It’s that time of year again, when millions make New Year’s resolutions — with many breaking them within the first week of the New Year. Resolutions are not bad. Making goals is a helpful way to achieve the improvements we wish to make in our lives. They need to be realistic and possible. Here are a few suggestions to be in 2005 that are within the reach of every Christian.
Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: What to be in 2005
Feature Editor’s Note: This month’s article is a fine effort by brother Joe R. Price. I commend the article to you, as well as the reports from foreign fields which follows.
Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matt. 9:37-38)
The need for laborers in the work of harvesting souls is undeniable. For that matter, so is the fact that every Christian, according to his or her abilities and opportunities, is to be a laborer reaping souls in God’s harvest (Acts 8:4).
The truth is that many Christians need to repent of a lack of work in this area. We need to rededicate our hearts and refocus our attention on trying to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ. We sing, "to the work, to the work," but too often our lives say, "let somebody else work!"
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Sending Forth Laborers
A number of years ago while I was taking care of some banking, one the tellers who knew me to be a preacher asked if I was “ready for the big day?” I paused a moment, trying to figure out what “big day” she meant. Then it hit me – she was talking about Easter. Like most people, she saw Easter Sunday as one of the “big” religious days of the year. When I told her that the church I work with did not do anything different on this “big day” I am sure she must have been surprised. She went on to observe that many people only “go to church” on Easter and Christmas. I certainly agreed with her on that one. I told her we try to help people see the need to worship God every Sunday, not just on Easter and Christmas. Her reply? “Maybe you need to have more Easters and Christmases!”
That pretty well sums up the attitude of many toward religious worship and service. Only when a “big” day comes along is it important enough to them to participate in religious activities. This certainly is not worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24; Hebrews 10:25).
Continue reading » The History of Easter
Editors Note: Watchman Magazine is running the following series of articles in the July, August, September and October issues of the Magazine. This month’s article finishes the series. Combined, these four articles represent a very thorough study of the subject. Enjoy!
Judging Motives vs. Judging ActionsIn contrast to making motive assessments in order to determine fellowship, the Bible says we must make objective comparisons of what men teach with the revealed word – the apostolic teaching (cf. 1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Nothing is found in this passage about the teacher’s motives or attitudes. Instead, the teacher’s teaching is put to the test of apostolic doctrine (v. 6). Subjective qualifications and conclusions about determining fellowship are not in harmony with what the objective standard of truth says on the matter. The Bible teaches us to test men’s doctrine and practice – not their motives (their heart) – when determining our fellowship with them (2 John 9-11). This is what the Bereans were commended for doing in Acts 17:11. God will commend us, too, when we follow their worthy example. Continue reading » Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship – Part 4 of 4
Editors Note: Watchman Magazine is running the following series of articles in the July, August, September and October issues of the Magazine. Combined, these four articles represent a very thorough study of the subject. Enjoy!
“Basic Qualifications” for Agreeing to Disagree
Brethren who advocate the tolerance of doctrinal diversity know there are many passages in the NT which prohibit fellowship with sin and false teachers. As they try to uphold unity in spite of doctrinal diversity, they are constructing a scaffolding of misapplied scriptures which “deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:18). For instance, one brother wrote to me saying,
“Now, how do we apply this is in light of the many passages you appealed to that clearly show we are not to fellowship sin and false teachers? Again, we use the principles outlined in the scriptures, coupled with the necessary humility, forbearance and grace. I believe that fellowship generally boils down to a few basic qualifications.”
Please remember, we have no argument with true humility, forbearance and grace. However, one must remember that 2 John 9-11 still stands: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine do not receive him into your house nor greet him: for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” Continue reading » Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship (Part 3 of 4)
Editors Note: Watchman Magazine is running the following series of articles in the July, August, September and October issues of the Magazine. If you have not yet read Part One of the study, which appeared in the July issue, please do so. Combined, these four articles represent a very thorough study of the subject. Enjoy!
Doctrine, Grace and Salvation
Some brethren disagree over whether doctrine affects salvation and whether we should warn others of false doctrine.
Galatians 1:6-9 affirms that we are removed from the grace of Christ when we accept teaching which is different from what the apostles of Christ preached and what was received from them in the first century. This being the case, how much of the apostolic doctrine can one differ with and remain in the grace of Christ: 1%? 5%? 30%? 50%? 80%? 90%? Must a person be in error on every point of doctrine before God’s grace is forfeited in his life? The Holy Spirit teaches us that doctrinal error causes one to fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). Therefore, doctrinal error is sin against God. The hypothesizing, speculating, conjecturing and rationalizing of men will not alter this God-given truth (1 Tim. 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 1:13-14). Continue reading » Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship (Part 2 of 4)
Editors Note: Watchman Magazine will run the following series of articles in the July, August, September and October issues of the Magazine. Combined, they represent a very thorough study of the subject. Enjoy!
(Part 1 of 4)
With this series of articles, we intend to study the tendency to broaden fellowship beyond that which Christ has endorsed in His gospel (2 Jno. 9-11; Eph. 5:7-11). We must carefully study the teaching of Christ’s gospel which bears upon the topic of unity and fellowship among brethren, and then carefully obey it to be approved by God (2 Tim. 2:15).
Unity Is Based Upon Revealed TruthThe gospel calls us to a unity which is based upon the revealed truth of God (Eph. 4:1-6; 1 Cor. 1:10). The only credible standard of authority to which we may rightly appeal to establish unity is the revealed word of Christ, the New Testament (Jno. 17:20-21; Col. 3:17). It is His word that establishes faith and enables unity. The inspired teachings of His apostles make it possible for us to have fellowship with them and with God (1 Jno. 1:1-4, 5-7). When we go beyond the teaching of Christ – His New Testament – we forfeit our fellowship with the Father and the Son (2 Jno. 9). While yet on earth Jesus affirmed this truth when He said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jno. 14:23). Loving Christ is tantamount to keeping His word. Therefore, when one speaks of keeping or obeying the word of Christ in all things, he is speaking of loving the Son of God. Continue reading » Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship (Part 1 of 4)
Is it scriptural to describe Christians as watchmen? That is, may we apply the principle of being watchmen, as God did to the prophets of Israel, to the work of preaching and teaching the gospel of Christ in these last days? (Rom. 15:4; Heb. 1:1-2) Some maintain it is wrong to apply the term and principle of “watchmen” to brethren today. They conclude that since the term “watchmen” was applied to the OT prophets we do not have the authority to use the concept it conveys when describing the work of preaching the gospel of Christ. Some have assumed that the OT prophets were given a position of national oversight in their prophetic work, and since there is no brotherhood-wide organization of the Lord’s church, we cannot use the term “watchmen” as we discuss and apply NT truth to the work of evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11). It is concluded that those who would “contend for the faith” must not be described as watchmen (Jude 3; cf. Ezek. 3:17; 33:7-9). In this article, we will see from the Bible that the concept of the watchmen’s work continues to have legitimate application to evangelists, pastors and teachers in the kingdom of Christ, just as it did when fleshly Israel was the people of God. Continue reading » Watchmen In Zion
In the last year of Jesus’ life during the Feast of Dedication (present-day Hanukkah), unbelieving individuals confronted him and demanded of him a plain declaration that he was the Christ (John 10:22-24). Like ravenous wolves the Jewish rulers had encircled him, ready to pounce upon their prey (v. 24).
Jesus was surrounded by unbelievers. They had seen his miraculous works and their results (i.e., the healing of the man ill for 38 years, John 5:2-18; sight restored to the man born blind John 9:1-34) but still they did not believe on him. His works and his words had provided ample proof of his claims (John 5:36; 10:25). A further demonstration of his power would no doubt be casting pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). They had made up their minds. They were looking for a reason to put Jesus to death. Continue reading » Solid Food: Ye Are Gods (John 10:34)
Some in churches of Christ are advocating that a covenant made by God with man should not be viewed as law from God. They urge us to believe that a covenant is a relationship of mercy rather than a law to be obeyed. They tell us that the new covenant of Christ is not a last will and testament (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8, 13; Heb. 12:24; 9:15). For instance, they say that a “covenant is not a law, but it has law.” And again, “Covenant is not a set of laws” (Jim Puterbaugh, Classes on “The Covenant,” Tape 1, 2-6-95, held at Issaquah church of Christ, Issaquah, Washington). Continue reading » Confusion on the Covenants: Covenant and Testament
The Presence of Sin
Sin has been in the world since the day man and woman chose to disobey the word of God and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17; Romans 3:9-19, 23; 5:12-14). The father of lies, the devil, presented the woman with a lie against God’s word and God’s integrity (“you will not surely die… God knows in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,”
Genesis 3:4-5). Sin is the devil’s lie. The woman was deceived and the man followed her into sin. They believed and obeyed the lie, and died in their sin against God (Genesis 3:6; 2:16-17).The way sin enters man’s life has not changed. Sin has always been and shall continue to be a choice man makes to believe a lie and thus transgress God’s truth (by either doing what God forbids or by omitting what God commands, 1 John 3:4; 5:17; James 4:17). God, since the days of Adam, has repeatedly revealed to mankind the damaging and destructive nature and results of sin (cf. Genesis 6:1-7; Jonah 1:2; 3:1-4; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 1:18-32; 3:20).
The Remedy for Sin
In the midst of His judgments against sin, God has always revealed mercy to those who are faithful to Him (Genesis 6:8-22; Jonah 3:5-10; Romans 3:21-26). God has chosen to redeem sinners from their sins through the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-11; Ephesians 1:4-7). Man must choose to obey truth and live “in Christ” in order to obtain God’s gracious forgiveness of his sins (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:10; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Continue reading » The Uncompromised Gospel: Addressing Sin in the World