Voices From The Past...
Amos Reproves Israel
Roy J. Hearn (deceased)
Amos was a humble, unassuming man. He made no pretensions
to being teacher or prophet: I was no prophet; neither
was I a prophets son (Amos 7:14). He was a
righteous, God-fearing man, studied Gods will, loved truth,
hated iniquity. Paul said: Woe unto me, if I preach not
the gospel. Amos felt the same: The Lord hath
spoken, who can but prophesy (Amos 3:8)? He accepted
Jehovahs commission to rebuke the sins of Israel and other
Jeroboam the First, sacrificed the true worship of
Jehovah for political reasons. He feared the people would forsake
him if they continued worshipping at Jerusalem; therefore, he
placed a golden calf at Bethel, another at Dan, saying:
It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods,
O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt
(I Kings 12:26-33). Corruption increased. No succeeding king of
Israel made things any better. Jeroboam II, during whose reign Amos
prophesied, was as bad as his predecessors. Amos was sent from
Tekoa in Judah to cry against the sins of Israel and turn them to
Israels sins are many: I know how manifold
are thy transgressions, and how mighty your sins.
Jehovah searches the heart. He can know our every thought (I Sam.
16:7; Rom. 8:27). We must needs be pure within (Matt. 5:8). Amos
named some specific sins of Israel.
1. They corrupted true worship turned to
idols (5:5). At Bethel was a golden calf. Various idols were
worshipped at Gilgal and Beersheba. Some passed by Jerusalem, the
true place of worship and sacrifice, to Beersheba, long time
rendezvous of idols. How often now do Gods people pass up the
worship of Jehovah and pass on to the temple of idols of worldly
ambition and pleasure (James 4:4; I John 2:15-17)?
2. They hated those who reproved them (5:10).
They persecuted Gods preachers and faithful people.
Israel was wholly determined to do evil, and could not stand
reproof. Amaziah, priest of Bethel, accused Amos of conspiring
against the king and that the land was not able to bear his words
(7:10). Amos was invited to leave the country, Go back to
Judah; prophecy no more at Bethel. Israel had not only
grown so corrupt that they hated one who rebuked them, but were so
full of wickedness they abhorred a righteous man.
Micaiah always spoke the word of Jehovah instead of
seeking to please the people. Ahab said: But I hate him;
for he doeth not prophecy good concerning me, but evil
(I Kings 22:8). Micaiah could not do otherwise. Stephen was stoned
to death because he condemned the wickedness of the Jews (Acts 7).
Christ was hated for preaching against sin and error (John 8:30-
44). Paul queried: Am I therefore become your enemy,
because I tell you the truth (Gal. 4:16)? Ahab asked
Elijah: Art thou he that troubleth Israel (I
Kings 18:17)? The demons said to Christ: Let us
alone (Mark 1:24).
Such attitudes are not too rare among church members
today. Too many are frequenting the halls of Gilgal and Beersheba.
Too often do they spew venom at godly preachers and elders who seek
to turn them to righteousness. Too many preachers have suffered
unjustly the ruination of their reputations by ungodly church
members who were determined to pursue evil as Israel did. How often
do denominationalists reject the saving Gospel, telling us to keep
it to ourselves? Whoso loveth instruction loveth
knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish (Prov.
12:1). Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke
a wise man, and he will love thee (Prov. 9:8).
It seems the more sinful and wrong people are in
religion, the greater the hatred they have for those who question
their conduct, faith and practice. As then, so now, They
abhor him that speaketh uprightly (Amos 5:10). What
shall we do? God said to Ezekiel: Son of man...hear the
word at my mouth, and give them warning from me (3:17).
Thus he must be freed from the blood of others. Paul would not give
place to false brethren, no, not for an hour
(Gal. 2:5). Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound
in the faith (Titus 1:13). Preach the
word (II Tim. 4:1-4). Have courage such as these
faithful men of God. The church needs far more reproving, sharply,
and less of the type of so-called love that is lulling the church
3. Israel oppressed the poor, perverted justice
(5:11-13). Their judgments became bitter and nauseating before
God. The poor were helpless. Only the rich, by bribery, could get
a favorable decision. No matter how clear his case and his
innocence, the poor was trampled upon; he had not wherewith to
bribe the judge, and court decisions were for sale. Great burdens
were placed upon the poor; unjust amounts were exacted from them in
rent and taxes. In this, Israel violated the law forbidding bribes
and injustice against the poor (Exodus 23:6-8; Deut. 16:18-20).
God loves the poor. He blesses those who help the
poor (Prov. 28:27; Matt. 19:21). Christ teaches to work to that end
(Acts 20:35). Early Christians were very liberal toward needy
brethren (Acts 4:34-35). One will not go to heaven merely because
he is poor, he must be righteous. The poor have made some rich.
In face of the injustice of Israel, Amos said:
Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silent in such a
time (5:13). Some of our courts are now no better than
Israels. Then, if poor, he would not receive justice,
regardless of his innocence. Greater burdens would be placed upon
him. Under such conditions the poor would be better off to keep
their mouth shut, being helpless.
Sometimes prudence may be promoted by selfishness.
Some keep silent to their own profit even though others are being
defrauded and their souls destroyed by false teachers. One should
be prudent, but not exercise it to his own profit to the hurt of
the Cause of Christ. Even in the face of persecution and loss of
property or life, the servant of God must stand immovable for
right. Jonah could not escape his duty, neither can we.
Israels temples of idolatry faced ruin and Israel
was threatened with extinction (Amos 5:5-6). God is a righteous
judge. He is a consuming fire. Turn to him (Isa. 55:6-7). Israel
refused the overtures of the prophet. Some few were perhaps saved
by the preaching of Amos, but the nation was carried into Assyrian
captivity about 721 B.C., never to return.
Seek good, and not evil (Amos
5:14). Israel was exhorted to be honest and just, to hate
evil, and love the good. Love is of God; hate is of
the devil, but not always. If men love evil and hate good,
both are of the devil. If they love good and hate evil, both are of
God. If one loves good, he will hate evil; if he hates evil, he
will love good. If one does not love what is good, he does not hate
evil; if he does not love the truth, he does not hate error (Psalm
97:10; Prov. 13:5; Rom. 12:9). Whoever loves God supremely, strives
diligently to do His will.
Amos was the best friend Israel had. He warned them
of Gods wrath and sought to turn them from sin unto salvation.
The best friend one has now is he who tells him the truth unto
salvation (John 8:32). It is strange that intelligent persons will
cling to evil and error they know will send them to perdition; and
at the same time, hate him who seeks to save them.
...Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die,
O house of Israel (Ezek. 33:11)?
My fellow-preacher, elder, deacon, where do you
stand? Are you an Amos or an Ahab? Are you a Paul or a
Pilate? In these days threatening the church of our Lord, do
you stand upon the Rock; or, are you keeping silent?
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Where The Church Gets Its Funds
An announcement has been received from the Graymere
Church of Christ in Columbia, Tennessee. They are announcing
a REVIVAL in March 2008 the 6th Annual Youth Workers Retreat.
They include a list of eleven speakers. The only reason we mention
this event is to point out the Registration Fee of $60 per person
for the weekend. They tell us though that if youre married,
your wife can attend free.
Ive studied and searched the Bible my whole life
and have never found a scripture that authorizes the church to
charge people to attend or participate in a spiritual service.
Colossians 3:17 demands that we have Bible authority for all we SAY
and for all we DO. Having a Revival weekend is something that is
being done. So, the question is, where, what scripture, authorizes
charging (such as a registration fee) for attending this event put
on by the church? I wonder, could you attend if you dont
register? Could you attend if you just stood in the back? I
contacted them over a month ago asking for scriptures that
authorizes the church charging for its services. I received an
acknowledgment of my letter but it did not include even an attempt
to explain or defend their practice.
The Bible authorizes how and when
the church is to obtain the funds it needs to do its work. I
Corinthians 16:1-2 says, Now concerning the collection
for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia,
even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you
lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no
gatherings when I come. The Scriptures authorize
Christians to make free-will offerings every first day of the week.
From these funds, the church works in three areas: evangelism
(spreading the Gospel to the lost), benevolence
(helping the needy), exhortation (building up the saints
through Bible instruction). The Bible nowhere authorizes the church
to have garage sales, bake sales, entertainment venues or beg from
the general public.
Since the New Testament is our authority and example,
can you imagine the church at Antioch or Jerusalem announcing that
Paul and Peter would be speaking and then charge people thirty
pieces of silver to attend? What if all the apostles came together
in Rome, Athens or Ephesus? That certainly would be an event well
worth attending and hearing them preach the unadulterated Gospel of
Christ! Can you imagine the church charging a registration fee to
attend? I guarantee you one thing, you wouldnt hear any
uncertain sounds among the apostles (cf. I Cor. 14:8). They would
preach the whole truth and nothing but the truth (Acts
20:20,26-27). I wonder, do you think they would address the subject
of having Bible authority for all we say and do? Do you think they
would make sure they could point to a verse which authorized their
teaching and practice? The Holy Spirit made clear to us all that
whatever we do or say is only approved by God
when we act according to his instructions (Col. 3:17). So, what
verse(s) instructs (authorizes) us to charge people to hear us
The Gospel is free to the whole world. We beg and
plead for people to listen. Our task is to declare the unsearchable
riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8). We must preach Christ and him
crucified (I Cor. 2:2). As faithful servants of the Lord, we cry
aloud and spare not, showing people their transgressions and sins
(Isa. 58:1). We beg for people to ...stand ye in the
ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls
(Jer. 6:16). But, as the people of Jeremiahs day, so often
brethren today say, We will not walk therein.
So many are like Israel of old, concerning which, God tells Isaiah,
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in
a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That
this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will
not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See
not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right
things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you
out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of
Israel to cease from before us (Isa. 30:8-11).
I cant imagine why people dont want to hear
the Truth; and sadly, multitudes of brethren are among this number.
Jude 3 tells us to earnestly contend for the faith. Are
you obeying this verse? I John 4:1 tells us to test and examine
those who come before us with their teaching and practice because
many false teachers have gone out into the world. Are you obeying
this verse? II John 9-11 warns us to not fellowship those who do
not hold to the doctrine (teaching) of Christ. We are not to
support or encourage them in any way. And, if we do fellowship
them, we do not meet Gods approval; as a matter of fact, we
stand condemned in his sight. Our job is to call attention to those
who act without a thus saith the Lord (Rom.
16:17). For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus
Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches
deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18). False
teachers and workers must be pointed out and rebuked. Brethren must
be warned of them (Rom. 16:17). We are not to follow the
pernicious (deadly, harmful) ways of false teachers and
workers (II Peter 2:2). How many have ever read any of these
verses? Do they even know they exist? How many have ever pondered
their meaning? How many will say, I know thats what they say,
but thats not what they mean. Well, what do they mean? If they
dont mean what they say, then what do they mean? Someone step
forward and expound upon them for us that we all may learn the way
of the Lord more perfectly.
Do you love the truth (Zech. 8:19)? Will you stand in
the gap (Ezek. 22:30)? Will you be among that number who say,
speak Lord, thy servant heareth (cf. I Sam. 3:10)?
Table of Contents
The Army Of The Lord
The church is spoken of under different figures. It is
referred to as: a body with Christians as members (I
Cor. 12:12-27; Rom. 12:4-5); a vineyard with Christians
as workers (Matt. 20:1-16); a temple with Christians as
worshipers (Eph. 2:21; I Peter 2:5).
THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THIS ARMY IS CHRIST
One of the most striking pictures of the church is
the simile of the body of Christ depicted as an army.
There is to be a militant spirit characterizing the church
as each member marches loyally under the banner of their Heavenly
King. The purpose of this conflict is to become conquerors over
Satan and evil.
The warfare spoken of is not carnal. It is
a moral conflict. This is a conflict of truth against
error, of knowledge against ignorance, of light against darkness,
of righteousness against unrighteousness, of Christ against Satan.
In the battle against false ways and evil forces we
must put on the whole armour of God (Eph.
6:11), war a good warfare (I Tim. 1:18) and
fight the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12).
The purpose of accomplishing these things is that we may one day be
able to enjoy the bliss of heaven. This is the end that Paul had in
mind when he wrote to stand against the wiles of the
devil (Eph. 6:11), to withstand in the evil
day (Eph. 6:13) and to lay hold on eternal
life (I Tim. 6:12). We do not have the option to enter
this battle and to leave it at our own discretion and be pleasing
to God. Those who are his New Testament people are either with him
or against him. In this conflict between righteousness and
unrighteousness, neutrality is out of the question (cf. Matt.
As this article begins to set forth certain features
about this spiritual army, let it be pointed out, with sadness,
that some of our brethren are no longer fighting. Please consider
the following features of this army:
The commander of our salvation is without spot and
blemish. He is a perfect commander (Heb. 2:10; 4:15; 7:26; I Peter
2:22). He has all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). He is
the head of all things to the church (Eph. 1:22-23). We make no
mistake by following Christ (Heb. 12:1-3; I Cor. 11:1). To follow
Christ means that our God will supply for us that which is
necessary for our protection in this conflict with evil (Eph.
6:10-17). We must put on the armour, unsheathe the sword of the
Spirit and engage the enemy head on. To follow Christ means also
that we are to be praying soldiers (Eph. 6:18), adding the
Christian graces (II Peter 1:5-11), maturing in the Christian life
(Heb. 5:12-14; II Peter 3:18) and willing to examine self (II Cor.
13:5). With such information before us, we can say with Paul,
For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is
able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that
day (II Tim. 1:12).
THIS ARMY IS MADE UP OF VOLUNTEERS
One is not drafted into this army, but it is for
whosoever will come (Rev. 22:17; Matt. 11:28-30).
No one is forced to serve God. Before entering this army one must
decide if the cause is worth fighting for and will there be
victory. The apostle Paul has well supplied the answer to such
questions in Romans 6:23. Here we read, For the wages of
sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Salvation is in Christ (Acts 4:12; II
ONE OFFENSIVE WEAPON IS TO BE UTILIZED BY THIS ARMY
In order for the volunteer to become a part of
Christs spiritual army, he must possess faith (Rom.
10:17), he must repent (Acts 17:30), he must
confess faith in Christ (Acts 8:37) and he must be
baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38). He who
will do this and be a loyal soldier, has in prospect a glorious
retirement in death (Rev. 14:13).
Every observation thus far suggests an army that is
unusual in its makeup. In this main point we learn that the one
offensive weapon is also unusual. The weapon referred to is the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
(Eph. 6:17). This instrument of spiritual battle is sharper than
any literal two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). This sword will lay bare
our false pride, prejudice, compromise and friendship with the
forces of evil. When the nomenclature of this weapon is very
familiar to us, and then with proper use, we will be victorious
over unrighteousness. When attired with truth, righteousness, the
Gospel of peace, the broad shield of faith, the helmet of salvation
and the sword of the Spirit, we become heavens most powerful
argument against sin. However, be it known, that God knows what we
are doing and what we are not doing with that which he has supplied
us with (cf. Job 34:21; Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13).
A FURLOUGH IS UNKNOWN TO THIS ARMY
In the army of the land, one may take a furlough and do
or not do as he pleases. In this army, however, we are always,
under normal/general conditions, to be available to worship God.
SATAN IS THE DEADLY OPPONENT
Christians can take vacations and be gone from home,
but this does not relieve them of their responsibility to worship
(Acts 2:42; I Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 10:25; John 14:15). How
sad it is for a Christian to think he has the right to put God out
of his life for two weeks (or more) every year. Deserters from this
army, without repentance, face a punishment that no court martial
could ever declare, the eternal Gehenna (II Peter 2:20-22; Rev.
21:8; 20:15; Mark 9:43-48).
There are a number of names found in the Bible for this
evil opponent. The word Satan means adversary. This term
is used in the Old Testament 19 times with 14 of them found in the
book of Job. It is used 35 times in the New Testament. Satan is an
adversary who lies in wait. The term devil means slanderer
or false accuser. In considering just these two
names we can easily see and know that we must never let our guard
down. To remove the sentry while the enemy is near would render us
foolish (I Peter 5:8; Eph. 6:11; II Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:15-17). May
we continually be mindful of Peters words in reference to the
devil, Whom resist steadfast in the faith (I
One day there will be a great reunion for the faithful
soldiers of Christ when He comes to take us home (I Thess.
4:13-18). The crown will be awarded because we fought a
good fight, finished the course, kept the faith (II Tim.
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How Long Before We Say, Enough!
One of the things that has been a great detriment to the
work of the church in recent years are the so-called Christian
colleges. Regardless of what they were years ago, these
institutions are working hard to make the church like every other
religious body on the face of the earth. They are systematically
taking away the distinctiveness of the blood-bought institution of
One such college that has done much damage to the
church is Rochester College (formerly Michigan
Christian College) in Rochester, Michigan. Over the years,
they have provided a forum for various false teachers, and even had
a preachers training seminar that used a key note speaker who was
not a member of the church and another speaker who was Dean of
Bible at Notre Dame University. They have also had at least one
unity forum with Great Lakes Christian College of Lansing, Michigan
(a Christian Church institution).
Just this week, we received an invitation from
Rochester College to come to a new seminar they are having
RESOURCE! A Seminar for Christian Leaders and Ministers
(www.rc.edu/resource). Without even noticing the speakers for this
seminar, it is easy to see it is going to take the church farther
from God. Note these two statements from the brochure.
Anyone who doesnt occasionally feel
overwhelmed by the demands of Christian
ministry may not be taking his or HER
calling seriously enough.
(Emphasis mine, c.c.)
It continues the high standard of
format, venue, ECUMENICAL SPIRIT,
and solid textual and theological grounding.
(Emphasis mine, c.c.)
Since Rochester College also recently held a Diversity Seminar in
which they promoted more public roles for women in the church, it
is not surprising to see that they include women in the ministry.
Besides the statements quoted above, when one looks
at the speakers and the topics they will discuss, we can clearly
understand that the church will not gain from this seminar, but
will be weakened. All of the lessons are based on the theme for the
seminar Reading 1 Corinthians and Doing Christian
Ministry. The speakers and their topics are as follows:
Gordon Fee Reading I
Bob Russell I Corinthians &
Sally Morgenthaler Reading I
Corinthians and Reconsidering Worship and Evangelism
Kenneth Greene Reading I
Corinthians and Working with Diversity and Justice
Mike Cope Preaching I
Rubel Shelly Reading I
Corinthians and Reconsidering Issues of Divorce and Remarriage
The last three speakers all claim to be members of
the church of Christ, but Mike Cope and Rubel Shelly have long been
known to make no distinction between the church and the
denominational world. In fact, they have long promoted fellowship
between the church and the denominations.
The first speaker listed, Gordon Fee, according to
the brochure sent with the invitation is an ordained
minister with the Assemblies of God. The second speaker
listed, Bob Russell, is said to be retired now, but
became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville,
Kentucky, at age 22. The third speaker listed, Sally
Morgenthaler, has no church affiliation mentioned but is said to
help churches craft worship experiences that help them
shift from maintaining a subculture to transforming their
surrounding communities (whatever that means!).
Since the brochure says that Sally Morgenthaler
has been a significant influence in the discussion of
Christian worship for fifteen years, I thought it would
be interesting to know more about her. Since she is an influence in
Christian worship, then it would be easy to assume that she is a
member of the church. However, such is not the case. Sally
Morgenthaler is the on-site worship consultant for Denver Seminary
and Pathways Church. She has been the featured speaker at several
seminars, including those of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, The Reformed Church in America, The Presbyterian Church
USA, The Brethren Church, Disciples of Christ, The United Methodist
Church, and The Wesleyan Church, to name a few. This information is
from Malone College (www.malone.edu/4033) which gave Sally
Morgenthaler its Staley Distinguished Christian Scholar award.
Christians should be alert to the dangers of
reconsidering things from Gods word, especially when promoted
by those who are known to want to change the church from what God
desires to what they desire. The lessons as noted above include two
such ideas to reconsider: Worship and Evangelism and
Issues of Divorce and Remarriage. Change is written all over these
lessons, yet many Christians will attend this seminar and take
these changes back to their congregations and help their own
congregations fall away from God.
How long before we say, Enough! Have we
gone so far in the church that we no longer see the error in being
a partaker with those that are contrary to the will of God (Eph.
5:7,11)? Have we gone so far that we do not see the error in the
things which are going on at Rochester College (II Thess. 2:11,12)?
This is a ministers and leaders seminar put on by a
so-called Christian College that claims its affiliation with the
church of Christ that uses an Assemblies of God preacher, a
Christian Church preacher, a woman in a leadership role that will
go to any religious group to spread her views, and false teachers
from within the church. Is this not enough to wake up the faithful
members of the church who will rise up and say, Enough!
Or, is it too late, and we have already been overtaken by the
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We live in an age of speed. We try to cram as many
activities into a day as possible. With many, the definition of a
successful person is one who is always busy, always on the run, and
has more demands made on his time than he can possibly satisfy.
Because of this fast pace of life, a host of consumer services and
products have been marketed. Fast food restaurants, which
specialize in ready made food so the traveler can get on his way
quickly have become the vogue. For the hurried, harried housewife,
there is a great variety of quick foods such as TV dinners,
pop in the oven pizzas, instant potatoes, instant
pudding, instant coffee, etc. Everything is available to us
instantly. We have come to expect and demand such services and
In other aspects of our lives, we also seek instant
gratification. Many young couples unrealistically expect to begin
married life in a modern home with all the labor-saving gadgets it
took their parents 20 years to accumulate. Shortcuts up
the career ladder are sought so that one can quickly be promoted
into the higher paying brackets without having to toil for years to
work oneself into such positions.
Sadly, many view Christianity in the same way as they
view their consumer products or career aspirations. They want
instant results and so they attempt to bypass the daily struggle
over a long period of time to achieve spiritual maturity. Prayer
seminars, fasting, and emotion filled, clapping, stamping
workshops are offered to guarantee instant
spirituality. The years of diligent study of Gods
Word, of prayer and daily cross-bearing which are essential for a
sound, solid, well-balanced spiritual maturity are set aside in the
vain hope to achieve this instant spirituality. Those who think
they have become mature by such shallow means soon find that when
the emotions subside, when the feeling is gone, and
trials confront them, they do not have the spiritual resources
necessary to overcome.
There is a great desire in our brotherhood today to
achieve instant church growth by the same type of approach.
Personal work methods that move and manipulate by psychological
pressure and cultic techniques are applied. A whole host of social
and recreational activities are offered to draw the unthinking
masses. There will always be those who come seeking the loaves and
the fishes as in Jesus day (John 6:26,27). When the loaves and
fishes run out, they are soon gone on to some other organization
which will supply their carnal cravings.
The Jerusalem church is often cited by advocates of
instant church growth as proof that their approach works. What they
do not stop to consider is that the response of 3,000 souls on
Pentecost (Acts 2) was the natural fruit of a harvest long
cultivated by prophets of old who foretold the coming of the
Messiah, by widespread knowledge of the Scriptures among the Jews,
by the ministry of John, the Harbinger of the Christ, whose
preparatory work shook Judaism to its foundation; and by the
personal ministry of our Lord Himself. Jesus three years of
patient preaching, marvelous miracles, and training of the Twelve
bore fruit on Pentecost Day. There was already a great body of
believers in Jesus in Israel as evidenced by the fact that in one
of His recorded post-resurrection appearances, He was seen of
above 500 brethren at once (I Cor. 15:6). The conversion of
the multitude on Pentecost and the continuing conversion of great
numbers in Jerusalem was not instant church growth, but the
culmination of much preparation and planting over a long period of
The only way to build a strong mature faith that will
meet the trials of life and carry one safely through to the
Celestial Shore is by daily cross-bearing, diligent study,
persistent prayer, much meditation, and increased strength as a
result of surmounting spiritual obstacles (James 1:2-4). The only
way to build a strong, sound, growing church that will continue to
increase is by patient plowing and planting of Gods Word in
the good and honest hearts of men (Luke 8:15). A steady
diet of strong Gospel preaching from the pulpit and Bible teaching
from the classroom, coupled with wise oversight of godly elders who
truly care for the souls of the flock, is the only formula for
church growth that will be pleasing to God and eternal in its
Mighty Rome was not built in a day nor is a great
congregation or a strong Christian character developed instantly.
Let us follow Gods ways, not mans and we can be assured
of success as it is measured by Gods infallible Word, not by
mans shallow standards.
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Table of Contents
By The Trickery Of Men
James E. Farley
The apostle Paul issues a warning to the Lords
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
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
Lords 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 fathers 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 sheeps 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
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).
PO Box 285
Crum, WV 25669
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Parents, Americans, Beware!
A joint project by the National Education Association (NEA)
and the American Psychological Association (APA) is
giving parents 16,000 new reasons to question the agenda of
national teachers union leaders. The NEA and APA have
partnered to produce a booklet titled, Just the Facts
about Sexual Orientation and Youth, which they plan to
distribute to every superintendent in Americas 16,000 school
districts. Among the so-called facts in the 24-page
document is the opinion that homosexuality is a normal
expression of human sexuality. The booklet also warns
teachers not to discuss transformational ministries that
suggest homosexuality is a condition that can be changed.
Religious-based views are regarded as harmful, if not dangerous.
This is no surprise to those who have followed the leftward drift
of the NEA leadership. For years, the organization has used
teachers dues to subsidize its top officials left-wing
fanaticism, which includes everything from promoting homosexuality
and abortion in schools to pushing birth control. The APA is no
better. In the past few decades, the group has gone from listing
homosexuality as a mental disorder to becoming one of its biggest
champions in the public square. Now both groups are using their
influence to transform public schools into incubators for their
radical social agendas. These lessons in political correctness must
stop! Log on to www.frc.org and download the real facts about
Homosexuality in Your Childs School
Mark McWhorter, Pell City, AL
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The Olive St. church of Christ, 420 N. Olive St., Mexico, MO
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Columbia, MO where the University of Missouri is Located. Send
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