THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy· Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume IV, Number 26· September 03, 2000
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
-The editor is on vacation this weekend, so there are no sermon outlines or Noteworthy News items in this issue.
Joe R. Price
These words from an often sung hymn remind us of the duty and joy that should attend our Christian life. When being a Christian becomes a burden to our soul we have left our first love (1 Jno. 5:3; Rev. 2:4-5). With the words of this song in mind, reflect with me upon our willingness to follow wherever Jesus leads.
Will you follow Jesus to repentance from dead works? Without repentance we will not be saved (Lk. 13:3, 5). Many have gotten the notion that repentance means to be "sorry" for past sins. But it means much more. Indeed, it is generated by "godly sorrow" (2 Cor. 7:10). So, if repentance is caused by godly sorrow it cannot be the sorrow itself, can it? No, it is what sorrow produces. Repentance is a "change of mind" toward one's sin which will be reflected in a changed life. Bearing the "fruits of repentance" show that repentance has occurred (Lk. 3:7-14; Acts 26:20). If we are unwilling to follow Jesus into full repentance and repudiation of our sins, we are not yet following Him as we should.
Will you follow Jesus to salvation from your past sins? Jesus is "the Way" that leads to the Father - our only way of salvation (Jno. 14:6; Acts 4:12). He said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mk. 16:16) Have you followed Jesus by faith and been baptized to be saved? If not, do not be deceived. You are not yet following Jesus where He leads.
Will you follow Jesus into suffering for His name's sake? It is a fact that those who follow Jesus shall suffer at the hands of those who are not following Him. Jesus said so (Jno. 15:18-25). Just as He was hated "without a cause," His disciples will share in His sufferings (cf. Phil. 3:8-10). Are we ready for that challenge? Will you follow Jesus when family members cannot understand why you put God first instead of them? (Matt. 10:37) When associates and friends discard you as a "fanatic" and "too religious" will you continue to follow Jesus into the separation and ridicule it produces? (1 Pet. 4:3-4) When opponents of the truth of the gospel deceive the naïve and innocent with their smooth yet empty words, will you cling tenaciously to the inspired scriptures and wield the sword of the Spirit against Satan's cohorts? (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Cor. 10:3-5) Remember: "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him" (2 Tim. 2:12).
Will you follow Jesus into greater godliness at home? Home is not the place to forget to follow Jesus. Truly, it is the place where much of our following should occur! As we follow Jesus in our family relationships we will discover the joy and happiness of the home as God intends it to be. Husbands who are loving their wives as Christ loved the church. Wives who are submitting to their husbands as the church is submissive to Christ. Parents who are nurturing their children in the ways of the Lord. Children who are honoring and obeying their parents. These are the ones who are following Jesus in the home (Eph. 5:22-6:4).
"'Lord, I will follow You wherever you go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Lk. 9:57-58) Let us truly be living what we sing: "Where He leads me, I will follow, where He leads me, I will follow...I'll go with Him, with Him, all the way."
LIBERALISM - WHY I CHANGED
James Paul Cabler
For the last several years, I have seen gradual departure from the word of God in the congregation I was acquainted with. These departures were disturbing to my wife and me and we talked about it from time to time, not really knowing the solution. We also talked about these things to our friends and relatives and their reaction was always the same, "What can we do? It is in all the churches of Christ."
I knew there were other churches of Christ in the area that I had heard preachers and others call "anti" churches. I had no real personal knowledge of what they believed and practiced, but I thought that they would probably be worse than what we were in, because I had been lead to believe that they were churches against helping the orphans and widows, and did very little in preaching the gospel to the world. I know now that this is not true!
With misgivings already in my mind about the direction we were going, there then arose some unscriptural events and happenings in the congregation we were identified with that caused us to begin at once to search for a congregation that would preach and practice New Testament Christianity only. I will now briefly describe these events: As already stated, I was disturbed about a gradual departure from the word of God. In particular, I noticed more and more emphasis being given to social activities on the part of the church to draw people (instead of using the gospel - Romans 1:16). These practices even got to the point that they were overshadowing the actual worship service when money was solicited within the worship service for a planned trip to Opryland! During the hour of worship a brother was given time by one of the elders to solicit money for this strictly social event! Then he was given time again the Sunday after the trip to elaborate to the congregation on the trip! The Bible just does not give any authority for the church to engage in this sort of activity. We should respect the silence of the scriptures (2 John 9; 1 Cor. 4:6). It is not the mission of the church to entertain saints or sinners!
After the events took place which I have just described, we began to search for a congregation that was following the New Testament in all things. This search led us to visit the Underwood Heights church of Christ. To our surprise (after hearing so much about the "anti" churches), we did not find this congregation preaching or practicing anything out of harmony with the New Testament! Instead, we found a congregation that believed the Bible to be the inspired word of God and that Christ is the final authority in all matters of religion. We found a congregation that gives book, chapter and verse for what they preach and practice. We also found a spirit of love, cooperation and interest in each individual to develop and grow spiritually in Christ, as we have never experienced in any other congregation we had previously worshipped with. After further study, we found that the teaching being done by "conservative" churches against human institutions to do the work of the church, and the emphasis given to individual responsibility, was in full accord with Bible teaching. The local congregation is the only organization we can read about in the New Testament to do the work God wants the church to do (Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23). Scriptures such as James 1:27 and Galatians 6:10 that are used by "liberal" churches, in their attempt to support their stand on churches supporting human institutions to do benevolence, are directed to the individual Christian in the discharge of his individual duty, rather than to the church.
I believe that there are many brethren in "liberal" congregations who are as confused as we were, and honestly don't know what to do. This is why I am writing about our experience in our search for the truth. I beg of you as a Christian responsible to God, that you "study to show thyself approved unto God...rightly dividing the word of truth" as 2 Timothy 2:15 teaches. Jesus said, "...If ye continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed." (John 8:31). We must abide in the doctrine of Christ in order to be His disciples. "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9).
In conclusion, I say do not be afraid of what people call you - God and His word are right. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God..." (Matt. 6:33), and take your stand with a congregation that is not filled with all kinds of unscriptural activities! Stand with a people who are still making every effort to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent (1 Pet. 4:11). Your soul's salvation depends upon it!
(Note: Brother Cabler's article was printed in the Bulletin published by the Underwood Heights church in Florence, Alabama. The following note appeared after the article: "Brother Cabler came to us several weeks ago from a 'liberal' church of Christ. He is 46 years old and works for an insurance company in a very responsible position. He is not an unstable man, but a man who loves the truth above all else. We commend his article to you.")
The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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