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
LET'S BUILD A STRONG CHURCH
by Roy E. Stephens
Nothing on earth will build a strong congregation of Christians except a strong diet of the word of God (I Peter 2:2). All the “pastoral” visits that a preacher might make, unless he goes to teach the Bible, will fail miserably to make the church strong. In spite of this truth, there are still people who quit because “nobody came to see me.”
There are a certain kind of people in the church who have been brought into the church by schemes, who can't be kept in the church without some man eternally trotting at their heels. When I find such, usually I let them know that if they have not enough religion about them to come out to the Lord's house and worship God without having to be driven like a parcel of stray cattle, they may as well jump over the fence and starve to death. People who cannot come to church without the elders and deacons and preachers seeing them every week are not worth standing room in the potter's field anyway. (Of course we understand that every soul is worth much to God, but the writers point is that if Christians do not apply themselves to growth and then blame others for their weakness, they are shirking their own responsibility and they are a blight on the church. ~D.S.)
Once in a certain place I was assured that the Lord had some lost sheep in that place. After much seeking I succeeded in finding a few wanderers out on the mountain of sin wild and bare, who had grazed on the devil's pasture until they could not tell clover from sneeze-weed. They had lost their bells and shed their fleece and had herded with the goats until they were not worth driving home.
If I have read the Bible to any profit, it teaches us to rely upon the gospel as the power of God unto salvation. Pastoral psychology and ecclesiastical clap-trap may popularize a church and fill it with unconverted church members and worldly minded people, but it will not convert people nor add to the spirituality of the worship. If you can convert the sinner and build up the spirituality of the church by humoring spiritual weaklings and flattering unconverted worldly-minded people and pastoral visitations, you might as well throw the Bible away and rent hell out for a calf pasture. The idea that a converted man or woman will willfully absent himself from the services of the church and the assembly of Christians simply because someone did not come around every single week and kiss his baby and gossip with his wife, and he will thus grow indifferent to his Lord and negligent of his duty, is an insult to the intelligence and contrary to common sense.
To try to build up the church in any way but by plain gospel teaching and preaching, by schemes, flattery and compromise, has in every age resulted in, not strong, but weak churches. True faith today is the same as it was in apostolic times. Did the church prosper in those days? As it has never since prospered!! Were those saints of old humored and flattered and coddled by some professional pastor who prided himself on being able to get a lot of people to assemble for worship in some cave of den of the earth at a secret hour of night? (Hebrews 11:23-29) NO!! But the church grew and they took the gospel to the entire known world of their day (Mark 16:15-16).
The best way in the world to build up the church today is to return to the same program the early church practiced, the New Testament order of preaching and teaching and worship.
(The words above are not mine. This is practically word for word from an article in the Gospel Advocate, as I recall, nearly 75 years ago. I don't know the writer, BUT IF ONLY PEOPLE HAD LISTENED TO HIM!!)
~Roy E. Stephens, via The Jackson Drive Admonisher, October, 20, 1974
FAITHFULNESS IS REQUIRED
by Elam B. Kuykendall
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:1-2). “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10). In these two passages the apostles and other Christians are referred to as ministers and stewards. In the passage from I Peter the scriptural meaning of the word “minister” is suggested by using it as a verb instead of a noun as in the passage from I Corinthians. A minister is one who ministers. A “good minister” is one who teaches the gospel of Christ faithfully (I Tim. 4:6). There seems to be a tendency in the church today to use this word as a title in much the same way as the denominations use the word “pastor.” Such a use is foreign to the New Testament usage. “Minister” is a descriptive term and not a title.
Likewise, the word “steward” is a descriptive term for the work that each Christian is to do and not a title of office. Its basic meaning is the manager of a household or of household affairs (Thayer's Greek Lexicon, p.441). The Lord has given the gospel of Christ to earthen vessels (II Cor. 4:7). So we who are Christians are ministers and “stewards of the mysteries of God.” God does His work of spreading the gospel here on earth through us. If His work is not done it is our fault, for God “hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).
Since Christians have such a great responsibility it is not surprising that God would require that each of them be found faithful. Faithfulness is as much a command of God as baptism is. Without faithfulness baptism is to no avail. If we expect a home in Heaven we must be faithful to God. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). “Who then is that faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made the ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods” (Matt. 24:445-47).
Our faithfulness cannot be determined by our piety nor by what others are doing. Neither can we set our own standard of what faithfulness is nor use a standard set by another person or group of people. Our faithfulness must be determined by God's standard as indicated in the following: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by (against in the Revised Version) myself; yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord” (I Cor. 4:3-4). Notice that these are the verses following the ones at the beginning of this article. That makes it clear that Paul was referring to judging our faithfulness.
God is the only competent judge of faithfulness. He has revealed His judgment in the pages of the New Testament. How does your life compare with the judgment of God? Are you faithful? Remember that this is not arbitrary but it is a command of God.
~Elam B. Kuykendall, The Jackson Drive Admonisher, December 1, 1974
by Leslie Diestelkamp
Morality pertains to that which is right and wrong and for the Christian this is determined by God's attitude, and not by the changing customs of men and women. But there seems to be a tendency for us to accept something as right after it has been practiced so much that it is accepted by society, regardless of what God says about it. It is for this reason that I can remember when almost everyone opposed smoking, the wearing of scanty clothing, mixed bathing (swimming), etc. But today, who opposes any of these on the basis of morality?
If one will take the time to study the morals of the children of Israel, from the days of Jacob until the time of Christ, he will find that God never did smile upon immorality. In fact, when Israel became immoral, God with-held his blessings. When Israel repented and became a moral people, God blessed them abundantly. Furthermore, almost always when Israel became immoral they became idolatrous, and conversely, when they became idolators they always became immoral.
But in this day of grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17), the generic, basic, foundation principles of morality are the same as they were in the days of Adam and in the days of Israel. And there are four areas of immorality that not only seem to prevail in the world but that seem to be prevailing among many, many of God's own people today. Each of these are soul-destroying. Each will also render our influence null and void for righteousness. And, I believe, these four practices will cause God to with-hold His blessings from His church, regardless of other areas of fidelity, such as purity of worship, organization, work, etc.
PROFANITY, including the use of euphemisms, and VULGARITY have always been offensive to God but are heard too often upon the lips of God's people today. (Titus 2:8; Matt. 12:36-37; Eph. 4:29; Col. 3:8).
DRINKING OF INTOXICANTS, whether bar-room drinking, social drinking or private drinking, defiles men and women, degrades the youth, leads to irresponsibility in other moral matters and brings shame, disgrace and even death (Prov. 20:1; Prov. 23:29-35; Gal. 5:21).
NUDITY (AND NEAR -NUDITY) have always been shameful in God's sight (Rev. 3:18; Rev. 16:15; etc. Note: Every reference to nakedness indicates shamefulness). The modern min- skirt, which is not a skirt at all, but a fairly long blouse, is a disgrace to any Christian who wears it. It cannot be considered as that adornment that exemplifies holiness of heart, nor can it be considered adornment that induces purity of mind in others (Phil. 4:8). Such scanty attire is, in and of itself, lasciviousness and it produces licentiousness and lust in others (Gal. 5:19).
DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE are so strongly condemned in the Bible that it would seem we hardly need to mention them. Yet these evils are not only practiced by some children of God, but they are overlooked and excused by most Christians today. But when marriage is degraded, when home is debased and when the family circle is inconsequential, the basic foundation of society is thus removed and the anger of God is kindled (Mal. 2:14-16). But most of all, when this is true among God's children, the church is disgraced and the Lord must with-hold His blessings (See Matt. 19:9; Rev. 2:14-16, 20-23). (Editorial: The rule is when you marry, stay married. The only exception is because of fornication. See Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:5-6,9 ~D.S.).
Let us remember that true morality does not adapt to the styles and customs of the world. And let us not forget that it is the duty of Christians to demonstrate high moral standards regardless of what the world does. The destiny of our souls depends upon it and the welfare of the church is at stake.
~Leslie Diestelkamp, Eastside Enlightener, April 24, 1975
JUST WHY PREACH AGAINST SIN?
by Guthrie Dean
Generally speaking, sin takes on two forms. Religious error and worldliness. But there are those who want to know why we preach against sin? Why not accentuate the positive and point out the good in others, they ask. The time is upon us when modern men try to preach “salvation without regeneration, faith without repentance, and Heaven without Hell.” Many D.D.'s in the pulpit are merely Dumb Dogs, for as the Lord said in Isaiah 56:10 that His watchmen who do not warn the people “are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving slumber.” Every preacher in the land needs again to hear the word of God in Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
I. Every preacher should preach against sin because he must be against sin. The apostles opposed it. Christ opposed it. And John the baptist commanded that men repent.
II. Preachers must preach against sin or leave out part of the Bible. II Tim. 4:2 says, “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” One cannot preach all the gospel without reproving and rebuking.
III. Every preacher must preach against sin because he is plainly commanded to do so. I Tim. 5:20, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” Titus 1:10-11 speaks of those false teachers “whose mouths must be stopped.” Paul writes of those ungodly members who needed to be withdrawn from. I Cor. 5; Rom. 16:17.
IV. Preaching against sin brings a conviction of sinners and leads to their conversion to Christ. “You have to get people lost before you can get them saved,” one person expressed it. One of the principal works of the Holy Spirit is to reprove (John 16:8-11). And He will do that where the pure and simple gospel of Christ is preached.
V. Some do not preach against sin, because they don't love the truth nor the souls of those who are bound in sin.
~Guthrie Dean, via Eastside Enlightener, May 1, 1975
Editors Note: Positive preaching is anything that will help to save my soul. The gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). If I reject the reproof and correction that is included in the gospel of Christ, I have rejected the positive preaching that will save my soul. Rejection of any part of the soul saving gospel is negative preaching.