Seek The Old Paths

Vol. 23   No. 4                   April,   2012

This Issue...


Rusty Stark

        This is a sensitive topic. There are few subjects that seem to get as strong a negative reaction as this one. People resent being told how to dress, and they resent being told how to dress their children. But regardless of how the world goes, and regardless of the reaction of worldly brethren, modesty never goes out of style for the child of God. Immodesty is always wrong, and modesty is always right in the eyes of our maker.
        Let us notice three passages that teach about modesty and warn about immodesty.
        1 Timothy 2:9-10, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
        This passage contains three words which help us with this issue.
        Modest. This word identifies that which is orderly, seemly, appropriate. It deals with more than just what is modest and what is not. It urges Christian women (and by extension men also) to refrain from shocking fads in dress and appearance. It condemns ostentation and dressing to attract attention. But let us not forget that dress which is orderly, seemly, and appropriate, would also have to be dress that is modest. We can attract attention by wearing outlandish clothing, but we can also attract attention by what we do not cover/conceal. The word modest demands that we do not wear that which is too short, too low, too thin or too tight. How much is ‘too’ much in these things? That which says ‘look at me’, ‘notice my body.’ It does not matter whether we are trying to draw attention to ourselves or not, if we wear that which draws attention, causes others to look and gaze, then we are immodest.
        Shamefacedness. This word refers to shame which is rooted fast in one’s character (see Vines). The natural question is, of what are we supposed to be ashamed? At the end of Genesis chapter 2, Adam and his new bride were both naked, but not ashamed. In chapter 3, the woman and the man sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. Suddenly they were aware of their nakedness and were ashamed. They tried to cover and hide themselves (vs.7- 10). God did not say to them, “Don’t worry. I created you naked. Nakedness is natural. Covering yourselves would be unnatural.” God even made them coats (garments) of skins so they would be clothed. The word for “coats” is kethoneth. It is defined as a tunic, under garment, robe, a long shirt-like garment usually of linen, generally with sleeves, coming down to the knees.
        This truth is evident: in a world with sin, nakedness is not appropriate. Where sin exists, men and women should be ashamed of displaying themselves. It is a sad state of affairs that we let boys and girls grow up with no sense of shame in this matter.
        Sobriety. This word refers to sober-mindedness and self-control. In Titus 2:2 it is translated temperate, and in Titus 2:5 it is translated discreet.
        With these words in mind, and given the over-sexualized nature of our society, these questions seem natural:
        Does it represent temperance to wear clothing several inches above the knee?
        Is it appropriate to wear low-cut clothing that attracts attention and invites the eyes?
        Is it modest to wear clothing so thin your underwear can be seen through it?
        Where is the sense of shame? Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” This passage speaks plainly to these matters. Immodest dress is uncleanness. It is lascivious which has to do with indecency, wantonness, suggestive. How can it be classed as anything else?
        The power of this passage is also that it does not allow for ‘loopholes’ based on technicalities. Even if someone is able to convince themselves that tight, revealing clothing is not precisely found in the definition of words like uncleanness or lasciviousness (which is ridiculous), surely we must admit that such shamelessness is in the category of ‘such like’ as stated in verse 21. Paul didn’t have to specifically mention clothing that was revealing and immodest. The Holy Spirit saw to it that ‘such like’ was also condemned.
        Matthew 5:28 says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
        It is wrong to watch women (and men for that matter). It is wrong to cast our gaze and lust. Jesus said our eyes are the light of the body (Matt. 6:22). We must keep our hearts (mind) pure (Matt. 5:8).
        Since lustful looks are wrong (sinful), then that which promotes those looks is also wrong (sinful). Many women have intentionally dressed to cause a man to stumble (fall, sin) through his eyes. How many women and girls who think of themselves as Christians have unintentionally set the same stumbling block before others? It may be done without intention and without thought, but it is not done without sin.
        Consider these reasoning problems:
        Some say that culture is the only factor in deciding what is modest. The account of Adam and Eve and their shame proves this is not so. Moreover, society does not teach us that the revealing modern clothing trends are pure and without sexual overtones. Just the opposite. Advertisers sell the clothing as sexual. They promote it for the purpose of grabbing attention. Short shorts/skirts, see-through and/or low-cut attire, are not ok because that is the fashion. Such worldly fashion is sinful. We are to be as different from the world as light is from darkness (Matt. 5:14-16). Certainly culture has something to do with how we dress. We want to become all things to all men to save some (1 Cor. 9:27) and we don’t want to cause any to stumble (1 Cor. 10:32). If we find ourselves in a culture that requires women to cover their ankles or their faces, Christians should comply with that, but fashions and fads and culture cannot make it ok for us to exchange that which is orderly, self- controlled and discreet, for that which is lustful, unclean, and lascivious.
        Some dress modestly in most settings, but then lose all shame when it comes to certain situations. Warm weather does not make it ok to reveal or expose ourselves. Sporting activities do not make skin-tight, thigh-exposing volleyball shorts or any other sports wear suddenly become less lustful and lascivious. Fill in other activities or situations as you will: swimming, public workout places and spas where others can see when we expose ourselves. Situations do not make a wrong thing right.
        Would you wear, or want your daughters (and sons) to wear revealing clothing when a sexual pervert is near? Would you feel comfortable in doing so? Would you claim it’s your own business what you wear? Logic and reason and decency dictate that you would ‘cover up’ and in ‘no way’ expose yourself to longing and craving eyes. You know this is true. Why then would you wear such in public for the whole world to see?
        What a shame that the god of this world has blinded the minds of many in this matter.
        What a shame that Christian minds and hearts have been influenced and at times even overrun by worldly trends.
        What a shame when we are without shame and cannot blush (Jer. 6:15).
        What a shame when parents teach their children it is more important to be fashionable with the world than to be acceptable to God.
                1495 E Empire Ave.
                Benton Harbor, MI 49022

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Garland M. Robinson


        In order for the Lord to be in our midst, we must put away those things the Lord forbids.
        The Lord does not reward immaturity. We are babes in Christ when we first obey the Gospel (1 Peter 2:2; 1 Cor. 3:1). We are to grow and mature to become full grown. Hebrews 5:12-14 describes some who had not grown as they should. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
        A major sign of immaturity is neglecting to attend the assembling of the saints. This is made clear in Hebrews 10:25. Such a willful sin brings “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (v.27). God means business. If we’re not faithful, he will cast us out “into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13).
        Growing unto maturity requires not only Bible study at home, but Bible study with those of like precious faith (cf. 2 Peter 1:1). The great opportunities ahead of us require a well taught membership that is able to teach others. Here is where our strength lies. Are you growing in maturity and knowledge? There comes a time when the Lord will no longer dwell in our midst. If we do not grow and mature, the Lord will not be with us forever.
        The Lord does not reward lukewarmness. This was the condemnation of the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). The assessment they made of themselves was that they had everything they needed. They were self-sufficient. They rested in their own ability. It caused them to become complacent and apathetic. They were content to just coast along. They were not hot or on fire for the Lord. Neither were they cold or totally indifferent to Him. They were simply in the middle. There was no real commitment, no real plans for the future. They were just holding their own. How often may we find ourselves in such a condition today?
        What about the local congregation you attend? Is it just getting along or it is fervent in the Lord’s work? Is it just keeping the doors open or it is marching forward? Is it just existing or is it holding the banner high?
        The work we all have to do requires initiative, enthu- siasm, effort, zeal, faith and love. Lukewarmness does not achieve these things. Apathy brings us shame. We will be condemned as a result. The Lord said to the church at Laodicea, “I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:18). Are we a part of a congregation that will prompt the Lord to say the same thing about us? Do we contribute to the problem or are we a part of the solution?


        If we desire the Lord to be with us and remain with us, then we will have to act like we want Him to be there. What must we do to assure the Lord’s presence and approval?
        We must have an unswerving Loyalty to the TRUTH, God’s word. Paul exhorts Timothy to “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). To Titus we read, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). To Timothy he said, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
        We must love the truth (cf. Zech. 8:19). Proverbs 23:23 says to buy it and sell it not. We must preach it when it’s popular and when it’s not (2 Tim. 4:2), hold it fast (2 Tim. 1:13), contend for it earnestly (Jude 3), and only speak that which is sound, solid and true (Titus 2:1). We must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). We are to identify and avoid those who cause division (Rom. 16:17- 18). When we do this, the Lord is in our midst.
        There can be no substitute to soundness in both doctrine and practice. Jesus is in our midst only if we teach/preach His word and do His commandments. If we adulterate His word, He is not with us.
        If we substitute items of worship which He has not authorized, He is not with us:
        Singing must be congregational and it must be a capella. Our songs must be psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Songs of patriotism are not authorized. Mechanical instruments of music are not trivial. They are not a matter of opinion. We must do only that which the Bible authorizes.
        The collection must be in harmony with the Lord’s will. First Corinthians 16:2 says it must be on the first day of the week. Paul wrote, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man accord- ing as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). Each Christian is to give and it must be from the heart a free-will offering. This eliminates fund raisers such as car washes and rummage sales. The example of our brethren at Corinth was that they first gave themselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). We should do likewise.
        The communion (Lord’s supper) is a solemn act in which we partake every first day of the week. The first century church did so, and so must we (Acts 20:7). It cannot be eaten on any other day of the week nor for any other purpose than to remember and show the Lord’s death till he come (1 Cor. 11:26). Jesus said, “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Its emblems are specific, consisting of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine (grape juice). It cannot be mixed with barbecue or turned into a common meal. If we adulterate or pollute the Lord’s supper, Jesus will not be in our midst because we are not acting in accordance to His will.
        Our prayers are directed to God the Father in the name of Jesus the Son. This is as the Scriptures direct (Matt. 6:9; John 14:13-14; 15:16). When we do these things in accordance to the Lord’s will, we have the promise that He will be with us. Prayer is powerful. God tells us so. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
        We must desire the Unity for which the Lord prayed and died. Jesus prayed for the apostles, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21). Paul exhorted the church at Corinth, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judg- ment (1 Cor. 1:10).
        The unity required of the Lord is shown in Ephesians 4:1-6: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
        Living a faithful Christian life is a must if we desire the Lord to continue in our midst. The Lord tells us who we are in Matthew 5:13-16. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
        Loving one another is a cardinal tenet of faithfulness. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). John wrote, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).
        It is such a tragedy for brethren to have animosity for one another. How in the world do those who are guilty in this matter think they can go to heaven with this hanging over their head? If we can’t get along in this world, we don’t have the slightest chance in the world to come. I must do everything within my power to make things right with my brethren. If things continue to be unresolved, let it be because others are unwilling to reconcile. I’ve done my part. There’s nothing more I can do.


        No other people or organization on earth can rightly say they have the Lord Jesus in their midst. He stands with us. He guards, guides and direct us. He is our King. He is our guide, our savior, our redeemer. We desire Him to continue to be in our midst. He has promised He will be, as long as we do His will.
        Nothing else in this world matters than for us to be faithful to Him unto death. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

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        Anyone who reads the newspaper or views television knows that things in our world seem to be a mess. The Bible says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We know that many live in darkness outside of Christ (John 3:19). There is turmoil on every hand: war, crime, immorality —you name it! There are a group of people that lived in the same conditions at one time. They were called Gentiles. They were without God, without Christ and had no hope (Eph. 2:11-12), but all that changed with the death of Christ. The writer of Ephesians said: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
        There is hope! There is hope for the world! More importantly, there is hope for you! Christ is the answer. Read the following, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1). Christ is our hope. He is the answer. Paul later wrote that he knew in whom he had believed and was persuaded that Christ was able to keep that which he had committed (2 Tim. 1:12).
        Will you put your hope in Christ? Will you follow Him? Got problems? Marriage going bad? Children rebellious? Not enough money to pay your bills? Search the scriptures (John 5:39). Christ is our hope. He is the answer.
               Larry Acuff
               4135 Coursey Lake Rd.
               Douglasville, GA 30135

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Ivie Powell

        The first verse of Genesis 1 introduces mankind to the existence of God, “In the beginning God.” The first time Satan introduces himself to mankind is in the garden of Eden in the form of a serpent (Gen. 3:1-6). The first time he is mentioned by the name of Satan is in Job 1:6-12. Therefore, one cannot believe in the existence of God and not believe in the existence of Satan!
        Various terms are used throughout the Scriptures to describe the “evil one” that opposes God and His children: Satan, “adversary” (Zech. 3:1), The devil, “slanderer” (Matt. 4:1; Rev. 12:9), The god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), The prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), The father of lies (John 8:44), Murderer (John 8:44), The great dragon (Rev. 12:9), Serpent (Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor. 11:3), Deceiver (Rev. 12:9), Beelzebub the prince of the devils (Matt. 12:24), The wicked one (Matt. 13:38), The prince of this world (John 12:31), Ruler of darkness (Eph. 6:12), The tempter (1 Thess. 3:5), Accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), The enemy (Matt. 13:39), A roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), Belial, “worthless, wicked” (2 Cor. 6:15), Angel of the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:11).
        Satan’s ultimate destination, along with his angels, as well as all whom he is able to destroy, is everlasting, unending damnation in hell (Matt. 25:41,46). As one seriously contemplates these facts, he cannot help but tremble at the very thought of being lost!
        As powerful as Satan is, he can be resisted and overcome, “Be Sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith...” (1 Peter 5:8-9). This is why Christians are to “put on the whole amour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
        John’s inspired words truly give us strength to press on, even in the hottest of confrontations with the evil one. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). In addition to this, God has not left His children defenseless. On the contrary, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). It is truly comforting to know that God is with us every step of the way in our journey to heaven as we “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). “...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).
        The Bible gives numerous examples of Satan’s insidious attacks on the body of Christ: Persecution (Acts 4,5,9,19), Certain brethren making circumcision a condition of salvation (Acts 15), Conspiracy of certain Jews to kill Paul (Acts 23), Forming of factions (1 Cor. 1), Brother living in an incestuous and adulterous relationship and the church accepting it (1 Cor. 5), Making a gluttonous feast of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11), Some denying the resurrection (1 Cor. 15), Perverting the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1), Peter siding with the Jews (Gal. 2), Two sisters at odds with one another (Phil. 4), Works of the flesh (Gal. 5), Malicious use of the tongue (James 3).
        Satan wants to ultimately destroy every soul so they will be with him and his demons to suffer eternal punishment. Satan is the father of all lies. He is constantly tempting the Lord’s people through the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). He greatly rejoices when children of God live by the “iron rule” and not the “golden rule” (cf. Matt. 7:12). He and all of his demons rejoice when the “lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21) reigns in the heart of Christians instead of the “fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22). The father of all lies is constantly trying to divide the body of Christ through bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice (Eph. 4:31). When this takes place, evangelism, benevolence and edification come to a screeching halt!
        Be assured that the devil knows every faithful Christian. He knows you and he knows me. If he can get us to yield to him (Rom. 6:16), then doubt, discouragement, envy, strife, hatred, jealously, covetousness, as well as all works of the flesh, will put us well on the road to destruction. Even when this takes place, those who have gone back under Satan’s rule can repent of their sins and be restored (Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20; Jude 23)!
        Through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, Satan has been “bound,” thus destroying his works (1 John 3:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-15). Every Christian has been given assurance that we can overcome any and all temptations if we will look for the way of escape. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). John wrote, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:23).
        Remember, God, Christ and the Holy Spirit wants every Christian to be with them in heaven (Rev. 22:17)! Brethren, don’t allow Satan to distract you from serving the Lord! Continue to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). “Put on the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6:11). Be “unmoveable, always, abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). You will hear the welcome words of the Savior one day, “Come, ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34)!
                PO Box 975
                Rowlett, TX 75089

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        “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). This is a good question for us to ask ourselves.
        Do we love the Lord more than we love our relatives? If we do, we will not let them hinder us from obeying the Lord or worshipping Him. The Lord taught: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32).
        Do we love the Lord more than we love our money? If so, we will cheerfully and liberally support the Lord’s work. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
        Do we love the Lord more than we love entertainment and pleasure? Indulging in pleasure at the expense of Christian living and serving God is sinful for these things have taken over God’s rightful place (cf. Luke 12:15-21). Sinful pleasure is always wrong. “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Tim. 5:6). “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter” (James 5:5).
        Do we love the Lord more than the praise of men? If so, we will be willing to obey God even if it means we must incur the rejection of men. Some Jewish leaders believed on Christ but would not confess him because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).
        The Lord must be the supreme object of our affection. We must be able to sing with meaning, “O How I Love Jesus!”
               Bob Winton
               464 Ridgewood Dr.
               Manchester, TN 37355

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Marvin L. Weir

        God’s love is precious to Christians! Without God’s love, there would be no hope for fallen mankind. All accountable people sin (Rom. 3:10,23). The “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). When one sins, he is separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2). One cannot simply pardon himself from the sin he has committed. Without the love of God providing a plan for reconciliation and redemption, sinners would have no hope. To the Ephesian brethren Paul said, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:12-13).
        That passage often referred to as the golden text says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Think about that little word “so.” God SO loved that He purposed, planned, and provided a way by which man can be forgiven of his sins and reconciled to God. Man would be hopelessly lost were it not for the love of God!
        God’s Word is precious to the Christian! Spiritually speaking, man is not capable of directing his steps: “the way of man is not in himself” (Jer. 10:23). A trustworthy guide is needed. One’s emotions, feelings and opinions do not measure up to the challenge. The Psalmist knew the answer and was right in saying, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). The Word of God is “right,” “pure,” “true.” It is “settled in heaven” (Psa. 33:4; 119:140,160,89).
        God’s complete will for mankind is revealed only through His inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Paul reminds us that “ [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). For one to be saved, he must “hold fast” to God’s Word (1 Cor. 15:2). Only the “word of his grace” can build us up and give us “an inheritance among all them that are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). The “seed” to be sown before a lost and dying world is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). God’s Word “liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23,25) and will judge all mankind in the last day (John 12:48). Put your trust in “the sword of the Spirit,” the word of God (Eph. 6:17).
        Heaven is precious to the Christian! There are only two roads one can travel through life: one leads to eternal life and the other to eternal ruin (Matt. 7:13-14). Hell is to be avoided at all costs (Matt. 10:34-38). It has been “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41) and for those who “know not God” and “obey not the gospel” (2 Thess. 1:8). What a joy it will be for the faithful to get to Heaven, as God will “...wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). All of those “written in the Lamb’s book of life” shall be in heaven; but, those who “maketh an abomination and a lie” shall never enter this precious place (Rev. 21:27).
        Grace and mercy are precious to the Christian! The apostle Paul says it best, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8- 9). Salvation is God’s wonderful gift, but salvation is not unconditional. God’s wonderful grace covers only those who love Him and submit to His will. As Jesus said, “...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). One cannot continue in a life of sin and expect God’s grace to abound (Rom. 6:1).
        Salvation is precious to the Christian! Paul describes it like this: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8, emph. mine).
        Fellowship is precious to the Christian! How wonderful it is to associate with those of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1)! We dare not, however, fellowship those walking in darkness (Eph. 5:11). To aid, support in any way, participate with, or encourage those who are enemies of the cross is wrong.
        Let us be thankful for the fellowship that is ours in Christ Jesus. How wonderful it is to be in the company of those who love God! Never forget the many things precious to the Christian!
                135 Airport Rd.
                Reno, TX 75462

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James R. Lewis

        Departures from God often are first observed in matters of worship. Cain is a good example of such departure. Both Cain and his brother Abel offered sacrifice unto the Lord. Abel offered “by faith” (Heb. 11:4). His sacrifice was acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord. Cain also offered, but the Lord “had not respect” unto Cain and his offering. Cain departed from God’s way in that he offered something different than what God had authorized. Another example of unacceptable worship is Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron. These two brothers “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1,2). Changing matters of worship is disobedience to God. It is unacceptable to the Lord.
        The kingdom of Israel was divided following Solomon’s reign. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, ruled over the southern kingdom; and Jeroboam was the first king over the northern kingdom. It seemed clear to Jeroboam that if the nation continued to worship together in unity at the temple in Jerusalem, then he would have little hope of keeping the tribes under his reign separate from the southern kingdom. Accordingly, the first order of business for Jeroboam was to change the worship “and this thing became a sin” (cf. 1 Kings 12:25-33).
        Even in the New Testament, the apostle Paul rebuked the church at Corinth for perversion of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:18-22). The apostle plainly stated that the one who failed to properly discern the Lord’s body, was “eating and drinking damnation to himself” (v.28).
        The above examples clearly establish that departure from God’s authorized way of worship is a serious thing. The Bible warns that worship which comes from the doctrines of men is “vain” (Matt. 15:9). The Bible also warns against “will worship” (Col. 2:23), which is simply following man’s will in matters of worship rather than following God’s will. Faithful worshippers know they must worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). It is a grievous error for man to attempt to worship God in some manner or fashion which is not authorized by the truth, God’s word.
        Here are three present-day departures from the authorized worship of God.
        1) Failure to observe the Lord’s supper every first day of the week is a departure from the truth (John 4:24). The Bible teaches that the Lord’s supper is to be observed every first day of the week (1 Cor. 11:24-26; Acts 20:7).
        2) The use of mechanical instruments of music in worship is a relatively recent innovation. It is both a biblical and historical fact that such instruments were not used in authorized New Testament worship. It is also a historical fact that it was several hundreds of years before even the attempt to introduce them in worship. Even many of the founders and leaders of denominational religions openly opposed their use. God authorizes singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The use of mechanical instruments into worship is a departure from God’s authorized worship.
        3) The modern day practice of hand clapping is also adding to what the Bible authorizes in worship and is, therefore, a departure from the faith.
                3923 Bennett Rd.
                Chattanooga, TN 37412

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“Thank you for the wonderful STOP. I know that someone may read this and learn the truth. May God bless you that you may continue this printing, God’s Word. May God bless the elders at East End” ...Bobbie Wheeler, Baxter, TN. “Please remove us from your mailing list. Brother Eddie Cantrell is now deceased. Mailing is very expensive. God bless!” ...Mrs. Eddie Cantrell, Huntsville, AL. “My husband, Ben Ferrell, recently passed away and I am presently living in Frankfort, Kentucky. Would you continue sending me the Seek The Old Paths magazine? We enjoy it so very much. Thanks so very much” ...Joyce Ferrell, Frankfort, KY. “I started receiving STOP about 8 yrs. ago. I don’t no (sic) who started sending to me! Your news letter is so depressing! I feel sorry for your church family! There’s no love in your writing. My Bible talks about love, not running down our denominational neighbors! How can you draw them to your fold, if all you can do is run them down! Let’s preach about the good news and see what happens. I attend Orchard Hills Church of Christ in Covington, Indiana” ...Jack R. Macy, Covington, IN. [NOTE: Obeying the Lord IS love and preaching the good news tells men what to do to be saved; and, how to stay saved. We have not only the command of Jesus to show what love is, we have His example as well. Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, ASV). The way we “know” we love the Lord is by keeping his commandments. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:2). The love of God demands that we speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11) and proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). We can’t do either of these if we’re afraid to preach the saving Gospel. By the way, I can’t draw men to my fold because I don’t have a fold. The Lord has a fold. It is His church, the one for which He died. --gmr, editor]. “Thank you for continuing sending me the issues of Seek The Old Paths. I wish to commend all the brethren and Garland Robinson for the inspiring word of God. Please remember me in prayer. I have enclosed a small gift to help in your continued work of spreading the word of God. Wishing you his blessings, thinking of you in a very special way and asking God to bless you today and every day with love and friendship in Jesus Christ” ...Leadale Simpson, Rockford, IL. “It was a pleasure meeting you at the Northwest Florida School of Biblical Studies lectureship in Pensacola, Florida ( I have been receiving STOP for over twenty years now and deeply appreciate your stand for truth. It is my prayer that this small amount will help with your costs. My wife and I have decided to send this amount each month. May God continue to bless your efforts in his kingdom” ...Mike Jones, Evergreen, AL. “Enclosed is a check to help with the work. Thank you” ...K. V. McClure, Mt. Olive Church of Christ, Greeneville, TN. “Please cancel the mailer to Church of Christ, Westport Road, Cleveland, OK. The congregation has moved membership to other congregations. Thank you very much for the years we have received it” ...Ryan Kepke, Westport brethren, Cleveland, OK. “Please use this for postage or as needed. May God bless you for all the wonderful articles you print. Thank you” ...Janet Bullard, St. Elmo, IL. “Weldon Brown has passed away” ...Oxford, MS. “I receive the publication Seek The Old Paths and do enjoy the articles. Would you please send 12 copies each month that I can distribute at the Lincoln Avenue Church of Christ, Bucyrus, OH? I believe there are several members who do not presently receive it. We are going to do a study of the Lord’s supper and the February issue would be very helpful. We are a small congregation of around 50-60 and will try this amount first. Please let me know what the cost will be. Thank you” ...Wayne Crum, Caledonia, OH. [NOTE: There is no charge for STOP. It is always free. We are supported by the free-will contributions of churches and individuals that make this work possible. --gmr, editor]. “We like your Seek The Old Paths paper very much. You are doing a good work. Enclosed, find a check for $$” ...Francis & Marjorie Davis, Appleton, WI. “Thank you very much for your sound publication. We enjoy! The Dry Fork Church of Christ was established in the 19th century. Thanks again” ...Freddie Hunt, for the Dry Fork Church of Christ, Tompkinsville, KY. “Please put me on your mailing list” ...Glenn Smith, Natchez, MS. “Ken Gray passed away on 7/11/11” ...Cotton Valley, LA. “Please start sending me the STOP magazine. Thanks” ...Tommy Thornhill, Ozark, AR. “I received your monthly newsletter, Seek The Old Paths, last month in error. You website, as well as the newsletter itself, said that the publication was sent to its subscribers ‘upon request.’ This letter serves as notice that I DID NOT request such a newsletter. In fact, my name appears misspelled on the mailing label. I would very much appreciate being taken off your mailing list and do not wish to receive any future correspondence. Your compliance with my wishes is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much” ...Everett Rossy, Sparta, IL. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Readers of STOP often submit the names of individuals whom they think would enjoy the paper or otherwise need the paper. Sometimes they don’t.]

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EDITOR’S NOTE: You may have noticed in last month’s issue an announcement that I have started preaching for the Leoni Church of Christ near Woodbury, Tennessee. This is the first issue that is being printed under their name. It is an exciting work and opportunity to serve the Lord with the church at Leoni. The building is located at:
         Leoni Church of Christ
         6818 McMinnville Hwy
         Woodbury, TN 37190.

The mailing address is:

Leoni Church of Christ
P.O. Box 7506
McMinnville, TN 37111.

Please send all correspondence and/or contributions to the P.O. address.
If you have already sent mail to our address at East End, that is fine. I can still receive mail there during this transition period. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. --Garland M. Robinson

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Bound Volumes can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid

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