And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 01 December 02, 2007
In this issue:
The following advice was recently given to gospel preachers who are teaching against the errors of liberalism in churches of Christ:
“…go to perishing souls in India and not to the congregations which are already established to bring division and confusion among the churches.”
“…use your talents that the Lord has given you to bring people to Christ…”
Such counsel is born of the devil and would prevent lost souls from hearing the whole counsel of God.
1) This view implies that there are no perishing souls in churches of Christ. Of course, such is an unscriptural view, since Christians can fall from grace and be lost (Gal. 5:4). The fornicator in Corinth, prior to his public discipline, was “among” the church (1 Cor. 5:1-2). Was Paul wrong to teach the Corinthians how to address the sin that was among them? Certainly not! Should John have resisted writing to the church of the Laodiceans about their lukewarm spiritual condition? (Rev. 3:14-22) Perhaps the Lord should have only sent John’s revelation to the “perishing souls of Asia” and not to the churches there. What do you think?
2) This view implies that gospel preachers only work among those who are outside of Christ. Without question, such a view is false. The evangelist Timothy was to be instructing the brethren (1 Tim. 4:6). Through his teaching he was to “commit to faithful men” the gospel he had heard from the apostle (2 Tim. 2:2). Titus was to appoint elders in the churches in Crete (Titus 1:5).
3) This view implies that false doctrine will not affect one’s salvation. Another lie of Satan (read Gal. 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11).
4) This view always comes from the opponents of truth. Those who love the truth want all to hear it, while those who resist it object (Acts 13:44-46, 48, 52). When the truth exposes sin and error, those who reject it say, “go somewhere else and preach to someone else” (see Amos 7:11-13).
Brethren, we must have the moral courage to preach the word to all people, whether they are in the world or among the people of God (2 Tim. 4:1-5). Souls are at stake; how can we be silent? (Ezek. 3:17-18)
The Bible tells us what kind of preacher every preacher should be, and therefore, the kind of preacher we all should want:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:2-5)
Do you want a preacher who boldly preaches the whole counsel of God, or one who is not sure whether his message is true? (Acts 20:20, 27; Eph. 6:19-20) Some brethren (and preachers) prefer the latter. One former preacher said the work of a preacher is to draw conclusions from private study and then test them “in the crucible of public study and discussion” (“What Kind of Preacher Do You Want?,” Jack Holt, formerly posted on NICOC Study website, www.nicocstudy.net/ 120905a.htm). The truth is, such men are not at all uncertain about what they believe and preach; they are fully committed to the false doctrines they promote.
Are we saying a gospel preacher should not engage in private study or public discussion, or that he is above question? No; far from it (1 Tim. 4:15-16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3). What we are saying is that the work of an evangelist is to preach the word – not publicly test personal conclusions (2 Tim. 4:2). Fellow preacher, if you are unsure about what the Bible teaches on a subject, study it out and test your conclusions against the word of God. Do not take your doubts and opinions into the pulpit (or the computer keyboard, as the case may be). Unclear and uncertain preaching will cause doubt to arise in the minds of the hearers and lead to their spiritual ruin, as well as yours (2 Tim. 2:14; 1 Tim. 4:6).
Sadly, this happens to many preachers, and too many brethren love to have it so. (Where there is no conviction for truth, neither will there be commitment to truth, 2 Tim. 4:3-4.) The article cited above shows that this once faithful preacher now believes and teaches there are Christians in human denominations, that using instrumental music in worship is not sinful, that churches of Christ may practice general benevolence and that churches of Christ use baptism for sectarian purposes.
This preacher did not discover some “new truth.” What he found were old errors that have already been tested and shown to be false in the crucible of the inspired word of God (1 Jno. 4:1, 6). They are false doctrines, and those who teach them are false teachers who are lost in their error.
Loving truth compels us to speak the truth in love, not to speak opinionated conclusions that contradict the pattern of sound words contained in the inspired Scriptures (Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:16-4:2).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15
God promised & delivered “one shepherd” to feed His sheep: Christ (Jno.
10:11, 14; 1 Pet. 2:25)
I. EVERY LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS THE ORGANIZATION THE LORD WANTS FOR IT, Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1 (1 Cor. 4:16); Titus 1:5.
II. EACH LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS TO HAVE SHEPHERDS, Eph. 4:11.
To Lead Us, Heb. 13:7.
III. EACH CHURCH NEEDS MEN WHO ARE QUALIFIED & WILLING TO DO THE WORK, Acts 14:21-23.
Men Must be Qualified & Willing to Serve (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-9); Acts
20:28; Heb. 13:17 (stewards of God, Titus 1:7).
Qualified elders needed in every local church (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Titus 1:9-11
The brethren who made the preaching trip to India this year have been publicly accused of causing division in churches of Christ, of stealing properties, buildings and preachers, and with offering money to preachers to leave liberalism.
While in India I presented a public reply to these charges. Both the charges and our public reply are posted on our website at http://www.bibleanswer.com/india2007/. I encourage you to read both documents to get a complete picture of this matter.
The word of God charges elders with exhorting and convicting gainsayers, as well as stopping their mouths (Titus 1:9-11). The stated goal is not only to stop the mouths of those who contradict the truth, but also to protect those who may otherwise be overthrown by their error.
At times this is needed in a local church, and elders are to take the lead in accomplishing this task. It is also necessary at times to stop the mouths of gainsayers beyond the local church. They must be “marked” and “avoided” because of their false and factious work (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10-11).
This lesson was presented to preachers in India. Its intent was and is to achieve the God-approved objectives of warning brethren of false teachers, protecting the innocent and equipping us all with Bible answers to false doctrines and falsehoods of men.
Jail, 40 Lashes and Hatred
You’ve probably heard about Gillian Gibbons, the English school teacher in Khartoum, Sudan, who was put on trial for allowing her 7 year old students name a teddy bear “Mohammed.” She could have received 40 lashes for “inciting hatred” against Islam. Instead,
“The teacher was convicted of insulting religion but cleared of two other charges of inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, Ali Ajeb, her lawyer said.” (“Sudan protesters: Execute teacher”, CNN International, CNN.com/world, 30Nov07).
The Sudanese court sentenced her to 15 days in jail and deportation to England. Well, her sentence is not being well received by some Sudanese Muslims. CNN also reports:“At least 600 Islamic demonstrators spilled out of mosques after prayers, chanting: ‘By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed,’ while others chanted, ‘No tolerance: Execution’ and ‘Kill her, kill her by firing squad’... In leaflets distributed earlier this week by Muslim groups and seen by CNN, the protesters promised a "popular release of anger" at demonstrations called for Friday.” (Ibid.)
So, again we see the violent extreme of Islam; anger and hatred. For a religion whose name means “submission” (to the will of Allah), we are made to wonder just how compassionate and merciful the All-Compassionate, All-Merciful Allah really is. If he is, should not his followers submit to his nature and also be compassionate and merciful?
In contrast, Jesus teaches his followers to be merciful peacemakers (Matt. 5:7, 9) and to “turn the other cheek” to real (or even supposed) insults (Matt. 5:39). He teaches us to love our enemies, pray for them and not to “be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
The word of the true and living God (who is not the Allah of Islam) says, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who shows no mercy” (Jas. 2:13).
If Allah and Islam are not filled with hate, then let the voices of “moderate” Muslims be heard. Jesus does not preach hate, but it certainly appears Islam does.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/09/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA