life eternal. The meaning is
simple: one who loves his life too much will live for things of
short duration (the pleasures of this earth) with little or no
thought of eternity. But the person who is willing to give up the
good things in this life (who loses his life
for Christ and His cause) shall find a home eternal in heaven.
Are you engrossed in His work, in talking to others about
their souls condition, in trying to influence others by your
conduct and righteous living? If so, you can say that you are
losing your life. If you are willing to suffer rebuke and ridicule
while you stand for the right, you are losing your life for Christ
and one day you will find it in eternity. The more we do for others
(and for Jesus), the more we lose ourselves in self-forgetful
It is essential that we count the cost of serving Christ,
for it does cost something. We must be informed. We must be
transformed. We must learn and determine to deny ourselves as Jesus
teaches. And, we must lose ourselves in service to the Saviour.
Only then can we ever enjoy and understand the Christian life and
the pleasures to be found therein.
400 Valencia Dr., #1223
Maumelle, AR 72113
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The Obedience Of The Rechabites
When Israel entered into and occupied the land of Canaan,
there was a small tribal band of people who inhabited the desert
land south of Judah. Commonly referred to as the Midianites, they
were also known as Kenites. They were wandering smiths who formed
a metallurgy guild in an age when such talent and ability was
confined to only a few. Moses father-in-law, Jethro, was a
Kenite (Judges 1:16). When Israel invaded the land of Canaan under
the direction of Joshua, these Kenites accompanied Gods people
as far as Jericho (Judges 1:16) and then returned to their homeland
south of Judah. One of the descendants of these Kenites was
Jonadab, the son of Rechab. Jonadab is known for his association
with Jehu. When Jehu was sent to destroy the seed of Ahab, Jonadab
was invited to go with him and witness his zeal for the
Lord (II Kings 10:16). Jonadab saw first hand the fruit of
Israels wickedness and Gods judgment upon that ungodly
and apostate nation. The Northern Kingdom eventually fell as the
result of Gods punishment upon those ten tribes who refused to
listen to the prophets and repent of their evil way.
Go forward in time to the days of the Southern Kingdom
alone. Judah is following in the footsteps of her wicked sister,
Israel. Jeremiah is sent to Judah to warn of the need to repent and
obey. The weeping prophet is told to Go unto the house of
the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house
of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to
drink (Jer. 35:1-2). The Rechabites were the decedents
of Rechab, the father of Jonadab. Evidently, before Jonadab passed
unto his eternal reward, he instructed his children, and all
generations yet unborn, with regard to certain moral and social
practices. Jonadab, the son of Rechab our father,
commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your
sons for ever. Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor
plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in
tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be
strangers (Jer. 35:6-7).
When Jeremiah instructed them to drink wine,
these descendants refused Jeremiahs offer and provided the
following explanation: Thus have we obeyed the voice of
Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged
us (Jer. 35:8a). Speaking through Jeremiah the prophet,
God holds the Rechabites up as an example of obedience before
Judah. What a stark contrast! While Israel remained in
obstinate rebellion, here were a group of people who were
determined to remain faithful to the instructions of their fathers.
May I suggest the following points with regard to the
obedience of the Rechabites.
First, the Rechabites were obedient in spite of
the CIRCUMSTANCES. Surrounded by the inhabitants of Judah who
were living like the world, these Rechabites could easily have
succumbed to the temptation set before them. After all, if
Gods people could drink wine, commit adultery,
worship false gods, et al, then why should they, the
Rechabites, abstain? May we suggest that the Rechabites were set
before Israel as an example of faithful obedience because they were
willing to obey, regardless of the circumstances that surrounded
them. Cast in the mold of men like Daniel, and the three Hebrew
children who refused to compromise the truth in the face of
mitigating circumstances, these Rechabites chose commitment above
compromise, and obedience rather than obstanancy.
Second, the Rechabites were obedient because they
respected the COMMAND given by their fathers. The command was
personal, plain, prohibitive, and productive.
There was nothing difficult to understand in the command, nor in
the personal application of that command. One of the reasons why
men do not obey the Lord today is because they take what God
considers a command and they treat it as an option.
If you doubt this, consider the simple command that we
forsake not the assembling of ourselves together (Heb.
10:25). There are very few, if any, congregations that are not
plagued with the wide chasm separating the attendance figures on
Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Such individuals who habitually
miss Sunday evening and/or Wednesday night have relegated a command
of God to a matter of choice.
Third, the Rechabites were obedient because they
were COMMITTED. They were united in their devotion to God and
realized the importance of teaching their families the same kind of
commitment and dedication (v.8). Note the extent of their
commitment from this verse. 1) They obeyed ALL that their father
commanded; 2) they obeyed the command for ALL of their life; 3)
they taught it to ALL their descendants.
Fourth, the Rechabites were obedient because they
realized there were CONSEQUENCES associated with their actions.
In her disobedience, Judah would face punishment; but the
Rechabites, because of their example of obedience, shall
not want a man to stand before me [God, TW] for
ever (v.19). The foolish man seeks to excuse himself for
his actions, deceiving himself into believing that what he sows, he
will NOT reap; but the wise man knows that what he sows he SHALL
reap (Gal. 6:7-8). Therein lies the difference between the obedient
Rechabites and disobedient Judah.
My friend, will you not obey your Master TODAY? Seek
to have the heart of these amazing Rechabites. I will close with
the following poem. I know not the author, but its message is
Tomorrow, he promised his conscience;
Tomorrow I mean to believe;
Tomorrow Ill think as I ought to;
Tomorrow my Saviour receive.
Tomorrow Ill conquer the habits
That hold one from heaven away.
But never his conscience repeated one word,
And only one word, Today.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow
Thus day after day it went on;
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow
Till youth like vision was gone.
Till age and his passions had written
The message of fate on his brow;
And forth from the shadows came Death,
With the pitiless syllable, Now!
What will you do with Jesus?
The question comes low and clear;
The solemn words are sounding
Now in your listening ear.
Immortal lifes in the question
And joy through eternity.
Then what will you do with Jesus?
What will your answer be?
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Talco, TX 75487
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I would greatly appreciate you sending me the monthly
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editor, gmr]. Hold fast to the Lord ...L.
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help with the publishing of Seek The Old Paths. It is an
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wishes ...V. Glenn McCoy, Yorba Linda, CA. Thank
you for your previous Seek The Old Paths issues. Due to
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friend shared your Seek The Old Paths publication and I
have been reading them ever since then. I have saved them all even
the old ones from your web page and really enjoy them. I have been
with a congregation that has been flirting with Liberalism or
Unity/Diversity. Its quite sad as I finally had to worship in
another location where they are teaching the truth. Keep up the
good work, Ill be checking back soon hoping you guys will post
the September issue soon. Thanks ...Gary. I
appreciate your paper and the website ...Don Tarbet,
Denison, TX. I want to say to you how much I enjoy
reading Seek The Old Paths. It is one of the most
conservative papers in the brotherhood. I am the new minister here
at the McCreary church of Christ in Whitley City, Kentucky. The
church almost closed its doors about six months ago. But I moved
here the 1st of November to start helping them get it back
together. They used to have about 23-30 members. Right now, our
prayers are to increase our attendance in one year to 20. We have
already started visiting those that have quit coming. We hope and
pray all will come back. I would love to send you some money to
help on finances but unable at this time. We are getting outside
support but hope and pray we can change that within three years. I
made a three year commitment. The brethren are happy we are here
and we are well. This is what I have been doing after my
retirement. So please send us about 12 copies of Seek The Old
Paths. It will be greatly used ...Joe Arnold,
Whitley City, KY. [NOTE: We pray you will continue to
work with the brethren there and be able to build them up. We have
put you on the mailing list to receive 10 copies each month. We
mail in bundles of 10. When you find you need 20, well be glad
to send an extra bundle your way. Thanks for your good note.
editor, gmr] Thanks lots! Keep up the good
work ...Jimmy Canup, Fries, VA. Just a little
something to help out on your wonderful paper. I would like to
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and share this news with others. Betty Chafin of Bluefield, WV
said, I wish there were more papers like this. I receive the
paper from the Merkel church of Christ in Merkel Texas. I
believe this is one way to help each other and the world...we that
receive Seek The Old Paths share it with others. I
really do not know who sent this paper to me. I just thank my God
I receive it. Continue in this good work and may God bless you
...Georgia Evans, Big Sandy, TN. The whole truth and
nothing but the truth is being preached where we worship and has
made some feel guilty, so they moved on to a church where
their ears are being tickled once again. They are working on
enticing others away from us. There are other much larger
congregations in our area where the parties, trips and sports
programs are drawing people like bees to honey. The gospel is not
being preached, but the fun is! ...Anonymous.
[NOTE: It is so sad that brethren do not want the truth. But, that
is what the Bible tells us has happened and will happen again and
again. So many want their ears tickled just as youve stated.
Sadly, many churches are doing exactly that and dont even know
it. They content themselves by thinking that since they wear the
name church of Christ they are all right. They never stop
to ask for a thus saith the Lord. When will they wake up
and follow the right way? Our prayers are with you and
were thankful you have a preacher that stands in the old
paths and proclaims the whole counsel of God. May
the number like him be multiplied. editor, gmr]
Keep preaching the word in it fullness. We are so uplifted by
your lessons ...Barbara Farley & Lu Ella Fallier, Arkansas
City, KS. Thanks for sending me the paper
...Florice Cardwell, Oxford, MS. Thank you for all that
you do for the Lord. May our God continue to bless you richly
according to His good will ...Jimmie B. Hill, Dacula, GA.
I want to wish you a happy holiday season. I pray your
health is good and you have many years to continue the Lords
work with your great publication of Seek The Old Paths.
I thank you for sending me the publication for the Morning Glory
church at Gardendale. By handing them out, I can encourage people
to read them. This is such a good work and exposes error that some
brethren dont realize exists. Our fault today is not reading
and not knowing the error that is so rampant in the Lords
church today ...Ed Armstrong, Pecos, TX. [NOTE:
Thanks brother Armstrong for your encouraging words. We thank
everyone who takes the time to write and help hold up our hands. It
is true that so many are traveling down the liberal road and
dont even know it. Our job is to keep on teaching and
preaching and calling peoples attention to the old paths.
editor, gmr] I enjoy the little newsletter. I am
sending a support check to help with expenses. Would you please add
by brother to your mailing list. Thank you very much
...Archie Ristine, Ellensburg, WA. I enjoyed your
publication through out the year so much. Id like to renew it
for me for the year of 2007. Ive included a little extra so
your publication expenses and your desire to reach the lost will
continue on in your firm commitment of standing for the truth.
Thank you ...Randall Gruenewald, Salinas, CA.
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