Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This Hurts Me More Than You

“You’ll never teach in this school again!” These are the last words I heard from a high school senior a few years ago as I told him to leave class. He had been rude and disrespectful, and then confronted me face to face (literally) when I tried to discipline him. Fortunately no punches were thrown, and I did teach there again.

Having this experience of teaching in today’s school systems, and also having worked with youth even in the church, I have witnessed clearly the results of failing to heed the instruction of Proverbs 29:15 (“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”). Had I ever acted the way this young man did, I would have received the rod at school and then again at home from Dad! This is because when I was growing up, the school system, and my father, took biblical instruction seriously.

Regardless of the ideas of modern child psychology, the Bible teaches discipline and corrective instruction as a necessity, even though it may be difficult.

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)

Many times prior to spanking me, my father would try to convince me that it would somehow be more painful for him than for me! Though a child may not understand this statement, the parents know that it is not enjoyable to discipline their children. But it must be done.

Without oversight, a child is like a horse with its reigns removed. He is allowed to do anything he pleases and is bound to foolishness (Proverbs 22:15). Learning by experience can be effective at times, but isn’t always necessary. A child should never have to learn that a stove is hot. Proper instruction from his parents and obedience on his part will prevent him from experiencing the pain of finding out the hard way.

Children have the responsibility to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). When they refuse, proper discipline must be administered. Failure to do so can be devastating. Our society, and even the church, is suffering due to lack of discipline. It’s up to each parent to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), not sparing the rod.

Written By David Ray

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Lights! Camera! Action!

Upon returning from an out-of-state job assignment, one of our members showed me a brochure from a congregation which he had attended. It was a program of the church's drama which they were presenting. It rivaled a commercial production, complete with seven full scenes and a lengthy acknowledgement list of actors, stage crew, construction workers, lighting, sound, scenery, make-up, costume, printing, etc. However, I wasn't surprised at this (and neither was my brother who gave me the brochure)~because many in the church have been acting without Biblical authority for a long time.

It must be remembered, in matters of religion, one can only do that which has been authorized! (Col. 3:17). We cannot add to nor take away from what God has said! (Rev.22:18-19).

What, then, is it that God has specifically told us to do regarding the proclamation of His Word?

He told us to "preach" (kerusso) meaning, "to be a herald; to officiate as a herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald" (Thayer's, p. 364). Matthew 10:7 states, "And as ye go, preach, saying..." —not dramatizing.

He told us to "preach" (dialegomai) meaning, "to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss" (Thayer's, p. 139). "Paul preached unto them... and continued his speech..." —not drama (Acts 20:7).

He told us to "preach" (euangelidzo) meaning, "to proclaim glad tidings; specifically to instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation" (Thayer's, p. 256). "...when they were come unto Antioch, spake [not dramatized] unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:20).

He told us to "preach" (katagello) meaning, "to announce, declare, promulgate, make known; to proclaim publicly, publish" (Thayer's, p. 330) ~ as was done in Acts 4:1-2. Also carefully notice the preaching of Peter (Acts 2:14-40; 3:19-26; 10:34-43), Stephen (Acts 7:2-53) and Paul (Acts 13:16-42; 17:22-31).

The conclusion is obviously obvious, God has specifically authorized preaching by oral discourses. The addition of dramas in our worship is going beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9); it is a forbidden addition (Rev. 22:18); it is that of which those who both know and love the truth will not do. May we always only do that which God has authorized.

Written by Gary Henson

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Revelation and Inspiration (1 Corinthians 2)

As Paul stood before the Corinthian church, he did not arrogantly and eloquently proclaim a humanly-devised philosophy; rather, he fearfully and distinctly declared the wisdom of God (vss. 1-4). In addition, the apostle backed his teaching with miraculous demonstration so the faith of his audience might stand in the power of God, not in the wisdom of men (vss. 4-6). Now, in Paul's defense of his teaching methods, he reminds the Corinthian congregation of the source of his doctrine (vss. 6-16). The apostle assures the church that he did, indeed, proclaim a wisdom, but not the wisdom of this world; Paul declared the wisdom of God. It is here, in Paul's explanation of these matters, that he provides some very vital information on the often-misunderstood subjects of revelation and inspiration. Among other things, the apostle writes about the purpose, process, and preciousness of revelation and inspiration.

The Purpose

Concerning revelation, Paul writes of those things once hidden in the mind of God, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (vs. 10a). About inspiration, the apostle says, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words" (vs. 13 ASV). These verses indicate that "revelation is an act of Deity whereby God communicates facts and truths which were previously unknown to man," while inspiration is the tool that God uses to guide and control the revelation of those facts and truths.1 The combined purpose of revelation and inspiration, then, is to make known "the things that are freely given to us of God" (vs. 12).

The Process

While not every detail involved in the process of revelation and inspiration is covered by Paul in I Corinthians 2, the apostle does mention three important factors: The Holy Spirit (vss. 10-14), the specially selected agents of God ("we," "us," and "he that is spiritual" -- vss. 6, 7, 10, 12, 15, 16), and the act of communicating the mind, or will, of God (vss. 10, 13). When one puts these verses and factors together, he must conclude that by means of words the Holy Spirit guided certain individuals to speak and/or record exactly what God wanted man to know. Other related scriptures include II Samuel 23:2; John 16:13; I Timothy 4:1; and II Peter 1:20,21, which all mention these same three factors.

The Preciousness

Paul declares just how precious revelation and inspiration are when he points out that the blessings of the Gospel which were once hidden are now revealed (vss. 9,10) and, accordingly, are able to be taught to others (vs. 13). Because of revelation and inspiration, man can know God, himself, the path upon which God wishes for him to walk, and the rewards that will come to him for walking thereon (Mt. 7:13,14). Though these are but a few of the blessings that come as a result of revelation and inspiration, such vividly portray the preciousness of the same.While revelation and inspiration do not occur today (I Cor. 13:8-12), their final product, the Bible, remains and continues to bless those who will hear and heed its precepts. God be thanked that He was willing to communicate His Truth to man.

1 David Brown, "The Inspiration of The Bible," in Biblical Inerrancy, ed. Jerry Moffitt. (Portland, TX: Gulf Coast Lectures, 1993), 18.

Written By Preston Silcox

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Bible and Sexual Sins

In writing an article as plain as this, I know there may be the possibility of offending some. Please understand this is not my purpose at all. From history we learn a very clear lesson: Playing the “quiet game” about our problems and “sweeping them under the rug” doesn’t make them go away it actually makes them worse. The Bible is very clear about the heinous nature of sexual sins and their punishment. Notice how the Bible deals with sexual sins.

Incest—A Crime Against One’s Family. Incest, having sexual relations with a family member, is condemned as harshly as any sin in the Bible. In Leviticus 18:6-18, the Bible condemns sexual relations with anyone who is kin to you, except your mate. In fact, the Bible makes it very clear that to commit incest blood relation is not necessary. Sexual relations with an “in-law” or step brother or sister would also be considered incest (Lev. 20:17, 19-21). Truly, the sexual sin of incest is a crime against one’s family.

Harlotry—A Crime Against One’s Body. The selling of one’s body for profit is also strongly condemned in Scripture. In Deuteronomy 23:17 God told the people of Israel that female and male prostitution was sinful. God saw the problems prostitution would create when He warned, “Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness” (Lev. 19:29). Aside from the biblical problems involved with harlotry, think about the medical problems it creates. AIDS and STDs are contracted and given to others every day by prostitutes all across this world. Not only is it a biblical and medical problem, but it is also a very serious psychological problem. Think about the low state of self-worth one has to enter into to sale their body. Truly, prostitution is a crime against one’s self.

Child Molestation—A Sin Against the Innocent. The Bible portrays children as a precious and innocent creation of God (Matt. 19:14). Child molestation is the horrid monster that takes away that innocence. Child molestation by a parent is condemned with the idea of incest in Leviticus 18. Child molestation by another adult who is not kin to you is condemned along the lines of adultery and fornication. The only place in the Bible that sex is approved is between two scripturally married people (Heb. 13:4). A man would have to be sick mentally to take advantage of a child sexually. Child molestation would have to be the most heinous sex crime ever committed. Truly, it is a crime against the innocent!

Homosexuality—A Crime Against Nature. Homosexuality is a sin that the Bible has much to say about. The Apostle Paul said, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Rom. 1:26-27). In the Old Testament God had this to say about homosexual practices: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Lev. 18:22). Regardless of what our modern world says about the practice of homosexuality and gay marriages, the Bible still says they are a sin. And, it is the Bible we will be judged by, not the practices of our society (Jn. 12:48). Truly, homosexuality is a crime against nature!

Dear friend, the Bible is very clear on sexual sins. They are a crime against God, one’s self and all those a person is associated with. In the church of Christ we do not approve or support such sins as these because they are condemned in the Bible. May those who have committed such ungodly acts of immorality be prosecuted to the full extent of man’s law and may they repent of these acts before they are punished everlastingly by God!

Written By Ben Bailey

Friday, June 10, 2005


“Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with” Mark Twain (Wit and Wisecracks).

Seasons come and go ever more quickly it seems. With the passing of time we endure difficulties and victories, face burdens and labors of love, and are blessed with bountiful joy. How we handle the struggles and successes is greatly impacted by the people who are in our lives. God knew of the need of companionship for man from the beginning. He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet (helper comparable to him—NKJV) for him” (Genesis 2:18—ASV). From that time, man has had the pleasure of developing the greatest friendship on earth through a fully developed and scripturally based marriage. A proper marriage allows for the sharing of the good times and the bad times. The good times are made greater while the bad times are made more tolerable. C.S. Lewis said it well, “The most precious gift that marriage gave was this constant impact of something very close and intimate yet all the time…No cranny of heart or body remained unsatisfied” (C.S. Lewis through the Shadowlands).

Solomon, discussing friendship, wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And if man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

A “threefold cord” can be found when husband and wife put God first. A husband who seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, will be a better husband. He will help his wife to be stronger spiritually. He will help her to be a better wife by being the husband that she deserves. He will lead his wife to follow Christ. He will love his wife, giving himself for her daily. He will help her to be pure, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He will love her even as his own body, cherishing her. A husband who puts God first and who loves his wife according to the scriptures (ex. Ephesians 5:22-33), will never be alone.

A wife who seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, will be a better wife. She will be in subjection to her husband, as to the Lord. She will trust her husband’s leadership, knowing that he loves and cherishes her, nourishing their relationship with each other and with God. She will leave her mother and father and will cleave to him, being joined together, becoming one flesh. A wife who puts God first and who loves her husband according to the scriptures (ex. Ephesians 5:22-33), will never be alone.

There are many blessings in a marriage which is focused on God, but one of the greatest is having someone with whom to share the good times and the not-so-good times. A marriage where husband and wife are focused first on God forms a threefold cord that is not quickly broken. With our “help meet” by our side, serving God daily, we will never be alone. Together, we can reach out to others with the joy of the gospel.

Written By Denny Wilson

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Getting Acquainted with the Redeemer

In Exodus it was Pharaoh who asked the question, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice?” (Exo. 5:2). Moses would answer with ten plagues “against all the gods of Egypt” (Exo. 12:12). In other words God is a God who will not tolerate a rival for His affections! This is also indicated in the Decalogue: “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo. 20:1-3). In redemption (physical/spiritual), we see the non-moral essence of the Redeemer. We see God’s omnipresence (His all-seeing eye); omniscience (His perfect knowledge); omnipotence (His complete power); immutability (His unchangeableness). Redemption also allows us to see the moral attributes of the Redeemer. In other words, God is more than just His knowledge and power. God is Holy (Rev. 4:8-11; Isa. 6:3). God is Good (Mark 10:18). God is Righteous (Psa. 89:14; 97:2). These are terms that express the moral nature of a being. This is how the Redeemer describes Himself.

A redeemer implies bondage. Those who have sold themselves into the bondage of Satan through sin need someone outside of that bondage to redeem them. As Moses was sent into Egypt, the Word became flesh (Jho. 1:1-2, 14). This redeemer is deity in general and Jesus in particular. The Father is the great designer/architect of redemption (Eph. 3:9-11), whereas Jesus is the executor/operator of the will of deity (1 Jho. 2:2; 4:10). It was Jesus who came in the flesh; it was Jesus who died on the cross. The Spirit then functions as the organizer/revealer of that plan (2 Pet. 1:21). Man has four basic needs in religion. He needs (1) a priest to represent him before God (Heb. 3:1); (2) A sacrifice to approach God (Heb. 10:12); (3) A prophet to reveal God to him (Jho. 1:18); (4) A King to control his life (Acts 2:36; 5:31). Therefore, let us sing the song of The Great Redeemer (Foster/Beazley):

“How I love the great Redeemer,
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story,
Of the love that made man free.

He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.

Worthy of praise is Christ our Redeemer;
Worthy of glory, honor, and pow’r!
Worthy of all our soul’s adoration,
Worthy art Thou! Worthy art Thou!

Worthy of riches, blessings and honor,
Worthy of wisdom, glory and pow’r!
Worthy of earth and heaven’s thanksgiving,
Worthy art Thou! Worthy art Thou!”

Written By Rick Popejoy