CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF
Jon Gary Williams
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The following material was in
response to some comments and questions regarding the DISASTER
RELIEF program. Since I live in the Nashville area I am well
acquainted with people directly involved with CCDR and, hence, have
access to firsthand information.
REGARDING THE BOARD OF CCDR
At the beginning this program was simply identified with
the name Disaster Relief. It was started at the Tusculum
congregation by the preacher, John Miller. Its first
board was the eldership at Tusculum. However, the
Tusculum congregation eventually dropped the program at which time
it was placed under a generic board made up of various men in the
Nashville area. John Miller became its first and only
president. I asked one of the present board members (a
former elder at Tusculum, but who left that congregation because of
liberal goings on) why the elders dropped sponsorship of
the program. He explained it was because Tusculum had supported the
infamous Jubilee. Complaints coming to the elders made it
necessary (if the program was to continue receiving support from
other brethren) to remove it from the Tusculum congregation.
(However, this elder told me he felt it should be under an
eldership and not a general board.)
CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF
When word got out that the title CHURCH OF CHRIST
DISASTER RELIEF was in the working, it was soon pointed out
that this was an improper use of the expression church of
Christ. My understanding is that some suggested using the
title DISASTER RELIEF with the subtitle Supported by
Churches of Christ. I, along with others, was under the
impression the title CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF
would not be used. However, the next thing I knew it was being
used, with the modification of CHURCHES plural. I suppose
they felt the plural sounded less objectionable. (Actually, the
official title now is: CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF
IS CCDRE JUSTIFIABLE? When discussing this with others
I have made it a point to bring out the following questions:
1) Is it the responsibility of the Lord's church to
provide relief to the world at large? Is not this the premise on
which CCDRE was founded? Is not this what CCDRE has become -- a
generic relief society? Why did not the early church organize such
2) Is not CCDRE the creation of another
para-church organization? Is it not true that
well-meaning brethren become involved in this project without first
ascertaining its right to exist?
3) Is the use of CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER
RELIEF EFFORT, INC. a scriptural concept? Is there such an
animal? What is the difference between this and a Churches of
Christ Hospital, Churches of Christ Home for the
Elderly or Churches of Christ Half-Way House? (In
the Nashville area we have many hospitals. Many people come here
for organ transplants and treatments. These transplants and
treatments can become very, very expensive, often wiping out a
family's financial base. I ask -- could not congregations organize
a CHURCHES OF CHRIST MEDICAL DISASTER RELIEF and provide
housing and funds to help needy families? I proposed this to a
supporter of CCDRE. He rejected it as unscriptural. I asked him to
explain the difference between this and CCDRE. No response as yet.)
4) Has CCDRE not become a community-wide project? Has
it not become a co-operative effort with people of various
religions seeking to offer assistance?
5) Does not CCDRE solicit goods, services and funds
from merchants? Is this the way New Testament Christians carry out
6) Will CCDRE accept financial aid from anyone who will
contribute? (I am well acquainted with a brother who witnessed a
check from Anheuser-Busch being counted in CCDRE revenues.)
7) Is it scriptural for CCDRE to pay a preacher to do
follow-up work? What is the difference between this and
the Missionary Society? (One of the board members confirmed to me
that this is a part of CCDRE's program. He said he objected to it
but was overruled.)
These are my thoughts. I believe I have taken a
sensible approach to the matter.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brother Terry Joe Kee spoke
about this group and others of like kind at the Seek The Old
Paths Lectureship in 2000. There are several such
organizations that usurp the work of the church and are diverting
the hearts of many away from the Truth. Ephesians 3:21 says,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
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THE DIVIDED ASSEMBLY
The practice of dividing into two or more groups during
the worship service is not a new thing to the Lord's church. It has
been practiced for at least twenty five years to my first-hand
knowledge, and probably much longer in some places. While this
article will not cover every situation where such is practiced, we
will look at 1) two specific examples of the divided assembly, 2)
why the divided assembly is wrong in general, and 3) what is wrong
with the two specific examples.
TWO SPECIFIC EXAMPLES
Accommodating children. Many people practice the
divided assembly by taking the small children out of the worship
time and providing a different program for them during that worship
time. This is done for differing age groups and to various degrees,
and it is called different things, Children's Bible Hour, Youth
Worship, Children's Church, etc. Some congregations might provide
an alternative activity for their small children during all of the
worship assembly. Other congregations might simply send the
children out just before the sermon and deliver them a lesson they
feel is more appropriate to their age and level of understanding.
WHY YOUTH WORSHIP IS WRONG
There was a time in my life when I condemned the
practice of taking the children out for the whole assembly, but
rationalized that if a congregation sent the children out only
during its sermon, it was at least having a general assembly up
until the time the children went out, so it was not doing wrong. I
have since come to believe that even sending the children out just
for the sermon is wrong, and to regret of my tolerance of this
wrong in the past.
Accommodating different worship styles. In
more recent years, those who want to change the worship style of
the Lord's church to something they view as more
contemporary and less traditional and yet
finding some in their midst who feel uncomfortable with these
changes have offered two worship assemblies, one traditional, the
Why the divided assembly is wrong. God demands
a general assembly of the saints in a congregation. A list of
verses written to the Corinthian church will suffice to prove this
to any honest man. 1 Cor 11:18, For first of all,
when ye come together in the church , I hear that there be
divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 1 Cor.
11:20, When ye come together therefore into one
place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 1 Cor.
11:33, Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together
to eat, tarry one for another. 1 Cor. 11:34,
And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come
not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in
order when I come. 1 Cor. 14:23, If
therefore the whole church be come together into one place,
and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are
unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1 Cor. 14:26, How is it then, brethren? when ye
come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all
things be done unto edifying.
God demands a coming together. It is in this setting
of coming together that we partake of the Lord's supper, preach the
doctrine of Christ, etc. Dividing the assembly is wrong because it
denies the biblical imperative to come together. Coming together
does not mean we cannot divide for Bible classes or other
activities. But we must have a general assembly for the purpose of
worship, where all in the congregation come together. This makes
the practice of the divided assembly wrong.
The specific objections to this practice may be more
numerous than we care to name in this brief article, but notice at
least the following concerns:
WHY DIVIDING THE ASSEMBLY FOR
Adult Christians who lead in youth worship are
forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. It is not just
the small children who miss the assembly. We don't send the young
children out to take care of themselves. Where is the Biblical
authorization for some members to miss our general assembly to
provide an alternative program for the children? This is a
violation of Hebrews 10:25.
Youth worship deprives the children of things they
need to learn. Ephesians 6:4, And, ye fathers,
provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents who want to
bring their children up in the nurture and the admonition of the
Lord (Eph 6:4) should want their children in worship services from
the earliest possible age to learn.
Each child needs to learn the discipline of sitting
still, of concentration, of having an attention span longer than a
30 second commercial. When they are adults, they need to know these
things in order to pray, listen to a sermon, etc. This means they
must learn them as children.
Each child needs to learn what true worship is. True
worship is not watching a puppet show. True worship is not playing
musical chairs or duck, duck, goose. Since children learn
by observation as much as by instruction, why would we want them to
miss what they can learn from observing adults in worship?
Each child needs to learn what true, good, sound
preaching is. They will not learn this so long as we seek to
entertain them in a setting alternative to the worship.
Youth worship may encourage attitudes in children
which are detrimental to the soundness of the church. Is it
any wonder that today's generation wants to be entertained during
their worship services? If we raise and train children using
entertainment, if we separate them out from the assembly and give
them something more fun until they are almost young
adults, is it any surprise they find a traditional
worship service boring? Can I prove that youth worship is the cause
of the entertainment craze that is sweeping the Lord's church? No,
I cannot prove it is the sole cause. But can we not see the obvious
truth that providing entertainment instead of contemplative
devotion for the first years of their life is failing to bring them
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? If you give a child
youth worship to keep him entertained instead of teaching him true
worship, if you allow Vacation Bible Schools to be primarily
shouting, raucous, noise with a sporting-event atmosphere, and if
you send him to Youth Rallies, many of which are primarily
entertainment ■ skits, parties, and concerts, why would parents and
elders be shocked when he doesn't want to worship decently and in
order (1 Cor 14:40) as an adult?
TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY
WORSHIP SERVICES IS WRONG
Of course, dividing our worship assembly for different
worship styles also denies the need for a general assembly during
which the whole congregation comes together. Since the Bible
commands such an assembly, any practice that denies the need for a
general assembly is sinful. But there are also other reasons that
dividing to accommodate different worship styles is sinful.
DIVIDING OVER WORSHIP STYLES IS SINFUL DIVISION
Much of what is called contemporary worship
is itself sinful. Many of the modern innovations are not simply
matters of opinion, expediency or judgment. Some of the things
which go under the guise of contemporary worship are
wrong. For example:
Special singing groups (solos, quartets, choirs, etc.)
are wrong because they do not fulfill the Biblical obligation to
sing to one another (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19).
Drama. The word of God is to be preached (2 Tim. 4:2).
We have no authorization to act it out as a skit or a play. This
type of sensationalism is the natural outgrowth of members wanting
to be entertained and preachers wanting to be applauded, but it is
Hand-clapping. If hand-clapping is done as applause,
it is the wrong tone and atmosphere for the formality of a worship
service. Worship is not a sporting event. Not only are we commanded
to do all things decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40), we are to
retain an attitude of fearful respect for what we are doing and who
we are worshiping (Eccl. 5:1-2). Turning the worship service into
a sporting event or developing a carnival atmosphere does not
demonstrate such respect. Applause shows praise to men as they
perform certain acts, solos, etc., if we want to show respect to
God and to the proper exercise of worship, let's stick to the
biblically authorized Amen (1 Cor. 14:16). On the other
hand, if hand-clapping is done in time to music, to show the beat
or the rhythm of the song, then it constitutes music. However, it
is a type of music with no more authority than a piano or a guitar
and therefore it is sin (Col. 3:16-17).
These types of things and more are being practiced as
contemporary worship. These are sinful. They should not
be practiced at all, much less having a separate assembly for those
who want to practice such things.
1 Cor. 1:10, 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 judgment.
Are we to believe that Paul desired the Corinthians to have
unity of doctrine, but not be able to come together to worship? If
the difference in worship styles are matters of doctrine, we should
be able to agree on what to do. If the difference in worship styles
are simply differences of preferences, can we not put aside our
preferences for the sake of unity? In light of God's command that
a congregation come together for worship, the solution of having
two separate services is simply not acceptable.
The divided assembly denies the need for a general assembly.
It is man's substitution of his own idea instead of following God's
plan. Since God's plan clearly requires a general assembly,
anything which denies the need for such is wrong and sinful.
1495 E Empire Ave.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
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AM I BECOME YOUR ENEMY?
Noah A. Hackworth
The book of Galatians, written to the churches of Galatia,
argues that deliverance from the law of Moses means freedom in
Christ Jesus. Some differences of opinion exist as to the time the
Galatian epistle was written and from where. The book was
apparently penned in Corinth or possibly in Antioch, near the
middle of the first century [c.a 40-56]. In Galatians 4:1-16, a
number of significant items are discussed by the apostle Paul.
Among them are: 1) bondage under the law, 2) redemption from the
law, 3) sonship, 4) freedom in Christ, and 5) the devotion of the
Galatian Christians to Paul. In verse 16 the apostle issues an
interrogative: So then am I become your enemy by telling
you the truth?
Like Christ, Paul was falsely accused, but the apostle was
not given to falsehood or the misrepresentation of truth; no one
had more respect for truth than he, and he always spoke it in love
(Eph. 4:15). It was Paul himself who called attention to the fact
that in a given instance Peter was not walking uprightly
according to truth (Gal. 2:14). No right thinking
person seeks or thrives on making enemies, but sometimes it
happens. Paul had made some enemies in the Galatian area, but such
was certainly not his desire or intent. He had handled himself
admirably among them, but there were some who not only disputed the
teaching of the apostle, they waged an attack on his person and
upon his apostolic credentials. There are those who simply cannot
handle truth. The Sadducees, for example, became sorely
troubled (i.e., they got all worked up and became indignant)
because the apostles, Peter and John, proclaimed in Jesus the
resurrection from the dead. When we uphold the right and oppose the
wrong, we often find ourselves in the camp of the unfriendly. Truth
Christians sometimes make enemies because they live and
teach the truth. More correctly stated: people often become the
enemies of those who consistently live and teach the truth.
Consider some of the areas where this is true. First, in the area
of putting the Lord first (Matt. 6:33). The fact that one may miss,
because of uncontrollable things, the regular assembly on Lord's
Day does not admit of doubt. Such things can happen, but there are
times when members of the church become careless and/or
indifferent, and unnecessarily miss the established Lord's Day
worship in order to carry out some plan they have made. They
apparently feel completely justified in missing the Sunday morning
assembly under the persuasion that they can attend Sunday night.
This is unwise, foolish and wrong, and it ought not be done. It is
a sad commentary on one's spiritual strength, and could
cost more than one could pay at the judgment.
Both men and women are required by the Lord to be
modest (I Tim. 2:9). Modesty has never been required only of women.
Brothers who circulate in public with pot bellies and
hairy chests exposed, will have trouble convincing anyone
they are godly. So will the brother who may be
lean and desirable. A sister in Christ who
thinks short shorts and bathing suits are acceptable
attire in public, will, on a godliness scale, of 1 to 10
register less than 1. What a pity!
Paul instructs the Thessalonian brethren to
withdraw themselves from every brother who walks
disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6). Withdraw is from stello
and means to draw back (Nestle). Peter had eaten with the
Gentiles, which was permissible (cf. Acts 10-11), but when his
Jewish brethren came he drew back (Gal. 2:12). Here
(2 Thess. 3:6) it is withdrawal from brethren who are out of
Only a few areas where enemies are made have been
discussed, but this is sufficient to establish the truth of the
proposition. None of us need or want enemies, but if we do what the
Lord bids us do, if we preach and practice the truth, there will be
people who will disagree with us, resent us, and often alienate
themselves from us. But the truth must continue. So, in the words
of Paul, Am I (we) become your enemy.
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A LOVE FOR THE TRUTH
The most compelling need of our day is a love for the truth.
Unfortunately there is a deficiency in this regard that is woefully
lacking. Note the following illustration. As a boy my father,
grandfather, brothers, and I would go to Bentley's Barbershop in
Hartselle, AL to get a haircut. My grandfather, J. F. Dean, was an
elder in the church, and was recognized as a walking Bible.
Occasionally at the barbershop a question would be raised about the
Bible or some Bible related subject. My grandfather would reply
the Bible says so and so, and then would quote the
scripture in question. My memory is clear, although more than four
decades have passed, yet that place of business reverberated with
a resounding silence. The passion of his response was so thorough,
so complete, that it left those present stunned. The presentation
of truth silenced the would be querist, and convicted the hearts of
those present. Beloved, there was a day when men and women would
shudder at the truth and/or tremble at the spoken word (Heb. 4:12;
Acts 24:25). Would to God those days would return.
How do we show our love for the truth? Initially, we
should love hearing the truth or Gospel proclaimed (Eph. 4:15; Acts
2:41). I've noticed over the last ten to fifteen years a lack of
appreciation for the truth and the majesty of God's written word.
One brother told a Gospel preacher that he should watch what he
said because there were sectarian people in the audience. One even
remarked that he should not speak on religious error due to certain
people being present.
How would Peter or Paul preach today? Would they simply
slap people on the back, shake their hands, and then declare some
philosophical jargon? Most Bible students know better. If we truly
love the truth then joy will soar in our hearts as the spoken word
is preached and taught. A love of the truth will cause us to crave
and hunger for it like a fine meal (Matt. 5:6). Solomon said,
Buy the truth and sell it not... (Prov. 23:23). The
truth should be the single pursuit of us all and no price is too
high to secure it (Matt. 13:45-46). A love for the truth will cause
us to be submissive to it (James 4:7-8; Matt.7:21). Jesus with
great clarity, said, If ye love me, ye will keep my
commandments (John 14:15).
A love for the truth will also cause one to live it to the
uttermost. There can be no greater challenge to our love of the
truth than living it daily. Paul said, For me to live is
Christ, but to die is gain... (Phil. 1:21). Jesus was
the personification of truth and truly exemplified how we should
conduct our lives. Luke writes his treatise to Theophilus and said,
...concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to
teach (Acts 1:1). Note the perfect harmony in our Lord's
life; he both lived what he taught and taught what he lived. The
sheer complimenting of our religion with how we live is a necessary
prerequisite if we love the truth. Paul said, Only let
your conversation (manner of life ASV) be worthy of the
gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27).
Friend, a lover of the truth is not only the purpose
of our being, but faithfully adhering to the truth (John 8:32) will
be rewarded with everlasting life.
211 Glenwood Dr.
Hartselle, AL 35640
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WHY PREACHERS SHOULD USE A LOT OF SCRIPTURE
Occasionally the complaint is heard that the preacher uses
too many Scriptures in his sermon. This may be a polite way of
saying the man is not much of a public speaker. Merely reading
verses from the Bible and stringing them together with no obvious
arrangement makes for a poor discourse on spiritual matters. On the
other hand, it may be that some in the audience are not very
spiritually minded. To them, two dozen Scriptures might be hard to
endure in a thirty minute lesson. Their idea of a good sermon might
be twenty minutes of political commentary, poems or flowery speech
designed to make people feel good about themselves.
Jesus commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel to every
creature (Mark 16:15,16). He also taught them to teach the
disciples to do what they had been taught (Matt. 28:19,20).
Clearly, this means every Christian should be involved in preaching
the Gospel in one way or another. Gospel preaching is also an act
of worship which the church engages in on the first day of the week
(Acts 20:7). Preaching the Word pleases God since it is part of his
plan for saving mankind from sin (1 Cor. 1:21).
Jesus clearly specified what he wanted proclaimed. It is
the Gospel of Christ. It is not to be the opinions of man or
speculations about religious matters. Paul reminded the church,
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord;
and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake (2 Cor 4:5).
Preaching the Gospel means preaching Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42).
When a preacher prepares his sermon, of what should it
consist? Obviously, it should contain God's Word since the
Scriptures testify of Jesus (John 5:39). Faith is developed by
hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). If a person lacks faith, he
cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Must a lesson contain only
Scriptures? No, this would be taking an extreme position. To
communicate the saving message of faith means explaining it so the
audience can understand and correctly apply it. At times this may
mean giving the precise meaning of words as they are used in the
Bible. Certain words in English have a broader meaning than the
original Greek words. Some words actually convey un-Biblical
concepts. One example is the word baptize. The Greek word means to
immerse yet to many, baptize also conveys the idea of sprinkling or
pouring a little water on a person.
A preacher's sermon should contain only the Truth of God's
Word -- never a corrupted form of the Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Paul
expressed his concern that the Christians of Galatia were accepting
a perverted message. Believing a lie does not make it the truth.
Obeying a false Gospel cannot save a person. On the contrary,
obeying any doctrine other than the pure Gospel will condemn souls
to hell. This is why it is imperative that preachers make sure they
are preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
Since preachers are fallible men, they will make mistakes
from time to time. They may accidentally misquote a verse of
Scripture. In their study they also may come to an incorrect
conclusion regarding some passage. Preachers who want to please God
will admit and correct their mistakes when they are discovered.
Unfortunately, some preachers want to please men more than God
If you value your soul, you should always check out what
a preacher is teaching to see if he is preaching only the Gospel of
Christ or if he has added his own opinions and doctrines.
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Effingham, IL 62401
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WOULD YOU BAPTIZE A COUPLE THAT IS IN AN UNSCRIPTURAL MARRIAGE?
A preacher friend asked me whether I would baptize a
couple who were in an unscriptural marriage. With no hesitation, I
told him that I could not do it in good conscience (he was in full
agreement). When he asked me why, I gave the following reasons.
First of all, the Bible makes it clear that baptism
must be preceded by repentance (without repentance we cannot be
saved, Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30,31). Repentance is a change of mind
(godly sorrow) that leads to a change of mind and life. Biblical
repentance demands that one give up any and all sinful practices
One who will not repent is not ready to be baptized.
He needs more teaching. I have listed several reasons below for
this conviction. To date, no one has refuted the logic or the
Scripturalness of this position.
1. I would not baptize a couple in an adulterous
marriage for the same reason I would not baptize a homosexual
couple who refused to give up their sinful lifestyle. If they are
not willing to change their lives, they have not repented and are
not Scriptural candidates for baptism.
2. I would not baptize a couple in an adulterous
marriage for the same reason I would not baptize a man who was
living with two wives. As long as he remains in that polygamous
relationship, he is living in sin and baptism will do him no good.
Clearly, he is not a Scriptural candidate for baptism.
3. I would not baptize a couple in an adulterous
marriage for the same reason I would not baptize a woman who worked
as a prostitute and was unwilling to change her occupation.
Obviously, she was not penitent and not a Scriptural candidate for
4. I would not baptize a couple in an adulterous
marriage for the same reason I would not baptize a man who ran a
bar or tavern. In view of plain Bible teachings, one cannot sell
liquor and be pleasing to God. One who is truly penitent would give
up such a business. One who refuses is not a Scriptural candidate
Some have said that I am making adultery the
unpardonable sin; but I would beg to disagree. One who is
Scripturally immersed is forgiven of all sins, including adultery
(Acts 2:38; 22:16). But when they continue their sinful activities
(whether it be lying, stealing, cheating, drinking or adultery),
they are separated from God and need to repent (Acts 8:22; I John
1:9) lest they be lost. So the man or woman in an unscriptural
marriage can be forgiven, but they cannot remain in that
unscriptural union and be pleasing to God.
There are two great problems with the idea that some
have of Let's baptize them and maybe they will learn the truth
and repent later. First, it gives them the idea that they are
right in the sight of God and saved. Second, what kind of message
are we sending to other members of the congregation (especially our
young people and new converts) when they see someone taken in as a
faithful member and used in a public way who is known to be living
in adultery? If that is not bidding God speed to error (2
John 10,11), I don't know what it would take to do so!
Occasionally, someone will argue that brother
so-and-so (well-known and respected preacher) said he would
baptize them regardless of their marital situation. That might be
the case, but what does it prove? Since when do we prove what is
right or wrong by appealing to a man or group of men? Even if a
majority of preachers agreed with this unscriptural position, that
still would not make it right. God's Word (i.e., New Testament) is
our only source of authority for determining right from wrong (Col.
Yes, baptism is important and essential, but let's not
be guilty of baptizing those who are not ready, just for the sake
of baptizing or increasing our numbers. [Banner of Truth,
EDITOR'S NOTE: In an e-mail letter to me,
brother Bass made this plain statement regarding what he said in
the above article about not baptizing those who are in an
unscriptural marriage: I was referring to cases where they
want to be baptized, but make it clear that they have no intention
of getting out of their unscriptural marriage.
2781 Alkire Rd
Grove City, OH 43123
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JEHOSHAPHAT'S DEPARTURE FROM GOD
Marvin L. Weir
Many today teach that if one is ever saved he can never
sin so as to be lost. But the Bible contains warning after warning
against apostasy! Why warn people of sin that cannot be committed?
The writer to the Hebrews warned, Take heed,
brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart
of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one
another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of
you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb.
3:12-13). To the Galatian brethren Paul said, Ye were
running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the
truth (Gal. 5:7)?
We can learn much from the life of Jehoshaphat. He has
a great beginning, but his bright morning soon became clouded with
the dark sorrows of failure. Let us see both the good and bad in
the character of Jehoshaphat.
We see him highly honored. And
Jehovah was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways
of his father David, and sought not unto the Baalim (2
Chron. 17:3). If one chooses to walk with God, his success is
guaranteed. In the beginning, Jehoshaphat did not let the sins of
others become a stumbling-block to him. He knew that God is the
perfect example, and he chose to follow God. God was with him, as
He will be with all who determine to walk with Him.
We see him greatly encouraged. And
his heart was lifted up in the ways of Jehovah: and furthermore he
took away the high places and the Asherim out of Judah
(2 Chron. 17:6). Jehoshaphat guarded against his heart becoming
consumed with pride at the beginning of his reign. He evidently
realized that pride goeth before destruction, And a
haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). When the
devil can use pride to lift up one's heart, it is lifted from the
ways of the Lord into the way that will bring defeat and death.
God gives no encouragement to one who chooses to live
a manner of life that is in opposition to His will. Only when we
choose God's Holy Word to be a lamp unto our feet and a
light unto our path (Psa. 119:105) can we expect His
We see him unequally yoked. Now
Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and he joined
affinity with Ahab (2 Chron. 18:1). It was the Savior
who said, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the
kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23). More often than not,
Satan uses affluence as his tool to hinder man's loyalty to God. It
is true that the love of money is a root of all kinds of
evil (1 Tim. 6:10). We must control our riches and not
allow our riches to control us.
The Bible also reminds us to Be not deceived:
Evil companionships corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).
Ahab was a well-known enemy of God. Why would a righteous person
desire to associate with one of Ahab's reputation? We read that
Ahab did more to provoke Jehovah, the God of Israel to
anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him
(1 Kings 16:33). A tremendous lesson is now taught. When one
chooses to form a friendship with a worldly person he will
soon be in fellowship with his worldly ways!
And after certain years he went down to Ahab to
Samaria (2 Chron. 18:2). The ungodly Ahabs of today are always
ready to have the servants of God come down to their level.
Nehemiah resisted the temptation to visit with Tobiah and
Sanballat. Nehemiah's answer should be our answer: I am
doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work
cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you (Neh.
6:3)? Why should a faithful child of God willingly depart from the
highway of holiness to travel the path of ungodliness?
Christians must not be unequally yoked with
unbelievers. Light does not mix with darkness. Darkness may need
the light, but light can have no fellowship with darkness
(cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
We see Jehoshaphat completely surrendered. No,
he did not surrender to God, but to the unprincipled Ahab.
And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah,
Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I am as
thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in
the war (2 Chron. 18:3). When will we learn that
compromise is a killer? The moment Jehoshaphat promised to
help Ahab he was worthless to the cause of God! One does not
fraternize with the enemy and come out unscathed.
The Lord warns, He that is not with me is
against me■ (Matt. 12:30). We must always be the
bondservant of Christ while refusing to be a sinful slave of men.
Good beginnings are important. A good ending, however,
is essential if heaven is to be our home. May we as Paul,
press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14).
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