A TRAGIC TREND ON THE ROAD TO APOSTASY
There seems to be a pattern that describes the state of
Gods people throughout history. It begins with commitment to
obey God in all things, but in process of time, complacency erodes
the original fervor. This complacency opens the door to compromise
which invariably results in corruption.
A WORD OF ADVICE TO PARENTS
Consider once again the Biblical example of Israels
sorry plight in Egypt. They had forgotten their God and only
remembered Him when life became unbearable. God in His infinite
love and mercy sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage. Given
victory over their oppressors. they worshiped God in a song of
thanksgiving and praise. Yet three days later, when they could find
no good water to drink, their commitment began to wain. Once again
by Gods grace the bitter waters were made sweet and Moses
challenged the people to harken to the voice of God and said that
He would protect them.
Again their commitment was brief and people began to
murmur against Moses and Aaron who were Gods representatives.
How soon the people had forgotten Gods grace and mercy. They
were degenerating from commitment to complacency as they recalled
the flesh pots in Egypt. They were considering compromise for
fleshly advantage. The Lord then rained bread from heaven upon
those wavering Israelites and provided quail in abundance. For
forty years God provided all of the needs of the children of
Three months after their delivery from Egyptian
slavery, Moses was called up upon the mountain to meet with God.
The people gave their solemn word that they would do whatever God
required. However, in their short attention span, when Moses was
delayed in coming down from the mountain, their complacency quickly
became compromise and resulted in their corruption. They demanded
an idol, a false god of their own invention, lust like those false
gods the Egyptians worshiped. God had delivered the Israelites out
of Egypt, but Egypt was still in the Israelites. The idol was
fashioned and the people bowed down and corrupted themselves and
offered burnt offerings to the golden calf. Gods word says,
the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to
play (Exodus 32:6).
You say, just how could the people be so foolish and
so ungrateful. And I say, just take a look at many congregations of
the Lords church today. Gods people today have so much
more to be grateful and thankful for. The promised Messiah has come
and His kingdom has been established. Gods people have been
cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yet many prefer to lust
after the idols of the denominational world. It appears that many
elders and preachers do not have a clue as to what constitutes
Biblical authority. Many church leaders today look to the gimmicks
and tactics employed by man-made religious organizations to attract
a crowd. I can recall how the statement was made often that just
because the denominations go in and out the door, we, (members of
the Lords church) do not have to jump out of the windows. This
statement was made in order to justify stealing denominational
methods, and boy, did many blind leaders of the blind steal their
methods. Did it draw a crowd? Yes, but what sort of a crowd? It did
not draw a multitude of people who know and respect the authority
of our Lord. It drew a crowd of people who look upon the church as
a place of social gathering and a place for entertainment. Why
should those so attracted believe anything else? Some built large
play houses (gymnasiums). Some serve coffee and donuts for their
so-called Bible classes. One church we know about began to have
Saturday services and brought in instruments of music. Others
instituted two separate worship services: one called
contemporary and the other traditional. Some
copied the denominational practice of childrens
worship. Many congregations have their own recreational
vehicles to take groups to various entertainment venues. Many have
copied the denominational practice of providing a youth
minister which they no doubt found authority for in the second
chapter of the book of Jude.
Seriously, brothers and sisters in Christ, could
anyone recognize such churches as the one they read about in the
Bible? We know that the Lords church began with great
commitment as the new Christians sold their possessions for the
furtherance of the Gospel. Some were beaten, stoned and imprisoned,
but many would not compromise their faith in Christ. But even in
the time of such fervor and conviction, the apostles sounded out
the warning of coming apostasy.
In the process of time, the commitment of many eroded
into complacency, then compromise and eventually corruption. The
apostasy eventually led to the Roman Catholic church with its
man-made creeds and doctrines. While the Lords church did not
cease to exist, it became a small remnant of once faithful
believers for many years. The gates of hell had done its best
to eliminate the Lords church, but our Lord had promised that
such would never occur (Matt. 16:18).
First there was, on the part of some, an effort to
reform the Roman Catholic church, but it was not to be. In protest,
men withdrew from the Roman Catholic church and wrote their own
creeds and doctrines. It was a step in the right direction but did
not go far enough. The result was the birth of Protestant
Later, many began to see the folly of so many
churches, all wearing different names, with different creeds and
doctrines. Men in various parts of the world began to ask why
cant we set aside our various creeds and doctrines and have a
thus sayeth the Lord for all we believe, teach and
practice? This gave rise to what was called the
restoration movement. Many once again committed
themselves to the pure Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His
church. The church once again grew and multiplied in many parts of
Then, as time passed, commitment was gradually
replaced for many with complacency which led to compromise and then
to the corruption of many Christians and congregations. This time,
it was the false doctrine that anything not specifically
forbidden may be allowed. However, those who remained faithful
to the Biblical principal that Christians must have authority for
all we believe, teach and practice (Col. 3:17), would not accept
the unauthorized innovation of the employment of instruments of
music in worship and the establishment of a Missionary Society.
But, in spite of the efforts of the faithful, the apostates carried
away most of the churches and private schools that brethren had
In our present time, there is a lack of knowledge and
respect for the church that was in the mind of God from the
foundation of the world the church which Jesus promised to
build and which He established and purchased with His precious
blood. Many today see the church as a place for social activities.
A place where the worship services must entertain and incite the
emotions. Some congregations have built gymnasiums and sponsor ball
teams that compete with other churches. The church in many places
has become a baby sitter and a student activity center.
Church bulletins are filled with notices of upcoming
golf scrambles and game night at the church building
in the Tea Room. One bulletin suggested that the 6th to 12th
grade devotional was to be held after Sunday evening
worship and due to the distance they must travel to a private home,
that they should leave services during the singing of the closing
song. Just what is it that a child may learn at a
devotional that they may not learn during worship
services under the oversight of the elders and their parents?
Brother Goeble Music wrote a book entitled BEHOLD
THE PATTERN. With such activities as those cited above and
many more like them, just where is the pattern to be found for
them? May we today abandon pattern theology and pattern
ourselves after the false religions all about us? Is this not
exactly what the rebellious Israelites did at Mt. Sinai?
The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play
(Exodus 32:6). They patterned themselves after the Egyptians.
Is it too late for many congregations to ask
themselves just what is the purpose and work of the church? Does
God judge the faithfulness of a congregation based upon the number
of members, the size of the contribution and the multiplicity of
activities? Such was not the standard by which the Lord judged the
seven churches of Asia. The standard was faithfulness to the Head
of the church (Jesus Christ) by submitting to His authority in all
things. And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by
him (Col. 3:17).
When Jesus saw the disrespect the people had toward
the temple, in righteous indignation He fashioned a whip and
physically drove out the money changers, overturning their tables
and declared; Take these things hence; make not my
Fathers house an house of merchandise (John 2:16).
What would Jesus do today with the corruption found in so many
The Lords church was not established to take over
the work of the home or the government. It was not established to
entertain or provide physical recreation. It is the place where
Gods people are commanded to assemble on a regular and
faithful basis to worship and serve their Lord. It is the pillar
and the ground of the truth. Its work is to preach the
Gospel, edify the church and practice works of
benevolence. When Christians assemble as the church, they do
so to give praise and thanksgiving for all that God continually
does for them. They assemble to fellowship and to feast on
Gods word, to jointly pray together, to sing songs of praise,
thanksgiving and edification, to commune with Jesus Christ in
observance of the Lords supper, and to return joyfully, and
liberally a portion of the material blessings that God has so
richly bestowed upon them. When Christians assemble with the right
attitude they will find the worship services rewarding and
Is it wrong for Christians to enjoy the company of
other Christians? Not at all. Is it wrong for Christians to want to
engage in recreational activities together? No. But we should
understand that common meals and recreational activities are not
the work of the church. They are what the family or home may
properly do. When did we forget this?
The Roman Catholic church desires to dictate to
governments and the results are tragic. Too many congregations of
the Lords church are attempting to do the work of the home.
God in His infinite wisdom gave mankind three divine institutions:
the first being the home, the second was the government and the
last is the church. When each divinely established institution
minds its own business, mankind prospers. The church has all
it can possibly do by being the church.
I believe that most parents want the best for their
children. So what should they look for when choosing a church? Do
not look for a church with a multiplicity of social activities. If
you do, your children will grow up with the wrong impression of
what the church is. God has provided your children with two youth
directors, they are mother and father or the person or persons who
serve in that capacity. Parents have the responsibility of knowing
what their children are being taught and by whom. Parents must not
depend upon schools or teachers to teach their children the way to
heaven. It is the parents responsibility. Seriously consider
the question; Where will my children be for eternity? If
you honestly evaluate this question, it will change your life and
Look for a church where the preacher and teachers
know, love, and live Gods Word. It may not be the largest
congregation in the area, but it should be a congregation who loves
the Lord and one another. Become involved in the work of the church
and let your life revolve around the church (Matt. 6:33). Make the
decision that when the church assembles, your family will be
present. Your childrens evaluation of the church will largely
depend upon your love and faithfulness to the Lords church.
Live your faith daily at home and elsewhere. Proverbs 22:6 still
teaches, Train up a child in the way he should go; and
when he is old, he will not depart from it. We train
with both words and by personal example.
We can all learn from the things written aforetime
(Rom. 15:4). Harken to the words of Joshua! And if it
seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom we
will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that
were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve
the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
We must choose whether we will follow the false gods
of this present world, which includes all man-originated religious
faiths and practices; or, if we will serve the Lord. Jesus said
no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). If
we seek material and social success, then we have chosen our god.
One has a lot of company on the broad road. But the road that leads
to heaven is the less traveled road (Matt. 7:13-14). Remember this.
Powell Grove church of Christ
1264 Cairo Bend Rd.
Lebanon, TN 37087
Table of Contents
SOUND PREACHERS ARE NEEDED
Preachers are essential according to Romans 10:13-15.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall
be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not
heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? ...as
it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the
gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
ALL PREACHERS CANNOT BE TRUSTED
God is the one who chose preaching as the means
through which His saving Word would be proclaimed. For
the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but
unto us which are saved it is the power of God. ...It
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe (I Cor. 1:18-21).
Worldly men think preaching is foolish and cannot have
anything to do with being saved. To them, preaching is too simple
and elementary. They think that salvation must come about by some
grander means. However, Paul did not say that God has chosen to
save man by foolish preaching nor did he say that
preaching is foolish. Notice the wording again, he wrote that
it pleased God by the foolishness OF preaching that
which men counts as foolish. The significance of this phrase is
that God has chosen, through the means (mode, method, practice) of
preaching, to save those who believe his word and obey it. God
could have chosen another way of saving men, but he did not. He
chose the method of the proclamation of his word. This is also made
clear in John 6:44-45. Jesus said, No man can come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him
up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall
be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath
learned of the Father, cometh unto me. God draws men to
him by means of hearing his word, which is done by preaching it.
No wonder Paul wrote to the church at Rome, For
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power
of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew
first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). Preaching,
therefore, is not outdated and will not become outdated. It will
and must continue until the Lord comes again.
All preachers are commanded to do what Timothy was
told to do. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and
doctrine (II Tim. 4:2-4). To Titus we read,
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Let no man despise thee (Titus 2:1,15).
It is easy for those who hear to reject the Word of
God. 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
(II Tim. 4:3-4). Regardless of how the Word is received, it
must be preached without fear or favor of any man (Acts 7:50-53).
Who will preach it like it is? Will you?
Even though I am a preacher, I would be the first to tell
you that not all preachers can be trusted. This is true within any
class of people, in any culture, in any generation. There have
always been those who are not faithful and genuine. As a matter of
fact, I John 4:1 says, Beloved, believe not every spirit,
but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world. Preachers today
are certainly not prophets, but the principle of this verse applies
today as much as it applied in the first century.
Many preach themselves, thinking theyre a cut
above everybody else. Their sermons are filled with I
this and I that. I once heard such a peacher and
counted the 40 something times he used the word I in his
30 minute TV program. They are so full of themselves and want
brethren to know it. These cannot be trusted. Paul said,
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
ourselves your servants for Jesus sake (II Cor.
Many preach to please men by tickling their ears with
what they like to hear. Paul said, For do I now persuade
men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10). We
are warned about this in II Timothy 4:3-4. The whole counsel of God
must be preached regardless of how it is received (Acts 20:26- 27)!
The truth is the truth and must be preached! I didnt write the
Bible and have no right to water it down to please men.
Many preach the doctrines and commandments of men.
Jesus spake of those who ...draweth nigh unto me with
their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is
far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men (Matt. 15:8-9). Preachers must
preach the very word of God (I Thess. 2:13) instead of the errors
of man. We stand before the Lord in judgment, not man.
Many preach for popularity and notoriety. I once heard
a preacher say his goal was to preach for the largest congregation
in the brotherhood. He somehow imagined that success was climbing
the ladder up through the ranks of the brotherhood and if he could
do that, he could be on top. But, on top of what? This is not what
gaines the approval of the Lord. Paul wrote, But God
forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world (Gal. 6:14). He wrote to the church at Corinth and
said he ...determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (I Cor. 2:2). Paul
was happy to simply be a humble servant of the Lord. James 4:6
says, But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Everyone must search the Scriptures daily to make sure
what they are being told is the truth (Acts 17:11). And, when it is
not, they must not accept it. Preachers are essential in Gods
plan, but let us test them to see whether their message is from
Table of Contents
THE DANGER OF NOT KNOWING THE BIBLE
God through His prophet in the Old Testament said,
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
(Hosea 4:6). The inspired apostle teaches us, Be not
unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is
It is absolutely essential that elders be men of the
Book. Paul says they must be apt to teach (I
Tim. 3:2) and be able by sound doctrine both to exhort
and to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9). Without a
working knowledge of the Bible, this would be impossible.
An often-overlooked qualification of deacons is the fact
that they must be familiar with Bible teaching. Of deacons Paul
says, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure
conscience (I Tim. 3:9). The faith here is the
Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; Jude 3). You cant hold to something you
The Hebrew writer says, 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 everyone that
useth milk is unskillful 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 (Heb. 5:12-14). James states the
principle of the higher degree of responsibility that teachers have
when he says, Be not many of you teachers, my brethren,
knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment (James
It seems several times recently that I have had comments
made to me by older Christians that they do not hear today from the
pulpit the Bible-centered lessons that they used to in years gone
by. This is a sad commentary on preachers today in the Lords
church. Of course the only way a preacher is going to qualify
himself to preach the Bible is to take the time necessary to study
the Bible. To preachers, Paul would say, But speak thou
the things which become sound doctrine...Sound speech that cannot
be condemned...These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all
authority...hold fast the form of sound words...give attendance to
reading, to exhortation, to doctrine...take heed unto thyself and
unto the doctrine...preach the word (Titus 2:1,8,15; II
Tim. 1:13; I Tim. 4:13,16; II Tim. 4:2).
Paul wrote to the brethren generally and said,
Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord
is (Eph. 5:17). On another occasion he wrote,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom
(Col. 3:16). The apostle Peter also exhorts, But
grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ (II Peter 3:18).
If the church is going to be what it needs to be and
do what it needs to do, all of us, regardless of our station, are
going to have to take the time and make the sacrifice to inform
ourselves concerning Gods will.
100 Sweetbriar Walk
Stockbridge, GA 30281
Table of Contents
What Will You Preach?
Gospel preachers have many tasks to perform during the
course of a year. Among their greatest priorities is choosing
suitable sermon material for the congregations where they serve.
Sermons come in different categories including: expository,
topical, character studies, doctrinal, and devotional. Preachers
would be wise to regularly conduct a thorough self-examination of
their work. A New Year offers the local preacher an opportunity to
assess his preaching, while taking into account his pulpit work for
the coming year.
The primary duty of the Gospel preacher is to preach.
But, What will he preach? Paul writes, Preach
the word, be instant in season; out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (II Tim.
4:2). This is a charge of great importance as the minister
virtually holds life and death in his tongue. The apostle Paul
declared, For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing
to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if
I preach not the gospel (I Cor. 9:16).
Preachers are to feed their hearers the pure Gospel.
The apostle Peter declares, As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (I
Peter 2:2). The local preacher, like the cook, must provide a
balanced diet. Our families deserve a healthy diet, and likewise a
preacher must feed his hearers spiritual food which will enhance
their spiritual health. The following are some suggestions for
those who preach.
A healthy portion of first principles.
Faithful preachers will include a healthy dose of the first
principles of the Gospel during the year. The writer to the Hebrews
said, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to
the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them
slip (Heb. 2:1). The American Standard Version renders
the last part of the verse, Lest haply we drift away from
them. We see those in the church drifting from a
life of faithfulness and we wonder why this is happening. The ABCs
or fundamentals of the Gospel, should be stressed regularly.
Preachers must never assume their listeners are fully cognizant of
Gods plan for redemption. The fundamentals of the Gospel must
be regularly preached and reviewed. I fondly recall as a child that
Gospel preachers would take their place in the pulpit with
book, chapter, and verse preaching. Also, due emphasis
was given in each lesson to the five steps to salvation. Since the
eternal destiny of souls is always in the balance, Gospel preachers
will not neglect this needed practice.
A hearty discussion of the Old Testament. It
is possible to lose sight of the valuable lessons rooted in the Old
Testament. Recently a Gospel preacher was going through his
annual review. He was informed that preaching from the
Old Testament was no longer effective. Let us not exclude an
important part of Gods revelation, as the Old Covenant needs
to be studied with keen interest.
The apostle Paul emphasized, For whatsoever
things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that
we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have
hope (Rom. 15:4). Consider how character studies from
Abel, Abraham, Moses, Noah, Daniel, Elijah, and others give us
illustrations of faith, obedience and devotion to Jehovah (Heb.
11:1-40). Imagine the difficulty of understanding Romans, II
Corinthians, Galatians, and Hebrews without a knowledge or
familiarity with the Old Testament. Preachers of the past used to
say: The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, while
the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
We have often heard it said, The church of Christ
does not believe in the Old Testament? Those hungry souls that
listen from week to week need to hear sermons regularly on the Old
Testament. This section of the Bible highlights the many shadows
and types pointing to the covenant of Christ (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb.
A hefty embrace of Christian living. One of
the greatest needs for the child of God is staying informed of the
basic tenets of Christian living. The minister should give serious
attention to this much-needed subject. Jesus said, Heaven
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away
(Matt. 24:35). Living the Christian life, or any other aspect
of Christianity, is to be guided by the absolute Word of God (Psalm
119:89; II Tim. 3:16-17). We live in an age when moral relativism
is the rule of the day. Thus sermons about Christian living should
include warnings concerning such subjects as immodest apparel,
dancing, tobacco use, fornication, alcohol, and drugs. We must
never forget a Christian is a person who wears the name of the
Lord. We belong to Jesus, therefore our daily lives should be
conducted in accordance with His will (Matt. 7:24-27).
A honest dose of Christian evidences.
Positive encouragement and instruction is received when the local
preacher devotes time to a study of Christian evidences. These
studies benefit all hearers in strengthening their faith in God.
Listening to sermons will edify all that hear the message (Eph.
4:15-16). The theme of Christian evidences includes the following
topics: the existence of God, the deity of Christ, the age of the
earth, and the problem of evil. Several years ago a wise preacher
was quizzed about the single most important Scripture in the entire
Bible. He replied, In the beginning God created the
heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). The preacher predicated
his remarks on the fundamental premise that if we do not believe in
the integrity of Genesis 1:1, the balance of the Bible has little
meaning (John 6:44-45).
For preaching to be effective, there must be sincerity of
presentation, clarity of speech, suitability of material, and
simplicity of lesson. Following this pattern will accomplish a
threefold purpose: 1) It will bring people to Christ so they might
be saved (John 6:44- 45); 2) It will cause Christians to grow
spiritually (I Peter 2:1-2; II Peter 3:13); and 3) Will keep
Christians saved (James 1:21; I Cor. 15:1-2).
2101 Glenwood Dr.
Hartselle, AL 35640
Table of Contents
ONE CANNOT WIN A BATTLE AGAINST GOD
Marvin L. Weir
False teaching and preaching may be in vogue among men,
but it will always incur the wrath of God. Israel had a long habit
of turning away from the true and living God. Such should not have
been the case as a loving God warned His people about the
consequences of not following Him.
Notice these warnings from God: Ye shall
observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye
shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left
(Deut. 5:32). That his heart be not lifted up above his
brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the
right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days
in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel
(Deut. 17:20; cf. 28:14). Only be thou strong and
very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all
the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to
the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper
whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:7).
Israel was unwilling to follow the divine pattern
given by God. It is a spiritual tragedy when those who know
Gods will brazenly 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. 30:10-11).
In chapter four of his book, Amos further describes
Israels determination to not follow God. The people endured
famine (v.6), drought (vs.7-8), mildew (v.9), palmer worm or
locusts (v.9), pestilence (v.10), war and death (v.10), and
earthquake while stubbornly refusing to return to God. God brought
these acts upon His people in an attempt to bring them to
repentance, but five times it is recorded that yet have
ye not returned unto me, saith Jehovah (Amos
4:6,8,9,10,12). Israel was engaged in a battle she could not win.
The cruel Assyrians took the northern capital, or Samaria, into
captivity. God let His people know that it was He and not Assyria
who was in control in saying, Therefore thus will I do
unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare
to meet thy God, O Israel (Amos 4:12).
Gods people today can expect no less if they defy
the Creator and turn aside from His Word. False religion is
the root of all social ills, and here the prophet poured out
Gods wrath upon the polluted, innovative, and unauthorized
worship that marked the religious culture of Israel
(Coffmans Bible Commentary, Amos 4:4).
Innovative and unauthorized worship is no more
acceptable to God today than it was under the Law of Moses! An
ever-growing number of congregations today calling themselves
churches of Christ have decided to be upbeat and
contemporary while shedding the image of being a Bible
based and peculiar people (cf. Gal. 6:16; I Peter 2:9). False
teaching abounds on Divorce and Rremarriage in order to
accommodate people who are living in adultery. The mechanical
instrument is either introduced or else it is made absolutely
clear that its use is a matter of preference and not a matter of
fellowship. Some congregations are simply softly playing
instrumental music through the sound system until the worship
begins. Ivan Pavlov would be thrilled to know that his classical
conditioning technique is alive and well. Many congregations now
find that praise teams are essential to their
singing and women must be used in leadership roles
if every member is going to find and develop their gift.
Childrens church has been popular for years and is one
reason some cannot endure a structured (Bible based) approach to
worship. If one is nourished from a small child on fun, games,
entertainment (puppets, etc.), and drama, then this is what
he will demand as an adult. Congregation after congregation is now
reaffirming their elders every few years. Some
pulpits strongly suggest that the qualifications for elders listed
in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are not that at all, but simply
Bible authority is necessary for what one does in the
name of religion (Col. 3:17). I know why so many pulpits today have
an aversion to quoting the Scriptures. The contemporary, uncertain
sound coming from them cannot be found in Gods Word. People
who refuse to study the Bible may be fooled, large crowds may claim
they are assembled to worship, but worship not authorized by God is
in vain (Matt. 15:7-9). One cannot win a battle against God!
Table of Contents
THE PURPOSE OF PREACHING
Jesus has given the command to go and preach the Gospel.
Mark 16:15-16 states, And he said unto them, 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. When Jesus used the word
preach in this passage, he used a word that conveys a
unique concept. Preaching is a proclamation of a message. It is a
declaring of ones position. Therefore, to some it is a very
common form of presentation that is heard day after day by someone
somewhere peddling their positions, whereas genuine Bible preaching
is a very unique thing. Nothing can take the place of real Bible
preaching, nor can its power really be measured.
BIBLE PREACHING REFUTES FALSE IDEAS
Over and over again, Christ and the apostles challenged
the false positions of their day through preaching. Jesus refuted
the false teachings of the Jewish teachers of His day. Notice His
rebuke of them in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). His
denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 is but one
example of many incidents of the Lords hatred for false
doctrine. Though he had supreme love and compassion for the sinner,
He hated every false way, for He knew that such would cause souls
to be lost. Peter in his sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2) as well as
Pauls sermon on Mars Hill (Acts 17) are two illustrations
of how Christ and the apostles used the medium of preaching to
expose error. We must do the same.
BIBLE PREACHING EXPLAINS THE SCRIPTURES
Bible preaching comes from the Bible. It is a
presentation and an explanation of the greatest book in the world,
the Bible. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled his sermon with
quotations from the Old Testament. But, notice that it was not just
a Bible quoting session; rather he went on to explain the
scriptures which he used. There was no doubt in the minds of his
hearers as to how those scriptures should be applied (Acts
2:16,25). Gospel preaching must be Bible based and centered (Acts
2:17-21), but it must also let the people know what the scripture
means and how it applies today. A person can read the Bible at home
for himself. He can memorize every verse in the Bible, but if he
misses the Bibles proper explanation and application, then he
has gained nothing toward growing in faith (II Peter 3:18). Bible
preaching is based on Gods Word and is a correct explanation
and application of that Word.
BIBLE PREACHING CONVICTS MEN OF SIN
In Acts 2, Peter let his audience know they were sinners
(Acts 2:36). There was no misunderstanding him about the matter. He
exhorted them to do something about their spiritual condition (Acts
2:40). Peter stirred their consciences (Acts 2:37). Pauls
sermon to Felix caused Felix to tremble (Acts 24:25). Bible
preaching is to convict men of their sins and exhort them to turn
to the living God.
We need a revival today of the preaching that we hear.
We need a return to first century preaching the kind of
preaching that is filled with that which causes the hearer to
realize his condition and urges him to do something about it. Then
we will see, as the Word of God instructs, that it is indeed
quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword
Table of Contents
Thanks for sound, Biblical articles and keeping the
brotherhood informed about false teachers creeping into the
Lords church ...Jimmy Kilgore, Oakman, AL.
I appreciate you sending me the bulletin and very much want to
continue to receive it ...Bill Noblin, Hazen, AR.
I am a member of the Page church of Christ in Page, Arizona.
I wonder if you could help me find an issue of Seek The Old
Paths that I am looking for? It deals with the inaccuracy of
the NIV translation of the Bible. I know we have it as we
save copies of all of the Seek The Old Paths articles that you send
us. Please let me know what month and year to look for. Thanks for
all the hard work that you do and please pray for our work here in
Page. In Christian Love ...Joe Drella, Page, AZ. [NOTE:
The material you are looking for was printed in the Dec/94 &
Jan/95 issues. Neither of these are online. However, it has been
published in a tract and can be obtained from Ben Vick, 4915
Shelbyville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46237 editor.] Thank
you ...Kenneth Lewis, Sapulpa, OK. Just a quick
note to say Great Job! ...Roy Coffman, Omaha, NE.
God bless your work ...Jackie & Evelyn Weathers,
Corinth, MS. Thank you for sending Seek The Old Paths
each month. God bless you for proclaiming Truth and exposing
Error ...Maurice Brown, Rockford, IL. Please
send 10 copies each month. We will be sending you a check to help
in your expenses. We appreciate your good work ...Bill
Williams, Island church of Christ, Anacortes, WA. Would
you please send Seek The Old Paths to my sister-in-law. I have been
sending them to her but I would like to keep them. There is so much
information in them that I would like to keep them. She likes the
paper very much. Bless you and keep up the good work for the Lord.
God bless you ...a sister in Christ, Napoleon, OH.
Please put me on your mailing list. I would like to have two
copies of July 2006 about Just Who or What is an Anti? I
thought it was very good, especially the last paragraph.
Thanks ...TX. I recently ran across a copy of
Seek The Old Paths and enjoyed it very much and would like to be
added to your subscription list please. Thank you ...M/M
Neal Essie, Mocksville, NC. We, the elders of the Quartz
Hill Church of Christ, Quartz Hill, CA, would like for you to place
us on your mailing list as we find your publication to be sound in
doctrine. We would like 30 copies each month. We are enclosing a
donation to help your publication with expenses. If you have 30
back copies of the Feb/2007 issue, please send them to our
congregation ...The Elders, Church of Christ, Quartz Hill,
CA. [NOTE: The Feb, March, April and July issues contain
material concerning mechanical instruments of music in worship
editor.] To the elders of the church of Christ at East
End. We would like 25 copies each month of Seek The Old Paths
to pass out at church. Thanks so much ...Church of
Christ at Elkins, Woodbury, TN. Please take us off your
mailing list. We enjoy them, but my mother gets them and we read
them there. Thank you very much ...M/M Clois Wright,
Booneville, MS. I agree with what you said in the Guest
Editorial of the June 2007 issue of Seek The Old Paths
concerning the Christian Chronicle. However, I wonder when you
wrote it. If you wrote it recently, you need to know that you hurt
your credibility by giving data that is not current. It is my
understanding that OCU (Oklahoma Christian University) is not the
publisher, Bailey B. McBride is not the editor, and Glover Shipp is
not the Senior Editor. The correct data is: Publisher: The
Christian Chronicle, Inc., Editor: Lynn McMillon, Senior Editor: R.
Scott LaMascus. This has been true for more than a year
...Owen B. Moseley. [NOTE: The article was indeed an older
article and dealt with the publisher and editor at the time it was
written. However, the fact that the paper now lists a different
publisher and editor does not change the things that were being
discussed at the time. Thank you for the clarification.
editor]. The last two issues of your Seek the Old
Paths were especially good. Keep up your good work for the
Lord ...John Waddey. I commend you for your work
with the paper. Keep up the Lords work ...William
McCormick, Monroeville, AL. I request you mail me your
newsletter each time you publish it. You currently send it to our
friends, Jim and Judy Marshall, and they tell me is it
wonderful ...Mattie Ann Owens, Chattanooga, TN.
I enjoy your news bulletin very much. Keep up the good
work ...Gaylon Patterson, Richmond, TX. I
request that you send Seek The Old Paths to me. Thanks
a lot. I was shocked at the way Rochester College is going
and some of the things they believe and teach today ...Joe
Powell, Clinton Township, MI. Thank you very much
...Elijah & Margie McCoy, Metropolis, IL. Thank you
for the April 2007 issue of Seek The Old Paths. All the
articles are very good. We publish a paper here that goes into
8,000 homes in Lithia Springs. Do I have your permission to reprint
some of these articles? God bless you in your work
...Larry Acuff, Douglasville, GA. [NOTE: Yes, you have our
permission to reprint any of the articles that appear in Seek
The Old Paths. We are all seeking to get the pure Gospel out
to the world. God bless you in your work, editor]. I
worship at the Bisbee church of Christ. A friend of mine who also
worships there gave me two of your wonderful publications. Would
you please include me on your mailing list. Also, would you add my
brother. As a new Christian, not only would he learn a lot, he
would also keep to the path. Thank you so much and please keep up
the wonderful works that you all are doing ...Mitch
Whittaker, Pearce, AZ. Its so good to know there are
those who are not afraid to stand up for the truth. Please continue
your good work ...Wanda Clements, Sun City, AZ.
Just a note to say we appreciate you and all your writers for
your godly stand for the Truth. We are not surprised of the
Christian Chronicle action. God help them! Keep the inspiring
words and God will prevail ...Bruton & Harold Wood,
Paducah, KY. I want to thank you for putting me on the
mailing list. Ive been reading a lot in other articles of
publications from the church of Christ about souls leaving the
faith and the battles that are going on in the church. The article
Shall The Sword Devour Forever (June 2007) is truly great
and I hope and pray that all who read it will take heed and do
their own part and stop the spreading of division. Where has the
love gone for one another and for the Truth? May our God continue
to bless you all and keep Seek The Old Paths going
...Jerry Hawkins, Brent, AL.