Does It Really Matter What We Sing?
Churches of Christ have for many years been known for
their acappella singing. The blending of human voices, without the
use of mechanical musical instruments, is a most pleasant and
rewarding experience. God desires sincere, heart-felt worship (John
4:23,24). The musical talent of the worshiper is not the crucial
element of our singing of praises to God, rather it is the singing
of songs that are scripturally authorized.
What kinds of songs are authorized in the
Scriptures? The Scriptures limit us to the use of three kinds of
songs in our worship. These songs consist of psalms, hymns, and
spiritual songs (cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The use of any other
kind of song is without Scriptural authority. Since we are to have
Scriptural authority for all we do, including the singing of songs
in worship, it follows that the use of any other kind of song in
worship is sinful (Col. 3:17).
What about the lyrics we sing? They, too, must convey
Scriptural concepts. There is such a thing as poetic license which,
by its nature, prohibits placing a literal interpretation on the
words. However, words are signs of our thoughts. and our thinking
must be in harmony with the teaching of the Scriptures. A couple of
songs will illustrate the point being made.
A popular song often sung at many places is entitled,
Just A Little Talk With Jesus. The
musical arrangement is fine; its the lyrics that are
unscriptural. Jesus never accepts an alien sinner unless he obeys
the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). In this song, Gospel obedience is simply
ignored. Furthermore, this song encourages the sinner to pray to
Jesus. The Scriptures no where tell the sinner to pray for any
thing. Prayer is a privilege of Gods children (I Peter 3:12).
And, just a little talk with Jesus never made any thing
right. The only way an alien sinner can be made right with Jesus is
for him to obey Jesus (Heb. 5:8,9). In the case of an erring
Christian, he must repent of his sin and pray for Gods
forgiveness (Acts 8:20-24).
Another song that is quite popular is
Jesus Is Coming Soon. This song is slanted
towards the premillennial theory. We can name at least two
objections: First, we do not know when Jesus is coming (Matt.
24:36). To say, Jesus is coming soon, implies we know
something we cannot know. True, the word soon may be used
in a relative sense, but ten, one hundred, or a thousand years
cannot hardly be thought of as being soon. Husbands, if,
as you leave your residence, your wife should ask, Honey, when
will you be back?, and you reply, soon. Do you think
she would expect you back next year? Hardly! Why, then, can we not
see this when it comes to singing this song? Second, this song
mentions so-called signs of our Lords return.
Brethren, there are no signs of our Lords approaching return.
The signs mentioned in Matthew 24 were given for the benefit of
those first century Christians relative to the coming destruction
of Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70. The Scriptures teach that
the return of Christ will be like a thiefs coming in the night
(II Peter 3:10). How does a thief come? Does he give warning signs
of his coming? No, he does not! And neither should we sing about
such signs of our Lords return when none have been
What about the singing of patriotic songs
in our worship? Remember, if the song is not a psalm, hymn or
spiritual song, we have no Scriptural authority for singing such a
song. Into which category could you place America the
Beautiful? I love my country and have always enjoyed singing
this song, but does my love for my country justify using it in our
What should be our attitude towards these matters?
Surely, its not enough to say, Well, weve been
singing these songs for years. The fact weve done any
thing for years does not prove the doing of that thing to be right.
A man may have stolen chickens all his life, but if he keeps on
stealing chickens, hes still a thief. Again, as I was once
told when I pointed out these matters, If you cant sing
these songs, just dont sing, but were going to continue
singing them, as weve always done. Such an attitude
displays an ignorance of Gods word and possibly a disregard
for the necessity of having Scriptural authority for all we do,
which includes our worship in song.
Brethren, it does make a difference what we sing. The
songs we sing will either be pleasing or displeasing to God. The
only way to please God is to remain faithful to his Word. There are
numerous songs in most of our books which, in their lyrics, are
either in part or wholly unscriptural. Lets remain vigilant,
less we sing a lie. Think about it.
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CAN WE AFFORD BIBLICAL IGNORANCE?
James W. Boyd
There are so many Scriptures dealing with the necessity of
Biblical knowledge that we must confine ourselves to but a few in
any one study. If the amount of Scripture pertaining to a subject
is any measure of emphasis on the theme, then the knowledge of the
Bible is one of the most emphatic teachings of the Bible. We shall
center our thoughts on whether we can afford the luxury
of not knowing the Bible. Is knowledge of the Bible an optional,
take-it-or-leave-it matter? Can we afford it as an individual or as
a nation? There is a price that must he paid to have knowledge. Are
we willing to pay it? There is also a price to be paid for
ignorance. Are we willing to pay that?
Isaiah and Hosea were prophets of God during the same
historical period some seven to eight hundred years before Christ.
But they labored in different geographical areas. Isaiah worked in
Judah in the south while Hosea was in the northern area of Israel.
They faced common problems and their messages were similar. The
same sins existed in both nations. They received about the same
reaction from the people. The most prevalent sin among the people
and at the root of their problems was ignorance of the will of God.
In Isaiah 1:2-3, Hear, O heavens, and give ear,
O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up
children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his masters crib, but Israel doth not know:
my people doth not consider.
The ox and ass are among the least intelligent animals.
Yet, the ox knew his owner and the ass knew the source of his
supply. But the people of Judah were not only ignorant of the will
of their Father, but were unwilling to be otherwise. They doth
not consider, that is, were not concerned.
The mistake they were making is the same mistake that
many are making today. As Isaiah and all the prophets showed, the
people were too busy in a society of relative plenty, enjoying
their pleasure, centering their lives on earthly affairs, having
neither the time or interest in being students of Gods holy
Their rebellious attitude and ignorance of the Word of
God had its results. Isaiah 1:4-6, Ah sinful nation, a
people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are
corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the
Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why
should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the
whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of
the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but
wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been
closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
They had forsaken the Lord, provoking His wrath. Rather
than making progress as they had deceived themselves into thinking,
they are gone backward. Does this not picture so much
around us, even the liberal apostasy among some in the church in
our time? The head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
In their ignorance, Isaiah was inspired to write that
they would revolt more and more. Those who know not the truth of
God have no deterrent to their continued rebellion. The ultimate
result is seen in verse seven, Your country is desolate,
your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in
your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
He went on to tell how their land would become as Sodom and
Not only was Judahs problem presented in this first
chapter, but also the solution to their problem is found there.
Verse ten, Hear the word of the Lord...give ear unto the
law of our God. God did not want their assemblies while
they were partaking of their sins. He did not want their sacrifices
while they remained in their abominations. Rather, Isaiah 1:16-20,
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your
doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well;
seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead
for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the
LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If
ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But
if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for
the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Knowledge, coupled with obedience, would bring
blessings just as surely as ignorance coupled with rebellion
spelled their doom. Do we learn the lesson now, or do we learn it
later in our destruction?
In Hosea four, this tenderhearted prophet preached to his
people in Northern Israel. He probably lived to see Israel
humiliated, swallowed by the invading Assyrians, and taken into
captivity that permanently removed that nation from the scene.
ONLY TO THE WILLING
Why did this happen? Hosea 4:6, My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected
knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to
me: seeing thou hast forsaken the law of thy God. I will also
forget thy children.
This was the nation that had heard such great prophets
as Elijah, Elisha, Amos and others. Admonitions, instructions,
warnings galore had been sounded throughout the land for
generations. There was no excuse for their ignorance. Opportunity
to return to God had been theirs repeatedly. Their ignorance was
willful and deliberate.
Again, we need to be reminded why they were so willing
and deliberate in their ignorance. It bears repetition because it
is not unlike many today. Verse seven, As they were
increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their
glory into shame. In their prosperity we see what low
levels of living they had reached. Hosea 4:1 says there was no
truth in the land, no mercy, no knowledge of God. Swearing, lying,
killing, stealing, adultery, blood-letting, were their
characteristics. When the knowledge of Gods truth makes its
exit from a people, the door is opened for the entrance of anything
and everything vile and corrupt. Shades of our time!
The prophets would plead, Hear the word of
Jehovah. But the people gave no heed. The national pulse
grew weaker and weaker until the death of the nation was
inescapable. What a high price to pay for ignorance of Gods
will! Ignorance demands its price and will extract it from those
who are content to remain so.
A working knowledge of Gods will comes only to those
who are willing to pay the price in study, work, meditation,
research and devotion. No generation has had a monopoly on Biblical
ignorance. But it is blatantly obvious that Biblical ignorance is
at flood-tide in our time and that is probably the most damning
influence in the land, yea, the world. Biblical ignorance is the
reason atheism exists. It is the foundation of the new
morality. It supports rebellion against authority, the
rioting, drunkenness, prejudice, hatred, and uncontrolled crime. It
all finds fertile soil in minds which know not and care not for the
will of the Lord.
FIRST CORINTHIANS AND ROMANS
The conditions in Northern Israel as cited by Hosea,
and those in Judah mentioned by Isaiah, are disturbingly similar to
reports being published concerning our land today. The law of God,
being unalterably true, must be learned, respected, and obeyed.
Seeking Gods forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ, and
resolving to let His way be the way we will go is the one and only
preservation for our people. Unless we, the people, cease striving
for pleasure, riches, satisfaction of the flesh above the holy and
sacred things of God, how shall we escape what has overwhelmed
nations of the past? Can we walk the pathway of desolation and
degeneracy and not experience the same results that others have
experienced who preceded us? Is there any real reason to believe
that we shall somehow be the first people to successfully repeal
the law of sowing and reaping? (Gal. 6:7-8; Prov. 14:34)
Two passages from Pauls inspired pen convey a similar
thought. First Corinthians 10:11, Now all these things
happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our
admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Romans 15:4, For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning, that we, through patience and
comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.
Will we become simply another land, another people,
worse than the ox and ass and pay the high cost of low living that
comes from Biblical ignorance? Does it not concern us that even our
governmental agencies, the educational systems, the various
elements of the media, are attempting to crush from the minds of
all they can reach, the good influence of the Biblical message?
Even religions are joining forces with admitted servants of the
devil to retard knowledge of the Bible.
Or, shall we determine that we shall learn, follow and
propagate the message of God to the world whose head is sick and
whose heart is faint? The hour is late, and we are already seeing
the price of Biblical ignorance being exacted in our society. It
just takes one or two generations for truth to be removed from the
minds of a society. We are already down the road of disaster a long
way in many, many circles. What this means for our children and
grandchildren should concern everyone. The only solution is Christ,
and the only ones who shall proclaim Christ are those of us who say
we believe He is the Son of God.
In what way will you contribute to the advance of the
cause of Christ among those around you?
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WHY TEACHERS ARE VALUABLE
Once upon a time, a congregation was looking for teachers for
children, preschoolers and youth.
And some adults said, I dont want to leave the
sweet fellowship and study in my adult class. (But the drug
pusher on the street said, Not even the threat of jail will
keep me from working with your children.)
And some adults said, I could never give the time
required to plan and go to teachers meetings. (But the
pusher, the porno dealer, and the movie producer said,
Well stay open whatever hours are necessary to win the
minds of the kids.)
And some adults said, Im unsuited, untrained,
and unable to work with children, preschoolers, or youth. (But
the movie producer said, Well study, survey, and spend
millions to produce whatever turns kids on.)
So the adults stayed in their classes and enjoyed the
sweet fellowship and absorbed the good Bible study, and could go
out of town often on the weekend and were available to do whatever
was good to do on Wednesday or Sunday nights instead of
And when Sunday came, the children came to their classes
and no one was there except those going from one room to another
trying to assure them that someone would surely come to teach them
some Sunday soon. But no one ever came and the young children soon
quit coming because they had gone to listen to others who did care
about the things they did and what went into their minds.
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CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
People interested in obeying God are familiar with the
phrase calling on the name of the Lord. That
exact wording is found only in Acts 22:16. However, variations such
as call(s, -ing, -ed) on the name of the LORD are
plentiful and attest to the importance of this expression. The
first instance is found in Genesis 4:26 where Moses recorded,
And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called
his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the
LORD. The context does not explain exactly what this
means. A study of other passages using this phrase give a better
indication of what is meant.
The second occurrence of the phrase is in Genesis 12:8.
Here we read of Abram. And he removed from thence unto a
mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel
on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar
unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.
This shows worship is connected with calling upon the name of the
Other passages show it refers to making a request of
God. When Naaman the leper was instructed to wash in the Jordan
seven times he remarked, Behold, I thought, He will
surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD
his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the
leper (II Kings 5:11). Psalm 99 clearly shows prayer is
meant by this expression: Moses and Aaron among his
priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called
upon the LORD, and he answered them (Psalm 99:5).
Calling on the name of the LORD includes praise,
thanksgiving and service. The following three passages demonstrate
this: O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people (Psalm 105:1).
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon
his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that
his name is exalted (Isa. 12:4). O LORD, truly
I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid:
thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of
thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay
my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people
In the Old Testament, calling on the name of the Lord
is likewise associated with salvation. Then called I upon
the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. I
will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the
LORD (Psalm 116:4,13). And it shall come to
pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be
delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall
call (Joel 2:32).
In the New Testament, calling on the name of the Lord
is also linked to salvation. On the day the church was established,
Peter was preaching the Gospel of Christ. In his discourse he cited
Joel 2:32 and proved Jesus is the Savior (Acts 2:21ff). Peters
preaching was interrupted when his audience asked, What
shall we do (Acts 2:37)? The implication is, What
shall we do...to avoid Gods wrath for crucifying His Son
(Acts 2:36)? By inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostle
declared, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38; cf. 2:4).
Paul wrote that calling on the name of the Lord brings
salvation (Rom. 10:13). But, what does this mean? Does it mean the
alien sinner need only pray for forgiveness? Saul of Tarsus, later
known as the apostle Paul, learned prayer was insufficient to
obtain salvation. After fasting and praying for three days he heard
Ananias say, And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be
baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the
Lord (Acts 22:16; cf. Acts 9:9-11). Today, the lost
sinner calls on the name of the Lord when he repents and is
Calling on the name of the Lord is clearly more than
just praying for forgiveness. The Lord Jesus indicated some who
acknowledge him as Lord will find their profession is in vain.
Jesus taught, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the
will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy
name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful
works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart
from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23). Not
everyone who calls Jesus Lord is telling the truth. On another
occasion Jesus asked, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and
do not the things which I say (Luke 6:46)?
Though some give lip service to God, thankfully there
are many followers of Christ who call Him Lord and do what He says.
These are the ones who really call on the name of the Lord. They
prove it as they worship in spirit and in truth, by their fervent
and sincere prayers and through their praise, thanksgiving and
service they render as they work out their own salvation with fear
and trembling (Phil 2:12).
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SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
James E. Farley
We often see these words on church bulletins. It is an
effort, no doubt, for congregations to let those who visit them
know that the motive behind what they will hear on the Lords
day is love. This is good and right, for we should have love as our
motive for teaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. We are to be
seen as people who love!
There are three good points in this short phrase (Eph.
4:15) from the Bible:
1) The truth must be spoken. Our religion is
a taught religion (John 6:44-45). People must hear the
Word taught in order to have faith in God and in Jesus the Christ
(Rom. 10:17; Acts 4:4; Acts 18:8). Therefore we are commissioned,
Go...into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature (Mark 16:15). The early Christians did just
that (Acts 8:4-5), and within a thirty year period every
creature which is under heaven heard the Word (Col.
1:23). We still have the great obligation of taking the Word of God
to a lost and dying world. God still has preaching as His plan for
saving those who will believe (I Cor. 1:18-21). When you
investigate a faithful congregation of the churches of Christ, you
will find a people who are dedicated to taking the Word to the
2) That which is to be spoken is the
truth ... the Gospel of Christ. It is the truth
that will set men free (John 8:31-32). In that context it is
obvious that the truth is the Word of God (compare John
17:17). Paul called it ...the word of the truth of the
gospel in Colossians 1:5. It is Gods power to save
mankind, for it reveals Gods righteousness -- Gods right
ways (Rom. 1:16-17). We are instructed in Gods righteousness
through the verbally inspired Word given by Gods marvelous
grace (II Tim. 3:16-17; Titus 2:11-12). It must be spoken,
preached, taught to every nation (Matt. 28:18-20). The unbelieving
Philippian jailer asked what he must do and was told
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and
thy house (Acts 16:31). But the Bible does not stop
there. The very next two verses state, And they spake
unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their
stripes; and was baptized; he and all his straightway.
The Word of God must be spoken! Churches of Christ believe that the
Word must be sowed as seed in this world (Luke 8:11; cf. Matt.
3) Here is the motivation. We must love God,
Jesus, the Word, the church of Christ, and the souls of all men
everywhere. Too many people have a wrong idea about real Bible
love. As one has put it, They seem to think love is a feeling
they feel when they begin to feel like they have never felt
before. When people have this idea of love as some kind of
feel-good emotion, you often hear them criticize sound preachers
and Bible teachers for being too harsh. We hear them say
things like, You need more of the spirit of Christ....You talk
about hell too much, and this does not show forth the loving spirit
that Jesus had. But friends, real love always will sound out
a warning of danger! The Word teaches, Open rebuke is
better than secret love (Prov. 27:5). No, we do not ever
want to be mean-spirited, but we must sound out warnings about the
danger of folks being lost when they will not abide in Christs
doctrine (II John 9-11).
God loves us (John 3:16), but He certainly warns of
danger (Ezek. 3:17-21; Acts 18:6; Acts 20:26-31). God will not
accept our claim that we love others, if we do not warn others of
hell. Jesus gave STRONG warnings of danger! Someone has suggested
that Jesus spoke 13 times more about hell than about heaven. Does
this suggest that our Lord was unloving? Read Matthew 13:41-50,
15:7-14, 23:33, Mark 9:43-44. Did Jesus express a wrong spirit
here? To those who were blinded by the worlds riches, Jesus
taught about Lazarus and the rich man. Strong warning! Wrong
spirit? NO! The God of love has placed into our hands His revealed
mind, the Holy Bible. In the Bible we read such passages as II
Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 20:15, 21:8. These things are not
pleasant, but people need to face the facts! There is a heaven to
gain and a hell to shun!
Churches of Christ are resolved to keep preaching the
Truth on these matters by speaking the truth in love. We will do it
in season and out of season...reprove, rebuke and exhort
with all longsuffering and doctrine (II Tim. 4:2). We
fully realize that some wont like it, but we must do it
anyway! (Compare Gal. 4:16). Love sounds out a warning of danger
(II Cor. 5:10-11).
Friends, let us know how we may help you in your
obedience to the Lord. We are here to serve you. Please feel free
to contact me if you have questions or comments concerning what I
James E. Farley, P.O. Box 285
Crum, WV 25669, email@example.com
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AM I BECOME YOUR ENEMY BY TELLING YOU THE TRUTH?
Marvin L. Weir
The apostle Paul knew what it was like to have people
detest and despise him. Five times Paul received thirty-nine
stripes from the Jews, three times he was beaten with rods, and
once he was stoned and left for dead (II Cor. 11:24-25; Acts
14:19). All these things happened to this faithful servant of the
Lord because he loved the souls of men. Thats right, Paul
loved folks with a fervent, genuine and Biblical love. He knew that
people would lose their souls if they lived and died in sin.
Hatred of truth is an age-old problem. Do you remember
Moses making those ten special trips to tell Pharaoh Gods
truth? Pharaoh stubbornly refused to accept the truth and finally
said to Moses, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself,
see my face no more; for in the day thou seest my face thou shalt
die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well. I will see thy face
again no more (Exodus 10:28-29). Many people today will
do as Pharaoh and die rejecting the truth that could have saved
King Herod and Herodias so despised Gods truth
that they had John the Baptizer beheaded for preaching it. What was
the message that cost this great prophet his life? King Herod had
decided to marry his brothers wife. If some of our
well-educated and liberal-minded apostates in the Lords church
had been with John they would have advised, John, it is not
adultery that Herod and Herodias have committed; it is only
covenant-breaking. John then could have told this
adulterous couple, Each of you need to repent of
covenant-breaking, and then I will wish you well in your
But John was loyal to the Master and he loved the souls
of men. Thus, John said the only thing he could say,
It is not lawful for thee to have her (Matt. 14:4).
Now the truth did not set well with Herodias and she was
determined to have her new enemy put to death.
Now notice this most important point. John told Herod
it was not lawful to take Herodias for his wife.
What law did Herod violate? It surely was not Roman law! In the
very beginning God taught, Therefore shall a man leave
his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they
shall be one flesh (Gen. 2:24). The Hebrew word
cleave means to stick to, like glue. John was simply
teaching what he knew the Savior would be teaching þ- the truth.
When they asked the Lord if a man could divorce his wife for any
cause He answered, Wherefore they are no more twain, but
one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
asunder. ... 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
adultery (Matt. 19:6,9).
The cry is being heard today that was heard in
Isaiahs day. The people said to the seers, See not;
and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto
us smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isa. 30:10).
Mans great problem has always been that he desires to
change the Bible to accommodate his ungodly lifestyle.
You have heard it said, Just preach the Bible and
dont offend anyone. One can preach on Galatians 5:19 but
he must not offend the fornicators, drunkards, idolaters, etc. Be
sure and preach on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, but whatever you do
dont condemn the abusers of themselves with
men. These are what the morally bankrupt today call
gays, but God calls them sodomites (I Kings
14:24; cf. Gen. 19:5-13; Lev. 20:13; Rom. 1:27).
Others loudly cry, Dont preach a negative
gospel. Whats that? Dont! I
suppose it is well and good for one opposed to negative preaching
to be negative.
The best thing the devil has going today is the
attitude that desires to please folks instead of save
folks. Godly standards are lowered to lure and draw folks þ-
all in the name of love. The apostle Paul described quite
well the attitude of most toward truth in saying, 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).
Nonetheless, young Timothy was told to preach the word --
the truth (II Tim. 4:2).
The words of Paul again ring loud and clear,
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). Paul proclaimed the one and
only Gospel regardless of who it offended. Both he and
John the Baptizer would rather go to Heaven than be
The ACLU and all other morally bankrupt perverts of
truth must not go unchallenged. Let them become incensed! As Paul
also said, Am I therefore become your enemy, because I
tell you the truth (Gal. 4:16)?
5810 Liberty Grove Rd.
Rowlett, TX 75089
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A STRONG PULPIT
Most faithful brethren would affirm that we do not hear
the kind of preaching we heard as we were growing up. Oftentimes,
more attention is paid to how something is said rather
than what is said. Attracting large crowds is emphasized
more than preaching sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). In many
congregations today, when plans are being made for a youth function
or Gospel meeting, the criteria for selecting speakers is not,
Is he sound and does he teach and uphold sound doctrine?
but rather, Is he dynamic? and Can he draw a
Theatrical preachers who stir the emotions but leave
the mind befuddled, remind one of the false teachers Jude mentioned
who spoke great swelling words of vanity but were clouds without
water (Jude 12,13). Many churches and preachers are guilty of
promoting gimmicks, games, and gymnasiums rather than the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. Jesus said, And I, if I be lifted up from
the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32). Jesus
Christ and His word are the drawing power! Weak preaching has
become more and more commonplace. Consider the effects of weak
Weak preaching causes a lack of genuine conversions.
Since it is the word of God that sets men free from sin (John
8:32), preaching without it will cause men to remain in bondage to
Satan. Some teachers tell story after story and joke after joke and
do not give the people enough scripture to fill a thimble. A
preacher cannot bring men to Christ when he deletes the power
(Gods Word) from his sermon (Rom. 1:16). Some of our preachers
play on peoples emotions just to get them down the
aisle, and he can say, Ive baptized X number of
people. The preacher is not the main attraction --
Christ is. Emotionalism is not to move sinners -- the cross is.
Weak preaching causes the faith of Christians to
be weakened. It is by a steady and strong diet of Gods
word that Christians are built up. Paul stated, 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 that are sanctified (Acts 20:32). How can
Christians be strengthened if they do not hear Bible-based sermons
filled with scripture? If our physical bodies are not fed properly,
will they remain healthy? How then could we expect Christians to
remain spiritually healthy if they are not fed from the word of
Weak preaching leads to apostasy. Churches are
being torn asunder by every false doctrine imaginable. Why are some
of our churches ready to put women in leadership roles, bring the
instrument in, and partake of the Lords supper on any day
other than Sunday? The answer is clear: weak preaching. We need
more sermons on the plan of salvation, the distinctiveness of the
church, the worship of the church, etc.
Weak preaching causes a lack of real church growth.
One observed that weak preaching has made the church a little
more than a soup line for the distribution of loaves and
fishes when we should be pointing people to eternal water and
eternal food (John 4:10-14). The church needs to be reminded
of its mission: to seek and save the lost through the preaching and
teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 19:10; Matt.
28:19,20). Real church growth will come if we follow Gods way.
Christians must be taught. The souls of men are at stake.
Gospel preaching saves, and without it men cannot be
saved: For the preaching of the cross is to them that
perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved, it is the power of
God (I Cor. 1:18). We need a strong pulpit and we need
elders who will demand nothing less!
-- Via Highland (Dalton, GA) bulletin
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Enclosed is a small contribution to help keep a fine and much
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number. Some of the congregations in metropolitan areas are
becoming increasingly denominational in their organization and
teaching. How sad it is to observe this departure from the faith by
many brethren and congregations. Thank God for all your efforts in
reaching the lost and strengthening the faithful with this
endeavor ...William J. Coates, Summerville Pennsylvania
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appreciate the good lessons in STOP. I pass it on to family and
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bless ...Kathleen Foster, Pontotoc, MS. Dear
brethren, I appreciate the work you are doing in publishing STOP.
Keep up the good word and dont become discouraged at the
criticism you are receiving! ...Frank Harris, Clarksville,
IN. Appreciate you sending me STOP and I know I am going
to enjoy many fine articles true to Gods word. In the July
Issue of STOP, C. J. Rimmer of Southgate, MI, wanted removed from
your mailing list and then stated that it would be better if you
had a prayer list of all the false teachers so people could pray
for them. I do not know about you but I have prayed many times for
those brethren he mentions to come back -- forsaking their false
ways. I would probably not be too far off in saying you have done
the same. I hope he is doing what he suggests others do! Keep up
please put me on your mailing list to receive STOP? I have been
borrowing one of my brothers copies each time he receives one
and am interested in keeping up with the things which threaten the
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and hope publications such as yours will help us to rise up and
defeat it ...Gary Labeth, Burneyville, OK.
Please do not send any more STOP. Im really amazed at the
hatred of your articles. The love in the text of Gods word
toward his children is not reflected in your letters. How do live
Christs glory in your community? ...Harry & J. Scott,
Belton, TX. [EDITORS NOTE: We dont have to wonder
what their reaction would be to the Lords condemnation of the
scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Jesus called them hypocrites,
children of hell, fools, blind, blind guides, whited sepulchres,
children of them that killed the prophets, serpents and generation
of vipers. He accused them of straining at a gnat and swallowing a
camel. He declared they were full of extortion, excess, hypocrisy,
iniquity and that they would receive the greater damnation. Our
Lord and savior did not say these things in meanness, hatefulness
and delight. He said them with compassion in His heart and tears in
His eyes. In Matthew 23:37 He said, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which
are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children
together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and
ye would not! Plain words do not indicate a mean spirit!
Paul asked, Am I therefore become your enemy, because I
tell you the truth (Gal. 4:16)? People must be made to
see the error of their way and the way that is of God so they may
repent and obey before its too late. --gmr] I just came
across your website on the internet. I want to tell you how happy
and thankful I am about the work you are doing there. I must
confess it makes my heart sing. I am so filled with delight over
your broadcast that I will be telling everybody I talk to about it.
I dont know how long you have been broadcasting, but my prayer
is that the Lord will continue to bless you in this effort. Praise
be to the Lord. The world has no more excuse. You are a diamond in
the ruff. God bless you all ...Betty Israel Chandler,
Jacksonville, FL. [NOTE: The Gospel can be heard 24/7 at
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so much for all the issues you have sent me ...Sam Costa,
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of Christ and picked up your issue of Vol. 16 No. 7 and brought it
home to me. I had no knowledge of such a magazine and read it with
interest. I rejoice in seeing another publication such as this
circulating through the churches of Christ helping to stem the
drifting that prevails in some areas ...Olaf Bohannan, CA.
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Table of Contents
Through the help of very generous brethren, we have been blessed
to purchase a new printer. The cost of the new printer was $9,351.
We have already received $5,000 toward its purchase. Since so many
have requested that we let them know when we need something like
this, were taking this opportunity to do so. If you would like
to contribute any part of the remaining $4,351, then feel free to
do so. The work of Seek The Old Paths is supported by free-will
contributions and sent free to all who request it. God bless you as
we continue to teach the whole counsel of God.
Bound Volumes can be ordered from:
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McMinnville, TN 37110
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