THE EXAMPLE OF EZRA
Ezra is a well-known Old Testament character. He was a
scribe and a priest of the lineage of Eleazar (Ezra 7:12; Neh.
8:1-2). He lived during the Babylonian captivity and became the
restorer of worship for the Jews. Ezra chapter seven records the
letter of decree issued from Artazerxes (king of the
Medo-Persians who possessed world power after the Babylonians)
that authorized Ezra and 1,754 other men to return to Jerusalem.
In the course of setting things in order, many objectives were
set forth. First, silver and gold were carried to Jerusalem to
buy animals and other commodities. Second, money was granted from
the kings treasury to Ezra. Third, no tax was issued upon
the servants of Gods house. Fourth, Ezra established judges
and magistrates to judge and execute punishment. Fifth, Ezra
would do all that God said and do so speedily. So the scene is
set with about 50,000 Jews (who had returned earlier) plus the
1,754 with Ezra in Jerusalem. The time was right for the
restoration of worship and service to Jehovah.
HE SET HIS HEART RIGHT
The key passage of this event is found in Ezra 7:10:
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord,
and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Within this text are four distinct expressions showing
the ACTION of Ezra, the scribe.
Ezras first step was to set his heart right as
described by the phrase, prepared his heart. Solomon
wrote, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov.
23:7). It is essential that Gods people overcome diseases of
the heart that would hinder them from fulfilling their
responsibilities. Worry, fear, doubt, envy, pride and ingratitude
are just a few of the evil dispositions that try to infiltrate
the hearts of Gods people. The early church was easily
identified by a proper heart (Acts 2:37,46; 4:32; 8:37) from
which came joy, peace, gladness and unity. Sinners are identified
by their wicked hearts from which come lies (Acts 5:32),
rebellion (Acts 7:39), and defiance (Acts 7:51). However,
concerning Ezras task, the time had arrived for him and the
rest of Judah to serve Jehovah. Ezra knew that in order for this
nation to serve God acceptably, he must be the right example. As
a priest and scribe, he was in a place of leadership. Therefore,
he set his heart right.
HE SOUGHT THE LAW
Ezras second step was to seek the law as noted by the
phrase, seek the law of the Lord. Ones heart
cannot be right until it is filled with the Word of the Lord
(Psa. 119:11; Acts 13:22). Gods Word serves as mans
guide (Psa. 19:105; John 8:31-32). It is to be desired (1 Peter
2:1-2; Matt. 5:6). Gods people should read and study the
Word to add knowledge to their faith (2 Peter 1:5-11). Ezra knew
that he and the people could not restore proper worship and
service to God without seeking the law of God.
HE SUBMITTED TO THE LAW
Ezras third step was to submit to the law as designated
by the phrase, and to do it. Submission to the law was
required of Israel in the past. Moses wrote that the Israelites
were promised: A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of
the Lord your God, which I command you this day (Deut.
11:27). Prior to their captivity, God urged His people to obey
Him: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice,
and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in
all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto
you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked
in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and
went backward, and not forward (Jer. 7:23-24).
HE SPREAD THE STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS
The words obey and submit imply more than just
knowledge of Gods Word. Nadab and Abihu knew the law, but
they were consumed by fire (Lev. 1:1-2). The man who picked up
sticks on the Sabbath day knew the law, but he was stoned to
death (Num. 15:32-36). The scribes and Pharisees knew the law,
but Jesus called them hypocrites (Matt. 15:9; 23:5). Many people
today are sincere, but unwilling to obey His commandments;
therefore, the Lord does not know them (Matt. 7:21-23). It is
mans duty to submit to and obey the Will of God. Those who
obey Gods Word will receive salvation and innumerable
blessings (James 1:21; Matt. 7:24). However, fierce consequences
await those who refuse to obey the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess.
Ezras fourth step was to spread the statutes of God as
depicted by the phrase, and to teach in Israel the statutes
and judgments. Ezra realized his responsibility to teach
Gods people. The Jews had been in captivity over seventy
years. Many of these people were born in Babylon. They had lost
sight of proper worship and service to God. The time had come for
the new generation to be taught and the older generation to be
reminded. The same responsibility rests upon Gods people
today. Jesus gave the unlimited commission to His
apostles (Acts 1:8). The apostle Paul wrote that the Gospel
was preached to every creature which is under heaven
during his lifetime (Col. 1:23). However, the charge to preach
the Gospel to every nation and every creature applies to every
generation. Paul told Timothy, And the things that thou hast
heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to
faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim.
2:2). So, despite the accomplishment of the apostles and church
of the first century, the unlimited commission still
applies to the twenty-first century church.
Please notice also that Ezra 7:10 records the actions
of Ezra, not the people! Ezra prepared himself to serve the
people and Jehovah. Although the attitude of the people while in
Babylon was comprised of regret and grief, their disposition
changed by the time Ezra entered Jerusalem: Now when these
things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of
Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated
themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their
abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the
Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their
daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy
seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands:
yeah, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this
trespass (Ezra 9:1-2).
When Ezra heard these words (joined by others who
feared the Lord, Ezra 9:4), he sat astonished. Ezra and his
faithful followers expected great things in Jerusalem, but they
arrived in the city only to find that the majority of people were
behaving inappropriately. They were disappointed, bewildered and
discouraged. Yet, in verses 10-15, Ezra confessed the sins of
Judah to Jehovah. After he prayed for the people, the men, women
and the children of Israel wept over their condition and
repented, saying, Now therefore let us make a covenant with
our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them,
according to the counsel of my Lord, and of these that tremble at
the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the
law. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be
with thee: be of good courage, and do it (Ezra 10:3-4).
Friend, you may be in sin right now, but you do not
have to remain in sin. Why not determine to make things right
with the Lord? Will you acknowledge the commandment of God to be
saved and do it? If youve never named the name of the Lord,
you must believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts
17:30), confess faith in Jesus as the son of God (Rom. 10:9-10),
and be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38;
22:16). Those who are unfaithful to Christ are told to repent and
pray (Acts 8:22). If your sin is publicly known, you must repent
publicly so the church will know your desire to be restored.
Wont you obey God today and every day?
1001 Albany St.
Indianapolis, IN 46203
Table of Contents
MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, REMARRIAGE
(How To Get Around Gods Law)
Garland M. Robinson
Hebrews 13:4, Marriage [is] honourable in all, and
the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will
judge. When God joins a man and woman in holy matrimony,
neither the man or the woman has the right to dissolve the union.
Jesus said, What therefore God hath joined together, let
not man put asunder (Matt. 19:6). Therefore, Gods
Word concerning marriage is one man, one woman, for
The first three verses of Romans 7 reveals that
marriage is for life. Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak
to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a
man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is
bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if
the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband.
So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another
man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be
dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress,
though she be married to another man. The union of
marriage remains intact until either the man or the
woman dies. This is Gods principle concerning marriage.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
On the subject of divorce and remarriage, Gods
guiding principle is found in Luke 16:18. Whosoever
putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery:
and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from [her] husband
committeth adultery. The same is said of a wife putting
away her husband. And if a woman shall put away her
husband, and be married to another, she committeth
adultery (Mark 10:12). This is clear and cannot be
misunderstood. A couple whom God joins in marriage is bound to
each other as long as they live (Rom. 7:2-3). To divorce and
marry another is adultery (Luke 16:18; Mark 10:12). And, the
Bible clearly says those who are adulterers do not go to heaven
(1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).
So, how do we get around what these verses say? Many
have been those who have attempted to get around them, BUT IT
CANT BE DONE! Gods Word is right and no man can get
around it. Those who try are only fooling themselves and breaking
themselves over the holy inspired Scriptures.
In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus was asked about marriage,
divorce and remarriage. The text says Pharisees came unto Jesus
...tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a
man to put away his wife for every cause (v.3)? These
men were not honest in their inquiry about divorce. They did not
want to know Gods will on the subject. They only wanted to
trap Jesus in some inconsistency where they would have evidence
to condemn him. Their motive being evil did not change the truth
of the Lords answer. Jesus ...answered and said unto
them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the
beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his
wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no
more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder (vs.4-6).
Jesus goes back to the beginning of creation. It was
God who made a man and a woman and the institution of marriage.
God intended they cleave (cling, hold, stick) to each other. They
become, as it were, one flesh. God joins them together and man
has no right to separate them. But man often says he has a
special circumstance of one sort or another and proceeds to
divorce and marry again in spite of what the Lord said. However,
the Lords word still says what it says, What
therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
asunder. Man says, Im going to do it anyway! God
replies, let not man put asunder. First
Corinthians 7:10-11 says the same thing, Let not the wife
depart from [her] husband: But and if she depart, let her remain
unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the
husband put away [his] wife. A man or woman does not
have the right to put away their spouse for just any and every
The Pharisees continue the conversation with Jesus in
Matthew 19:7-9, ...Why did Moses then command to give a
writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them,
Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put
away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say
unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and
whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit
Jesus says in verse 9, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry
another, committeth adultery. This is not hard to
understand! Its hard for many to accept, but its not
hard to understand. To divorce your spouse and marry another
means that both you and your new spouse are living in adultery.
If, however, you put away your spouse because he/she has
committed fornication, then you can marry another without living
in adultery. The present tense of the word committeth
involves continuous action. Those who have entered into
such a marriage keep on committing adultery as long as
they remain married. Both parties are living in the constant
state of adultery. Some contend you cant live in adultery,
but Colossians 3:5-7 says you can.
The effect of the Lords words is that if one
divorces their spouse and it is not because of their spouses
fornication, then both must live single the rest of their life
neither have the right to enter into another marriage, if
they do so, they are committing adultery.
You can see how serious a matter this is! The
Lords disciples recognize it and say unto him, ...If
the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to
marry (Matt. 19:10). They had no problem understanding
what Jesus said. Why do people today not see it? Its because
they dont want to see it. They are looking for a loop-hole,
a work-a-round, some way to circumvent it. Many may not like what
Jesus said, but they cant deny what he said. They understand
it clearly. Thats why they rebel against it.
Jesus explains in verses 11-12 that in order to be
faithful to God, for the kingdom of heavens sake, some do
not marry cannot marry. They live single. They had rather
go to heaven when they die than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for
a season. Moses is a good example of this (Heb. 11:24-26).
Jesus said in Matthew 19:11-12, ...All [men]
cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given. For
there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their]
mothers womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were
made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made
themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavens sake. He
that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it].
There are three categories of individuals who live
single, celibate lives. In each case, the Lord speaks of those
who either can not or do not marry. 1) Those who were born
without the capacity of functioning sexually as a marriage
partner. 2) Those who through a surgical procedure cannot
function as a marriage partner. 3) Those who choose to not
function as a marriage partner. Reason number three is the one
that fits those who have an unscriptural divorce. Their divorce
is unscriptural (not authorized by scripture) because they did
not put away their spouse because of their fornication. As a
consequence, they forgo marriage because they have no scriptural
right to marry again. In order to be faithful to God, they must
live single. Being right with God and going to heaven some day is
vastly more important than any relationship or circumstance known
Its a mystery why many fight so hard against
Matthew 19:9. If it were not for what Jesus said in this verse
about fornication (see also Matt. 5:32), no one could ever
divorce and get married again period! Fornication is the only
exception for a divorce and remarriage. Either except
means except or it does not. Jesus said, Except
a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Being born of water
and of the Spirit is the ONLY way to enter into the kingdom
of heaven. There is no other way. Jesus likewise said,
except for fornication there is no other way to
divorce your spouse and marry another.
Table of Contents
Roger D. Campbell
When we publish in our bulletins
every announcement under the
sun that comes our way, we are
sending a message to our brethren
that can potentially damage their
Many congregations of Gods people publish a weekly
bulletin. Some may wonder why a local church even bothers with
such an item. After all, it requires time and work to prepare a
bulletin. Bulletins do not produce themselves, so it takes effort
on someones part to get them done. And, the paper and ink
used to print them are not cheap. Besides, if you have ever
noticed, some of them just get thrown down on the floor. Maybe
you have even seen that in some cases, kids turn bulletins into
drawing paper or a coloring book. Oh yes, we are aware of all of
these truths. Still, we are convinced that church bulletins have
the potential to be a great aid in the Lords work.
Church bulletins come in different sizes, colors and
formats, but basically they all have one thing in common: church
bulletins are used as a means of communication.
First, they are a tool by which a local church
teaches the Bible. The teaching of the Bible via bulletins is
one way of carrying out the Lords charge to preach the
Gospel to every person (Mark 16:15). At the same time, the
teaching done in bulletin articles and other Bible-based
materials is a means of edifying or building up the church (Rom.
A second major function of bulletins is to provide
information to the congregation. If we are to see to the
needs of the sick or those with special material or physical
needs (Matt. 25:35,36), then we need to be aware of those needs
and opportunities. Providing such information in bulletins is
helpful in getting the word out to all the members of a
congregation. Announcements relative to upcoming events of a
local church are often printed in bulletins. This helps the
members arrange their plans in order to be able to support the
activities of the church. We also know that we are to rejoice
with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep (Rom.
12:15). We show support for those members of the body that suffer
as well as those that are honored (1 Cor. 12:26). Printing
information about these matters helps keep a congregation better
informed and prepared to serve others in the body.
From the Great Commission and other New
Testament passages, we conclude that a local church is authorized
to prepare, produce, print, and pass out a church bulletin. The
leaders of a local church give consideration to what type of
bulletin arrangement is most expedient for a local flock of
Gods people. Those leaders then determine the size, format
and frequency of producing a bulletin for the needs of a local
congregation. Bulletins really can be edifying, encouraging and
useful in a number of senses.
Church bulletins can also be quite revealing. What do
church bulletins reveal?
For one thing, many church bulletins reveal
attendance tendencies. I am appalled at some of the
attendance statistics that I see in the bulletins of
congregations that have had a reputation of being sound in the
faith. It is not uncommon for some of them to have an average
Sunday morning Bible class attendance or mid-week attendance that
is barely 50% of the average Sunday morning worship attendance.
In many cases there are special health and other issues that
affect a congregations attendance, but 50%?! We all need to
take seriously the charge to seek first the Lords affairs
(Matt. 6:33) and set our interests on spiritual matters (Col.
3:2). When God and His affairs have first place in our hearts,
our attendance at the services of Gods church will be a
natural thing for us.
Church bulletins reveal a churchs
emphasis. What dominates the pages of a bulletin, is it
social matters or spiritual matters? What is predominantly seen
in a bulletins teaching section, is it quotes from
the Bible, or quotes from religious scholars of our
day? Is it humor or Bible? There is a place for Gods people
to smile, as the Bible says, A merry heart doeth good like a
medicine (Prov. 17:22). I have neither the desire nor the
right to try and tell a preacher or bulletin-preparer what
percentage of his message may be humor-oriented. But, brethren,
mark it down. A strong church is not built and maintained by
humor! Gods Kingdom is strengthened through strong teaching
of sound doctrine. After the apostle Paul expressed his concern
for the future affairs of the church in Ephesus, he told the
overseers from that city, And now, brethren, I commend
you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build
you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are
sanctified (Acts 20:32). Remember, we grow through the
milk of Gods word (1 Peter 2:2), not funny stories.
I mentioned one time to a brother in the Lord the name
of a man that was scheduled to appear on a youth program. The
brother told me that he had heard the man speak before. His
analysis was that the man in his sermon used three or four verses
and filled the rest of his time with humor and stories. Brethren,
where is the emphasis in our teaching from the pulpits, in the
classroom, and in our bulletins? Is the emphasis on the Book, or
social affairs? Is it on the Lords word, or mens
stories? God being my helper, as long as my feeble hands have a
part in producing a bulletin, it will be a teaching tool that is
Some church bulletins reveal the flesh. I take
no delight in saying such, but it is true. Some bulletins I have
seen show women with bare mid-sections, men and women wearing
swimsuits, or both sexes wearing skimpy jogging shorts that cover
only about 1/3 of the upper leg. Surely there would never be such
flesh on display in church bulletins? Sadly, it happens. You
must be talking about denominations and not the church of
Christ. No, I am talking 100% about bulletins put out by
brethren in the Lords church.
The covering of the body from shoulders to knees that
God apparently provided for Adam and Eve when He clothed them in
tunics (Gen. 3:21), is still a safe practice to follow in our
dress. Modest apparel is still in fashion with the Lord
God (1 Tim. 2:9). That goes for pictures in church bulletins just
as much as it does for any other occasion. Some congregations now
publish their bulletins on-line (web-sites on the internet). Some
web sites include pictures of activities that involve members of
the congregation. Some of these on-line photos reveal the flesh
just like some printed bulletins do. Again, I take no pleasure in
pointing out the reality of what some congregations do and then
publish in picture form in their bulletins or on the internet. I
am simply pointing out the facts.
Church bulletins also reveal the fellowship
tendencies of a congregation. When we announce upcoming
events, activities and programs that involve other congregations
and special speakers, should we not take care to announce only
those that involve sound brethren? Surely some items fall into
the realm of judgment. Yet, it is a mystery to me why some
congregations seem to make little or no distinction in the things
they advertise and encourage the local saints to support. When a
bulletin announces a gospel meeting at a sound congregation, then
right alongside it there is an announcement about a drama team
from an apostate university in Nashville, TN (David Lipscomb
University) coming somewhere to perform for the area teens! This
is sending forth a mixed signal of uncertain sounds. Either folks
do not know what is going on, they do not see error as a big
deal, they just do not care, or else they are deceived into
thinking that as long as an announcement says church of
Christ on it, then surely it cant be too bad.
Brethren, we are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works
of darkness (Eph. 5:11). When we publish in our bulletins every
announcement under the sun that comes our way, we are
sending a message to our brethren that can potentially damage
their souls. When we support the unfaithful, we become partakers
of their evil deeds. The Bible says so (2 John 9-11).
Church bulletins can be extremely helpful to the
Lords Cause. I personally benefit from a number of bulletins
that I receive. I thank God for them. Other bulletins I have seen
through the years have been, to say it kindly, woefully lacking
when it comes to providing any true spiritual benefit. May every
congregation of the Lords church that produces a bulletin be
committed to using it for Gods glory, for the strengthening
of His church, and for the eternal salvation of souls.
120 Will Lewis Dr. SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
WANTED: PREACHERS LIKE THE PROPHETS
Today, men cannot be prophets in the same sense as in the
Bible. But we need the same caliber of spokesmen today as these
men were. Notice some of the qualities of these men.
1) They were men of deep conviction. They were
convinced of their message and the need for people to respond to
it (Jer. 4:19).
2) They did not beat around the bush in
getting the message across. Nathan, in confronting David with
sin, said, Thou art the man (2 Sam. 12:7).
3) They did not fear the reaction of men. Elijah
denounced King Ahabs sin (1 Kings 21:20).
4) They did not go along with the crowd. Read about
Micaiah who stood against 400 false prophets (1 Kings 22).
5) They were willing to suffer and die for Gods
cause (Heb. 11:37).
6) They had grief and pity (Jer. 8:18).
7) They proclaimed judgment. For most of the prophets,
this was a recurring theme (Micah 3:12). Judgment must be
preached today (Acts 17:30,31).
8) They rebuked false prophets and leaders (Micah
9) They spoke out on morality and ethics. Amos said,
Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor,
and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of
hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted
pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink... (Amos
10) They became discouraged, but not defeated. Jeremiah
did not quit! He said, If I say I will not make mention
of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart
as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary
with forbearing, and I cannot contain (Jer. 20:9).
Are you a preacher like the prophets? We must be
careful of smooth things (Isa. 30:10).
Table of Contents
WHY KNOW THE BIBLE?
Frank J. Dunn
After 55 years of studying and preaching the word of God,
the author gives the following reasons why we should all seek to
know the Bible. Why must you know your Bible?
1) Know Your Bible in order to have everlasting
life. In praying to the Father, Jesus said, And this is
life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). The Bible is
the only source of perfect, saving knowledge of God and Christ.
2) Know Your Bible to know the greatest book ever
written. The Bible is the best book because God is its
author. There were forty penmen, but only one author. All of the
writers were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim.
3:16). No other book can compare with the Bible. It is truly
3) Know Your Bible so that you will know who you
are. Only from the Bible can you know your origin, mission,
and destiny where you came from, why you are here, and
where you are going. We are not a product of evolution. We are a
product of divine creation. God made man in His image, and man
became a morally responsible, living soul (Gen. 1:26,26; 2:7).
Our mission is to glorify God and become as God-like as possible
in preparation for the judgment and our personal accountability
to God (Rom. 14:11,12).
4) Know Your Bible to be saved from sin. The
Bible is the only book that has as its main message the salvation
of sinners. The Bible alone answers the worlds greatest
question, What must I do to be saved? The Father
sent to the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).
He saves sinners by His Gospel which is the power of God
unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Therefore, Jesus said, Go
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that
believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:15,16).
5) Know Your Bible in order to identify the church
of the Lord and know its importance. When one obeys the
Gospel by being baptized into Christ, he is born again of water
and the Spirit (John 3:3-5), into the family of God. This is the
spiritual body of Christ, the church of which He is the head
(Eph. 1:22,23). Christ has only one body (Eph. 4:4), one church
(Acts 2:47). In the New Testament, members of the Lords
church were Christians only (Acts 11:26); and, they were the only
6) Know Your Bible to find the Christian way of
life, worship and service. The inspired Scriptures are the
only doctrine of the New Testament church. The Scriptures alone
furnish us completely unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16,17). The
inspired word teaches us that denying ungodliness and
worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in
this present world (Titus 2:12).
7) Know Your Bible in order to reach the highest
goal, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus (Phil. 3:14). Paul counted all things but
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my
Lord (Phil. 3:8). We should strive to be like Paul, who near
the time of his departure from this life could say, 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).
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SOME DANGEROUS NATIONS AMONG US
In the history of the world, there have been nations which
posed a great danger to people who lived around them. In ancient
times, the Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Romans, and others
were very dangerous nations. In more recent history, Germany,
Japan, Russia, and China have been counted as dangerous nations.
However, the most dangerous nations are not earthly
powers. There are other forces of which we must be aware and
against which we must guard.
There are some things the Bible states are abominations
in the sight of God. These things pervert and destroy man
spiritually. In Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Moses pointed out that
idolatry and practices of the occult were abominations to
the Lord. Solomon said that seven things are an abomination to
God: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed
innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet
that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness [that]
speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren
(Prov. 6:16-19). Truly, these are dangerous nations.
1) Many Christians are eternally ruined by
contamination. They fall prey to practices of the world
immorality, drinking, dancing, cursing, gambling, etc. How
tragic that this powerful nation has kept them from
remaining unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
2) Discrimination is a great danger to the peace
and well-being of the world. It has even invaded the church,
giving many an ungodly, non-Christian attitude. We understand
that all are made in the image of God, and that in
Christ we are of equal importance and value to the Lord.
Why, then, do some in the church practice worldly discrimination
between the rich and poor, the young and the old, male and
female, black and white, etc.?
3) Some are defeated by termination. It may be
that one becomes upset with something in the local church. Family
problems may arise, a difficulty is experienced between brethren,
someones feelings get hurt, etc. What happens? They
terminate they give up church responsibilities, stop
contributing, quit attending. The end result is that they have
become entangled and overcome in the defilements of the world by
their termination (2 Peter 2:20-22).
4) As innocent as it looks, procrastination is
one of the most dangerous nations of all! One may convince
himself that he means well and will do better some day when all
the time he is completely conquered and dominated by this
5) Denominations are very dangerous because,
while appearing quite beneficial and good, they are responsible
for dividing believers in Christ into separate, competing groups.
Christ came to unite all in one body, the undenominational church
of Christ. Paul taught against this nation when he
said, I beseech you, brethren...that there be no divisions
among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same
mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10).
6) The ultimate danger to our souls is eternal
condemnation! One day all will stand before God in
judgment to receive eternal victory over our dangerous nations,
or to be destroyed by them.
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THATS JUST YOUR INTERPRETATION
John D. Cotham
When people use this statement they nearly always mean:
Thats the way you look at a passage, but I think it
means this or that. So, whos to say youre right and
Im wrong? One problem is that so many listen to
so-called scholars. It is true that there are many men with high
credentials who are preaching this or that. What is a person to
do? Do we throw up our hands and argue that no one can really
know the true interpretation of a passage of scripture? This is
what the false teacher would like for us to do. This outlook on
the Word of God allows them to teach virtually anything they want
without much argument from others.
Is interpretation of Gods word left to just any
interpretation that you or I might give it? What one must do is
let the Word of God answer all the questions.
God would be unjust if He demanded our obedience while
at the same time He knew that man could not understand His
instructions. God intended that not just the scholarly man, but
also the unlearned man should understand His word. This means
that for every instruction of God, there is but one meaning
intended by God. I might not fully understand it, nor might you,
but it still has its one meaning, not many. There is only one
right interpretation to any given passage. It is up to us to dig
it out and to stick to that correct interpretation.
It IS possible to know all the essential things the
Scriptures teach. Jesus said: If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed, And ye shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32). Paul said
we are to rightly divide the word of truth (2
Tim. 2:15). Peter said: If any man speak, let him speak
as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). Paul told the
Corinthians to speak the same thing...be perfectly joined
together in the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor.
The holy scriptures provides ALL the instruction needed
by man. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim.
3:16-17). Peter also said: 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). God said through Isaiah
that He could reason with man, Come now, and let us
reason together, saith the LORD... (Isa. 1:18).
Every one of these verses indicate not only that God
intended for man to know His word, but also that God could reason
with man, allowing men to come to the same understanding (same
mind, same judgment). How could it be otherwise if one is to be
saved through Gods word? And now, brethren, I
commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able
to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them
which are sanctified (Acts 20:32). Moreover,
brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto
you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which
also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,
unless ye have believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-2).
The interpretation of every man depends upon his
personal approach to the Word of God. Whether one has respect for
God is shown by his honest effort to find Gods meaning in
every passage he studies. Everyone must approach the Word of God
with the same attitude of the Bereans: ...they received
the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11). For
one to go to the scriptures to prove what he wants it to say is
to be dishonest with the scriptures and will not bring about an
It might very well be that you understand a scripture
and I dont. Or, I could understand it, and you might not. It
could be that neither of us understand it. However, if we both
understand it, we both will have come to the same understanding
(interpretation) just as Paul instructed in 1 Corinthians 1:10.
It is not a matter of MY interpretation or YOUR interpretation,
but the RIGHT interpretation. It is always the matter of coming
to the same understanding as meant by God. If someone approaches
the Word of God rationally, with diligent study, good reasoning
will allow man to come to an understanding of the truth.
There will always be those who are ignorant of the Word
of God. Sad to say, many are ignorant by choice. Paul spoke of
those who are ever learning, and never able to come to
the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). It is Gods
desire that men KNOW the truth, For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men
to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth
(1 Tim. 2:3-4).
Please take Gods word at its face value. To obey
it will lead you to salvation, ...receive with meekness
the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls
23466 Highway 49
Saucier, MS 39574
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Thank you so very much. May God bless each and every one.
Thank you for writing the truth ...name withheld by
request. James Thompson has passed away
...Bullard, TX. Brother Robinson, thanks for sending
me Seek The Old Paths paper and for always
contending for the truth that was once delivered to the
saints ...Dale Stovall, Imboden, AR. Would you
please start sending me your publication ...Bettye Lane,
Beebe, AR. Thank you for sending STOP to me for the last
several years. I would like to be removed from the mailing list.
Thanks again ...Name withheld by request.
Brother Robinson, thank you for sending your wonderful
Gospel paper to me for many years. Please add this name to your
mailing list. He would like to receive a copy. Thank you
...Wayne Crum, Caledonia, OH. Upon arrival of this
note with a small offering to help with the Lords work
there, I pray all is well with everyone there. Thank you for
continuing sending me the publication of Seek The Old
Paths ...Leadale Simpson, Rockford, IL. Thank
you so much for being willing and not afraid to stand up for the
truth. The only words to describe how my wife and I feel are
thrilling and looking forward to heaven. Thank you so
much! ...Name withheld by request, OH. Please
send your paper, Seek The Old Paths, to... Keep up
the good work. God bless you all ...Teddy Medlen,
Jonesville, MI. Please note our change of address
...Ed & Bea Stelmach, Wheeling, WV. You have been
sending STOP to my husband, but I need to cancel the paper.
Wesley Wall died 4/11. I will be moving soon. Wes was a member of
the church of Christ for many years. Thank you and God bless
you ...Dixie Wall, Madison, MS. Josie J. Smith
has passed away ...Mocksville, NC. Please take
us off your mailing list. Please do not print our names. Thank
you ...Jonesboro, GA. Please send me one copy
each of Jan. & Feb. 2012. Pray for us and we will do the
same ...James W. Berry, Montgomery, AL. Return
to sender. Refused ...Troy & Martha Meeks, Corinth,
MS. Lucy Stansberry passed away ...Elk City,
OK. Once again, I certainly look forward to STOP. Use
the $$ to help wherever. Best of luck in your new work and
location ...Dan Huffines, Gainesboro, TN. Please
put me on the mailing list to receive Seek The Old
Paths. A friend of mine let me read the last issue you
put out. I simply must be on the mailing list also. Keep up the
fine work you are doing for the Lord ...Bobby Bennett,
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a copy of STOP. I would love to receive future copies if that can
be arranged. Thank you for this good work. I wish for you the
very best of lifes blessings ...L. C. Bingham,
Wayne, OK. Dear brother Robinson, the Pleasant View
Church of Christ sends greetings to you. We know the STOP is a
good work that you are undertaking. Enclosed is a check to
support this work. We are confident that the Gospel is being
taught and that our financial support will be put to good use.
May God bless you and your family as well as the work at East
End ...Pleasant View Church of Christ, Woodbury, TN.
This is to inform you of a change in my address so that I
can continue to receive STOP, a huge blessing in my life. Also, I
saw in the March 2012 STOP where Garland Robinson was going to
the Leoni Church of Christ. Could you be sure my address is
changed so that there will be no interruption in the STOP
publication at its new address? Thank you ...Claude
Mazza, Chatham, VA.
THE BARE BONE FACTS
When an engineer builds a building, a bridge or
some other structure, he must build it so that it can withstand
both stretching and compressing forces. In designing the
structure to withstand both kinds of these forces, he must
anticipate how much of each force the structure might face in its
lifetime. Some materials, like cast iron and concrete, are very
good at withstanding compression forces but very poor in handling
stretching forces. Using one of these materials to build a
structure that undergoes tensile or stretching forces could lead
Now lets apply our basic engineering information
to the problem of building a frame or skeleton for a living
creature. Although you may weigh only 130 pounds, your long leg
bone will very likely have to be prepared to deal with more than
1,000 pounds of compression and hundreds of pounds of tension
from the muscles that are anchored to it.
Its a good thing, then, that normal bone is three
times as strong as good solid wood and nearly as strong as iron!
Tests have shown that the tensile strength of bone is 35,000
pounds per square inch, while iron is 40,000 pounds per square
inch. But bone material is better than iron because it is three
times lighter and much more flexible.
The structure of your bones is too carefully engineered
to have been an accident. If life were the result of impersonal
evolution, evolution would still be trying to engineer the best
material for skeletons, and there would be an awful lot of
jellyfish around! Creation Moments.
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