Jackson Drive Church Of Christ
Preacher: Scott Richardson
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"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
Responsibilities of a New Generation
I have been reminded many times in the last few years that the older generation which I have looked up to my whole life is quickly passing away. With each one that passes a void is left in our lives. There was a time when I was younger that these people seemed almost larger than life. Death seemed like such a distant thing. But now as these faithful men and women pass one by one, an almost overwhelming responsibility becomes more and more clear and real. Who is willing to fill their shoes or at least try?
From a physical sense the older generation lived a different life from most younger people today. They understood what real work was. Most in this area were farmers. They were not always comfortable. They did not have luxuries. Fashion was not an issue.
From a spiritual sense the older generation did not always have an easy time either. During the 1950's and 1960's there was division among brethren, and those who would adhere to the doctrine of Christ faced persecution for it. But thankfully they were willing to endure, and they taught us who were younger so that we would know the truth. Now, some of us are close to the same age that our elders were when they were faced with difficult times. Are we going to continue in the doctrine of Christ? Men from that generation stood in public places as Paul and other great Bible characters did to teach the gospel to the lost. Are we willing to do things that are uncomfortable for the cause of Christ? Jesus was not comfortable when He was beaten, scourged and nailed to the cross so that we might have salvation.
There was a loving strictness about these men and women that is not found very often in my generation. These older people “commanded” respect by their very presence in a room. Respect was not given because they demanded it from others, although young people were taught to respect their elders. But they were respectable in their manner of life and respect naturally followed. Today respect for God, for older people, for those around us and even for ourselves is something that is lacking. The Bible tells us to honor God, to honor our parents and to honor those that are older than we are. I might add that honor and respect are not optional based upon the conduct of those to be honored. For example, the Bible states very clearly in both the Old and the New Testaments that those who are disobedient and disrespectful to their parents are worthy of death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Romans 1:30-32). Our culture does not allow for this action, but nevertheless we still see God's view of that attitude and conduct. Remember, “God will bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
These older brethren were of a meek and quiet spirit, yet they were bold and unashamed of the gospel. They loved the Lord, they loved the truth and they loved us. Many are now gone from this life, but their reward awaits. They have taught us the truth. What are we going to do with it? Will we “continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard and which was preached...” (Colossians 1:23). God has set the standard for us to live by. Let us who are living accept our responsibility as Ezra did to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach these statutes and judgements (Ezra 7:10).
We cannot afford to continue to let “small” things slip from generation to generation in service to God. For example, things which thirty-five years ago were so immodest that they caused scandles even among the most liberal thinkers are now openly accepted with many people who claim to be strictly Christians after the New Testament order. Things around us will change. Styles and fashion will change, people will change, religions will change, but God will not change. “For I am the Lord, I change not...” (Malachi 3:6). Don't allow yourself to be influenced to compromise truth for the sake of peace. “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. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live...” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).
You will never go wrong by abstaining from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). On the other hand we may lose our soul by trying to blend in with the world, and in our weakness, we may cause someone else or even many others to lose their soul. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Who is willing to take the responsibility and continue faithful to the end?
There is much confusion in the world concerning truth. Much of this confusion is from a failure to recognize what is true (truth) or a failure to conform to it.
Truth is defined in Webster's Dictionary as follows: agreement with reality; eternal principle of right, or law of order; fact; the right religion. It is interesting that Webster says “the right religion.” To be consistent with the other points of definition, the right religion must be established on fact, on that which is in agreement with what is real, and on eternal principles of right. Truth is not truth because of the definition of the word, but the definition certainly confirms what is true. All eternal principles of right are from the Almighty God. When we ignore, attempt to change, or minimize the truth of God we lose the only standard of authority which is infallible and which has not changed since time began. Even time would not have begun without God.
Many argue that there is no absolute truth, and that all is relative to the situation in which we find ourselves. Hence we hear about “situation ethics.” Such thought processes are impossible to live by and are humanistic in origin. These ideas are not based upon reality or upon eternal principles of right or upon fact. We are all different, and we all have different likes and dislikes. It is impossible for everyone to get their way in every situation. Chaos would ensue. Would anyone think that it is acceptable in certain circumstances to steal from another person? If there is no absolute truth, or no right and wrong, then to be consistent this act would have to be right if it seemed right to the one who did it. But even our laws say it is wrong to steal. If this act is wrong we have confirmed the eternal principles of right that are from God. If one decides that it is acceptable to lie in certain situations, who will determine the situations in which this will be accepted as right conduct? If we say that lying is wrong then we have confirmed the truth of God's eternal principle. There must of necessity be a standard for us to go by, and the standard cannot be of human origin.
One might say that we have laws in order to keep peace. But if our laws are not based on a standard, they can be changed at any time to reflect the desires of those who write the laws. This is not intended to be a commentary on political matters, but simply to say that humans must use a higher standard. The laws of the land are not always just, but the law of God is just and right because of the giver of it.
God is the creator of this world and all that is in it (Exodus 20:11). That includes us (Genesis 1:26,27), and if we hope to go to be with God when we depart this life, we must live by His law. Since He created us, He has the right to tell us what to do, and if we refuse to obey Him then to think that He will accept us anyway is not even logical, and it is certainly not what God himself has told us. In order for us to live together in peace, and in order for us to please our Creator we have to submit to Him. His word is truth (John 17:17). He is just, He is righteous, and His commandments are “for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24).
Consider the following scriptures: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth” (Psalm 119:142). “They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever” (Psalm 119:150-152). “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever” (Psalm 117:1-2). “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). Truth is from God, and the truth of God is for all generations.
Neither experience nor emotion is the basis for our faith. The basis for our faith is that certain things are true. Without revealed truth we can have no certainty.
The Auburn Beacon, November 7, 2010
Editors Note: This publication is a new effort for the purpose of teaching the truth of God's word. My intention is to publish this paper at least on a bi-monthly basis or maybe monthly as time permits. It is my hope that through an examination of God's word we will be encouraged to “give diligence to make our calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10). I hope that these writings will be an encouragement to you.